As we enjoy these warm Summer months, a lot of days (or, let’s be real, maybe even a few WEEKS) may be spent at the beach. There’s no better time to come to grips with how we treat our oceans than when it’s staring us in the face. You may not realize that simple changes around your home can not only help prevent ocean pollution, but also help eradicate it.
Here are some really simple ideas for how to implement easy changes around your home in order to help cut back on your ocean footprint.
First, when you’re out shopping for produce, don’t use the plastic produce bags. It’s simple enough to grab a cart and then put a hand basket in the cart to collect any loose produce you’re shopping for. There’s no problem placing it directly on the conveyor belt to be weighed. We’re already washing our fruits and vegetables when we get home anyway— not using a plastic produce bag eliminates that step completely and keeps us from throwing them out the second we get home.
Use reusable water bottles around your home and while you’re out and about. Water fountains are fairly accessible, with some newly designed fountains that even track the number of plastic bottles you’ve saved with each refill. Same goes for straws and cutlery…. Ditch the plastic! Replace with stainless steel straws (you can even keep one in your purse or car for when you’re at a restaurant), and make the switch to bamboo cutlery for your next barbecue. Marine wildlife can mistake floating plastic debris for food or become entangled in plastic materials while swimming, so eliminating the use of plastic subsequently keeps it from entering our oceans.
Next, dispose of hazardous chemicals safely. Remodeling your living room and are planning on throwing out what little is left in your gallon of paint? Call your waste management company and find out the proper way to dispose of that paint. Same goes for batteries and other materials like used motor oil. Recycling centers generally have designated drop off locations for these items to prevent them from trickling into water sources.
Doing some landscaping? Choose an organic lawn fertilizer or drastically cut back on the amount of fertilizer you use! In large amounts, nitrogen based fertilizers can run off from farms and lawns which leeches into water sources and, eventually, the ocean. This disruption in the balance of nutrients is harmful for the ocean’s organisms. Go green (literally), skip it altogether, or opt for a personal composting system for your lawn.
Finally, encourage your neighbors and communities to do the same! Small movements have the power to affect change in a huge way and your small changes can inspire others to follow suit. Global ocean pollution has grown at an astronomical pace with upwards of 1.4 billion pounds of trash entering our oceans each year. Making incremental changes in how you run your household can make a huge impact. If we all do our part, the small actions of millions adds up to a big change!