How To Quit Plastic and Save The Ocean
As much as we try to avoid it and consume less of it, plastic is still everywhere. Between food wrappers, children’s toys, furniture covers, and beauty products… It is nearly impossible to go 100% plastic-free.
It is estimated that 8 million tons of plastic still enters the ocean to this day. A problem that we have yet to solve in 2021.
Plastic is designed to be very resistant and durable. As a result, it is not biodegradable. Nearly every piece of plastic manufactured still exists today, and human deals with it with two solutions:
- Plastic is burned in landfills and causes pollution
- Plastic is dumped in the sea
As soon as plastic enters the ocean, it goes on a long and destructive journey in the blue depth. The current can make it travel across the world, and as it deteriorates into pieces, it can strangle or intoxicate sea life.
So how do we manage what seems like an unsolvable problem as an individual? Is there a way you can realistically readjust your habits, quit plastic, and save the ocean? And why is it so important? That’s what we’re about to find out.
Why Is The Ocean So Affected By Plastic?
Because of its vast and almost infinite depts, the ocean acts as a massive sink for pollution. Oceanic plastic mainly comes from:
- Abandoned ghost gear such as fishnets and longlines
- Floating frame and lost cargos from ships
- Land to water waste
Once in the ocean, the plastic breaks down into pieces because of the harsh condition and constant motion it is subject to. This is known as microplastic. These 5mm bits and pieces of plastic disperses deeper and further in our blue space, impacting sea life beyond repair.
Over 100,000 sea life comes in contact with plastic waste each year. They can get entangled in ghost gears which limits their motions and causes injuries. They can swallow microplastics which cause intoxication and pierce internal organs. Microplastic also merges with algae and the microbiomes surrounding them. Researchers have found that even coral absorbs microplastic. Millions of seabirds and sea life die from plastic waste.
Sadly, the current data estimates that, if we continue to produce and consume plastic the way we currently do, there will be up to 5 trillion pieces of plastic in the ocean by 2050. In fact, researchers note that the amount of plastic would outweigh the amount of fish.
How Can You Start Quitting Plastic?
In our own ways, we each can make a significant impact on the ocean by quitting plastic. But while trading our kitchen with metal straws, beeswax wrapper, and bulk jars seems like an easy swap to get into… quitting plastic is not always simple.
In fact, we’re so used to certain “convenience” that living plastic-free might require a whole new set of habits. So here’s our best tip to help you quit plastic.
- Do it gradually. When you decide to quit plastic, there is a lot to consider, which can be overwhelming. The key is to do it gradually. Start small, one cupboard or one room at a time.
- Say NO to single-use. If you still have plastic in your house, make the most of it. There is no right or wrong way to deal with plastic… but it seems that using what you already have is the most eco-friendly option. Alternatively, when you go get a coffee or run to the shop, make use of your reusable cups and bags. The key is to quit single-use plastic and reuse what you already have.
- Invest mindfully. Going plastic-free means that you might need to invest in reusable and sustainable products. However, not everyone has the means to do so. While we don’t suggest buying a bunch of eco-friendly items, approach your investment one step at a time. When your Ziploc bag packet is finished, get beeswax wrap instead of purchasing a new pack. When your toothbrush needs a refresh, grab a sustainable option.
- Consume consciously. Sometimes plastic is just unavoidable. Makeup, fruit and veggies or baby products all contain it. However, you can bypass some of it by taking the time to research your options and consuming mindfully. Food can often be cheaper and plastic-free when bought in bulk or at the farmers market. You can order plastic-free nappies online and find beauty brands with sustainable packaging.
Quitting plastic is a journey that requires a bit of adjustment. So take your time and take actions that meet your means. No matter how big or small, every step towards a plastic-free life means less plastic in the ocean. Your actions are valuable so embrace their power. Our beloved blue space will thank you for it.