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Blue Recycling: How Reducing Ocean Trash Can Help Save Our Blue Planet

By Erich Lawson (Guest Blog Writer)

 
 

With over 70% of the Earth's surface covered in water, its vast oceans have it the nickname "Blue Planet." Yet, this majestic expanse is facing an urgent threat: the proliferation of marine pollutants and contaminants known as Blue Trash. This term encompasses a range of man-made debris, from plastics to metals to crude oil by-products, which find their way into the oceans through various channels like rivers, runoff, and careless disposal. The consequences of this pollution are dire, affecting marine and human life alike. In this article, we'll delve deeper into the impact of Blue Trash and explore eight actionable ways we can incorporate Blue Recycling into our lives to protect our oceans and the planet.


What is Blue Trash?

Blue Trash, which comprises materials like plastics, paper, metals, and crude oil by-products, poses a grave threat to the delicate balance of marine ecosystems. Marine life often confuses small debris for food, leading to ingestion and blockages in the digestive systems of fish, turtles, birds, and marine mammals. Larger items, such as discarded nets or plastic six-pack holders, can ensnare and strangle marine creatures, further disrupting fragile ecosystems.


Plastic waste, constituting more than two-thirds of manufactured materials found in the oceans, is particularly concerning. While plastic takes an incredibly long time to decompose, it eventually breaks down into minuscule particles that are ingested by marine organisms, working their way up the food chain. This process not only threatens countless marine species but also exposes humans to harmful chemicals. The chemicals present in plastics and crude oil products have been linked to serious health issues, including birth disorders, cancers, and weakened immune systems. Consequently, consuming seafood from contaminated waters or swimming in polluted environments poses significant risks to human health.


The Truth About Marine Waste

Marine waste is any man-made contamination that makes its way into an ocean. Currently, studies estimate that there are about 5 trillion particles of plastic floating around in our ocean. Around 269,000 tons of waste floats, while the rest sinks to the sea's bottom.


The fact that each piece is not associated with the others makes cleanup so tough. They are not baled together, so rogue parts float away and cause havoc in our seas. These waste particles drift off and arrive on our coasts, polluting our land and causing billions of dollars in harm to our natural surroundings.


This rubbish armada is killing both the environment and the businesses that are immediately impacted by its presence. Most businesses don't mind dumping their rubbish in the water because they don't have enough space to transfer it all to the landfill. This is when a garbage compactor can be useful.


How Does It Affect Marine and Human Life?

Marine trash is a killer. Small debris is mistaken for food by fish, turtles, birds and marine mammals, blocking their digestive systems or choking them. They also get strangled or trapped by larger items floating in the water, such as six-pack drink holders or old nets.


Plastic waste accounts for over two-thirds of all manufactured material found in oceans. It decomposes at an extremely slow rate but disintegrates into tiny particles that are swallowed by fish, birds and marine animals.


Hundreds of marine species are already at risk, and we might be next. Chemicals in plastic and crude oil products have been linked to birth disorders, cancers and weakened immune systems in humans and animals alike. When we eat seafood or swim in contaminated water, we’re ingesting these toxins as well.


10 Ways to Make Blue Recycling Part of Your Life

Blue recycling is a pivotal step toward minimizing our impact on the oceans, and here are 10 tips that align with the 5 Rs of waste management:


1. Demand Plastic-Free Alternatives

The seas are under tremendous and escalating threat from plastics. Every year, an estimated 17.6 billion pounds of plastic seep into the marine environment from land-based sources—an amount approximately comparable to dumping a garbage truck load of plastic into our seas every minute. And plastics will never go away!

We must encourage businesses to provide plastic-free alternatives and say no to single-use plastics like straws, plastic cutlery, coffee cups, water bottles, plastic bags, balloons, plastic-wrapped fruit, and take-out food containers.

2. Reuse Plastic Items

Plastic has permeated our lives, but we can curb its impact by reusing it whenever possible. Transform takeout containers into food storage solutions and bring them along when dining out. Ditch single-use bottled water and opt to refill your reusable bottles.

3. Recycle Your Trash

Shockingly, nearly 90% of plastic packaging never finds its way to recycling bins. Learn to identify recyclable materials by checking labels on bottles, jars, and containers. Plastics marked with the PET or #1 symbol are usually recyclable, while #2 and #5 plastics may also be accepted.

4. Choose Biodegradable

Instead of disposable cutlery and shopping bags, opt for eco-friendly alternatives. Seek out biodegradable plastic products, which mimic the look and feel of traditional plastic but are crafted from organic materials that break down naturally.

5. Support Bottle Bills

Bottle deposit laws, also known as container deposit laws, incentivize recycling by encouraging consumers, retailers, and distributors to participate. By paying a deposit when purchasing beverages, which is later refunded upon container return, you can contribute to reducing plastic waste.

6. Embrace Green Cleaning

Household pollutants, including toxic cleaning products, chemical-based fertilizers, and pesticides, find their way into waterways and oceans. Transition to organic solutions in your kitchen, bathroom, yard, and garden, contributing to cleaner oceans and a healthier environment.

7. Spread Awareness

Many people are not intentionally littering, but they might not fully grasp the extent of the damage caused by their actions. Initiate conversations about the impact of littering, especially with those around you. If you come across litter, particularly near beaches, take a proactive approach by picking it up and disposing of it appropriately.

8. Join Cleanup Drives

If you reside near the ocean, stay informed about shoreline cleanup drives and participate whenever possible. Consider organizing your own cleanup initiatives with friends and family, tackling litter on local beaches or seaside paths to make a tangible impact.

9. Embrace a Greener Lifestyle

Every effort to reduce your carbon footprint contributes to Blue Recycling. Embracing energy-efficient lighting and renewable energy sources minimizes the risk of crude oil spills and supports the broader goal of preserving our oceans and planet.

10. Avoid Items That Harm Oceans

Many items have been directly related to the extinction of endangered or vulnerable species, irresponsible fishing practices, and pollution. Avoid cosmetics containing shark squalene, jewelry made of coral or sea turtle shell, souvenir shells from conchs, nautiluses, and other creatures, and single-use plastics such as straws and water bottles that can wind up in our seas. These items encourage unsustainable fishing practices and endanger critical species and habitats.


Conclusion

The oceans, the heart of our Blue Planet, are under siege from Blue Trash – the insidious pollution stemming from human activity. As we've explored, this pollution takes a significant toll on marine and human life alike. However, hope lies in our collective actions. By following the eight practical tips for incorporating Blue Recycling into our daily lives, we can pave the way for cleaner oceans, healthier ecosystems, and a brighter future for our Blue Planet. It's time to recognize our responsibility and take steps to ensure the preservation of the beauty and vitality that our oceans bring to the world.


Erich Lawson is passionate about saving the environment through effective recycling. He has written a wide array of articles on how modern equipment such as balers, compactors and shredders can be used by industries to reduce monthly garbage bills and increase recycling revenue. You can learn more about these environmental preservation techniques by visiting Compactor Management Company .


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