It’s a bit funny that as I try to eliminate single-use plastics from my life, I hoard 2 bins full of bottle caps, cigarette lighters, and toothbrushes. Why do I do that?
Easy: it’s a constant reminder to myself that not only did I actually go to Midway Atoll (sometimes I think it was a dream) but that our trash DOES have an impact on living things, somewhere in the world.
This year marks 4 years since my Midway journey began and in a way, it hasn’t ever ended. The physical presence of the albatross is long gone and I’m no longer within walking distance of the nearest tern chick, but the memories linger and the plastic is obviously not going away any time soon. Every time I look at that bin, I am instantly transported back to that atoll and then start thinking about how in the hell all that crap ended up here. Then, Take those bottle caps in the bin, for instance…
Sometimes I forget that the whole concept of recycling is a bit of a leap of faith. We trust that what we throw into the bin will be processed in some way, turned into some new plastic item but it’s made out of recycled plastic and we did our due diligence so check, check. Out of sight, out of mind. BUT! (There’s so many buts [har har har])!
The bottle you recycle MAY be melted down and turned into something and the bottle cap that was attached MAY get caught by the recycling center and sorted with the other #5 plastics, but it’s not necessarily a guarantee. See exhibit A and B, above. That stuff is sneaky and it gets out. So it’s not too much of a stretch to conclude that the only way to be sure that your consumption is really having minimal impact on the planet is to tread lightly in the first place. Skip the plastic bottle, people.
Tomorrow is World Oceans Day, a day to celebrate the salty seas that provide us with so many benefits. For me, that benefit is being able to witness abundant life thriving in, on, and around a water world. I want to protect and sustain it that so others can witness the same thing.
On World Oceans Day,and tomorrow and the next day, I’ll be thinking about Midway and the albatross (who doesn’t get a vote in any of this) and the easy things I can do to help make their lives easier: drinking my morning smoothie out of a jar with a reusable lid, not a plastic bottle with a colorful cap; sipping water through a badass glass straw, not a flimsy plastic one.
But beyond that, the biggest act we can take to do something, beyond the products and the refusing? We can talk, discuss, and argue with each other about this issue. Look how much attention the world of politics is getting right now, all because people are yapping. The more we bring this plastic crap up, the more we look into that bin of plastic, and the more momentum we build.
At the end of the day (regardless of what celebratory “day” it is), it’s our combined efforts and chatter that will magnify this dilemma and make the biggest difference in helping eradicate it. So I’ll keep the bins of plastic and they will keep reminding me to keep building that momentum toward cleaner seas. Here’s to getting inspired by plastic!
For more about my Midway journey including photos that may inspire you to purge the plastic out of your life, check out my guest post over at Plastic-Free Tuesday! And stay tuned as I continue to wax poetic about the Midway Months on here over the course of this summer. 😊