By RJ Winberg
Fighting Plastic pollution is a big job. Beach cleanups are fun, and are a great way to get involved and help protect our beautiful beaches and marine life. Check out our schedule here. Another strategy to win the war on plastic pollution, is that we as a society will ultimately need to look within and change our habits. After-all, most of the pollution in the ocean washes in from inland.
If we can change our behavior to focus on using less plastic in the first place, it would be a major step forward in the war on plastic pollution.
Here are 8 ways we can change our behavior to help fight plastic pollution:
#1 No more single use bottles
Carrying a re-usable bottle for water puts a big dent in your personal environmental impact. Think about how many plastic bottles the typical person uses throughout the day. Now multiply that by billions of people throughout the planet. Every person that we could get to give up one-time use bottles, would pay enormous dividends on reducing plastic pollution.
#2 Get reusable plastic bags
Those free plastic bags they pack your groceries in at the market are thin and actually have a very limited usefulness. With billions upon billions of these plastic bags being used everyday around the world, the environmental cost is high. Buying re-usable grocery bags is a great solution to the plastic bag problem. In fact, many cities have actually starting banning these bags altogether in an effort to fight pollution.
#3 Kick the straw habit
Whether at homeor at a bar plastic straws are almost always a single use product and also almost always unnecessary. This is another one we could easily cut out entirely.
#4 No one-time use coffee cups
I'm sure a lot of you are like me and pretty much require a caffeine fix to get through the day. But those plastic lids and Styrofoam cups are likely to end up in the ocean. Buying a reusable mug or thermos is a great way to cut back on your environmental footprint while still getting your fix. If you are out at a cafe, ask them for a coffee mug to borrow for your visit, they will likely have some in the back.
#5 Choose cardboard over plastic bottles and bags
Paper or plastic? Cardboard milk carton-style water containers and paper bags over plastic are another way to fight plastic pollution. Nothing beats getting the re-usable product, but if you have to get the disposable one paper or cardboard are better options for the environment because they decompose much faster... as in, THOUSANDS of years faster.
#6 Stop using microbeads cleansers
You know those "exfoliating" cleanser with the little beads in them? Well those little beads are usually petroleum-based plastic products. These are so small that they can often make it through water treatment facilities and even be mistaken as food by some creatures. There are many natural and biodegradable alternatives such as oatmeal or salt. A good practice is to avoid anything that lists ingredients like "polypropylene" or "polyethylene."
#7 Skip disposable razors
Instead of regularly tossing your used plastic razor, consider switching to a razor that lets you just replace the blade, or you can go old school with a straight razor.
#8 Use matches
Those single use plastic lighters just end up taking up space in landfills, floating in the ocean, and are often found in the stomachs of dead seagulls and other marine life. A more environmentally alternative would be to use wooden or cardboard matches that either burn up, or biodegrade.