Can you believe 2021 is starting to wrap up? Yeah, we can't either... And with a long year under out belts, we were in need of some TLC. The team got together and took a trip to our local beach for some well needed salty air rehab. But the day wasn't just about us, it was also about our beaches.
As "locals" we know how special it is to have a beach just a few miles away and just like ourselves, the beaches need some TLC too. So we partnered up with Clean Ocean Action on October 23rd for a MASSIVE beach cleanup. Over 4,000 volunteers at 70 locations up and down the Jersey Shore came together for 3 hours to comb through the sand and collect trash and debris. Each item picked up was diligently documented and properly disposed of (trash and recycling), contributing to a legacy of information that Clean Ocean Action uses to advance policies and initiatives that reduce litter at the source.
Our day of finding lost socks, metal chains and countless glass bottles and plastic bags got us thinking about all the things we can do to make a positive difference. It doesn't take an army to make an impact, every one of us can do something to help our environments, sea critters included, so long as we have some basic understanding of how to help. So let's dive in (pun intended) to 4 ways to take action now against plastic pollution!
1. Reduce your use of single use plastics
Single-use plastics are any items that are used once and then discarded.
Two great ways reduce your use of these is to:
decline to use any single-use plastics that you do not need when you are out
purchase, and carry with you, reusable versions of those products
BONUS POINTS: When you refuse single-use plastic items, let the business know that you would like them to offer alternatives.
2. Participate in beach, river, park, and street cleanups
This is one of the most direct and rewarding ways to fight pollution in our water ways, but also improves the living conditions of animals and insects in the immediate area you are cleaning up. There are so many organizations acting nation wide, or even globally, that you can research to see if they take place local to you. But you can also clean up little by little on your own. A general rule of thumb is if you see trash, pick it up and properly dispose of it. This includes your neighborhood streets! Don't let your newspaper or recyclables make their way to the sewers!
3. Understand what the recycling icons mean
Currently, only 9% of plastic is recycled worldwide. But between 4 and 12 million metric tons of plastic enter the oceans each year. How is this possible? Most people know the little triangle symbol at the bottom of plastic bottles means "recycle" but what they don't know is that just because it has a triangle on the bottom, doesn't always mean it can be recycled, and not all recycle centers take all types of recyclables. Sound complicated? It is. But hopefully this breakdown of icons helps ease the confusion and is a starting place for your own research.
4. Spread the word
Stay informed on issues related to plastic pollution and help make others aware of the problem. Tell your friends and family about how they can be part of the solution. Talk, text, social... it all counts!
If this post made you think, research, or even question what you can do to help then please share this post on your social media!