Plastic has become an increasingly pervasive material in our lives. One of the many problems with plastic, from its reliance on fossil fuels for production to the sheer amount created every day, is that we more often than not dispose of it improperly. The harsh reality is that there are now over 5 trillion pieces of plastic in the world's oceans, and more than 8 million tons are added every year. Plastic takes HUNDREDS of years to degrade, and it poses a serious threat to our marine life and ecosystems.
Human activity is the main cause of plastic pollution, but by changing our behaviorus and promoting better waste management practices, we can make a difference!
Here are some steps we can take to fight plastic pollution in our oceans:
Reduce or eliminate unnecessary plastic from our day to day lives
The only way to 100% guarantee that the plastic we use doesn't end up on our oceans and waterways is to not use it at all in the first place. We may think of plastic pollution in the ocean as a result of direct dumping and industrial spills, and while these are correct, there is another major factor - unintentional litter.
Unintentional litter includes plastic waste that is blown out of overflowing trash bins, during transportation to recycling and waste management facilities and plastic that is blown out of landfills. Even if you live hundreds of kilometres away from the ocean, the plastic waste you throw away may find its way into stormwater sewers, lakes or rivers, and can then travel out to sea. - Oceana
Unintentional (and intentional) litter is one of the top 4 contributors to ocean plastics. Making daily choices that contribute to a lower waste lifestyle doesn't have to be hard - reusing containers, choosing loose fruits and vegetables instead of bagged ones at the grocery store, asking for no straw - are just a few examples.
Learn about your local recycling programs
Going completely zero waste isn't always an option (hello, Covid!) So what can we do with the plastic that does sneak into our lives? First, learn about your local recycling and waste management to avoid wishcycling. Once you know what requirements your local municipality requires, the more likely your plastic is to actually get recycled as intended.
Clean up plastic waste from beaches and coastlines
Beach cleanups are a great way to directly reduce the amount of plastic waste that ends up in the ocean. By picking up plastic waste from beaches and coastlines, we can prevent it from being carried out to sea by the tide.
Tip: Keep an eye out for local lakes, forests or neighbourhoods that could also benefit from a cleanup! Plastic waste is a threat to other ecosystems too, not just the ocean.
Support businesses and organizations that are working to reduce plastic waste
There are so many amazing businesses our there doing the work! Choose to support companies that prioritize sustainability and donate to organizations working to reduce plastic pollution.
Tip: check out Blue Friday for a list of small businesses working together to impact ocean conservation.
Support policies that reduce plastic pollution
Governments and businesses have an important role to play in reducing plastic pollution. We can support policies that encourage the use of sustainable materials and reduce plastic pollution. This could include promoting reusable alternatives to single-use plastics, encourage recycling and composting, and impose fees or bans on plastic bags and other disposable plastics.
By voting for leaders who prioritize environmental protection and support these policies, we can create a healthier and more sustainable future for ourselves and future generations. Our collective actions can make a real difference in reducing plastic pollution and preserving our natural resources.
Raise awareness about the problem and the solutions
Simply choosing to be more informed about this issue is a major step towards making a difference - but don't stop there! Consider opening this conversation with your loved ones, so that they too will understand how their lifestyle may be impacting the environment. It's important to approach these conversations with kindness and understanding - not judgement. Lead by example and make it accessible and inviting for others to join the movement. By raising awareness and motivating others to take action, we can generate a wave of support to tackle this crucial environmental concern.
One of the things we love about Goldilocks Beeswax Wraps is that they often act as a catalyst for conversation (and ultimately change in habits). People who may not generally be interested in eco-friendly living may be intrigued by the beautiful patterns and ask questions.
To sum it all up, plastic pollution in the ocean is a serious problem that requires action from all of us. By implementing even just a few of these solutions, you can make a difference!