On a recent trip to the mid-west states I was completely overwhelmed with how much plastic was being used and how nobody it seemed gave a #$%^&*(. Living here in Costa Rica there is plenty of plastic, don’t get me wrong, but it seems in our local community in general people are making more of an effort at least. There are signs at many local bars and restaurants regarding #skipthestraw. It makes you think certainly, and in addition to that many of the restaurants are also moving towards biodegradable packaging. I know this is something small but every little helps right?
According to Ocean Conservancy 8 million metric tonnes of plastic waste enters our environment every year, and that is on top of the 150 million tonnes already in the environment. How insane is that? I am sure the majority of people don’t even contemplate the fact that their waste ends up in the ocean. My recent visit to the states gave me a really good view of how bad plastic consumption is. I give you an example, on visiting a restaurant for lunch, they bring large glasses of water to your table, okay that’s great. But with each of the glasses comes a straw, and then you want a refill, here comes another glass with another straw?!! All wrapped up in its own plastic packaging. I kept saying they didn’t need to bring the straws but they kept coming, by the end of the meal there were a few straws sitting on the table for sure. Add in their to go styrofoam boxes which I’m sorry, is definitely a states thing, clearly not British, and you have a bunch of plastic from one sit in meal.
So, trying my best to be minimal consumption whilst I was visiting, I’ll admit I found it hard sometimes. Eating in another local chain, that specializes in breakfast and bread, I ask for a cup of water to go with my muffin or whatever it was. They pull out a plastic cup, I say, hey no, do you have glass or coffee mug or anything that you can just put tap water in? No, against policy!! Seriously?! Your policy is to produce as much plastic as possible? Panera, shame on you. My fault I know for not bringing in a water bottle, but it would have been perfectly acceptable to drink water from a mug. I started carrying my water bottle around and was constantly faced with plastic bottle everywhere. I am quite happy to fill it up from anywhere, adn when questioning one places policy on providing clients with water, they would rather provide bunches of small bottles than put in a water cooler which clients can refill from. Sorry, but I find that lazy and completely stupid. Do you honestly not give a shit about the planet and what is happening to it?
Okay, so rant over with and onto something more important. In my hometown at least we are trying to do our little bit and part of that is by being part of international coastal cleanup day with the Ocean Conservancy. On September 16th at 8am we are heading out into one of the most effected local areas and doing a coastal cleanup. In addition to that, the data from the cleanup will be collected and used by a citizen science project to look at effective waste management techniques and where and what the majority of trash is. This will help with efforts to stop it at the source.
So what are you doing about it? Have a look around your day to day life and look for the simplest ways you can make a difference, and if you can’t join ours, join a clean up near you and #makeadifference #bethesolution. And most importantly and seriously #skipthestraw!!!