According to marine researchers, our oceans are turning into a plastic soup. Many will remember this shocking photo series by artist-activist Chris Jordan from a few years back, which made waves on social media by shedding light on the horrifying effects of our plastic waste on marine creatures. Well, since this photo was taken in 2009, very little has changed. A few scary facts to consider:
- An estimated 100,000 marine mammals and 1 million sea birds die each year as a result of plastic litter in our ocean.
- Of the 3.8 million tons of plastic trash that was generated in the US last year, only about 10% was recycled
- The amount of plastic produced in the past ten years exceeds the amount produced in ALL of the last century
To learn more, check out this eye-opening infographic about how plastic is not only killing marine life, but putting humans at risk as well.
Now that you know the facts, please consider implementing these ten easy tips to reduce your ‘plastic footprint’ (put together by the folks at Surfrider):
- Choose to reuse when it comes to shopping bags and bottled water. Cloth bags and metal or glass reusable bottles are available locally at great prices.
- Refuse single-serving packaging, excess packaging, straws and other ‘disposable’ plastics. Carry reusable utensils in your purse, backpack or car to use at bbq’s, potlucks or take-out restaurants.
- Reduce everyday plastics such as sandwich bags and juice cartons by replacing them with a reusable lunch bag/box that includes a thermos.
- Bring your to-go mug with you to the coffee shop, smoothie shop or restaurants that let you use them. A great wat to reduce lids, plastic cups and/or plastic-lined cups.
- Go digital! No need for plastic cds, dvds and jewel cases when you can buy your music and videos online.
- Seek out alternatives to the plastic items that you rely on.
- Recycle. If you must use plastic, try to choose #1 (PETE) or #2 (HDPE), which are the most commonly recycled plastics. Avoid plastic bags and polystyrene foam as both typically have very low recycling rates.
- Volunteer at a beach cleanup. Surfrider Foundation Chapters often hold cleanups monthly or more frequently. If you’re in Los Angeles, check out the work of the organization Pluckfastic, created by local yoga teacher Brock Cahill.
- Support plastic bag bans, polystyrene foam bans and bottle recycling bills.
- Spread the word. Talk to your family and friends about why it is important to Rise Above Plastics!
Perhaps this week we can all set a collective intent to reduce our plastic footprint.