How to Make Sure Your Trash Doesn't End Up in the Ocean
A few years ago, we attended a free lecture at The New England Aquarium entitled Meet Your Local Garbage Patch during which we were introduced to the Rozalia Project. The Rozalia Projects is a scientific research team working aboard a 60’ sailboat to implement solutions for clean oceans. They measure the types and amounts of trash in different areas and shared some interesting tips for how we can all make a difference:
1. Stop smoking. In addition to the well-known health concerns, cigarette butts take about 7 years to biodegrade in the ocean, and are one of the most common trash items found by the Rozalia Project on sea floors.
2. Use a refillable water bottle and coffee tumbler. Water might be good for you, but plastic bottles take a lot longer to biodegrade than cigarettes - about 450 years! Avoid plastic bottles and cups!
3. Watch out for urban trash cans. When they overflow, the trash can get swept up in rain water, down our storm drains and into Boston Harbor. Instead, hold your trash for a few extra minutes until you see a non-overflowing trash bin - or better yet, alert area officials that the receptacle is in need of emptying.
4. Check your skincare ingredients. Plastic microbeads were officially phased out of exfoliants and toothpastes starting in 2015, so make sure to properly dispose of any product you still have from before 2016.
5. Picnic consciously. Unsurprisingly, most of the trash that the Rozalia Project finds in the harbors is food related - plastic cups, beer cans, food wrappers, etc. All are evidence that we love spending time at the beach and on the water, so make sure when you do these things that you dispose of all your trash appropriately.
6. Get educated. Learn about threats to the ocean and get involved with the solutions by following the Rozalia Project and other ocean-themed organizations.
HAPPY EARTH DAY!