Forget Atkins, South Beach, and Vegetarian Diets…Do the Plastic Diet!

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Forget about never eating carbohydrates again, or taking on the raw food diet, just eat plastic!  With more than a million seabirds and 100,000 sea mammals and turtles eating plastic each year, shouldn’t we start too?!

Okay, so please don’t take this literally, of course, but when I read those facts in National Geographic I couldn’t help but feel moved.  It made me think about where the plastic bag sitting in my garbage pail right now will eventually end up.  That very bag I take home from the grocery store, empty, and put into my trash can as a liner.  I know it then goes to my local landfill, where I imagine it happens to get ripped open somewhere along the way, and emptied again, and then blown away to the Jersey coast.  Thought the story was over?  Not yet.  Then my plastic bag happens to find its way into the ocean through the sandy beaches, and finally the stomach of a sea turtle where it lays in its final resting place because plastic cannot be digested or passed by animals.  It will stay in their stomachs, potentially blocking other food intake until they slowly and painfully starve to death.  Not the kind of diet I’m trying to take on, and certainly not the kind of diet any innocent sea turtle deserves to get either.

So I’m sure you’ve heard about it in the news before, but plastic pollution is a serious problem.  According to EnviroSax, the United States uses an estimated 380 million plus plastic bags a year.  To put things in perspective, that’s over 1,200 plastic bags per U.S. resident, every year!  The problem, however, lies in where all these plastic bags end up.  Only 1 to 2% of plastic bags in the U.S. end up getting recycled.  This leaves plastic bags as one of the top two debris items most often found in coastal clean-ups.  While some animals end up eating the bags, mistaking them for jellyfish, or plastic pellets for fish eggs, many more become entangled and choke on them.  In fact, plastic pollution has gotten so bad, on a single day in 2007, 400,000 volunteers around the world picked up more than 6 million pounds of trash, with a majority of the items being plastic-made.

So what can you do to prevent sea birds and animals from taking on the plastic diet?  You can join the fight against plastic pollution!  Be more aware when out shopping.  Decline plastic bags, and bring your own reusable bags.  Don’t have any?  Get one HERE!  If you forget your bags in the car, just put the items back into your basket and bag them at your car.  You could also try writing a reminder to yourself on your shopping list so you don’t forget your reusable bags at home.  Another clever idea is to put a small sticker on the bottom corner of your driver’s side window, so when you open your car you’ll be reminded to bring your bags with you!  Feeling like you want to do even more?  Join a coastal beach clean up!  Help keep our beaches clean and safe for yourself and animals.

Be proactive, say NO to the plastic diet and join the fight against plastic pollution!

**Click HERE to watch an amazing 60 Minutes Video out of Australia, detailing plastic bags in the oceans.**

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