Americans consume, in general, 33.6 million tons of plastic every year. That's a lot. With small changes and resolutions to reduce plastic consumption, we could all make a huge difference and decrease that number drastically! Here are some things you can do to help:
1. Say "No" to plastic straws at restaurants, or switch over to paper straws. Americans use 500 million plastic straws every day. A large percentage of this number ultimately ends up in the ocean becoming a hazard to ocean wildlife and sea birds who ingest them. It is easy to say "No" to straws or use paper straws. Some people even bring their own aluminum reusable straws to restaurants when they go out to eat, which is another stellar idea.
Also, if you're a restaurant owner, stop carrying plastic straws! If you don't offer straws at all, and when someone asks, give them a paper straw this would ultimately save you money in the long run...it doesn't have to be expensive to reduce your plastic use.
2. Bring reusable bags to the grocery store. It is not a life altering decision to switch over to reusable bags. Put a post-it note on the door to remind you, and when you go to leave the house you will surely remember to bring them with you. Plastic bags, when floating around in the ocean look a lot like jellyfish to aquatic life such as sea turtles, who eat jellyfish. These plastic bags do not digest well in a turtle tummy. Reusable bags reduce the amount of plastic bags being used, and decrease the chances of them ending up in our oceans.
3. Take reusable water bottles with you when you go out. It is annoying anyway when you go to a baseball game and you have to pay an arm and a leg for a small plastic bottle of water. These, too, end up in the ocean. If you are able to take reusable water bottles with you when you go out, this will reduce the amount of plastic bottles being distributed and save you money, too!
4. Don't use plastic utensils. If you are hosting a picnic, put out real silverware. Yes, more work in the long run, but this too would save you money and save our oceans. Also if you are at a hotel that serves continental breakfast with plastic utensils, ask if you could have real silverware. Most hotels have them as an option that they do not put out for everyone.
5. Opt for metal or glass pet bowls. When the choice is presented to you, the plastic bowls may be cheaper, however they can cause health problems for Fluffy and long term issues for our oceans. Believe it or not, plastic bowls are a leading cause of cat acne.