Our oceans are filled with items that do not belong there. Huge amounts of consumer plastics, metals, rubber, paper, textiles, derelict fishing gear, vessels, and other lost or discarded items enter the ocean every day, making it one of the most widespread pollution problems facing the world's oceans and waterways. The ultimate solution to the problem lies with every single one of us - preventing the discarding of hazardous materials in the first place.
Reduce the amount of waste you produce by choosing products with less packaging. Reuse items when you can and choose reusable items over disposable ones. And, Recycle as much as possible — bottles, cell phones, ink cartridges, and many other items can be recycled.
Next, spread the word to others! Tell your family, friends, community, and more about this important issue and what they can do to help.
Here are a few easy and effective ways you can choose to reduce your daily impact and make a world of difference:
- Bring a bag. Remember to bring reusable bags to the grocery store or for any other shopping activities to reduce the consumption of disposable bags. You can purchase your reusable bags at your local grocery stores such as Pick n Pay or Checkers.
- Invest in a reusable water bottle. Acquiring a reusable water bottle would not only greatly reduce the amount of single-use plastic you use, but it would also save you money in the long run! You can find affordable reusable water bottles at your local Pick n Pay or Checkers.
- Shop in bulk. Consider the product-to-packaging ratio when purchasing items and choose larger containers instead of multiple smaller ones. When you have the option, also consider purchasing package-free foods and household goods. Plan your budget ahead for the month to purchase your bulk items at your local Makro store.
- Bring your own reusable cup. Think about how many disposable cups are used every day in just your local coffee shop. Bringing a mug for your morning coffee can reduce the amount of waste you produce annually. Imagine how much waste we could reduce if we all made this simple daily change! Head over to your local Vida e Caffé or Kauai to purchase your reusable cup.
- Refuse single-use items. Take note of how often you rely on single-use items and choose to replace them with more sustainable versions. Refusing plastic straws and disposable cutlery when you go out and bringing your own containers for leftovers are a few ways you can start today.
- Make sure your waste goes to the right place. Do your best to ensure that the waste you dispose of ends up where it should. Recycle the materials that are recyclable. You can do this by having two separate bins in your household: one for recyclable materials and one for food waste. Drop off your recyclable materials at your closest recycling center to make sure it goes to the right place.
- Avoid products with microbeads. Microbeads are tiny solid plastic particles, measuring 1mm in diameter or less. They are deliberately added to cleaning products, skin care products and cosmetics to give exfoliating properties, create 'gloss' and as fillers to bulk out products. Read the labels when purchasing these products and opt for ones that contain natural ingredients.
- Compost. Remember when we mentioned earlier to separate your food waste and recyclable materials? Your food waste also benefits our planet by composting them! Find a sealable container home and start storing your good waste in there for it to start decomposing. If it's summer you can give your compost 2 months to decompose and if it is winter, you can wait 6 months. Once your compost is ready, use it as soil for your gardening!
These are just a few ways that we can incorporate taking care of our ocean and environment into our everyday lives. By doing our part to work toward a sustainable and debris-free planet, we’ll also be providing others with inspiration and a good example to follow. As individuals, we have the potential to make a big difference and together we can change the world!
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