Three Scary Facts About Plastic (And Three Companies That Are Doing Something About It)

February 21, 2018

Over the years you have probably read headlines about ocean pollution. You also may have heard that plastic is bad for the environment. Without giving you an exhaustive report to read, we think it would be helpful to equip you with a few facts and figures so that you have a better sense of the scale of the problem—and most importantly, so that you know about a few ways that you can combat it!

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Here are some statistics:

  1. Every half second, the amount of plastic below ends up in the ocean (plastic bottles can take 450 years to decompose in the ocean! 😱) That may not seem like a ton of plastic — the ocean is HUGE after all. But think of it this way: every single minute, 120 loads of plastic as big as the amount below end up in the ocean. That’s quite a lot. Imagine how much at the end of an hour, or a day! And it happens while you’re sleeping too. The ocean is big, but this is still very scary.
  2. 60-90% of the trash in the ocean is plastic based.
  3. There is more microplastic in the ocean that there are stars in the Milky Way. Plastic was only invented ~100 years ago. Microplastics are small plastic pieces less than five millimeters long which can be harmful to our ocean and aquatic life.

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So that’s the bad news. But there is good news! We’re becoming more aware of the problem, and there are dozens of organizations that are fighting to protect our oceans from plastic and pollution. Below are a few of our favorites!

  1. Simply Straw

Simply Straw is addressing the damage to our oceans caused by plastic straws. A video recently went viral, which showed a sea turtle with a plastic straw stuck in its nose, and it made the problem more relatable because it wasn’t as simple as a few straws floating around in a big ocean. Simply Straw created straws made of a strong glass material that can be used over again. They are dishwasher safe, BPA-free, and hypoallergenic, and they also come with a straw cleaner and a lifetime warranty! Discontinuing the use of single-use plastic straws will improve the aquatic ecosystem, and protect the animals living in the ocean. As a bonus, Simply Straw makes their products in California and they give back to nonprofits that help people and protect our planet?

2. Klean Kanteen

This family-owned business created a reusable water bottle to decrease the use of single-use plastic water bottles. Their bottles are BPA-free, made of stainless steel, and they keep your drinks hot or cold for hours. Klean Kanteen are also members of the organization 1% for the Planet which empowers people to give back to environmental causes through their everyday purchases. Not only are Klean Kanteen bottle made with social responsibility, they also have regulations to help lessen the carbon footprint on the globe. Klean Kanteen does more than just make reusable water bottles, they are changing the world daily.

3. Outerknown

The world-famous surfer, Kelly Slater, understands the need to lower our negative impact on the environment, and he co-founded a clothing company to help combat the problem. Outerknown educates its customers about the environmental crisis, and they make all of their products sustainably! Additionally, part of their profits go towards ocean and beach clean ups!

These are just three of many companies that are fighting for the environment. We love learning about others—let us know of your favorites in the comments below.

What else can you do? If you live near a beach, help keep it clean! Organize a beach clean up with your friends and invite local organizations who fight to protect the oceans. There are so many resources and communities and ways to get involved!

Emmy is a student at Vanguard University graduating May of 2018. She is very passionate about helping people and building an ethical marketplace. She has a blog on Instagram and Wordpress where she talks about her feelings about being a conscious consumer and tips on how to be more ethical in everyday purchases.