16 Tips to Reduce Ocean Plastic Pollution

Imagine sitting on a beautiful tropic secluded beach with a pina colada and no schedule to worry about. Sounds like an actual paradise right? The last thing you want to think about while getting a tan and listening to the waves crashing is the fact that the ocean is full of trash and plastic. That is the sad reality of it though. Time to snap out of the paradise dream and reduce ocean plastic pollution so that the world still has clean, sandy, tropical beaches left that aren’t covered in garbage. 

If you think that sounds a bit harsh, it’s the truth. 

Plastic pollution is one of the greatest threats to the health of our oceans worldwide. The US alone produces 30 million tons of plastic per year and 4 to 12 million end up in our oceans. Only 7% of plastic gets recycled. 80% of ocean litter originates on land - not from people straight dumping it into the water. It either gets swept off of the coastline or carried by storm water drains or sewer overflows that flow into rivers.

The problem with this is…

Plastic is nonbiodegradable and lasts up to 1,000 years longer than other forms of trash. Ocean plastic pollution impacts countless marine species and habitats, such as coral reefs, sea turtles, whales, seabirds, fish, dolphins, etc. One study even reported that half of the world’s sea turtles have eaten plastic.

Plastic pollution has even marred tropical beaches across the planet that would otherwise be beautiful getaways.

What we can do about it

One of the best things we can do to prevent more plastic from polluting our oceans and beaches is by reducing our use of plastic and keeping it out of waste streams and waterways. There are many small ways to help that make a big impact.

Here are 16 tips to reduce ocean plastic pollution:

  1. Stop using plastic straws - even in restaurants. Stainless steel straws can be easily carried around and stored in pockets or purses. 
  2. Stop using single use cutlery and dinnerware.
  3. Buy reusable water bottles and travel coffee mugs. Coffee shops are happy to make a latte for you in your travel mug brought from home. Reusable water bottles also keep your water cold longer and taste better than drinking from plastic.
  4. Use reusable bags in grocery stores.
  5. Stop chewing gum (which contains plastic).
  6. Buy products with boxes instead of bottles, such as laundry detergent and wine.
  7. Boycott products containing microbeads.
  8. Make your own household cleaning products instead of buying cleaners that come in plastic bottles.
  9. Cook at home more instead of ordering takeout that uses plastic bags, styrofoam containers, and plastic cutlery.
  10. Wash and reuse glass containers for food storage or shopping in bulk.
  11. Shop in bulk and use your old glass containers.
  12.  Stop using plastic lighters and start using matches or refillable metal lighters.
  13.  Use razors with replaceable razor blade heads instead of disposable razors.
  14.  Stop buying plastic cotton swabs.
  15. Make your own juices or smoothies at home instead of buying them in bottles or ordering them from your local juice bar that uses single use plastic cups and straws.
  16.  Volunteer to help clean up your local beaches!