Scientists are predicting that by 2050, there will be more plastic in the oceans than there are fish. Think about the ocean. The deepest part of the ocean, undiscovered except for that water bottle you just threw away -or that plastic bag you watched blow into the river.
It has been almost a year since the world started paying attention to the harmful effects plastic straws were having on the oceans, but unfortunately the issue is more than straws. And while every small action counts, there is still an overwhelming amount of other types of plastic being dumped into the oceans and landfills.
The issue comes from single-use plastic products. Products we use once and then throw away. They exist in a quantity much larger than you might expect. Grocery bags, coffee cups and plastic wrap are all examples of single use plastics.
Recently a photo on Twitter surfaced of single-use toothbrushes, wrapped in plastic. The brushes themselves were plastic. While these may provide a convenience factor, we have to ask ourselves if its worth irreparable damage on the environment? Plastic use has been on the rise for the past 50 years, and despite our efforts against the straw, plastic use is still rising.
Items like those get thrown away and immediately end up in either landfills or the oceans, where they don’t break down. But, just like switching from plastic straws to paper straws, there are many alternatives around these single use items.
Water bottles are one of the biggest types of plastic found in the oceans. This is one of the easiest switches to make. By ditching the plastic water bottles and carrying a reusable bottle around, a single person could remove 13 bottles a month from the landfills and oceans. Not only that but a reusable water bottle is a one-time cost.
One of the biggest ways to cut back though, is just to make sure the plastic you use is recycled. According to Green Earth, only 10% of water bottles used end up being recycled.
Other things that can easily be replaced by non-plastic products are grocery bags, to-go containers and also coffee cups.
It is our duty to do our part to save the planet. By cutting down on plastic use we not only reduce the amount of garbage in the oceans, but also reduce the amount of oil that would be used to make those products.
As consumers, we are the ones who can truly effect change. If collectively, we stop buying a product like water bottles, companies have to adapt. The same goes for other single-use plastic companies.
If we don’t act quickly and make a serious effort to reverse damages, we are going to hit a time where we cannot go back and fix what we’ve done.