This June we celebrate World Ocean Month. World Ocean Month was created to allow people around the planet to celebrate and honor the ocean which connects us all. The main focus of this month is to prevent plastic pollution and encourage solutions for a healthy ocean.
It is encouraged for people to participate in activities or events in June in order to learn, change their ways, celebrate, and better our environment. Although World Ocean Month is a nice reminder to be good to our ocean, these actions should be practiced on a daily basis in order for your contributions to make an impact.
The ocean is the largest ecosystem on Earth and plays an extremely important role in the heating of our planet. Our ocean generates more than half of the oxygen that we breath and contain 97% of the world’s water at any given time. As living beings, we need air to breathe, water to drink, and livable climates. The ocean offers different medical resources and even inspiration for humans everywhere. In order to survive and grow we need healthy ocean to continue living healthy lives.
Most ocean pollution starts out on land and is carried by wind and rain to the sea. Plastic pollution is especially harsh on ocean and the wildlife that lives inside and around the ocean because it never goes away. The Environmental Protection Agency has reported that “every bit of plastic ever made still exists”. Sadly this is true because plastic never breaks down, allowing it to be extremely durable yet horrible for the environment.
All over the world, more and more forms of plastics are showing up on beaches every day. In the Los Angeles area alone, 10 metric tons of plastic fragments are carried into the Pacific Ocean every day.
To put this into perspective, around 4 million people live in Los Angeles, and around 7.5 billion people live around the world. If everywhere around the world wastes even slightly around this much plastic a day, there is no way this is a healthy contribution to the world’s ocean.
Humans have a horrible plastic problem, especially single-use plastic. You use it for a few seconds at most and then throw it away, to be left in the ocean forever.
Think about it. We are surrounded by plastic all the time. Every year billions of pounds of plastic end up in the world’s ocean. Animals are constantly dying or becoming severely injured from plastic pollution. Hundreds of thousands of seabirds ingest plastic every year, marine mammals get tangled up in different forms of plastic, and sea turtles often mistake floating plastic for food. Why do we continue to create so many plastics and wasteful products when we know how bad it is for our environment, ocean, animals, and our futures?
Although as individuals we may not be able to stop the production of plastic altogether, we are able to make small daily choices to help reduce the use of plastic and the impact it has on the world’s ocean.
Here is a list of 10 plastic items that you can easily replace with alternative options, or opt-out from using at all.
1. Water Bottles
Always carry around a reusable BPA free water bottle instead of going through a few plastic ones a day. This is also a helpful reminder to always be drinking lots of water throughout the day as well.
Skip the straw and save the turtles! America alone uses over 500 million straws every day. If you are a straw enthusiast and just can’t go without one, then keep a reusable straw with you at all times.
3. Shopping Bags
Reusable shopping totes can be super cute and are very easy to use. If you are bad at remembering to bring them with you when you shop, leave them in your car or by your door where you will be reminded before you head to the store.
Think about how many disposable plastic tampon applicators are used all the time.. and we often don't even think about them being wasteful. Try using cardboard applicators, or research what other eco-friendly alternatives could be best for you.
If you own a coffee maker with single-use cups you are throwing them away with every cup of coffee you make. Reusable k-cups allow you to waste less and save a lot of money as well.
6. Packaged Produce
Skip the pre-packaged fruits and veggies and buy loose produce from your grocery store or farmers market. The produce will be perfectly fine in the reusable bag that you already brought with you!
People get a new toothbrush every few months, throwing away the old ones. Instead of using a plastic one, switch to a compostable bamboo toothbrush. You can find some great ones at The Other Straw.
8. Coffee Cups/Lids
Bring your own reusable coffee cup to the coffee shop if you can. If you are unable to bring your own, skip the plastic lid or straw or any unnecessary accessories.
9. Tupperware Containers
Glass containers keep your food fresh and secure just as well. If you are going to use plastic containers in your home, keep them in the comfort of your home and reuse them as much as you can.
10. Plastic Wrap
Instead of plastic wrap and Ziploc bags, you can use other alternatives such as glass jars (previously mentioned), aluminum foil (which can be reused), fabric bowl covers, or even beeswax food wrap.
Go out today and make an impact. Stop using single-use plastic and start using reusable alternatives. Join an organization and help clean up your local beaches. Any effort you can make counts. And most importantly, go outside and enjoy the beautiful summertime at the beach. #makesustainabilitysexy
The Wolfpack IRL
About the Author
Sidney Yost @sid_yo
Sidney has had a passion for fashion and photography ever since she was a child. She has chosen to explore her interests further by studying both fashion marketing and management and photography at the Savannah College of Art and Design. Growing up on the East Coast in Jacksonville, Florida, Sidney has always found great joy in spending lots of her time at the beach and exploring the outdoors. Although she constantly finds herself dreaming of the West Coast and hopes to find herself there one day soon. Through the stresses of life Sidney discovered and started practicing yoga and meditation and has developed a true love and great amount of gratitude for connecting with her breath and mind, and moving her body. She uses exercise as a way to clear her mind and connect back with herself. Over time, she has become extremely conscious of her choices and the impact that they make on the environment and the world around her, learning to care about being sustainable with everything she can. Sidney lives a positive, colorful, free-spirited lifestyle and follows wherever her heart, and the music, takes her.