here is how...
The ocean connects us all. These pictures below are evidence. Throughout the past 5 years of traveling and cleaning up the beaches I feel as though the best way to teach others about ocean plastics is by giving you a little bit closer of a look at what is lingering! These are some alternatives and quick fixes so you too can understand what kind of changes you have the ability to make if you want to protect the future and planet!
Single-Use bottles and cups
It's time guys! What are you waiting for? Get yourself a reusable water bottle and coffee cup. Think about your daily single use plastic intake when it comes to your daily routine. Those go-to 5x a week drinks for work..For just one person, thats close to 300 single use plastic bottles/cups tossed out a year that are most likely ending up in the ocean. This is a great place to start if you want to make a difference and there's not much of a downfall. They keep your beverages hot or cold, whatever you want for extended periods of time, they save you money in the long run, deck em out, refill em, no harmful chemicals and its just soooo easy. Yeti and Hydros are my fave! PS. Check out the caps we find above. Wonder why we find more caps then bottles? Mainly because the bottles end up filling up with water and are now on the bottom of the ocean floor. Now imagine what lies down there...
These are so handy and fit anywhere! Fold em up and youre good to go! I have to admit, for the past 5 years of collecting trash, the plastic bag was the absolute worst. But recently this year with all of the bans on bags, I truly am seeing such a difference in all parts of the world when it comes to the types of plastic being collected. There has definetly been a huge decline in the plastic bags from what I've seen. Although they are still out there, that is still incredible proof that we all are making such a difference. Keep up the amazing work and if you don't have one already check at your local store or if you want to support an amazing foundation find this bag at https://kokuahawaiifoundation.org
forks, spoons, knives , these tiny one timers are everywhere. although its easy to grab these on your way out of the shop, you could easily keep a reusable utensil set close by. I recommend bamboo options (they biodegrade!) or if you enjoy an adventure and want your options you can easily get a retracting set thats great for camping and comes with a bunch of different options. When backpacking I prefer all the bells and whistles. (Wine key for the win!)
This picture was taken seconds after I quickly dipped my hands in the water to clean up after a full moon party in Thailand... 1 scoop and this is what I collected! Straws became a nifty way of drinking in the 70's and they have been complimenting every kind of drink ever since. A great way to help the environment is by simply requesting no straw or carrying your very own reusable one. Simple.
You'd be surprised at the number of razors (specifically schick) I collect along the beaches! A great alternative to these single use plastic razors is to get a reusable one! All you do is replace the razor blade (which come in sets) when it becomes dull while the body can easily be reused for years to come!
Discarded fishing gear is the #1 ocean polluter in the world. A way that you can make a difference is by lowering your fish intake, possibly all together! These days eating sustainably isn't all that easy or trusted, but to start focus on where you are getting your sea food from. That means if they are caught legally, in season, locally and NOT commercially. Commercial fishing longlines, miles of ghost nets, catch around 8% of what they're fishing for, and the rest includes helpless by catch such as dolphins, turtles, whales, sharks, the list goes on. Usually these animals won't survive the process and die due to stress or entanglement. So a friendly reminder to acknowledge where you are getting your food from!
If I got a dollar for every plastic toothbrush I found... These have been floating out there for forever. Same with the flossers. A great alternative is the bamboo toothbrush. Check the bristles and make sure they are biodegradable as well! Reusable toothbrushes are even better than these one-time-use bad boys. Just something to keep in mind next time you need a new brush for those pearly whites of yours.
TRY OUT GLASS
When shopping take a closer look at what you are grabbing. Is your peanut butter in plastic or glass? What about your oils? jams? Sauces? A lot of the time there are glass alternatives for your original plastic choices. I've really enjoyed making use of my empty glass jars. They keep everything you need fresh for longer and they're free. Been using them for my little garden recently but there really are endless options with what you can do with them!
I know this one can be tricky- but just be conscious of unnecessary products and if you can find alternatives then that is a huge plus. Shampoo bars are wonderful and there are also cleaning companies (BLUELAND) who give you reusable bottles and send you tablets to eliminate the plastic bottles being used around the house, later ending up in landfills and the sea. You can see in both of these pictures that animals ( I see a turtle beak imprint...) have mistaken these plastic bottles for food. A huge reason why we need to be aware of our intake.
For some reason some people still find socially acceptable to toss these butts right on the ground rather then finding a place to put them. This was 20 minutes walking the beaches on Koh Tao. We had 10 of these bottles filled before the end of our clean up. If you choose to smoke, please just respectfully find somewhere to put your filters. Filters can take 10+ years to start breaking down.
I always keep one of these on me while on the road! Great for meals, snacks, pick up, take out, anything you can imagine! Just let the place know you have your own food containers. It saves them the materials and money and you the excess waste! Think of all the bags and plastic containers you will prevent from oceans and landfills with one of these! You can even keep your reusable untensils in there, too!
Sometimes you just don't need them. You might have them at home, or you can put them on easily at the restaurant instead of taking the plastic vessel along with ya. These aren't the kinds of fish we want to see in the ocean but along the Bondi Beach Strand in Sydney Australia these were everywhere. The number of Taco bell mild sauces I find floating in the ocean is UNREAL. Kindly ask for all your fixin's prepped together or potentially pass on what you don't really need!
It is actually the WORST. It's substance and process of creation has ties to cancer. Regardless of the content it is holding, it leaches chemicals into your foods and drink. Its industry is literally ranked 5th in the largest creator of toxic waste in the US. Nasty. This was from a lounge chair that popped just to give you a different perspective on where styrofoam can be lingering. Hard passsssss on that stuff for sure.
Although the intentions behind balloons is usually so heartfelt, most of the time these guys float off in the air and end up entangling anything it might come across or floating in the middle of the sea. Tripped about 5 times trying to handle these things, I can't even begin to imagine what its like for anything else that gets caught up. There are so many wonderful ways to show that love. Posters, a banner, put it on a cake? Just consider other possible options other than these floaters.