Plastic waste is one of the largest causes of global ocean pollution.
Every year, 8 to 10 million tons of plastic wind up in the sea, and each piece of plastic takes hundreds of years to break down.
This has drastic consequences for marine wildlife. Not only can plastic debris injure aquatic animals, but it also enters the food chain as it breaks down, resulting in internal injuries and disease.
Plastic in the ocean will also affect human access to seafood in decades to come, contributing to negative microplastic effects in people’s health.
The bottom line is that we all need to do our part in minimizing plastics in the ocean. Fortunately, there are many small changes we can make in our daily lives that can have a big impact. Let’s talk about a handful.
Tips for Keeping Plastic Out of the Ocean
1. Find Reusable Alternatives to Single-Use Plastics
Single-use plastics like straws, utensils, and bags are some of the biggest culprits when it comes to ocean pollution. Switching to reusable alternatives whenever possible will help you reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in the trash and ultimately, in the ocean.
There are many viable reusable alternatives to single-use plastics on the market, such as cloth bags, metal straws, and metal lunch boxes. Making this switch not only reduces your plastic footprint, but it can also help you save money in the long run, as the cost of things like straws and Ziploc bags add up over time.
2. Recycle Diligently
Recycling is another one of the most effective ways to keep plastics out of the ocean. Many people put plastics in the trash by accident, which means they often end up in the ocean.
Take the time to familiarize yourself with the recycling guidelines and procedures for your city. Make sure your items are properly sorted and cleaned before putting them into the recycling bin.
You can also purchase products from brands that have their own recycling programs. Many beauty and home care brands now encourage you to mail in empty packaging or bring it to the store for recycling.
3. Attend a Local Beach Cleanup
If you live near an ocean, lake, or river, consider attending a community beach cleanup event. During these events, you’ll remove plastics and other trash directly from beaches and local waterways, which prevents them from flowing into the ocean. It’s also a great way to get outside and get to know your neighbors.
4. Get Into DIYs
If you’re feeling crafty, consider DIY-ing your own alternatives to products that use single-use plastics. For example, there are many cleaning products, beauty supplies, and foods that you can make at home, rather than buying products that come wrapped in plastic. If you have old mason jars at home, repurpose them for storage as an alternative to buying plastic containers.
5. Get Politically Involved
While individual actions make an impact, policy change is crucial in the fight against ocean plastics on a global scale. Vote for politicians who prioritize environmental issues, as well as ballot measures that limit single-use plastics. Reach out directly to your elected representatives and attend community meetings about these issues to make an even larger impact.
6. Avoid Products Containing Microplastics
Microplastics are tiny plastic particles that are often found in personal care products like scrubs, toothpaste, and even some cosmetics. Clothing materials like polyester, nylon, and acrylic also contain microplastics.
These particles are too small for wastewater treatment plants to filter out and often end up in our waterways. When going shopping, read the labels carefully and avoid products that contain these small plastics. If you can’t find the product information in-store, do extra research online before making a final decision.
Additionally, consider supporting brands that avoid using plastic in their products or packaging. There are many small companies that have committed to using safer, more sustainable ingredients.
7. Make Bulk Purchases
Another effective way to reduce plastic packaging waste is by purchasing household staples in bulk. Many stores now provide the option to buy bulk items in reusable containers rather than plastic packaging. Purchasing in bulk also means that even if you do buy something with a plastic wrapper, you won’t need to buy it as often.
8. Support Nonprofits
Last, but certainly not least, consider supporting nonprofit organizations that are committed to cleaning up the oceans and reducing plastic use. There are many ways to show your support, whether it’s making a donation or volunteering.
About Original Sprout
One area where consumers can make a significant impact is by switching to eco-friendly beauty products. Many mainstream beauty products contain microplastics and are also sold in plastic containers.
At Original Sprout, we’re passionate about reducing plastics in the ocean. As a sustainable hair and body care brand, we only use non-toxic ingredients that are safe for sensitive skin. All of Original Sprout’s products are also vegan, cruelty-free, and designed for the whole family.
Just recently, we took our commitment to a plastic-free ocean to the next level with our new Coastal Collection. This collection comes in bottles that are made with trash that has been recycled from our oceans and beaches, keeping these plastics out of the water. These products are all fragrance-free and contain zero harmful sulfates and parabens or dyes.
Plastic in the ocean doesn’t just harm marine wildlife — it also has the potential to harm humans, too. Now is the time to start proactively changing our behaviors to prevent high levels of plastics in the ocean.
One of the easiest ways to do this is by switching to environmentally-friendly products at home. Check out Original Sprout’s new Coastal Collection for gentle hair and body care products made sustainably and that help our world fight against ocean pollution.
For more questions about how Original Sprout is making the world a cleaner, safer place, feel free to reach out directly to our team.