The Blue You:
Gifts That Make a Bigger Difference
By Cambria Bartlett & Aislinn Clark
Single-use plastics are a huge hazard to our oceans, and most marine debris starts out as land pollution. Every time you toss a plastic cup from Jamba Juice in the garbage or throw away the wrapper on a Snickers bar, those small bits of plastic could easily get into the marine food chain and kill many creatures. This problem gets much worse around the holidays. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, household waste increases by more than 25% from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. However, by making small changes in your lifestyle, you can easily reduce your single-use plastic usage. For the holidays, why not give your family or friends reusable products that not only benefit the receiver of the present, but also the rest of our environment.
Think About Your Drink
When we’re out and about and stop to get a drink, we often don’t think. The drink usually comes in a plastic cup, with a plastic lid, and a plastic straw. That doesn’t seem like too much plastic when it’s just your drink, but multiply that by billions of people and you’ve got yourself a problem!
If you bring a reusable container, instead, you can reduce the amount of plastic that could end up in our oceans. Here are a few reusable beverage containers that you might try, and that make great gifts:
For smoothies, this stainless steel tumbler comes with a lid and straw. It keeps your drink icy cold for hours. For people who want to use mason jars that they already have, why not try these super fun and colorful mason jar tops with holes for straws in them? These stainless steel straws would work nicely with the colorful mason jar tops. Since the stainless steel straws get very cold, you might want to try glass or bamboo instead.
Don’t be a Dope, Use Good Soap
You might think that soap is just an innocent cleaning product, but some soap has a dirty little secret. To improve its scouring ability, many soaps contain microbeads. These microbeads are very small and easily travel into the ocean and become part of the marine food chain. According to Dr. Chelsea Rochman of the University of Toronto, one in four fish she studied in Half Moon Bay, California, and Indonesia had plastic in their stomachs. Instead of polluting the sea, consider buying and giving the Causebar. This soap is made from organic goat milk and contains a blue marble representing our gratitude for the water that gives us life. Part of the proceeds helps save baby sea turtles.
It’s in the Bag
In November, California became the first state to ban single-use plastic grocery bags. This means that all of your friends and family members in California are going to need a set of reusable shopping bags!
This brightly colored woven tote bag is made from recycled materials, or for those who like simplicity, these canvas bags are just the right thing. These mesh bags, made from recycled plastic drink bottles, are great for carrying and storing produce.
That’s a Wrap—No, Actually a Reusable Wrap!
Every year, people in the U.S. throw away 4 million tons of trash from gift wrap and shopping bags, but there are many reusable alternatives. These stretchy wraps can cover odd shapes and are easy to use. This beautiful fabric gift covering comes with a built-in bow and can cover smaller items of just about any shape. Furoshiki are traditional Japanese wraps once used for bundling clothes at public bath houses. Today they are often used to wrap gifts. This furoshiki has a nice wave pattern that can remind the gift recipient of the sea.
This year, don’t be part of the problem, be part of the solution. Give gifts that make a difference not only to your friends and family, but to everyone—and future generations.