“We throw things away when we don’t know where ‘away’ is,” says Angela Pozzi, Founder, The Washed Ashore Project.
An estimated 16 billion pounds of plastic end up in our oceans every year according to 4ocean. Millions of people spend their days unaware or uncaring about the trash they are “dispensing” of. They go to the grocers and have their items placed in several plastic bags. They go to a restaurant and are handed plastic cups and straws. Saran wrap is placed over bowls and containers for leftovers. A plastic trash bag fills our cans daily. Soft drinks come in plastic bottles or plastic ties around the cans. Sandwiches, chips, and snacks are placed in plastic lunch bags. plastic dish wear is given at restaurants and used in our homes for meal times for convenience. Plastic toys are bought that kids will play with a few times and then get thrown away later. Plastic bottles are filled with chemical cleaners that people use to clean their homes. Plastic water bottles are consumed with about 50 billion last year alone (to learn more about the impact of these you can visit Ban the Bottle). Plastic bubble wrap and peanuts fill boxes to protect items ordered or mailed. Some buy plastic pet dishes that will get chewed on and trashed. This list could go on and on and on and on – but I think you get the point. Most everywhere we look there is plastic that surrounds. The largest problem as Angela Pozzi points out, is these items are placed in trash receptacles without much thought of where these items will end up.
One place these items are ending up is in our oceans, beachfront and other waterways. They are also ending up in overfilled landfills that are later covered up and another one made. Our wildlife is being killed by many of these items, and our beachfront and beautiful land are becoming eyesores. This doesn’t even begin to touch on the topic of the plants that are processing these items and putting pollution in our air, or the many plastics that contain BPA and other chemicals that are harming our health.
NOW is time for a change. It’s time to start caring about our planet, ourselves and teach our kids to care. I see so many people walking around and not caring about many things that truly affect us in so many ways. I see posts on every social media site weekly of someone’s family member or themselves dealing with cancer or some other disease. I’m not saying that Plastics are the cause or sole cause for this, but they are contributing to the matter. I see posts of people taking vacations to the beach, but no thought of what if those glorious dolphins we love to watch died out. What if the fish we have eaten since times beginning was no more. What if those beautiful beaches were overridden with trash and we could no longer dip our toes in the sand, make sand castles, or trip along the water’s edge with the waves rushing across our calves. This may sound drastic to you. It is drastic, and it is the real picture of the future if we don’t stop polluting our earth. Not just with plastics, but that is a huge issue and the one at hand for this writing.
Here are but a few ways you can do your part and encourage others to follow in suit.
- Use a reusable grocer’s bags when you do your shopping at ANY store. Not just your grocers, but your department stores as well.
- Carry a reusable straw with you to use when you get a drink at a restaurant or while out. There are also brushes to easily clean these.
- Use glass pyrex or other bowls to store your food instead of plastic containers. A silicone lid to cover them is good and very long lasting as well.
- Use only glass plates and dinnerwear when having dinners at home.
- Buy larger trash bags that will hold more trash and eliminate the need for more smaller ones. You can fill your household trashcans without one and then dump them all into one when full. If you eliminate much of your trash then it will take you longer to fill one trash bag.
- Carry a water bottle around with you to fill at the restaurant if purchasing a drink. If you go inside to order your food, you can let them know you have your own water bottle instead of using their plastic cups, or you can save the money for a drink and always carry your own with you.
- Use an aluminum spray bottle to mix your home cleaners in at home. You can reuse these over and over for ages.
- Use a water filtration system at home instead of purchasing those tons of plastic water bottles. You can get a whole home, one for your faucet, or a simple pitcher type.
- Use old newspaper or even better biodegradable packing peanuts when mailing items out.
- Use a reusable lunch box and wash it out instead of the plastic bags. Some good choices are Go Green, Bentgo, Planet boxes, Lunchbots, Russbe, and Ecolunch. Some of these are plastic BPA free, but it will still eliminate the need for all of those bags that end up polluting our planet and will last for years.
These are all good places to start in helping to preserve our planet. Think consciously about your buying choices and if it is recyclable, reusable, and if you truly need it or are there better alternatives.
If you are on Facebook, here is a good video to show you some of the pollutions that are ending up in our waterways and how this group is making a difference. You can also find out more about the clean-up efforts here.
A sad fact: Just 9% of the plastic ever made has been recycled.