PLASTIC FREE JULY / How you can protect the oceans during your summer vacation
Swimming around my house (on Hvar of course) used to be all about observing rich marine life. Now my daily swim includes picking up all the plastic bags that are swimming around, diving out the plastic shoes from the sea ground, or swimming out to grab floating pieces of styrofoam …
July is a Plastic Free Month. It´s also time when a lot of people move to the seaside to enjoy their holidays. And by staying by the sea, we need to be extra careful what we bring and use. There is no trash man, no cleaning lady that will clean the sea after us.
Many beach toys are made of cheap plastic that often contains PCV (polyvinyl chloride), phthalates, and BPA (Bispehnol A), all of which are endocrine disruptors and can mimic a body’s hormones, upsetting the normal balance and even potentially stimulating the growth of tumors. Traditional sunscreens also contain unhealthy ingredients such as oxybenzone, which is a synthetic estrogen that can contaminate your body. All this is harmful to you and the environment.
The plastic we purchase and throw away takes up to and over 500 years to biodegrade. And many summer products are often left on beaches or washed into the sea, making them easily accessible to wildlife that mistake it for food.
I wrote a lot about the waste problem of islands and pollution of the Adriatic sea. So let´s be better humans and stop polluting what we came to enjoy. Let´s use only products that are safe for us, our family and the environment. Here are 15 things you can do during your stay on the seaside:
- refuse/avoid plastic bags (bring a cotton bags)
- refuse/avoid plastic straws (you can buy glass or steel reusable straws or don´t use them at all)
- refuse/avoid plastic cups (ask for a glass or bring a reusable mug)
- refuse/avoid plastic water bottles (in case you find or buy some – Croatia you can return all plastic bottles to the shops)
- refuse/avoid plastic ice-cream decorations and plastic spoons (eat ice cream in a waffle cone)
- refuse/avoid plastic beach toys (or buy biodegradable options)
- refuse/avoid all cosmetics with microbeads ( a full list can be found here)
- don´t throw plastic ear buds, tampons, pads or anything else in the toilet
- buy eco-friendly dish washing liquid
- buy eco-friendly sunscreen
- Pack waste-free lunches and snacks
- If the island or resort doesn´t have a recycling program, re-pack all your products into reusable containers and jars at home.
- In case you have some plastic waste on the end of your vacation, if possible please take plastic waste back to land or a city where it can be recycled
- Buy local products on the market and bring your own bags and containers to carry them home in
- Leave nothing but tracks
There will be more tips and tricks for living a plastic free life coming this month,