My kids and I were swimming at a Windward beach recently and afterwards we had to pick small pieces of plastic off our skin and out of each others' hair that had been floating in a colorful soup on the ocean surface. Yuck.
I think we all know plastic pollution is a big problem. Walk on any beach, drive on any highway, go to any park anywhere on the islands (and practically anywhere in the world) and the plastic pollution is disturbingly evident.
Our houses, cars, phones, computers, toys, food, and drinks are made of or encased in plastic. It is challenging to go more than an hour without touching plastic--just try it! Plastic doesn't biodegrade but it does eventually photo-degrade, causing it to break into smaller pieces when exposed to sunlight. Small pieces like we see floating in the ocean, sticking to our skin after a swim, or mingled in with the beach sand.
This problem can seem overwhelming: we live in a plastic-inundated world. What can we do about it? Being aware of the problem, making choices to avoid plastic when you can--especially single-use plastic, and spreading the word is a great start.
In recognition of Plastic Free July, join us on July 17th for a virtual screening event of the documentary Microplastic Madness, the story of 56 fifth graders from Brooklyn whose actions on plastic pollution are totally inspiring. With stop-motion animation, heartfelt kid commentary and interviews of experts and renowned scientists, this alarming, yet charming narrative, conveys an urgent message. Sign up to participate here- https://www.phipps.conservatory.org/calendar/detail/environmental-film-s...
You can also take action to recognize Plastic Free July by participating in a beach or park cleanup, social distancing style! Surfrider Oahu has a campaign to encourage you to do your own cleanup for a chance to win prizes. Just use the hashtag #socialdistancecleanup and post on IG and tag @kailuakayaks. Make sure your profile is public!
Or, participate in 808 Cleanups' Adopt-A-Site Program.
Finally, here are a few pretty simple sustainable swaps you can try at home to have a little less plastic pollution in your life and in the world.
7 Easy Ways to Reduce Plastic for Plastic Free July (and all the time)
- Switch out your bathroom necessities for plastic-free versions like bar soap instead of liquid soap or bamboo toothbrushes instead of the plastic kind.
- Always bring your own bag to the store for your produce.
- Carry your own washable and reusable utensils wherever you go.
- Skip the straw in your drink.
- Stop buying balloons (especially the mylar ones); local flowers are a great birthday gift and celebration decoration, and they aren't a choking hazard to birds and marine life. Down to Earth uses Hawaii Balloon Company for our events because they use biodegrable balloons!
- Use alternatives to plastic wrap and plastic bags for your food storage and school lunches; check out the amazing beeswax wraps and washable and reusable bento containers available for a more sustainable kitchen.
- Analyze what is in your trash can every week; is there anything there that you can recycle but aren't? Is there anything that you can do without or are there other products you can buy with less wasteful packaging?
Be part of the solution, not part of the pollution!