Blog  /  June 2017  /  6 Plastics You Can Do Without

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There are over 5 trillion pieces of plastic floating around the ocean, and that’s depressing. In celebration of World Oceans Day, let’s talk about a couple superfluous plastics we can all do without:

Plastic bags Seems like a no brainer, right? For the most part, we’ve all made an effort to ditch the blue grocery store bags, opting for the earth friendly reusable ones. What about those pesky produce bags? They’re easy to overlook, but end up in our oceans just the same. Some viable alternatives are, purchasing one of the various reusable mesh products in stores, or using an old citrus bag. Another option to consider is ditching the bag altogether - are they really that necessary?

Disposable Water Bottles These environmental hazards are so passé. Do your outfit and our oceans a favor by picking out a cute reusable water bottle to carry around as your new favorite accessory. What’s more stylish than environmental consciousness and hydration?

Coffee Cups Similarly, we should collectively try doing away with disposable coffee cups and their plastic lids. Caffeine addiction is real, and no one is trying to deny you your morning java. That said, bite the bullet, buy a thermos. Use your thermos. Wash your thermos. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Plastic Straws Can we agree that straws serve very little purpose for the majority of us? Their life span is so short and meaningless, it’s almost tragic. Most people are completely capable of drinking out of a cup, sans straw. So, let’s make a pact to remove that useless step from our beverage enjoying experience.

Plastic Toothbrushes This may seem like a weird one. Please don’t stop brushing your teeth, for everyone’s sake. However, consider using a plant-based/bamboo alternative, which works just as well as your standard manual and has the added plus of being biodegradable.  

Liquid Soap Like the toothbrush, this is not a call for you to stop washing your hands. Instead consider bar soap, which comes in significantly less packaging. Check out the legions of handmade artisan soap booths guaranteed to overrun any local craft show. Save our oceans, support a local craftsman, make your guest bath look super fancy. It’s a win, win, win.

Now that we’ve covered a couple things we all can do, we can talk about a couple things already being done. While the problem of plastic in our oceans is horrifying and massive, it has given rise to some impressive innovation.

The Ocean Cleanup is an amazing concept that utilizes a technology allowing the ocean’s own natural currents to clean itself. The idea was conceived by a 19-year-old Dutch national, whose TEDx Talk you may have seen in 2012.  The Ocean Cleanup plans to scale their large floating barrier design globally by 2020.  

Baltimore’s Inner Harbor has deployed a system they’ve dubbed “Mr. Trash Wheel”. The water wheel, which resembles a spiral shell, is rotated by the river’s current, lifting trash and debris from the water and depositing it in a dumpster. This innovative design was launched in 2014 and has removed over a million pounds of waste since.

The Seabin Project is a nearshore solution, developed by two Australians who raised money through an Indiegogo campaign. The design is simple; placed in a marina, the device pumps water through a filter capturing debris, oil, and even detergent. Most pollution enters the waterways in heavily populated economic centers. Seabin Project aims to clean the pollution right at the source, before it reaches open ocean.