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News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy

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Five Tips for a Low-Trash Super Bowl Tailgate

Posted On February 2, 2013 by

Fans at a football game

Image adapted from mattradickal flickr stream

Heading to a tailgate for Super Bowl XLVII? Here are a few quick tips to reduce your trash impact and keep our planet healthy while cheering on your team.

Make your own food: Opt for delicious homemade salsa, grilled meats and salads over store-bought or take out options. You’ll eat (a little) healthier, be able to buy in bulk and can use your own reusable containers to bring everything in.

Cloth beats paper: If cloth were an option in rock, paper, scissors, it would totally beat all three. Bring cloth napkins and towels for clean up and you’ll not only eliminate fly-away possibilities, but you’ll also greatly reduce the trash produced. Make them from cloth in your team’s colors and show some extra team spirit to boot!

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Trash or Treat? Six Ways To Have a Trash-Free Halloween

Posted On October 26, 2012 by

Ghosts, goblins and ghouls—there’s no doubt about it, Halloween is a spooky time. But if there’s one thing scarier than skeletons in the trees, it’s trash on the street—trash that can wash into storm drains and travel all the way to the ocean. From candy wrappers to decorations and costumes, it’s easy to make a ton of trash around Halloween. That’s why we’re giving you five easy ways to reduce your family’s waste this year:

1. Reuse a pillowcase instead of buying a plastic candy container. Or, if you can’t bear the thought of venturing out without a smiling pumpkin, cut the top off of a milk jug and give it a Jack-o-lantern grin with permanent markers, and then recycle that container after you’ve collected your trick-or-treat goodies.

2. Why waste money on a costume you’re only going to wear once? Use items lying around the house to create your own ocean-themed costume. When people ask you about your outfit, give your favorite ocean animal a voice and tell them how they can help stop ocean trash. You can use one of these ideas, or come up with your own!  Continue reading »

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Five Tips for a Low-Trash Tailgate

Posted On October 25, 2012 by

Image adapted from mattradickal flickr stream

Heading to a tailgate this weekend? With football season in full swing, many of you might be going to a tailgate or watch party this weekend. Here are a few quick tips to reduce your trash impact and keep our planet healthy while cheering on your team.

Make your own food: Opt for delicious homemade salsa, grilled meats and salads over store-bought or take out options. You’ll eat (a little) healthier, be able to buy in bulk and can use your own reusable containers to bring everything in.

Cloth beats paper: If cloth were an option in rock, paper, scissors, it would totally beat all three. Bring cloth napkins and towels for clean up and you’ll not only eliminate fly-away possibilities, but you’ll also greatly reduce the trash produced. Make them from cloth in your team’s colors and show some extra team spirit to boot!

Continue reading »

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The Last Straw: Reduce Your Plastic Footprint and Hydrate Trash-Free

Posted On October 5, 2012 by

Credit: monkeyjunkie flickr stream

It’s there before you know it—in your cup, staring at you: the ubiquitous plastic straw. The bendy piece of plastic that has been accompanying beverages for decades.

A disposable plastic straw is used on average for a whopping 20 minutes. It’s longer than the four-second lifespan of the plastic stirrer you may use to swizzle your coffee or tea, but 20 minutes is still just a tiny fraction of the several hundred years it could spend in a landfill. One straw may seem insignificant, but consider this: someone who uses one straw a day for the next decade will toss 3,650 pieces of plastic into the landfill—and there’s a chance that plastic may get lost along the way and end up in the ocean.

Over the past quarter century, straws have routinely been one of the top ten items found on beaches around the world during the International Coastal Cleanup. How many? Ocean Conservancy volunteers have picked up so many straws from beaches and waterways that when laid end-to-end; they would span a distance equal to California’s 840 miles of coastline. And last year alone, enough disposable plastic straws were found to pop one into your beverage every day for the next 1,250 years. Don’t think it’s a problem? Some communities have actually banned straws entirely to reduce trash on the nearby beaches. 

Still, good news for straw lovers: There are plenty of options for trash-free sipping. We all have a drawer of reusable silverware at home, so why not toss in a few reusable straws. Glass, stainless steel, bamboo and BPA-free plastic are all trash free options and the best part is they often come in packs of four, which means you can slurp trash-free at home, at the office and on the go. Whether you bring your own straw or decide to go straw-free the next time you dine out, remember to ask your server to hold the straw. If enough people ask for drinks without straws, servers could decide to ask customers first before automatically handing them out.

Although most disposable straws can be recycled (#2 and #5 plastics), most straws do not get recycled. For that reason, request a straw-less beverage or get a reusable straw so that we keep disposable straws out of the landfill and keep our beaches trash-free.

Going for the Green at the London 2012 Games

Posted On August 8, 2012 by

Credit: jellybeanz flickr stream (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Every four years the largest gathering of athletes, spectators and media converge to witness the greatest athletes on the planet compete in the Summer Olympiad. It’s difficult for most of us to grasp the skill, strength, endurance, devotion and sacrifice that each Olympian demonstrates, but at the London 2012 Olympic Games the athletes are not the only ones performing impressive feats. The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG)  embarked on an equally impressive mission: to make the London 2012 Summer Games the most sustainable Olympic Games to date. Central to this mission is the goal of achieving Zero Waste.

London 2012 is the first summer Games to aim to send zero waste directly to the landfill. With almost 15,000 athletes, 11 million ticket-holders and hundreds of thousands of reporters and media exploring the city and attending Olympic venues, recognizing this goal is a gargantuan task. During the planning process, LOGOC employed a waste hierarchy to govern disposal of materials. They avoided the lowest ranking, “disposable,” and aimed for materials they could reuse or recycle. “Preventing/Avoiding” ranked at the top of the hierarchy.

As a result of this structure, not a single item of trash from the Olympic park will go directly into a landfill; instead, every item of trash will be used as a renewable or recyclable resource. This policy has governed all aspects of planning of the including construction of Olympic Stadium, where 90% of waste generated was diverted from landfills via recycling or reuse.

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How do you live trash-free?

Posted On June 27, 2012 by

Scharmel from Little Rock submitted this photo of her dog, Pablo Picasso, snooping around in her reusable bag. Show us how you live trash-free at oceanconservancy.org/photocontest.

Earlier this month, Ocean Conservancy launched the Trash-Free Challenge to start a movement to reduce the trash we all create. We set out with a simple goal: If we could get 10,000 people to go trash-free for one month, we could stop over a million pounds of trash before it had a chance to reach our ocean. As we wrap up our challenge, here are some things participants have been doing to reduce their trash output. Thanks to everyone who has shared their tips with us!

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Hitting the Road for Memorial Day? Six Tips for a Trash-free Trip

Posted On May 24, 2012 by

Credit: Mamboman1 flickr stream

Credit: Mamboman1 flickr stream

After participating in Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup for five years, researching and writing three ocean trash reports and seeing hundreds of photos of wildlife sick or dying because of this major pollution problem, I know how badly trash can affect our ocean.

The dangers are stamped on my mind and heart, so I produce as little trash as possible, recycle whenever I can and – when I remember – take along reusable shopping bags, cups and carryout containers when I go out.

However, when I recently attended a conference out of town, I realized I hadn’t brought my trash ethic along on the trip. Continue reading »