On October 22nd, 2015, I went on one of my beach cleanup excursions and of course I collected a lot more than what’s shown in the photo. I weeded out the cigarette butts, plastic bags, cardboard packaging, fishing line, rubber bands, paper, tissues, styrofoam, rope and glass bottles. So from dialing the litter down to just solid plastics, the most common are single-use straws and bottle caps from single-use bottles.
Plastic bottles are particularly egregious. Sometimes they have up to four plastic parts including the bottle itself, the shrink band or a solid plastic strip, the bottle cap and a plastic lining within the cap. All of these parts have been found on the beach, and are in the photo above.
Few Minute Use, Hundreds of Years Lifespan
Straws and plastic bottles go hand-in-hand with convenience. Is that few-minute convenience really all that important, when we are harming the planet long-term? It takes a minimum of 500 years for these items to photo-degrade. Not only do these plastics take a long time to go away – if ever – they harm wildlife. If the video about pulling a straw from a sea turtle’s nose doesn’t convince you to stop using single-use plastics, I don’t know what will. They really need to be banned. Enough said.
Beverage Container Solution: Stop convenience store shopping for drinks. Purchase a metal water bottle for beverages. Buy “drink” in bulk and fill up before you leave the house. I’ve had my same water bottle now for seven years and it still works great. I plan to use it as long as it does not leak, which means I will probably have it for a very long time! After you got your bottle, join the campaign to ban plastic bottles by visiting, Ban The Bottle and Think Outside The Bottle campaign by Corporate Accountability International.
Straw Solution: Stop convenience store shopping and/or patronizing fast food restaurants where you end up with single-use straws. If you must visit these nutrition-less places (doh!), reject the straw! There are stainless steel, glass and biodegradable straws on the market if you just got to use straws. Visit Save Our Shore and The Last Plastic Straw to join the campaign to ban straws.
Count caps & straws challenge:
In the photo above, there are 33 water/juice bottle caps (and 7 other types of caps), and 15 straws. What am I going to do with those plastics in the photo? Something creatively profound. Hang tight for five-ten years… I will have a fine art exhibition!
Check out this video by RethinkDisposable.org: