Oceans Are For Lovers, Not Plastic Bottles
Human beings are creatures of convenience. If something is easy, it’s much more likely to be done. I’m here to challenge you this year. I want to challenge your way of thinking. I want to plant a seed in your brain to remind you how easy it is to regularly kill 100,000 marine mammals and 1 million seabirds every single year because of your plastic intake. I want to tell you how easy it is to create something called “The Great Pacific Garbage Patch” in the Pacific Ocean that’s twice the size of the United States. It’s literally just a giant mass of plastic waste in the damn ocean. We made this.
Do I have your attention yet?
According to ReuseThisBag, the average person goes through 350 to 500 plastic bags in one, single year alone. Producing 13 bags takes the exact same amount of petroleum as it would take to drive a car 1 mile. This means that you could drive approximately 38 miles each year! That’s insane. A study was done in 2016 that showed that the global population (more than 7 billion people) produced over 320 million tons of plastic. This is set to double by 2034. Double. We created this problem.
We are literally killing our ocean. Plastic consistently makes up 60 to 90 percent of all marine debris. Approximately 8 million metric tons of plastic ends up in our ocean every single year. We have all heard that the plastic rings that come with 6 packs of soda (or beer) needs to be cut up before being thrown away. This is because it can make its way to our ocean and find its way around an animal. Birds and sea creatures have washed ashore, dead, because of the debris inside of them and/or the plastic tied around them. Seabirds mistakenly feed their babies mouthfuls of plastic and garbage, which kills them. We are doing this.
Did you know that plastic bags don’t biodegrade? Instead, light exposure dissolves them into toxic polymer particles. Those toxins go back into the Earth. Honestly, it costs far too much to even recycle a plastic bag so most companies just throw them away anyway. You might think that you’re doing a fantastic thing by recycling items, but in reality, only 9% of plastic actually gets recycled. We are responsible.
Let me tell you… This was and is such a hard habit to change. There are MANY days when I want to reach for a plastic bottle of water instead of grabbing my reusable bottle and refilling it. I have cursed myself and waited to drink my coffee because I forgot my to go cup before leaving the house. This is something that you have to make an effort to do. If everyone could just follow at least 5 of my below tips, Mother Earth would be in a much better place! We can fix this.
Lauren’s Super Easy Tips on How to Save the Turtles (and other fun oceanic creatures):
Get yourself some to go cups for coffee/hot drinks. I take a reusable cup to coffee shops all the time. Most places even give you a discount for using a reusable cup!
Stop using plastic bags at the grocery store. Luckily, California has banned the use of plastic bags at grocery stores (I love my state). Most of your favorite grocery stores will sell their own so you can represent. You can even find ones that fold up small so you can keep them in your purse or glove box.
When you order for pick-up, request that there be no bag, napkins, or plastic utensils. Bring your own bag to pick-up. If you order delivery, ask for no napkins or plastic utensils only.
Try to cut down your packaging by using mason jars for bulk items such as rice and granola. A lot of stores are adding in bulk sections to help cut down the packaging waste. Everything might not be available but this is more about doing what you can!
If you absolutely have to use plastic bags (such as Ziploc), wash them and reuse them! I highly recommend investing in Stasher Reusable Silicone Bags because you can cook in them too!
If you must use straws while out, get yourself a reusable travel straw that is compact and easy to use! I personally use FinalStraw. There are even reusable boba straws because who can live without boba?!
Instead of using cling wrap or foil to store food, use Bee’s Wrap. It works way better (imo) and is super cute!
Avoid receipts at all costs! Either get an email receipt or forgo a receipt (if you think you will not return an item). Most receipts just end up in the trash anyway.
Get yourself reusable produce bags. These small, flimsy, incredibly useless bags always ended up right in the trash at my house. Since you’re grabbing bags to put your groceries in, you might as well snag some of these too!
While it is still plastic, I started using toothbrushes and razors from Preserve. They’re a company that uses recycled yogurt cups to make their products. Bamboo Toothbrushes are also a really great thing with no plastic!
Start using bars of soap instead of body wash. There are plenty of mom and pop places that sell bars of soap that don’t have a lot of packaging. Even the ones sold in the stores typically come in paper instead of plastic. You can even make your own as a fun project!
The best part about making some small changes is that it’s a one time purchase! Instead of buying a million plastic water bottles, you have one reusable one. Instead of constantly buying “feminine products” (and having to pay the TAMPON TAX!!!!), you can invest in the Diva Cup. Making these changes took time. I constantly have to remember to make the effort. The more and more I’ve done it, the more and more it’s become a normal part of my life. I never leave the house without filling up one of my water bottles first and I always ask bartenders and waiters/waitresses not to give me a straw. Step one is deciding to save the turtles. Step two is actually saving the turtles.
So what are you waiting for? Choose to make a difference.