Protecting the Ocean From Plastic
Help turn the tide of pollution with these five stepsBy FamilyFeatures.com
Environmental studies showing the destructive effects of plastic litter and mismanaged waste on oceans are seemingly everywhere. One of the biggest problems about plastic is it can take hundreds of years to decompose, meanwhile wreaking havoc with fish, birds and other mammals.
Making choices that help reduce ocean pollution is one way to make a personal impact. Some people are already doing just that.
Research from the Plastic Free July Foundation shows that more than six in 10 people refuse plastic shopping bags, avoid pre-packed fruit and vegetables, pick up litter and avoid buying water in plastic bottles.
But it will take more to stem the tide of plastic trash. According to the Ocean Conservancy, plastic product consumption is predicted to double over the next 10 years. These tips from the Glass Packaging Institute are some ways to contribute:
1Think about the packaging you choose. When making a purchase, consider alternatives to plastic like glass or other natural and sustainable packaging. Glass, made mostly from sand and recycled glass, is reusable, recyclable and does not harm oceans or marine life. Find out more about the benefits of glass packaging at upgradetoglass.com.
2Choose reusable containers. Reusable containers can serve as an ideal replacement for bottled water whether at home or on-the-go. Rather than plastic, you can choose glass or stainless steel, which can hold hot or cold food and beverages, and help protect the contents from any chemicals.
3Reduce your single-use footprint. Whenever possible, bring reusable bags and containers to the store. Some foods like cereal, pasta and rice can be purchased from bulk bins and placed in a glass or stainless-steel storage container.
4Recycle better. Certain items like disposable cups, greasy pizza boxes, non-recyclable plastic containers and take-out containers can contaminate entire batches of recycling. Learn what you can and can’t recycle in your community.
5Get involved. Volunteering or donating can help keep local beaches, parks and waterways clean. Getting involved with international and national groups with local chapters are also ways to participate in a local cleanup.
It’s important to remember to recycle plastic products. For example, each week North Carolinians throw away enough plastic bottles to line the Outer Banks 28 times, according to statistics from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. Put another way, North Carolinians recycle only 30 percent of PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic bottles. To learn more about recycling various materials, visit deq.nc.gov.
Other ways to be a friend to the environment