10 ways to reduce ocean plastic

Sep 24, 2019 by afdadmin
No comments

1. Recycle your plastics

The first step is to always consider reusing or repurposing something before we dispose of it. However, at the end of its use, recycling the item is the next best thing. Recycling ensures the products are kept out of landfill where toxic chemicals can contaminate the groundwater

Check your local council recycling guide for what can go in your bins. Aerosol cans, foil, toys – you’d be surprised what can be recycled! And check if your local supermarket accepts soft plastics.

Credit: Robert Pearce

2. Swap your single-use products 

The number of alternatives to single use plastic household items continues to grow. Swapping your drink bottle, lunch wrap, shopping bags or containers to longer-lasting items reduces any need for single use plastic. 

Australians are estimated to use 10 million plastic straws per day, with many of these left to wash into oceans. It’s time to say goodbye to plastic, and hello to ethical alternatives. 

Drink bottles, bags, food wraps, straws, containers – there’s heaps of alternatives! Credit: Onya

3. Pick up litter as you walk 

One of the easiest ways to keep plastic pollution from our oceans is to pick up litter as you go about your day. Whether you’re taking a walk along the beach with your dog, or heading to work and notice rubbish in the gutter, every little bit helps to keep our oceans clean for our marine life. 

4. Swap your cozzies for ones made from recycled plastic

AFD partners with Batoko, a company that makes high quality swimsuits made from 100% recycled plastic waste that would have ended up in oceans or landfill. Protect the ocean and look fabulous at the same time. 

5. Sign a petition or start your own!

An estimated 8 million tonnes of plastic enters our oceans every year with approximately 150 million bags ending up in our oceans and waterways in Australia alone.

Companies listen to their consumers, and politicians (sometimes!) listen to their constituents. Starting or joining a petition not only encourages an industry or business to make more sustainable choices, but you’re also publicising the issue to those around you.

When you become an ocean advocate, you really are becoming part of the solution.

6. Spread the word

Education and advocacy can often make the greatest impact. As the world begins to catch on to the importance of changing our consumption habits to protect our natural world, the resources to help us increase.

Check out this website on tips to reduce your waste, or this article which discusses our food systems and what we can do to lower our impact.

Credit: Sea Change Project

7. Look at what clothes you’re buying

Really? Yes, really! Polyester, nylon, acrylic, and other synthetic fibers that make up our clothes are releasing tiny fibers everytime we wash or wear them. These microplastics get washed into our oceans. Even the animals that live in the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the ocean, are eating microfibers.

The best thing to do is to buy natural fibres if you can afford them, or less clothes overall. 

8. Avoid microbeads

Microbeads are a type of microplastic that often absorb toxic chemicals. After eaten, these particles can cause harm to our marine life. The other worrying effect is these harmful chemicals accumulate and make their way up the food chain affecting other animals – including ourselves.

Microbeads are often found in our body wash, shampoo, cleaning products and cosmetics, which are then washed down our drains and into our oceans. Support bans on microbeads and companies that avoid their use. 

To avoid microbeads look out for ingredients such as Polyethylene (PE), Polypropylene (PP), Polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), Nylon (PA), Polyurethane, and Acrylates Copolymer. 

9. Cut down on fish consumption

Shockingling, at least 10% of ocean plastic is made up from lost or abandoned fishing gear left to circulate and harm marine life. With this fact, along with the threat of over-fishing and the horribly high numbers of by-catch – it’s time we thought more about the impact our food choices are having on our environment. 

Dolphins, whales, turtles, seals, sharks and birds – no animal is safe from fishing nets

10. Attend an AFD beach clean

Beach cleans are a great way to become part of a community of like-minded individuals. A collective effort can make a HUGE dent in the amount of marine debris on a beach. Check out our Melbourne and UK events coming up:

UK event

Melbourne event

At the last AFD beach clean, 150kg of marine debris was collected! Credit: Coastcare