This Summer, the Your True Nature staff is doing a Ditch the Disposable Drink Challenge and we want you to join us. As a Platinum member of ClimateWise, a voluntary program that offers simple solutions for businesses to reduce their impact on the environment, we are constantly striving to improve how we reduce our own impact. By Ditching the Disposables, we are choosing to reuse and decrease the amount of waste that ends up in the oceans. Though our challenge only addresses containers we drink out of and plastic straws, we are still being conscious of all things we throw in the trash. Each staff member has chosen how many straws and how many disposable drink containers they will use in June, July, and August; and if they don’t use any more than that, they get a prize at the end. The containers include Dixie cups, solo cups, cans, disposable plastic water bottles, and any other drink container you would throw away. Here is why we are doing this challenge.
- 80% of plastic pollution in the oceans comes from people on land.
- The average American drinks 18 plastic bottles of water a month, or about 50 billion a year. Unfortunately, the U.S.’s recycling rate for these bottles is only about 23%. 38 billion end up tossed in the trash, making their way to our oceans and other natural areas.
- To meet the high demands for bottled water, it takes more than 17 million barrels of oil a year to produce them, enough to fuel 1.3 million cars for a year.
- Last year, Forbes said that globally we are now at 1 million plastic bottles per minute, 91% which are not recycled.
- 20 million trees are cut down a year to make paper cups.
- Many paper cups are not recyclable. Less than 1% end up being recycled, due to leftover liquids inside or being tightly lined with plastic.
- An estimated 60 billion disposable cups find their way to landfills every year.
- In the US- 500 million straws are used daily; 1 billion worldwide.
- It takes 200 years for plastic straws to breakdown (though they never truly break down, they just become micro-plastic pieces, which are just as harmful to marine life).
- Plastic pollution kills 1 million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals a year.
- Plastic straws have been found deeply embedded in sea turtle’s nostrils and littering the stomachs of countless marine animals.
- Plastic causes $8 billion in damage to marine ecosystems each year.
- Fish eat plastic, we consume the fish…...
- If we don’t address our plastic addiction now, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050.
We, as a society, have come to rely heavily on disposable items, without really thinking about where they eventually end up. This challenge is not about accusations or guilt tripping; rather it’s about educating everyone, as we all try to meet in the middle on solutions. Your True Nature has always worked hard to reduce, reuse, recycle, and replant; in order to offset our carbon footprint. Even then, there's always room for improvement; which is why we want to educate everyone on little ways they can ditch the disposables as well.
- Buy a reusable water bottle and always carry it with you. Camelback did a study that if you went disposable free for 30 days, you could save $25 and stop 18 plastic bottles from going into the landfills. The longer you do it, the more you save.
- Buy a coffee tumbler and use it for your take out coffee. Many coffee shops give a discount when you bring your own cup!
- Bring your own reusable cup to parties instead of using a Solo cup. It will be a great way to start a conversation about why you brought it and get more people on board (per staff member Jill).
- Make your own juice and iced tea at home instead of buying premade in containers
- At restaurants, make sure and tell your server that you don’t want a straw in your drink.
- Reach out to local eateries and encourage them to only give out straws if requested and to switch to reusable or paper straws.
- Tell your friends and family why you are ditching the disposables.
- Buy less plastic and Recycle Recycle Recycle what you can.
These are just some of the steps that we all can take to reduce the high amounts of plastic harming our oceans. Let’s face it, the oceans are our lungs and a part of our well-being. They provide most of the oxygen we breathe, food, medicine, entertainment, and so much more. Many cultures around the world depend on marine life for their livelihood and food for their families. When the fish become few, our actions become a humanitarian issue. It’s not hard to make small changes to our daily habits, we just have to make it a routine. Join us in this challenge and see if it positively impacts your life, or at least changes the way you think about how much you throw away.
Let us know on our Facebook page your results.