June 22, 2018

Did you know every minute of every day a garbage truck worth of plastic is being dumped into our oceans? That works out to about 8 million tons annually. Pretty scary huh. This excess of plastic pollution is detrimental to the health of our wildlife, our environment and also to us.

Millions of fish and birds plus an estimated 100,000 marine animals are killed each year from the entanglement and ingestion of plastic debris. Scientists have found it’s also making its way onto our plates with pretty much every species of fish and other seafood containing some level of plastic compounds.  


“Virtually every piece of plastic that was ever made still exists in some shape or form.”

-Surf Rider Foundation


Plastic pollution is a very real and serious problem plaguing our oceans. But thankfully there are some incredible organizations stepping up to the plate with solutions to solve this worldwide crisis. Below we’ve outlined 3 of our favourite organizations, we hope reading their stories will leave you feeling inspired and ready to take action.


Plastic Bank

The Plastic Bank was founded by a pair of Vancouver entrepreneurs, David Katz and Shaun Frankson, the strategy behind their organization is simply to pay people to collect plastic and bring it in to their recycling centers. Collectors can then receive payment in the form of cash or receive credit towards goods like cook stoves, fuel, or in some countries, like Haiti, they can even put it towards their school tuition.


Once at the recycling center, Plastic Bank sells the material to their corporate clients, who generally pay a premium over the commodity price- about three times higher, allowing collectors to receive higher earnings. They’ve also been able to further service these communities by assisting local entrepreneurs in the set-up and operations of convenience stores where locals can use plastic waste as a form of currency.


By turning plastic waste into currency the Plastic Bank has been able to create a positive social impact in areas with high levels of poverty and plastic pollution.

Images courtesy of the https://www.plasticbank.org

Surfrider


The Surfrider Foundation started as a group of surfers that banded together in order to protect the Malibu coastline from over-development and pollution. After 30 years they have expanded their mission to now include 80 chapters and 70 youth clubs across the U.S.


Each chapter consists of local volunteers in coastal communities that work to carry out their mission through campaigns and educational initiatives.

“With one foot in the sand and the other in the water, Surfrider is the only non-profit organization who is 100% focused on our coasts.”

 Surf Rider launched the “Rise Above Plastic” campaign with the goal to help raise awareness on the ocean’s plastic pollution and to educate the public on ways in which they could reduce their plastic footprint through the reduction of single use plastics and by recycling.

 

 

Images courtesy of https://www.surfrider.org 



4Ocean

4Ocean is a global organization that has removed trash from oceans and coastlines in 27 countries.  

They work by employing captains and cleanup crews in 27 different countries to remove plastic and trash from the oceans.  4Ocean also hosts beach and offshore cleanups worldwide.


The bulk of funding for crews comes from the sales of the 4Oceans bracelet.  With each bracelet purchased the company will pledge to remove one pound of trash from the ocean and coastlines.


To date they have removed more than 816, 271 pounds of trash out of our oceans.


To learn more about their initiatives or to purchase a bracelet visit https://www.4ocean.com


Plastic pollution is a serious problem, but what exactly can you do about it? Here’s a list of simple actions you can take to begin reducing your plastic footprint TODAY.


  1. Purchase reusable everyday items like shopping bags and water bottles
  2. Eliminate single serve items like straws and cutlery
  3. Avoid purchasing products that contain an excess amount of packaging
  4. Bring a to-go cup with you to the coffee shop to eliminate the need for plastic covers and cups
  5. If you do choose plastic make sure it can be recycled
  6. Choose reusable lunch bags and thermoses in replace of sandwich bags and juice cartons
  7. Volunteer at local beach cleanups, or get involved with any of the organizations we mentioned above  
  8. Support plastic bag bans, polystyrene foam bans and bottle recycling initiatives
  9. Spread the word, talk to your family and friends about why it is important to reduce plastic consumption



Article Resources

https://www.surfrider.org

https://www.4ocean.com

https://www.plasticbank.org

The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration

Greenpeace

Forbes

 


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