So I was watching a story on the Today Show this morning about a 26 foot sperm whale that died because it ingested 48 pounds of plastic and one of the hosts mentioned that we need to start cleaning up our mess by making sure we’re “throwing away” our trash into bins, but honestly I believe that way of thinking isn’t going to prevent this occurrence from happening again. Instead I believe we need to transform how we live because throwing something into a trash can doesn’t mean that it’s not still going to find its way into the ocean, especially since the main source of marine plastic is improperly managed waste.
Did you know that 38 of the world’s 50 largest uncontrolled dump sites are in coastal areas and overflow directly into waterways & oceans because they fail to keep the stored waste within their limits. The situation in some places is even worse with many small cities, towns, & villages worldwide not having any waste management services and there’s no place to collect & dispose of household waste meeting even the minimum standards, forcing people to dump their trash into communal areas.
It’s pretty crazy because even if we think we’re doing the right thing by disposing of our trash the correct way, it’s really out of our control where it might end up. For example, although the coffee cup I’m using in this photo is made of bio-plastics which might be a better option doesn’t mean that it’s going to end up in the correct place one once I dispose of it. What I’m getting at here is the key to solving this problem is not to create the waste to begin with and whether you realize it or not it was our trash that killed this whale, as well as kills many other helpless marine animals everyday.
Now I do understand it’s hard to avoid plastic waste, and I don’t claim to be waste free myself, but I’ve been able to significantly reduce the amount I create by easily changing a few things in my life like shopping with a reusable grocery bag, asking for a mug at a coffee shop, carrying a water bottle with me, and snacks in silicone ziplocks. You will find not only do these things significantly reduce the amount of waste you are putting in the bin, but it will even save you some money as well. Lastly, there are countless other ways to reduce our waste your waste as well and if anyone is interested in learning more I offer a 30 minute sustainable living skype session.