In case you weren't aware, there is an alarming amount of garbage in our oceans. In fact, there is an estimated 3.5 tons of mostly plastic debris floating in the Pacific Ocean. It is known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and there is a similar patch growing in the Atlantic.
I am absolutely horrified by this.
In any case, as I said, all of this information is making me really aware of exactly how much plastic I use on a daily basis. I stumbled on a blog called Fake Plastic Fish that has an ongoing "Show Us Your (Plastic) Trash!" Challenge. The rules are simple: Collect your plastic waste (both recyclable and non) for one week or more. Then photograph, tally, and post it on the blog. Fake Plastic Fish's author, Beth Terry asks, "What can we learn about our habits and lifestyles by examining our waste? And what changes can each of us make to leave the planet a little less trashy?"
I thought this was a great idea, and started right away. Two days in, I'm discovering that I have a LOT of room for improvement. Up until Monday morning, I thought that I was pretty good about the three R's. I have a reusable water bottle and coffee cup, and bamboo utensils that I carry with me. I reuse my empty yogurt containers (darn those #5 plastics!) and bread bags. I have reusable grocery bags that I am pretty good about using. Even so, the plastic trash is accumulating
In case you are wondering where some of the plastic you throw away ends up, take a look at this video about the albatrosses on Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, located approximately 1,250 miles northwest of Honolulu.
So how did you do? How many of the items you use on a daily basis end up in albatross stomachs? Maybe you aren't a fisherman or a smoker (or even if you are, there are several alternatives to plastic lighters), or you have decided to carry reusable utensils, but what about those pesky toothbrushes? I did some research yesterday on natural toothbrushes and was not happy with what I found: natural toothbrushes are hard to find! I found pricey wooden toothbrushes with boar bristles (sorry, vegans) that are imported from Germany and toothbrushes with natural handles and replaceable plastic heads (I suppose it reduces the amount of plastic somewhat). I even looked into the Peelu or Miswak chewing sticks that are used in Africa and the Middle East but ironically I could only find individual plastic wrapped sticks. Just as the situation was looking hopeless, I found Preserve. Remember those pesky #5 plastics that many communities don't recycle? (Does anyone else have a really big collection of
Leave me a comment below with at least one way that you can reduce the amount of plastic trash you produce (be creative- think beyond reusable grocery bags!)