I thought I would share a few simple ideas we talk about at ocean girl camp for reusing and rethinking plastic.
Ocean Girl Project starts in the ocean. You might think of us as mermaids :). We have fun and play and swim, surf, watch fish in the reef, plus we learn new things and in gratitude, we do beach cleanups. When you do a beach cleanup you may feel sad to see all the plastic pollution, the ugly effects on the reef and sea creatures, but feeling bad doesn’t help you or the ocean.
Ocean Project as a whole became more powerful and meaningful to me when I began to place a higher value on plastic. Yes, you read it correctly; I turned that negative feeling into motivated energy.
I started to think about my everyday choices, this truly helped me use less plastic and value each piece, keep it longer and find many uses for it, I re-imagined ways to use and never waste what I already have, learned to share with others and made new friends, and of course, I never litter. Sometimes it takes work, but it’s also very fun. Today I explore, invent, and create and I am evolving into an ever more empowered positive ocean girl. I value the message plastic has taught me, I hope you can too.
- Avoid buying items packaged in plastic. Buy produce that isn’t wrapped in plastic. A great place to find fresh produce and other yummy food and gift items is at a local farmers market! Buy items in reusable glass or recycled cardboard. Say no to products which contain microplastics like synthetic body scrubs. Not only are you reducing the plastic you use, you’re sending a powerful message to the makers of those products that you don’t like plastic in your products or on your food.
- Use cloth shopping bags. Plastic bags are dangerous to wildlife. Use cloth reusable bags —keep in your car or backpack or your bike or by the front door—make it a positive habit to take reusable bags when you go shopping.
- Skip bottled water. Carry a reusable water bottle. Plastic bottles are one of the top five most common types of litter found on beaches. Since bottled water is expensive, you’ll also save money doing this, and avoid the possible hazards of toxins leaching into your beverage. The thrifts stores generally carry dozens of reusable bottles, I see many brand new, buy one for you and to give to a friend.
- Upcycle. Be creative! Think of new uses for old items rather than discarding them or buying new ones. Pinterest has 100’s of ideas and suggestions.
- Carry a reusable cup for drinks. Stow it in your bag so you have it when you order or refill your drink.
- “No straw, please.” Straws are one of the top 10 items found on beaches. In most cases, drinking out of a straw is simply unnecessary and a easy habit to break. If you do need a straw, please consider a reusable stainless steel or glass. I used to ask for no straw and no plastic lid, it’s not that hard to carry my drink to the table. I skipped drinks if I was driving or riding my bike and ended up saving money and drinking more water, win-win.