Seas the Day in November: Get less trashy with the 4 Rs

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rethink: The first step to being environmentally conscious is rethinking your everyday actions. It’s best to rethink every purchase, reuse what we have, reduce what we buy, and recycle as much as we can. Before you buy that plastic water bottle or use a plastic bag at the grocery store, rethink and go green for the ocean. Scientific studies have shown that there are more than 4 million metric tons of plastic in the ocean. That’s about the same as the weight of 4 million elephants!

The theme for World Oceans Day 2016 is “Healthy Ocean, Healthy Planet” and a great way to help ocean health is practicing the four Rs. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Reduce Waste

From plastic bags to single-use water bottles plastics play an unfortunately large role in our lives. When they flow downstream into the ocean, wildlife such as sea turtles eat them by accident. Excess packaging is also a problem as our natural resources are used to create packing material that will simply thrown away. You can make an impact by using fewer plastic items and choosing products with less packaging.

For World Oceans Day:

  • Ask others to use a better bag: Encourage family, friends, visitors and coworkers to avoid using plastic bags with the Better Bag Challenge. You could even provide reusable bags or have event participants decorate their own.
  • Buy in bulk. If you are having food at your event consider buying it in bulk to reduce packaging and save on costs.
  • Provide reusable items like cloth napkins, plates and cups for your World Oceans Day Event
  • Do outreach online. Rather than mailing out hundreds of paper postcards, printing lots pamphlets or posters, publicize your event through social media, emails and websites to save resources.

Reuse and Repurpose

Instead of disposing of your stuff, how about finding other uses for the things you have? Many household items can be reused—from old T-shirts and shoe boxes to glass jars and single-sided paper. If you have something you don’t need in your home or office, maybe someone else does- donate it to charity or check for your local area.

For World Oceans Day:

  • Swap it: Set up your own Free Cycle station encouraging people to bring a gently used item to swap. Donate any leftover items to charity.
  • Upcycle: Create ocean themed crafts from plastic bottles, toilet paper rolls, shoeboxes or plastic bags
  • Beautify your space: Organize a beach cleanup and use your findings to create sculptures or murals!

Recycle Responsibly

If you can’t find a use for something, it may be time to recycle it. Knowing what and where to recycle can be tricky, those in the US can check out this helpful guide for common recyclables. Different items can be recycled in different areas so check the regulations are in your area. Also consider composting- it’s an easy, low-energy way to recycle food, coffee grounds and even dryer lint! Click here to find out easy tips for creating your own backyard compost.

For World Oceans Day:

  • Remember e-waste: Work with your local government to hold an electronics recycling drive. Most batteries, computers and cell phones can be brought to specific facilities to be recycled, that way they don’t end up in landfills- or worse, the ocean.
  • Increase recycling education in your school or office. Post signs near recycling and trash cans explaining what can be recycled.

Photo: Oregon Coast Aquarium

 Rethink Purchases

Sometimes we just want something and it’s hard to ask ourselves, do I really need that? A great way each of us can lighten our impact on our oceans is by consciously reducing what we “need.” It is important to remember that even when things get thrown “away”, often times they end up polluting the land, waterways, bays, and oceans. Take the time to really think about your purchases and how they impact the environment. Buy fewer items to reduce the waste that ends up in landfills.

For World Oceans Day:

  • Plan a low-waste or waste-free event. Think about the environmental impact of your World Oceans Day Celebration, and find creative solutions to reduce it!

How will you seas the day this month?

The Seas the Day initiative encourages and empowers people to take ocean conservation personally. Each month, we feature a new conservation theme with ways to help so come back regularly for more ocean-helping ideas and tips!

Abby Tripler 16-Nov-2015