June 8th is World Oceans Day. A day dedicated to honoring our oceans and spreading the word about how to better preserve them. Not only is the ocean beautiful and fun to play in, it’s also vital to our lives. Did you know the ocean produces 70% of the oxygen we breathe thanks to its marine life? (Source: nationalgeographic.org) Which is why we need to do a better job of taking care of it.
Plastic is one of the biggest offenders when it comes to what’s harming our oceans. “The 2017 United Nations Clean Seas Campaign estimated that there are 51 trillion microplastic particles in the ocean today—500 times more than the number of stars in our galaxy.” (Source: 5 Gyres) Not only are these plastic particles harming marine life, they’re also in turn harming you and your family. A tiny piece of microplastic can be one million times more toxic than the ocean water around it. “As it degrades, these plastic pieces also release toxic chemicals. And these toxic plastics can work their way up the food chain and onto our plates.” (Source: 5 Gyres)
So, what can you do to help? Simply refusing plastic and swapping out your plastics for more renewable materials like glass and even aluminum can make a big difference. Here are a few simple swaps that we’ve made in our routine.
Stick with mineral sunscreens
Did you know Hawaii just passed a bill banning sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate because studies have shown they’ve been linked to the bleaching of coral reefs? Choosing a mineral formula like Countersun, which uses zinc oxide, helps ensure you and the oceans are safer.
“According to the Container Recycling Institute, 100.7 billion plastic beverage bottles are sold per year, or 315 bottles per person.” (Source: plasticoceans.org) If you’re going to be out of the house for a while, simply bring along a reusable water bottle or coffee cup. We love the S’Well bottle which keeps drinks hot or cold for up to 12 hours.
Say no to disposable straws
“We use over 500 million straws in America every day, and most of those end up in our oceans, polluting the water and killing marine life.” (Source: strawlessocean.org) Even if you recycle them, it might not help. “Most plastic straws are too lightweight to make it through the mechanical recycling sorter. They drop through sorting screens and mix with other materials and are too small to separate, contaminating recycling loads or getting disposed as garbage.” (Source: strawlessocean.org) When you do need to use a straw, try a metal one like these.
B.Y.O.B (Bring Your Own Bag)
Over 1 million plastic bags are used every minute. With each of those bags having an average “working life” of 15 minutes. (Source: plasticoceans.org) Next time you head to the grocery store or farmer’s market, save a plastic bag and bring your own reusable one instead. Lucky for you, there are so many cute ones to choose from. We like this canvas one from Madewell.
Did you know that your clothes lose tiny microfibers when you wash them? While the ones released from natural fabrics like cotton and wool aren’t harmful, the ones released from synthetic materials (polyester, acrylic, nylon, etc.) potentially are—think yoga pants and sports bras. When these types of clothes are washed, synthetic microfibers are then washed into bodies of water and have the potential to poison the food chain. (Source: guppyfriend.com)The fibers’ size also allows them to be readily consumed by fish and other wildlife. A simple fix is the guppyfriend washing bag. Simply put your synthetic garments in the bag, wash, then remove the microfibers from the bag and throw them away in the trash.