As a quick recap, our last post was about the amount of paper cups (16 billion) and plastic cups (500 billion) get thrown away every year. In today’s blog, we are going to cover the effects of some of this trash on one of our most precious resources, the ocean.
You all have probably seen photos of fish and birds washed up on the shoreline with their stomach full of plastic, which should be eye opening for everyone. According to the American Journal of Science, there is between 4.8 and 12.7 million tons of plastic that enters the ocean every year, which accumulates with the already 150 million tons+ that’s already floating around out there.
The most significant presence of plastic in the ocean is called the Pacific trash vortex, which spans from the waters of the West Coast of North America to Japan (there are multiple vortex between the West Coast of Japan). 80% of this trash can be attributed from Eastern Asia and North America, which acts like a highway that moves debris from one patch to another.
Almost all of this trash that accumulates is non-biodegradable, which means all of this plastic gets broken down into little pieces over time and resembles food to marine life.
So, what can we do to decrease our plastic consumption? Here are 5 simple ways:
- Refrain from purchasing single-use plastic water bottles and coffee cups… instead, bring your own!
- Always keep reusable grocery and shopping bags in your car (you can never keep enough in your vehicle!).
- Say no to straws! (don’t worry, your lipstick can be reapplied).
- Shop in bulk—Costco runs! (who doesn’t love the free sample Sundays too…?).
- Take your lunch and utensils to work… we all know it’s not only healthier, but also saves some good $$.
There’s so much more to communicate and to learn about the effect of single-use plastics on our environment. If you adopt even just one of these tips above, it will significantly improve the current state of our consumption. Play your part and pass it along.