This odd vessel looks like a cross between an oil rig and a floating swimming pool and may help clean up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. USA TODAY
SAN FRANCISCO — Plastic trash is entering the world’s oceans at a rate of as much as 12.7 million metric tons a year, fouling the waters and harming marine life. But there are easy, concrete steps you can take today to limit the amount of plastic that reaches the sea, say experts.
The lion’s share of plastic waste that ends up in the oceans comes from Asian countries. According to one 2015 study, the United States is responsible for just 0.9% of the world’s mismanaged plastic waste.
But Americans are uniquely placed to change the way the world deals with plastic, because of the outsized importance of our economy and our ability to get companies to change their practices, said Aimee David, director of ocean conservation policy strategies at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, Calif.
The choices Americans make have tremendous impacts globally by pushing businesses — many of them U.S. brands — to make changes that can then be implemented around the world, she said. Already business have gone from sponsoring beach cleanups to changing the design of their products as consumers being to demand alternatives.
“We were the ones that adopted a single-use, disposable lifestyle before anyone else did, and we exported it. I think now we are likely to be the ones to adopt change faster than anyone else,” she said.
– Try to use less single-use disposable plastic. Whether it’s bringing a cup to your local coffee place to declining a straw, or keeping reusable grocery bags in your car and using a refillable water bottle at the gym, keeping things out of the waste stream is the best way to stop plastic pollution.
– Be a selective consumer. Choose products that come with less plastic packaging, even if they’re a little bit more expensive or a little less convenient.
– Give businesses you patronize positive feedback every time you see them making an effort to use less plastic. That will give them more incentive to push their suppliers for items with less plastic packaging.
– Take part in a beach cleanup in your area.
– If you do have to use single-use plastic, make sure it makes it into recycling or the trash.
– Take the time to cut the loops on anything that might entangle marine life before you throw it away, including six-pack strings and packing straps for boxes of printer paper, etc.
Read or Share this story: https://usat.ly/2NpXOCE