Five Easy Ways to Reduce Your Plastic Footprint


SOA Blog

Sustainable Ocean Alliance is accelerating ocean solutions around the world. Here are their stories.

We live in a broken system.

One where corporations take advantage of the current throwaway culture of our society, and plague our world with disposable products—giving us virtually no choice but to purchase plastic in some way.

And there's a heavy price to pay for all this plastic consumption: 8 million pieces of plastic pollution find their way into our ocean daily. 79% of plastic waste is sent to landfills or the ocean, while only 9% is recycled and 12% is incinerated. 25 trillion macro and 51 trillion microplastics litter our oceans. Of that, 269,000 tons float on the surface. 

Here's what you should know about the impact of plastics:

  • The US is the world’s top generator of plastic waste.

  • Around 70,000 microplastics are consumed by an average person each year.

  • One million marine animals die due to plastic pollution every year.

  • Plastic wastage is growing at an annual rate of 9%.

  • It takes around 500-1,000 years for plastics to decompose.

Our oceans are slowly turning into a plastic soup, and the effects on ocean life are chilling.  Discarded plastic fishing lines trap and entangle turtles and seabirds, while plastic pieces of all sizes choke and clog the stomachs of creatures from tiny zooplankton to whales who mistake it for food. Plastic is now entering every level of the ocean food chain and is even ending up in the seafood on our plates.

SOA has been hard at work trying to address this crisis: we've now accelerated over 100 plastic solutions, and have built a presence in 165 countries, where we reach over 5,000 leaders globally. Our vision is to restore the health of the ocean in our lifetime, and today we're asking you to join us: let's start with five easy ways to reduce your own plastic footprint. 

Photo 1

Bring your own shopping bag

A lot of stores still provide plastic bags for you to use, however an easy alternative to plastic are reusable shopping bags or totes. By always having reusable bags in your bag is an easy habit we can all practice and eliminates the use of plastic bags which is one of the top plastic polluters found in the ocean.

Photo 2

Give Up Bottled Water

Americans buy more bottled water than any other nation in the world, adding 29 billion water bottles a year to the problem. In order to make all these bottles, manufacturers use 17 million barrels of crude oil. That’s enough oil to keep a million cars going for twelve months.It takes 1.5 million barrels of oil to produce the plastic water bottles we use each year. According to the Container Recycling Institute, 86 percent of plastic water bottles used in the United States end up becoming garbage or litter that then ends up in our ocean where marine life mistakes it for food or can even become entangled in it and die.

Photo 3

Use Your Own Take-Out Containers or Use A Sustainable Take-Out Service

Single use plastic containers are becoming less and less common. However if you’re someone who is still using plastic containers to pack your lunch then now would be a great time to stop. What to use instead of plastic? A great alternative to plastic, is bamboo. You can also use sustainable delivery services like DeliverZero or Loop.

Photo 4

Switch to a bamboo or biodegradable toothbrush

Did you know that 3.5 billion toothbrushes are sold worldwide, every year? Most of which get lost in the recycling process and end up in landfill or make their way into rivers and oceans. Plastic toothbrushes also take up to 400 years to decompose. By making the switch to a biodegradable bamboo toothbrush, you are taking a step in the right direction.

Photo 5

Support your local farmers

Farmers markets are a great way to buy fresh, local produce without plastic, and also lowering the demand and carbon emissions for produce that's either flown or trucked in from faraway places. Whenever possible you should try to buy local.


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