Did you know that most plastic bags are used for an average of just 12 minutes before they are thrown away? Every day, each one of us contributes to the plastic waste that eventually gets dumped into our oceans. The European Parliament Research Service estimates that we have there are more than 150 million tons of plastic polluting our oceans right now.
Plastic pollution is a massive threat to marine life and, by extension, all life.
Use these 7 tips to change your daily habits and avoid plastic waste— you’ll help keep the oceans cleaner and raise awareness about of the threat of plastic pollution:
1. Say No To Plastic Bags
Remember that statistic about plastic bags? They’re used for an average of 12 minutes and it takes about 500 years for them to decompose. Not worth it. Bring a reusable bag with you when you’re shopping for groceries, clothes, headed to the gym, etc. You never know when you might need one—like when you need to wrap your sweaty gym clothes in something before putting them back in your bag. Place some reusable bags by your keys at the door so you’re more likely to remember them when you walk out. If you forget, think of some alternatives! Make a commitment to switch to reusable options, and you’ll get the hang of your new routine in no time.
2. Do An Inventory Of Your Personal Plastic Use
When are you most likely to cave and buy single use plastic items? Is it your weekly iced coffee complete with cup and straw? Is it the plastic water bottle you have to buy at the gym because you forgot yours? Do a personal inventory of the times you are most susceptible to purchasing single use plastic items and prepare your alternatives. Can you bring a reusable cup to your favorite coffee shop? With a little planning, you can significantly reduce your plastic waste.
If you don’t want to give up straws, use one made of glass or metal. They are easy to clean and can be used for years.
3. Get A Reusable Water Bottle
Every runner knows how important it is to stay hydrated. Are you using plastic bottles that you throw away after each run? We hope not! Get yourself a reusable water bottle for your fitness activities and for daily life. Refill it during the day. Not only will you be reducing plastic use, you’ll be able to keep better track of your water intake so you can stay hydrated.
4. Quit Smoking
We probably don’t have to tell you that cigarette smoke isn’t doing you or your body any favors, but did you know that they are hard on our planet as well? Cigarette butts have plastic filters, and those filters have a habit of finding their way into our oceans. Yuck. Add this to the long list of reasons why it’s time to quit smoking for good!
5. Think Global – Act Local
It’s true that plastic pollution is a global problem, but you can start making a huge impact in your local community. Do some research and see what is being done in your neighborhood. Start a plastic clean-up group yourself or organize a plogging run (running while picking up trash). Take pride in where you live and talk to people you know. This is how real change starts.
6. Buy Sustainable Material
We all love a good gear haul, but take the time to make sure that your next purchase is made with sustainable materials. Looking good great, but you should feel good about how your clothes affect our oceans. Make sure that the materials are environmentally friendly the next time you buy a new shirt, tights, or running shoes!
7. Join The Movement
The Run For The Oceans Challenge! Millions of runners around the world will be counting their kilometers to help end plastic waste.