Plastics are one of the most common pollutants found in our oceans. Plastics are found in or on our clothes, body wash and nearly everything else we touch (or even consume) on a daily basis. Plastic pollutants are not only crowding our seas, they are hurting sea turtles and other ocean wildlife. There are many things we can do to keep plastics out of our oceans. Here are ten easy things you can do today!
1. Bring the bag.
Sea turtles often mistake plastic bags as jellyfish and ingest them which may lead to blockage or starvation. Take our challenge, bring a reusable bag when you shop and keep plastic bags out of the ocean. Instead of bagging fruits and vegetables at grocery stores, leave them loose in your basket or bring your own cloth bags. (Photo credit: Torrie Sessions)
2. Go straw-free.
This is an easy one. Say “no straw please” at restaurants, bars and cafes. Try to get your favorite spots to only offer straws to customers who ask for them, or better yet, not offer them at all. Straws take from 200-500 years to decompose and continue to be a threat to wildlife as they photo-degrade into microplastics. In Galveston, learn more about Turtle Island Restoration Network’s Gulf providing resources for individuals and businesses to end their use of plastic straws, including the options to purchase reusable straws. (Photo credit: Katherine Kartis)
3. Avoid products that contain microplastics.
It’s important that we read labels carefully. Everything from cosmetics, body washes, face scrubs, household cleaning and car products can contain microplastics that will eventually be found in oceans and inside marine life. We’re studying microplastics in the Gulf of Mexico, sign up for our newsletter to stay updated!
4. Bring a reusable water bottle.
It’s time to kick that plastic bottle/single-use coffee cup habit and carry a reusable bottle or mug. Ask your favorite coffee shop to fill your reusable to-go mug and you might even get a discount. You can also reusable bottles for all your favorite beverages!
5. Say “no” to balloons.
What goes up, must come down and it will end up in our rivers, streams and ultimately our ocean. A party without balloons is still a party! The sea turtle on the right was found entangled in balloon strings by one of our volunteers. Join our Balloon Busting Crew or find out ways to make your next event balloon free! (Photo on left: © Ron Wooten)
6. Properly dispose of fishing line.
Dispose of fishing line properly by recycling it. By recycling your fishing line, your giving it new life. It will be made into fish habitats, plastic benches or even plastic flooring. Fishing lines and other destructive fishing practices are having a strong impact on the health of marine wildlife and our blue-green planet.
7. Look for alternatives.
We can wean ourselves off plastic by looking for alternatives like glass, ceramic, stainless steel or wood.
8. Buy in bulk.
Take your own containers or cloth bags to your favorite store and purchase in bulk.
9. Go plastic-free at the dry cleaners.
Tell your dry cleaner you will take your clothes home without the plastic bag, thank you.
10. To-go food without the extra junk.
Dining out? Bring your own containers from home for any leftovers or to-go orders. Skip the plastic silverware too!