From trash piling up on our beaches to alarming speeches from scientists about our oceans health, it is becoming hard to ignore how serious ocean pollution is, even for the most skeptical of us! Without becoming a highly engaged environmental activist, changing just a few habits is your daily life can already make a difference and help reduce plastic waste in the water more than you think. Here are a few gestures and good habits easy to adopt.
1/ Use a reusable bottle
There is a (very) high quantity of plastic bottles in the oceans, they often end up in the belly of marine mammals or wash up on the shore, then it takes between 100 to 1000 years for them to decompose. Not only is drinking water in plastic bottle harmful for our health but it is also annoying to buy, store and throw away, yet it is so easy to replace it! The solution is very simple, use a reusable bottle! There is a very large choice of bottles made in stainless steel, not harmful for the health and very resistant, you can take it everywhere with you and reuse it indefinitely. I personally totally stopped using plastic bottles about 2 years ago and I can’t go anywhere without my flask, it is so useful and economical, and also prettier!
2/ Refuse disposable utensils, straws, plastic cups and bags when buying food or drinks
France took a big step forward by forbidding non biodegradable plastic bags at cashiers and fruits and vegetables stands since January 2017, but there are still a tone of restaurants, snacks and grocery stores that give out plastic utensils and objects like straws, plastic cutlery, boxes and cups. But simply by getting into the habit of refusing them when you buy food and/or replacing them by steel cutlery that you can easily slip in your bag or one of those very useful foldable travel utensil kit, you can considerably reduce your plastic consumption. It can seem insignificant when you think about it, but in a year it represents a big amount of plastic per person and a lot of those plastic objects are then found in fishes stomach or on the beach. So drinking your beverage without a straw, no having a wrapping on your sandwich or remembering to put a fork in your bag for your lunch break is a small habit that actually counts a lot, think about it ;)
3/ Choose cosmetics without micro beads of plastic in it.
Many beauty products we use every day like tooth paste, exfoliating creams, soap, etc. contain micro beads of plastic that give its abrasive and gumming function to the product. But those micro beads are too small to be treated and filtered by water treatment station and end up in the ocean. Micro beads of plastic are almost invisible in the water and the sand, but they represent 90% of the total volume of plastic in the ocean! Yet there is no rule forbidding the use of micro beads in cosmetics in France, so it takes us, the consumers, to make the right choice by avoiding micro beads and choosing natural scrub, like bark or crushed fruit stones for example, when we buy beauty products.
4/ Do not throw cigarette butts on the floor
One cigarette butt contaminates 500 liters of water, and when you look at how many butts are covering our streets it gets pretty scary! We can see some cigarette butts boxes on certain beaches that raise awareness among the people walking by, and some beach stores give out small beach ashtray for free, but those great initiatives are still too rare and too many people keep leaving their cigarette butts on the beach or on the street floor. Seeing a cigarette butt floating next to you in the water or finding one between your toes when leaving the beach is really not great! So, to all smoker friends, please put your cigarette butts in your pocket and not on the sidewalk, or the beach, or by your car window. And for those who don’t smoke but have smoker friends a little bit careless, it is the perfect occasion to offer a few pocket ashtrays, and nicely state your case :)
5/ Pick up the trash on the beach
It seems pretty obvious but so many people leave their trash in nature after a picnic! Yet most of the beaches now have bins, but even if there is no bin or if it is already full there is no excuse, if your picnic food could fit in your bag when you came, the trash can also fit in there until you’re back home and can throw them away properly. Many organizations are setting up beach cleaning, it is great to do a big clean up after the storm season and raise awareness among the people on the beach, but you don’t need to wait for an organized beach cleaning to get yourself into it. Whether you live on the coast or are on holiday, picking up some trash every time you go to the beach is a simple and useful gesture, and you might be surprised to see that sometimes it is enough to show by example to encourage others to do the same. Every action counts, we can never say it enough.
Here you are, full of good intentions and ready to change your daily habits, congratulations and thank you!! It is now your turn to convince your friends and family to do the same ;)
Please share your tips and good gestures in the comments so we can all improve our daily habits.
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