5 Ways To Go Plastic Free and Save Our Oceans
You know what’s a depressing search to conduct? Typing “images of plastic in the ocean” into Google. It’s bad. The product that has simplified just about every aspect of our life — healthcare, hygiene, travel, storage, eating, shopping, playing — is suffocating our oceans, harming sea life and putting toxins into the environment (which inevitably work their way back to our bodies). You know what’s less depressing? Realizing there are ways we can go plastic free and start saving the oceans.
For a deeper dive into how our plastics end up spending an un-biodegradable eternity on Earth, I recommend the HuffPo article, The Oceans Are Drowning In Plastic — And No One’s Paying Attention. But here we’re talking solutions. We’re talking five easy ways you can go plastic-free to play your part in reversing the problem of plastics in our oceans.
1. Stop using straws.
Unless you have a physical condition that requires use of a straw, this is your simplest move. According to the Strawless Ocean program, we use more than 500 million straws every day in America alone, and most of those end up in the oceans. They’re littered, left on beaches and, because they’re so lightweight, they blow out of trash cans and boats (and other vehicles). So, for all of us who use straws by choice rather than necessity, let’s join the #stopsucking movement.
2. Switch to a reusable water bottle.
Not only is a reusable water bottle far more economical — I mean, seriously, unless you live without access to clean or filtered water, why are you still buying bottled water? — reusable bottles let you easily and immediately cut your plastic usage. Plus, with so many cute options to choose from, why not?
3. Bring your own bags to the grocery store.
Let’s be honest. We all already know this one. But, if you’re like me, you find yourself at the grocery store time and time again having forgotten your cloth bags. My trick? Skip the plastic bags and just pile the paid-for goods back into your cart. Buy a new reusable bag at check-out if you’ve got a bunch of tiny things — but, honestly, going bagless once in awhile is just annoying enough that you’ll remember your own bags next time.
4. Choose bulk over pre-portioned.
This one is a little harder, but like many plastic-eliminating moves, it’s also cost effective. One-use, disposable versions of most items are the most plastic-reliant. Individual bags of crisps, frozen meals-for-one, tiny yoghurt cups . . . they’re so cute and easy, but they generate so. much. waste. And don’t even get me started on those individually-wrapped prunes. Stock up on reusable glass containers of various sizes, then start buying the huge bag of doritos and the big vat of yoghurt. Dole out your day’s portion and do it all again tomorrow.
5. Choose products and brands that eschew plastic.
When you’re standing in the aisle, looking at toys, food, cleaning supplies, laundry detergents, find the ones with minimal packaging and that use glass or paper rather than plastic. Shop from bulk stores to which you can bring your own reusable containers. And support companies or initiatives that are making deliberate decisions to minimize waste, such as Who Gives a Crap (excuse me, but yes, that’s their name), Method cleaning products and, in some cases, Amazon (specifically its frustration-free packaging efforts).
It’s easy to look at those Google images and feel helpless to make a difference. So don’t. Instead, turn off the computer, assess your own lifestyle and purchasing decisions, and determine how you can cut your plastic usage today.
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