Let’s Ditch it: #UnnecessaryPlastic

I am finishing up a publication on the stomach content of sea turtles and from my first dissection the message was clear: sea turtles are eating anthropogenic debris.

(“anthropo”= human; “genic” = produced)

You’ve probably heard it called marine debris, but I like putting human –generated right there in the name, because it is. Because we created this situation, we can improve the situation, starting with small adjustments to our daily routinesEach one of us, as consumers, can refuse to buy things unnecessarily packaged-in/wrapped-in/made-of plastic. We have a voice, we can all make a difference – please, refuse and reduce single-use plastic consumption!

Now, back to my story… Anthropogenic debris in the ocean is not new news, but the magnitude of the situation never hit as close to home as when I’d spend hours pulling plastic bottle caps and necks, bags, markers, lighter pieces, out of the stomachs of endangered and threatened species.

During my lab work it got to the point that one day I tried to go to the grocery store and buy nothing packaged in plastic, I nearly had a panic attack and left with a banana and a can of black beans. I realized, of course, when I got home that the banana had a plastic sticker on it and the can of black beans was probably lined with plastic.

 I am not a perfect consumer, I avoid as much plastic, especially single-use plastic, as possible but sometimes I find it can be unavoidable. It’s about baby steps and we can take them together!

Inspired by the findings of my study, I’m starting a series on my blog called “Ditch it: Unnecessary Plastics” to point out some of the things we don’t really need and can very likely live without. I’ll post some non-plastic (or at the very least non-single-use) alternatives to the items as well*. If you see some in your daily ventures please take a picture and tag it #UnnecessaryPlastic

Today’s #UnnecessaryPlastic: Plastic toothpicks

I found these at HEB the other day, right next to the wood toothpicks. They literally stopped me in my tracks.

The bullet points are comical and, although I have not tried one myself, cannot imagine they are truly that  much more amazing than wood toothpicks, gum, or good ol’ toothbrush and toothpaste.

#UnnecessaryPlastic (appologies for poor quality photo, wasn't expecting it to help inspire a blog post) photo: K. Wedemeyer at HEB, College Station, TX

(appologies for poor quality photo, wasn’t expecting it to help inspire a blog post)
photo: K. Wedemeyer at HEB, College Station, TX


Alternative: Wood toothpicks, gum, toothbrush and toothpaste


*I realize that my alternatives may not be perfect and potentially have detrimental environmental effects of their own – if you have another alternative that is a better option please suggest it, the more the merrier!


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