Plastic pollution is a huge problem that is seriously affecting our environment, particularly the oceans. We are surrounded by plastic…it is everywhere, and it simply doesn’t go away…Plastic stays forever!
Another whale, this one with 88 pounds of plastic in its stomach, found dead in Indonesia’s ocean. Read the news here or continue reading to learn more about the actual problem and how you can start helping these beautiful creatures and their aquatic friends.
There are various ways to join the movement against plastic. If National Geographic’s Ocean Plastic Innovation Challenge is not for you, you can join #notwhalefood Urban Beach Clean!, perhaps you want to Take your pledge: Planet or Plastic?. We get it! You can’t wait to start TODAY. Brian Hutchinson, Oceanic Society’s vice president of outreach, tells us here how to start making the difference, or keep reading for a sum up.
1. Reduce Your Use of Single-Use Plastics, including plastic bags, water bottles, straws, cups, utensils, dry cleaning bags, take-out containers, and any other plastic items that are used once and then discarded. Sounds challenging, but don’t you worry! Nowadays, there are various solutions to avoid the use of plastic, like edible utensils, paper containers, reusable packaging, and innovative material alternatives.
a) Refuse any single-use plastics that you do not need
b) Purchase, and carry with you, reusable versions of those products
c) Stay tuned to learn more about the upcoming Loop Store, a revolutionary shopping platform that will help us with point #1 and #2.
2. Recycle Properly to help keep plastics out of the ocean and to reduce the amount of “new” plastic flow. Only 9% of plastic is recycled…worldwide! So hurry up and start recycling. Check Earth911’s recycling directory to find a place near you, and don’t forget to check with your local recycling center about the types of plastic they accept.
3. Participate In (or Organize) a Beach or River Cleanup. Don’t overthink it! Just go to the beach or waterway and collect plastic waste on your own or with friends or family. Feeling like taking a step further? Join a local organization’s cleanup or an international event like the International Coastal Cleanup. According to Hutchinson, it is one of the most direct and rewarding ways to fight ocean plastic pollution.
4. Support Bans and join the thousands of people already doing so. Municipalities around the world have enacted bans on single use plastic bags, takeout containers, and bottles. It is not that hard. You can help adopting the policies in your community.
5. Avoid Products Containing Microbeads by looking for “polythelene” and “polypropylene” on the ingredient labels of your cosmetic products. This tiny plastic particles find their way to the oceans and waterways through our sewer systems, affecting hundreds of marine species. Find a Product List by Country here or buy products that have the “Look for the Zero” logo.
6. Spread the Word by sharing this post and make others aware of the problem. Hutchinson recommends hosting a viewing party for one of the many plastic pollution focused documentaries, like Bag It, Addicted to Plastic, Plasticized, or Garbage Island. Documentary night! Family, Friends, Fido and Fluffy + Comfy Living Room = FUN
Wait…Don’t forget about the snacks, check this recommendation from the Spoon University.
7. Support Organizations Addressing Plastic Pollution. Even small donations can make a big difference, and there are several non-profit organizations that need our help to continue their amazing job reducing and eliminating ocean plastic pollution in different ways. We already mentioned some at the beginning of the post, but other options are: Oceanic Society, Plastic Pollution Coalition, 5 Gyres, Algalita, Plastic Soup Foundation.
For more ways to help, watch the following video from #NotWhaleFood
Feeling optimistic? We are! These are just a few options of the many ways we can start making the difference. We know you want to do more…you already are a winner by helping today, but who knows, maybe you end up being one of the selected teams competing for a share of $1.5 million in awards and also…wait for it…INVESTMENT, so that you can make a bigger impact, courtesy of National Geographic and Sky Ocean Ventures. Click here for more details.
There are many ways to help stop plastic pollution. What’s your way? Feel free to share in the comments below.