Seven Simple Steps to Save the Turtles


Kennedy Kosienski, Staff

      Over the summer, you may have heard the phrase “save the turtles” more than a hundred times. Though this is just a phrase, it references a problem that should be addressed. In a study undertaken by the Ocean Conservatory, “Every year, 8 million metric tons of plastics enter our ocean on top of the estimated 150 million metric tons that currently circulate our marine environments.” 

    The good news is you don’t have to travel to the ocean to help clean it out; there are many alternatives that you can do to help within your community. With plastics being a major factor in contaminating our oceans, here are some statistics on the average uses per year of these plastic products and some ways to help decrease the use of these harmful products:


1.) 182.5 billion plastic straws – Popular alternatives to plastic straws are metal and rubber straws. These straws come with a brush, making them easier to clean, and they are also collapsible, making it easy for travel. (US Environmental Protection Agency)


2.) 16 billion coffee cups – Alternatives to single-use coffee cups are reusable coffee cups. You can take them to a coffee shop, and baristas will make your coffee in that cup instead of wasting a single-use cup. Some coffee shops, such as Starbucks, even offer a discount if you use any brand of reusable cup. (Earth Day Network)


3.) 50 billion plastic water bottles – Bring a water bottle to school instead of buying plastic water bottles. Thanks to Mr. Scaletta, General McLane now has water bottle refilling stations, making it easier to refill your bottle. (EcoWatch)


4.) 1 trillion plastic bags – Plastic bags end up in the ocean and look like jellyfish to many different species of marine life; thus, they attempt to eat the bags, and it severely harms them. Different alternatives to using plastic bags are buying lunch boxes to use at school and buying reusable grocery bags. Some stores even offer a discount if you use their reusable bags. (Earth Day Network)


5.) 59 million plastic sandwich bags – In addition to reusable bags or lunch boxes, you can use Tupperware or reusable plastic containers instead of single-use ziplock bags. This could save over 180 plastic baggies per school year. (Design Life-Cycle)


6.) 40 billion plastic utensils – Try to refrain from using plastic forks and spoons that are offered in the cafeteria. Instead, bring your own utensils from home, or use utensils provided by the school. (World Centric)


7.) 50 million balloons (in California alone) – Letting loose balloons into the sky is often symbolic for losing a loved one or for celebrations, but they are very harmful to the environment. They don’t degrade quickly in the ecosystem, and the strings can harm animals. Instead, try releasing biodegradable Chinese lanterns, releasing butterflies, blowing bubbles, or letting flowers go down a stream. (Busch Systems)