Jennifer Ryan-Kelly, May 2021
You may be like me, who is thinking: what could I do to help? What can I do when I don’t even live near the coast!
Ocean Cleanup Organizations
Some of these organizations include:
- Surfrider– has chapters or clubs they connect you with nearest to where you are at so that you can participate as an ocean cleanup volunteer.
- Ocean Conservancy– has a user-friendly way to host your own small group or individual cleanup. They have steps you can go through during your cleanup in order to ensure that it is safe and productive!
- 4ocean-has a volunteer signup form where you can register yourself as a volunteer with their organization. This means you will pledge to help set up cleanup events and participate in them as well. 4ocean holds events in different places that you can sign up for and participate in.
- Ocean Blue Project– has opportunities for people to create their own ocean cleanup and also to volunteer with them in their events. They also have tips on how to be successful in your cleanup and why they are so significant.
Products that Contribute to Ocean Cleanup
Here are some companies that do just that:
- 4ocean-this company is known for their bracelets. The money spent on their bracelets goes towards removing one pound of trash from the ocean, rivers and coastlines. Each bracelet also brings awareness towards a certain idea or animal in the ocean. They have different bracelets monthly, for example, this month the bracelet brings awareness towards manta rays.
- Sand Cloud– is a company that sells different types of towels that are made of sustainable organic cotton. Also, 10% of the money spent on their towels goes towards marine conservation. They also sell other accessories including reusable straws and towels.
- Patagonia– this company is quite popular, but did you know that they contribute 1% of their total annual sales to grassroots environmental groups? In 2016, that equaled out to 10 million dollars.
- Batoko– an independent swimwear brand based on the North West coast of England. Their swimwear is made from recycled plastic waste that was taken before it entered the landfill. They believe that upcycling and recycling waste into products or tools that are useful can be a very significant solution to this plastic issue.
Reduction of Waste
- Buying used goods. This one probably isn’t new to you. Thrifting for clothes has become abundantly popular in recent years. The idea that you can find fun and vintage clothing that costs much cheaper than any popular brands has hit almost every age group. Not only is this fun while allowing you to be creative, it saves you money and it helps the environment because you are not contributing to the pollution of harvesting new raw materials. This is also relevant to you giving your old clothes to thrift shops too. With you providing your old clothes, you are helping the thrift stores and others have the opportunity to keep oceans clean.
- Use Reusable Items. This includes a wide range of things including water bottles, straws, make-up wipes, cotton pads, menstrual cups, to-go items, etc. With the popularity of reusable items growing, there are more opportunities for you to switch out your single-use products for reusable ones.
- Use products that use less packaging. Packaging is a large issue in our world, especially when online shopping has become such an important part of our lives. Excess packaging typically ends up in the landfills and disposes its chemicals into the environment. With less packaging, you won’t be contributing to that.
- Reduce your food waste. Did you know that the largest component of municipal solid waste sent to landfill is food (in the U.S.)? Another way to reduce your waste is to reduce your food waste. Not only will this save you money, but it will save food from going to landfills where it will sit and then emit methane instead of decomposing properly? Cook & Culture has articles to further help with understanding food waste and your role in it, for example, the article, “10 Easy Ways to Reduce Food Waste”.
This is why organizations that offer volunteer opportunities to participate in ocean cleanups are so important to our world right now. Companies that offer products that support ocean cleanups are also crucial in being part of the solution. With these companies and organizations, we can help in the fight against trash and plastic in the ocean as well through joining them or supporting them from home.
Figuring out how you can be part of solving the cleanup of the entire ocean can seem so overwhelming sometimes. The ocean is big. This problem is big. With these different opportunities and ways to be part of ocean cleanups, you can be part of the solution. There are ways we can participate hands-on, being in on the action. There are also ways where we can simply be at home, but still be part of it all. We need people for both of these sides. We need people from all over to be contributing to this solution. This isn’t a one person or one organization thing. This is everybody-together, all hands in kind of thing.