I just watched “A Plastic Ocean” last night and it bummed me out. I know our consumption, as a human race, has been increasingly disposable but it’s reached a hazardous waste level. There are catastrophic amounts of waste in the oceans and in landfills – killing people and animals daily. I think about my own plastic consumption – and even with the scaling back I’ve done – it’s still a whole bunch more than it could be. Plastic and foam cups for drinks, the straws, shipping and packaging items, take away containers, etc. In our house, or in our apartment complex rather, it’s difficult to recycle. Why, you may ask, because I have to take it somewhere. Once, when trying to take it somewhere, I arrived to dumpsters overflowing and trash blowing around everywhere. WHY IS IT SO DIFFICULT? WHY ARLINGTON TX? WHY?
Things I’ve done to reduce my plastic (disposable or otherwise) consumption:
- switched to glass storage containers – they last longer, don’t leach chemicals as much, and don’t get gross after a while
- stopped eating fast food – mostly stopped eating fast food to save money, but realized it’s also saving plastics
- frustration free packaging – Amazon has been putting less shit in their boxes and less packaging on some items, meaning less waste or more recyclable goods
- make my coffee at home – and not with one of those terrible pod coffee maker things that are super wasteful (yeah, I’m judging you because it also tastes like shit – the exception being when you can use a refillable thingamajig)
- no microbeads – I don’t use products with plastic microbeads, period.
- no water bottles – I don’t buy water, it’s that simple (or take free waters from people – and if I do, it goes in the recycle bin)
- stopped buying straws – I use stainless steel straws at home now
- plastic bags – I tend to avoid single use plastic bags
Things I need to work on
- drinks – when going to starbucks, I should be taking my own container/straw, when at a gas station I should avoid fountain foam cups and just avoid gas station drinks by planning ahead
- recycling – I need to get bigger bins, get more organized, and find a new place to dump the goods
- plastic containers – I need to stop buying plastic containers for water or food
- to go/dine out – need to avoid utilizing plastic to go – either pick a meal more suited for one sitting, avoid fast food (easy), or just avoid eating out as much as possible
- purchases – supporting businesses in person to avoid packaging and/or businesses that use eco-friendly packaging that is compostable
- grocery shopping – I need to remember to take my bags.
- compost heap – I should probably start a compost heap on the porch for coffee grounds and food shavings (we don’t really wast a lot of food here)
I’m far from perfect, and I’m not preaching to people to stop living their lives. I am taking a look at mine, how I use things, and how I interact with the world. I have discovered I waste a lot, use things that are unnecessary, and find excuses to avoid doing the right thing because it’s easier. I’m sure looking inward, you’ll find something to improve upon.
I already knew plastic has chemicals that may cause issues in the body. I already knew that most plastic isn’t recycled. I already knew that I wasn’t very good at recycling plastic. I already knew that the world’s plastic consumption is WAY high. But, I didn’t know so many animals were ingesting plastic at such an increased level.
Shocking things from the movie:
- Plastic breaks down, once in sunlight and seawater into tiny pieces then into micro pieces which are eating by plankton and shrimp
- Birds eat plastic and die because they cant’ digest it – saddest fucking thing I’ve ever seen is a woman opening a dead bird to removed HANDFULLS of plastic pieces from the stomach (the bird was probably the size of a large seagull?)
- Big fish eat the little fish that eat the plankton and shrimp that eat the plastic and we, in turn, eat the fish… see where I’m going here? WE ARE EATING PLASTIC.
- Sea animals – fish, turtles, and mammals – die from plastic consumption the same way birds did or the get tangled and can’t get to the surface.
- Plastic is in every ocean, at the bottom of every ocean, and in 90% of fish in some areas
- Chemicals (toxic chemicals) attach to tiny plastic pieces that are ingested and cause health defects in all creatures
- You can’t go anywhere or buy anything (practically) without plastic or foam packaging
- There are innovative ways to recycle plastic that we aren’t implementing on a large scale and should be
It’s scary. It’s sad. The oceans are gross in many places. If you get the opportunity to see the movie, I highly recommend it.