Ocean Currents » plastic bags http://blog.oceanconservancy.org News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy Thu, 29 Sep 2016 18:39:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 One Endangered Species We’d All Like to See Go Extinct http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/02/28/one-endangered-species-wed-all-like-to-see-go-extinct/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/02/28/one-endangered-species-wed-all-like-to-see-go-extinct/#comments Fri, 28 Feb 2014 21:23:40 +0000 Nick Mallos http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=7624

“THANK YOU.” For years, these infamous words have been seen all too frequently on the plastic bags found floating around pasture lands, city streets, beaches and in the ocean. The elusive plastic bag continues to be at the core of the ocean trash dialogue and California legislators will once again try to pass a statewide ban this year that would prohibit its distribution in the state–cleaner beaches and cityscapes being the primary justification. Last year, the attempt failed to pass by only a handful of votes.

People around the world are all too familiar with these items; volunteers for Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup have picked up more than 10 million plastic bags off beaches and other landscapes over the past three decades. In 2012 alone, the number was 1,019,902 to be precise. We know because we work with volunteers to count every last one. Ten million bags require more than 1,200 barrels of oil to produce. And once in the environment, a diverse array of animals, both in the ocean and on land, ingest these items with detrimental impacts on their health as a result.

Don’t get me wrong. Plastics are a remarkable material. They protect valuable products in transit, save thousands of lives in hospitals and provide safe access to food and water following natural disasters. But not all plastics are created equal. There are some applications–like plastic bags–where we must acknowledge that the negative impacts of their use far outweigh any benefits we accrue during their momentary use.

For those products for which suitable alternatives exist, they no longer need to be a part of our daily lives. Disposable grocery bags are one of them. And while some claim that bag alternatives are only “supposedly” reusable, I can personally attest to the durability of the “free” reusable bags I’ve been using for five years.

To meaningfully reduce the global input of plastic waste into the ocean each year, we need a much broader, more systemic approach than bans on single products. But to reiterate the words of state Sen. Alex Padilla, “We lived for thousands of years without single-use plastic bags. I think we will be just fine without them.”

I commend California and the many nongovernmental organizations that have worked tirelessly to eliminate a repeat offender on Ocean Conservancy’s Top 10 list. Their efforts mark an important step toward cleaner beaches and a cleaner ocean.

If the people of Bangladesh, Rwanda, Burma and the Ivory Coast can all survive without plastic bags, I’m confident Californians can as well.

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You Spoke and We Listened! http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/07/10/you-spoke-and-we-listened/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/07/10/you-spoke-and-we-listened/#comments Wed, 10 Jul 2013 14:54:06 +0000 Sara Thomas http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=6253

In just 10 months, nearly 11,000 of our ocean friends downloaded and began using Rippl. The response for our iPhone app is incredible—not only are people downloading it, they’re also using it regularly.

Rippl helps you remember to make simple, sustainable choices that save you money and keep the ocean and all its wildlife healthy.

According to the EPA, more than 380 billion plastic bags are used in the United States every year. Of those, approximately 100 billion are plastic shopping bags. Thanks to our family of Rippl users, we’re helping to lower that number.

We’re inspired on a daily basis by the small changes individuals are implementing into their routines. Whether it’s remembering your reusable bag at the grocery store each visit or picking up that piece of trash you see on your commute into work, each action is adding up to make a big difference for the health of our ocean.

We all can use a reminder now and again to help us make smart choices in our daily lives. But Rippl isn’t just a way for you to remember small actions to take to help create a healthier planet, it’s also a way to share your inspiring environmental habits with others.

Starting this week and for the next three months, each tip delivered through Rippl has been created based on a current user suggestion. From ways to reduce your aluminum foil consumption to ideas for cutting down your gasoline use, these tips will not only save you money, they’ll help keep the ocean and all its wildlife healthy.

Haven’t started your Rippl effect yet? Download it today!

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