By Max Druckman
100% of all plastic ever created is still on the Earth today. While this might sound like an amaz- ing feat of science and engineering, it is actually a curse upon Earth’s largest ecosystem; its deep blue oceans. 10% of the 260 million tons of plastic produced each year ends up in Earth’s oceans. That’s 26 million tons of plastic that makes its way into oceans all over the world per year! This is a large scale problem that can have permanent effects on your favorite marine animals, like dolphins and sea turtles, and their habitats. Here are a few helpful tips that allow everyday people to prevent these single-use plastics from growing into an even larger issue.
Skip the straw!
Whenever you go to a restaurant, the first thing you order is a drink. When the server brings you the bev- erage, he/she almost always accompany it with a single-use plastic straw. You then use the straw for the hour that you are eating, after which it gets thrown away. This straw, like all other plastic objects, lasts forever and most likely will find its way into an ocean. To prevent this, you can just “skip the straw”. For those who can- not part with these twisty tools, you can use a paper or metal straw. Paper straws can be recycled and metal straws can be reused over and over again. These three straw alternatives are perfect and hassle free ways to avert plastics from entering the ocean environments.
The plastic bags that you put your purchases in when you leave a store are another single-use plastic that can enter and harm ocean ecosystems. Instead of using these bags, you can bring your own fabric bags. These bags are often insulated, which means that they can keep your ice cream cold and your pre- pared foods warm. Also, they are reusable, so they don’t harm the environment. In addition, another idea is that when you pack lunch for school or work, you should bring a reusable lunch box. Brown paper bags are able to escape into the environment and are a poor alternative to fabric lunch boxes. So, the next time your on a Target run or chowing down on a midday munch, make sure to use a fabric bag!
Containers … and boxes!
Snacks, treats, legos; we store almost everything and any- thing in plastic Ziploc bags! When we are finished with these bags, we throw them away at once. A substitute for this is glass and plastic containers. These are dishwasher safe and can store any variation of food. You can even use old boxes as containers to store your toys, markers, and clothes in. Most importantly, these containers and boxes can be used repeat- edly and recycled once they get old. Clearly, containers are an awesome way to avoid having plastic bags enter our ecosys- tems.
In the end, there are a variety of easy ways to cut down your everyday plastic usage. Please remember to use these meth- ods whenever you can. Your actions could save a marine an- imal’s life.