This is a simple and quick guide with ideas for how you might reduce your ocean and beach waste footprint.
What we’ve done is found the types of wastes most commonly found in the ocean and on beaches, and put forward ideas with how you might reduce that type of waste in your day to day life.
Firstly, What Are The Most Common Types Of Waste Found On Beaches & In The Ocean?
As a short summary:
- Fishing gear (makes up about one fifth of plastic waste in the sea), industrial material, washed off plastic and land origin garbage are commonly found in oceans
- A lot of plastic that comes from the land is found in garbage patches (about 80% of rubbish found in the sea comes from land)
In 2018, Ocean Conservancy reported (from a beach pick up volunteer event):
- For the first time ever of the 33-year history, the top-10 most commonly found items on beaches around the world were all made of plastic
- Cigarette butts, food wrappers, plastic beverage bottles, plastic bottle caps, plastic grocery bags, other plastic bags, straws and stirrers, plastic takeout containers, plastic lids, and foam take out containers were the top types of rubbish found
Secondly, How Might You Reduce These Types Of Waste To Lower Your Rubbish Footprint?
- Consider reducing the amount of seafood you eat, and substituting with a lower impact land based food
- If you do eat seafood, consider eating seafood that is known to be lower impact such as farmed shellfish and mollusks, and certain types of capture fisheries or farmed fish (although these seafood types can have other issues)
- Another option for seafood is buying from a sustainable or certified seafood seller that abides by certain waste management standards
- An obvious one – smokers need to make steps to reduce, or ideally give up smoking
- Vaping is a popular option smokers may take up to try to quit smoking – it can certainly reduce butt waste
- The proper disposal of cigarette butts (if someone finds it hard to give up smoking) into waste bins is also a better option than dropping butts on the ground where they will find their way into the ocean
- Simple – bring re-usuable non plastic bags with you when you shop that you can use hundreds of times
- Use a re-usuable washable bottle to drink your water and other drinks instead of continually buying new bottles
- Cutting down on soft drinks and other beverages and sticking to a beverage like water can also help
Plastic & Other Food Wrappers
- Eat more fresh food types that comes without plastic wrapping or that come in a biodegradable skin
- Buy foods with recyclable containers instead of single use plastic wrapping
- Consider shopping at bulk food stores that minimise the plastic footprint of foods
- Use re-usuable and washable metal utensils, and use them hundreds or thousands of times
- Drink with a reusuable straw, or forego a straw altogether if possible