We can create cleaner coasts
Many people believe that if plastic pollution exists in the oceans, fishing and shipping industries are to blame. In fact – more than 80% comes from land-based sources, primarily litter! That means individuals everywhere can help protect sea turtles, birds, and fish – who accidentally mistake plastic for food and choke or get sick – by reducing the trash we produce.
Here, we have compiled a small list of suggested personal action tips, we also recommend a few organizations with campaigns to combat marine debris who you can contact if you’re interested in furthering your efforts to help protect our oceans.
Personal Action Tips
- Think twice before you decide to toss it. That vintage bicycle was never fated for the rubbish pile! We turn down many opportunities to refurbish products headed for a landfill. Many household items can be reused—from old T-shirts and shoe boxes to glass jars and single-sided paper. If you don’t need it in your home, maybe someone else does. Donate lightly used clothes and furniture to a thrift store. Or, to find people in your area interested in reducing waste by exchanging used goods visit https://www.freecycle.org/.
- How often do you or your family buy things that you don’t really need? By consciously consuming less, we help conserve natural resources and help keep our planet’s life-support systems more intact. It’s good to buy less, buy in bulk, and choose products with little packaging. By paying attention to this easy tips you and your family can make a big difference over time.
- Buy the product, not the packaging. Recycling is great, but generating less waste is even better. Start at the grocery store by choosing items with the least packaging or, at least, the most environmentally-friendly packaging. Avoid packaging that uses PVC, polyvinyl chloride, typically labeled with the number “3” or the letter “V” on the recycling symbol, as PVC is a leading source of dioxin, a potent toxin, in the environment. Also, educate yourself on the different types of product certification labels to assist in helping you purchase sustainable products.
- Be creative with your waste. Before you throw something away, think of a way it can be reused, for cleaning, as wrapping paper, for storage, or as an art project. If you can’t reuse it then recycle everything you can, including paper, plastics, glass, aluminum, computers, cell phones, ink cartridges, and furniture — you really can recycle just about anything! By recycling you can help lessen the load on our landfills and prevent leaching of toxins into our water supplies. Check out this website and found out how to make the most use out of your old stuff!
Recycle your e-waste. We produce a lot of electronic waste, but much of it isn’t safe to throw away with the rest of the trash. Find a free e-waste recycling location near you at one of these websites:
- Break the bottle habit. Investing in a sturdy reusable water bottle and taking it with you wherever you go makes a big difference. Eliminate the need to buy drinks in disposable containers. A lot of resources go into creating and disposing those plastic drink bottles.
- Reduce your junk mail. American’s receive an average of 41 pounds of junk mail per year, most of which goes straight into the trash or recycle bin. Sign-up today with 41 Pounds to stop 80-95% of your junk mail.
Organizations to get involved with
If you’re looking to connect with a local organization to maximize your impact on conservation, check out these organizations to see if they have a location near you to get involved.
Surfrider’s Rise Above Plastics Campaign – The goal of Surfrider’s Rise Above Plastics campaign is to reduce the impacts of plastics in the marine environment by raising awareness about the dangers of plastic pollution and by advocating for a reduction of single-use plastics and the recycling of all plastics. Follow the link to find out ways to get involved and more about the campaign.
Stow It-Don’t Throw It – In order to combat the dangers posed by improper disposal of monofilament fishing line, the “Stow It-Don’t Throw It” Project was created to mobilize youth to create and distribute personal-sized monofilament recycling bins. These personal-sized bins were designed by scientists at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, FL. They are made out of recycled tennis ball cans.These bins are designed to serve as an intermediate step, for anglers and boaters to safely store their used fishing line until they can later dispose of it in a PVC pipe or indoor recycling bin provided by the Monofilament Recovery and Recycling Program. Click on the link to find out more and see how you can get involved today!