How many times have you eaten out at a restaurant and been handed a plastic-wrapped packet of plastic utensils? (Say that five times fast!) Or you brought your lunch to work (high five!) but left your handy dandy metal utensils at home, so you’re forced use the plastic forks and knives from your office’s drawers?
Plastic forks, knives and spoons may be convenient, but they’re wreaking havoc on our oceans. In fact, six million tons of non-durable plastics are discarded every year. “Non-durable” means that the plastic has a useful life of less than three years. Other examples of non-durable plastics include plastic packaging, trash bags, cups, and more.
These plastic are putting around 700 marine species in danger of extinction due to the threat plastic poses to them from entanglement, pollution, and ingestion. Every year, 300 million tons of plastic materials come into circulation – be it in the form of plastic packaging, utensils, containers, bags, or even clothing. While many of us make efforts to recycle, it’s simply not enough. In fact, 85 percent of the world’s plastic is not recycled. That means it’s sent to landfills. But that’s not where it stays.
Where does it end up? The ocean. A recent study found that as much as 80 percent of the trash that ends up in the oceans comes from land-based sources and nearly 90 percent of that is plastic. This totals out to 8.8 million tons of plastic that make their way from land to the water every single year. Seems like recycling may not be the answer to the non-durable recycling conundrum; rather, a major reduction of our consumption must happen … now.
So what do we do? Refuse plastic utensils, and use your own reusable utensils! Before heading out the door, just throw a fork or spoon in your purse. Some companies even make pocket utensil sets to carry around! It’s that easy. And if anyone questions why you have a fork in your bag, just tell them you’re doing it to save the lives of millions of marine animals. Maybe they’ll even be inspired to do the same!
Got my utensils in my bag. What else can I do?
While efforts are being made to remove debris from the oceans, improve recycling systems, and innovate barriers to prevent plastic from getting into waterways, we can all take action in our daily lives to stop plastic waste at the source.
“Plastic is ubiquitous in modern society and seemingly unavoidable. But is it worth risking the lives of marine species, the health of the oceans and our own future in the name of convenience? By taking steps to minimize everyday plastics in our lives, we can crush plastic at the source and give marine life a fighting chance,” says Nil Zacharias, Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of One Green Planet.
If we all make an effort to identify where we use plastic and actively look for alternatives, we can drastically cut down on the amount of plastic pollution that finds its way into the oceans.
As the leading organization at the forefront of the conscious consumerism movement, One Green Planet believes that reducing everyday plastics from our lives is not about giving up anything or sacrificing convenience, but rather learning to reap the maximum benefit from the items you use every day while having the minimum impact.
Featured Image Source: Flickr