#8: AVOID

I have been called out many times for my tree-hugging dorkdom. So be it. But one thing that gets a lot of attention (and teasing) is when I bring my own Tupperware or straw to a restaurant or provide my own utensils for carry-out. I also always bring my own reusable bags to the store. What do all those things have in common? They cut down on single-use plastic.

Plastic waste is one of our greatest challenges. It is also one of the greatest threats to ocean wildlife. Surely you’ve heard of the garbage patches in the ocean – places where rotating ocean currents concentrate marine debris in one area. Of all marine debris, 80% is plastic. Every year, approximately 8 million TONS of plastic that makes it into the ocean.

In larger forms, these plastics are a threat to wildlife. Animals mistake the plastics for food or become entangled in it. Yet another problem with plastic is that it NEVER disappears. EVER. It may break down. But it breaks down into smaller and smaller bits, aptly named microplastics. These microplastics are now being discovered in all levels of the ocean. They are found in the food chain. And they are locked in sea ice.

In honor of World Oceans Day on June 8, 2021, I challenge you to AVOID single-use plastic. Or if you want a greater challenge, try to avoid all plastic (it’s hard!). Even if you live far from an ocean, rivers of all sizes carry improperly discarded plastics out to the sea. Not only that, even if you do properly discard your plastic, using plastic creates a demand for plastic. Earth needs less plastic. In fact, the earth doesn’t need any at all.

No matter where you live, it’s…#YourPlanetToo