Recycling IS A Matter of Life or Death

Thanks to a team of sea turtle researchers on Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast a sea turtle can now breath and eat freely again.

Apparently a tourist walking on the beach at the Ostional Wildlife Refuge on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast spotted a sea turtle that had something sticking out of her nose.  Thankfully a group of researchers from the Leatherback Trust happened to be on the beach and rushed over to help.

Thanks to a quick decision from the marine biologist and a few minutes of writhing pain for the turtle, the plastic fork was successfully removed from the turtle’s nose.  It took her a few minutes before she headed back into the ocean and swam away.  You can read the entire story here at Mother Nature Network.

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Unfortunately, occurrences like this are not uncommon.  According to Science Magazine, “about 4 million to 12 million metric tons of plastic washed offshore in 2010 alone, or about 1.5% to 4.5% of the world’s total plastic production—enough to cover every foot of coastline on the planet”  So when you carelessly toss that plastic fork away it might very well end up killing a marine animal.

 

Let’s hope stories like these bring more and more awareness to the problem.  At the very least, let it remind you to do your part to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle each and every time.  You CAN make a difference.

Sea turtles deserve to swim in a plastic free environment.  Don’t you agree?

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Plastic Is Taking Over Our Oceans

What you are about to read will shock you … and it should.

According to a new report from the World Economic Form and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, by the year 2050 the ocean will contain more plastic than fish.

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Plastic garbage collected from research plot to assess plastic pollution, Eastern Island, Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, Northwest Hawaiian Islands

Yes … more plastic than fish.

Here’s another shocking statistic.  A new study from the Ocean Conservancy has determined that aside from fishing gear, plastic bags are the number one killer to seabirds, sea turtles and marine mammals.  Sadly, marine animals often confuse plastic bags as food and therefore die either through ingestion or entanglement.

We are slowly but surely destroying our beautiful oceans and the marine and wildlife that live there.

Here’s another crazy statistic.  Currently, only 14% of plastic is collected for recycling.  This is according to the World Economic Forum.  This compares to the global recycling rates for paper, iron and steel which are all well above 50%.   So what’s the problem?  Why can’t we come up with a solution that will reduce the amount of plastic in the environment and increase recycling percentages?   It appears that each player in the plastic making chain, from suppliers to manufacturers, needs to work cooperatively in coming up with a solution to eradicate this problem. Currently, they can’t get on the same page.

Without a solution, our oceans and marine animals are doomed.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again.  YOU can be a part of the solution by starting to reduce, reuse and recycle each and every time.  Stop using plastic bags completely.  Find a reusable shopping bag that you like and use it each and every time. (I just so happen to have a company that makes reusable shopping totes to help solve this very problem)  Eliminate your use of plastic water bottles and grab a reusable one instead.  I personally love my Yeti and use it for everything from water to hot tea.  Recycle your recyclables.  (that’s a tongue twister) If everyone does their part while the plastic makers and suppliers come up with a bigger solution, I know we can make a dent in this problem.   At the very least, you’ll probably save a sea turtles life.

Be part of the solution, not the problem.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ocean’s Trash Has A New Life: Art

I think by now we all (hopefully) realize that as a planet, we have a problem with plastic littering our environment.  Whether it’s plastic bags, plastic water bottles, or plastic ties, it’s everywhere.  You see it on our city streets, our country roads, and in our oceans.

I won’t get into the damaging affects of this on our planet or wildlife just yet, (I’ll save that for another post) but I strongly feel that we have to figure out a way to draw more attention to this growing problem.  After all, knowledge is power.

I get it.  People feel like their contribution won’t help.  It’s a helpless feeling that your choice to use a reusable bag or water canister versus a single-use plastic one really won’t make a difference.  But you’re wrong.  For every bottle plastic bag we don’t use, you are potentially saving a life.

I often think about the stories of my 5 year old daughter on the beaches of southern California.  We would be playing in the waves and she would see a piece of plastic floating in the water.  She would clammer through the sand and over the waves until she reached that bag and put it in the recycle bin.  Proudly, she would trot back to me informing me that she “just saved a turtle’s life”.   If all of us took that same approach I doubt our oceans and planet would be in the shape it is in today.

That’s why I love this story.  There is a new exhibit at a museum in Anchorage, Alaska that is helping to bridge the gap, thereby bringing attention to what is happening in our earth’s oceans in an attempt to help people fully grasp this problem.

“Gyre: The Plastic Ocean” is a 7,500-square-foot collection of impressive but unsettling artwork that “explores the relationship between humans and the ocean in a contemporary culture of consumption.” It features 80 pieces by 26 artists from Australia to Finland, all made with debris collected from oceans, coasts and waterways around the world.

I truly hope this exhibit makes it’s way to other areas of the country as we need a widespread voice for those without one, our marine life.

Reduce.  Reuse.  Recycle.  Every day.  Every time.

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More Cities Join the Bag Ban (Woot!)

According to WasteDive , a waste industry publication, Sacramento has become the 146th municipality in California to join the bag ban.  What does this mean?   Shoppers in grocery stores, convenience stores and large pharmacies, like CVS, must bring their own reusable shopping bags or pay $.10 for a paper bag or reusable plastic bag.

Both environmentalists and officials in Sacramento stated single use bags were “burdening their landfills, littering their roads and waterways, and clogging recycling machinery.”

It’s stories like these that ignite the flame for more and more cities to join the bag ban in cleaning up our environment and saving our wildlife.

But what if your city isn’t quite there yet?  You can still take action by banning single-use-bags in your own home.  Make it a practice to reduce, reuse and recycle each and every time.

Go Sacramento!