How YOU Can Help Save Our Oceans - Easy Sustainable Living Hacks

Being the earth-loving hippie that I am, I’m passionate about natural resources, and the ocean is no exception. I used to live two hours from the beach, and every time we went to visit I spent a good amount of time picking up litter from the beach. You can help save the earth (yay, you’re a super hero!) if you are lucky enough to live near a beach by organizing a big beach clean up – or setting up a date night with you, your main squeeze, and a (biodegradable) trash bag to pick up litter as you take a long walk on the beach at sunset. Or you can make a family day out of it with the kids, and use it as a teaching opportunity about global environmental impact of litter and every day consumption habits.
Or if you are landlocked like me, you can help in other ways – the biggest one being removing plastic disposable items from your life. Plastic bags, sandwich bags, bottle caps, tooth paste caps, micro plastic beads from tooth paste, facial scrubs, and soaps, plastic bottles, coffee cup lids, straws, plastic toys and more fill our oceans and ruin ecosystems and kill marine animals.
The first step to saving marine life isn't recycling plastic, believe it or not - it is reducing your consumption of plastic products, so less are produced overall. I have put together a short list with some simple ways to remove disposable plastic & help keep plastic waste from entering the ocean & harming marine life - and the best part? These tips save you money!

Use bar soap & shampoo

Rather than purchase beauty products in plastic bottles, go to the bar - the sudsy kind, that is. Replace your plastic bottles of hand soap by the sink with a fragrant bar soap, go bottles for your shampoo and have a huge impact on the environment - and your budget.
I currently use Thumbprint Soap for body & hand soap because they arrive in biodegradeable packaging, and donate a portion of their proceeds to help shelter animals. For shampoo bars, The Little Bubble has some amazing head-to-toe soaps that gave me some of the best hair days I ever had!  (buuuut they made my color bleed. I have yet to find a bar shampoo that is excellent for rainbow-color treated hair, but as soon as I do, I'll let you know!)

Say no to the bags

Using reusable bags makes for happy produce - and oceans! Learn more...
Take reusable shopping bags to the store with you.
I love these fruit and veggie sacks you can make from this tutorial because they are doubly ecofriendly, being that they are upcycled from shirts AND they keep plastic bags not only out of landfills, but from even being produced! If we stop using plastic bags at the store, we can also reduce the amount of pollutants released into the environment from factories that produce the bags. Go, team green!
Pro tip #1: If you are like me and forget basically everything essential when you leave the house, put your reusable grocery bags in the floor board of your passenger seat and toss your purse or phone down there with them when you get in - that way, you'll remember to grab them before you head into a store to shop.
Pro tip #2: As soon as you finish putting the groceries away, immediately return your reusable bags to your car so they are ready for your next shopping trip!

Skip the drive through, pack a snack - but not in plastic!

Stop using plastic sandwich/snack bags.
Buy reusable containers - though since many are still made from plastic, this actually is not as eco-friendly because once they are no longer of use to you, they become disposable plastic since most containers aren’t recyclable. Be sure to check labels before you purchase or opt for glass or ceramic containers instead, and scoop up a reusable sandwich/snack bag that is machine washable rather than buying more plastic plastic bags.
Have a refillable water bottle with you at all times – and make sure it’s made from glass, not plastic! Keep one in the car or in your bag at all times – this way you won’t ever need to grab a beverage in a plastic bottle while you are out!
We stopped buying soda and buy our milk in glass jars rather than plastic bottles. If possible, consider making homemade punch in a pitcher instead of buying it in plastic containers from the store. Replacing sodas and drinks in plastic containers with filtered water or smoothies/juice made at home reduces a huge amount of plastic pollution!

Save money, and stay caffeinated!

7142b1151f1e4af1905c6d1c89c0272aThis graphic is from Starbucks – who offers a $0.10 discount for bringing your own mug for coffee!
Always carry a ceramic reusable to-go mug or tumbler with you. Most coffee houses actually give you a discount for bringing a reusable coffee mug. Keep forgetting to bring it? As soon as you get home, rinse it out, wipe it dry and stick it in your purse or diaper bag, or put it back in the cup holder in your car for the next day – voila! Looking at the graphic above, think about Starbuck’s daily traffic, and imagine how small 1.8% of people bringing their own tumbler really is – now imagine what an impact it would make to switch to a reusable tumbler for your daily coffee!

Say no to straws - while saying yes to straws

Ordering take out? Skip the drinks in disposable cups with plastic lids and just pour a drink at home instead! Dining out? Straws aren’t recyclable, so tell the serving staff no thanks & pop a reusable metal straw from Pretty Candy Pin Company in your beverage instead.

Skip pre-packaged food

Less is more at the store – buy individual produce rather than packaged fruit or veggies on saran wrapped plastic trays, skip putting the produce in plastic bags, and opt for fresh stalks of greens over bagged varieties. In short – try to buy the least amount of food in plastic packaging as possible!
What are some ways you can think of to reduce plastic waste & help keep our water ways clean & healthy?
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