In honor of Earth Day on April 22, I wanted to remind you about our partnership with Seabin. Seabins are an amazing invention that help keep “debris problem areas” in water clean by collecting surface rubbish and oil near marinas, docks, yacht clubs and commercial ports. In 2019, Norwex® was honored to place 10 of these trash-collecting devices around the island of Malta, where our Global Home Office is located.
Now we’re excited to announce that we’ll be placing an additional 10 Seabins throughout every continent where we have sales companies. With 20 Seabins in the water, we estimate that over 20 tons of debris will be removed from the Earth’s oceans each year.
While the removal of 20 tons of debris each year may seem like a “drop in the ocean” compared to the estimated 9 million tons of plastic alone that pours into our oceans every year, it’s still gratifying to be a part of the solution. Especially knowing that it can take years for discarded items to decompose once they’ve found their way into our waterways.
For example, were you aware that a cigarette butt casually tossed on the beach can last for up to five years in the ocean? Or that a length of broken fishing line can linger up to 600 years? And that’s assuming the fish, birds or other marine life don’t eat them first.
Here’s a graphic reminder of why ocean pollution is a big problem—and why it’s more important than ever to do everything we can to keep pollution out of not just oceans and lakes, but the rivers and streams that feed into them too.
While this graphic doesn’t feature the single-use protective masks and gloves that have also been on the scene since the start of the pandemic, they’re now turning up at an alarming rate in our waterways and oceans as this video shows. Single-use polypropylene masks can take up to 450 years to degrade, and they should always be properly disposed of in a hazardous waste receptacle.
It harms our bodies, our planet and the creatures that live here. Here are just some of the things I’ve learned and shared about plastic over the last few years:
Plastic pollution is a huge problem. And it’s getting bigger every day.
Microplastic makes fish act weird. Fish that eat plastic are “less likely to thrive.” (I’m sure I would be too!)
Plastic bags are a huge problem for marine life. Those flimsy little bags we get at the grocery store are often mistaken for food by sea turtles and other animals.
12 items in particular have been shown to harm sea turtles. In fact 52% of sea turtles worldwide have ingested some form of plastic.
Plastics (and the chemicals in them) can harm humans. BPA and other chemicals found in plastics can leach toxic, estrogen-mimicking hormones into the foods and liquids they contain.
And as plastic items break down in the water, the tiny particles absorb toxins from surrounding pollution. As fish mistake the contaminated plastic for food, these toxins work their way up the food chain, eventually landing on our plates.
Reducing the amount of single-use plastic we rely on is really not that hard. Everyone can make simple swaps that help reduce plastic. Here are a few ways to get started:
• Need help remembering to bring your reusable bags when you shop? These nine tips will help ensure you’re never without your reusable bag again.
• Learn to say “No” to single-use plastic straws. It can be as easy as a polite, “No straw please,” when placing your drink order.
• Support companies who shun plastic like Styrofoam®. Thankfully, more and more businesses are following this trend.
• Support grocery stores that have committed to going plastic free. Did you know that packaging accounts for about 40% of the plastic created worldwide?
• Practice the 5 R’s and help your family adopt this mindset also.
• Simple switches from plastic can help keep your family safer from harmful chemicals, too. Did you know that plastic shower curtains could contain toxic chemicals?
• Try our Norwex Reusable Face Mask with BacLock®. It filters 81% of .01 micron-sized particles, it’s extremely comfortable and it’s proven to reduce the growth of acne-causing bacteria within the cloth by more than 99%.