It’s hard to think of anything more relaxing than lounging at the beach, listening to ocean waves lap against the sand as seagulls dart overhead. The ocean can certainly be a source of peace, tranquility, and natural beauty. Unfortunately, it’s also full of garbage and other waste, in particular plastics. By some estimates, humans discard so much plastic into the ocean, it amounts to 136 billion milk jugs a year.
The very thought of cleaning up the oceans may seem daunting, and yet there are simple, effective steps we can all take to reduce this barrage of plastic waste. Consider just a few ways you can make a difference in the cleanliness of our oceans.
1) Minimize use of single-use plastics.
There’s no getting around it: The single biggest source of ocean pollution is disposable plastic. From grocery bags to coffee cup lids, there are countless single-use plastic products populating our daily lives. To clean up the oceans, we’ll need to wean ourselves off these disposables, switching to reusables whenever possible. Something as simple as carrying silverware with you, as opposed to using plastic cutlery, can make a real impact.
2) Refrain from buying bottled water.
An especially big culprit: Plastic water bottles, which get tossed into the ocean to the tune of 20 billion bottles annually. It can minimize your environmental footprint hugely just to start using a reusable water bottle instead of buying tons of disposable ones.
3) Cook at home.
Eating at home is healthier, it’s usually cheaper, and it significantly reduces your reliance on things like take-out boxes and doggy bags. Eating in can be a fantastic way to curb your plastic waste contributions.
4) Buy used products.
You don’t necessarily want to buy everything second-hand, but the more items you can get from a thrift store or from Facebook Marketplace, the less plastic packaging you’ll be generating. Opt for gently used toys, kitchen gadgets, and consumer electronics whenever you can.
5) Purchase products in bulk.
When you do need to buy stuff brand new, minimize packaging by buying in bulk. This is especially true with groceries: Rather than buying a handful of individually wrapped yogurts, buy a larger quantity, all boxed together.
6) Invest in your own dry-cleaning bag.
A reusable fabric bag can minimize the need for those plastic ones they always use at the cleaners. This is a small investment that can really help you curb your plastic usage over time.
7) Say no to microbeads.
Many health and beauty products include little plastic “scrubbers,” which all too often pass through water treatment facilities and into the ocean. The only way to stop this is for all of us to boycott such products.
We’ll end with a simple tip: Recycle plastic products whenever you can. And if you don’t already have one, start a recycling program at your apartment complex, your workplace, even your college dorm.
We’d love to help. To speak with an expert about recycling and waste management, reach out to the team at WasteXperts at your convenience.