Plastic Pollution

Plastic Pollution

Whatcha Got In Your Sushi?

Tags: , , , Blue Life Choices, Plastic Pollution, Research No comments
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Whatcha Got In Your Sushi?

Not that you needed more reasons to refuse the single use plastic water bottle, maybe knowing that there is on average 241 microplastics per liter could change the habit.

Yes, plastic is polluting our environment. Let’s turn our attention to microplastics – tiny pieces ranging from 5 millimetres down to 100 nanometres in diameter. These ocean microplastics are entering the food chain and, ultimately, our bodies.

But fish and shellfish aren’t our only food sources that can contain microplastics. Don’t even think mentally eliminating seafood from your diet. Other sources that don’t come from the sea might be of much more concern.

Not only that – the microplastic doesn’t innocently enter the digestive system and – well, get eliminated. Research has found microplastics in other body parts, like the liver.

Another marine food source of microplastics is sea salt. One kilogram can contain over 600 microplastics. If you eat the maximum daily intake of 5 grams of salt, this would mean you would typically consume three microplastics a day. Land animals also eat microplastics . Scientist have also found microplastics in honey and beer. We might be swallowing tens of microplastics with each bottle of beer.

Okay, back to the microplastics that we consume in bottled water. When researchers examined a variety of types of glass and plastic water bottles, they found microplastics in most of them. Single-use water bottles contained between two and 44 microplastics per litre, while returnable bottles contained between 28 and 241 microplastics per litre. The microplastics came from the packaging, which means we could be exposing ourselves to more of them every time we fill up a plastic bottle in order to reduce waste.

There is also evidence that microplastics in food come from indoor dust. A recent study estimated that we could get an annual dose of almost 70,000 microplastics from the dust that settles on to our dinner – and that is only one of our daily meals.

Sound the Alarm? Maybe Not

There are microplastics in the human food chain. Scientists were intrigued by this possibility and conducted an experiment to check. While they cooked in their kitchens, they left open petri dishes with sticky tape to collect dust fallout in the surrounding air.

They compared the amounts of plastic fibers in this dust with the quantities they found in mussels collected around the Scottish coast. The results suggest that while a regular UK consumer might ingest 100 plastic particles a year from eating mussels, their average exposure to plastic particles during meals from household dust is well over 10,000 per year.

In sum, the evidence about the dangers of plastics and microplastics in the marine environment is far from conclusive. There are important gaps in scientists’ knowledge that need filled, particularly where plastic particles are likely to accumulate in large amounts over long periods and how this potentially affects ecosystems. Or are they readily eliminated and pose little threat to humans. The jury is still out. 

But it is important not to speculate while overstating risks, and instead engage with the actual evidence. Otherwise it will detract from our ability to manage plastic pollution in the most effective way and have a clear sense of the right priorities. Stay informed, question alarming statements and for all the other MANY important reasons continue to SAY NO TO SINGLE USE PLASTIC – Recycle is not enough – refuse, reuse.

Thanksgiving Ideas – Holiday Hope

Tags: , Blue Life Choices, Mindful-Selfless, Plastic Pollution No comments
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Beginning with the plastic wrapped around your turkey, the holiday season could be a plastic disaster or an opportunity to create new traditions.

There are a lot of things we can do to reduce plastic waste.  We may not manage “zero waste”, a lifestyle where an individual doesn’t produce any trash at all, doesn’t send anything to landfills and doesn’t throw anything into trashcans. But transitioning toward such a lifestyle multiplied by millions of us – that will make an impact. Taking some time to reduce plastic build a habit through small steps with some easy things you can do on a daily basis to reduce plastic waste:

1. Refuse and avoid the use of plastics. For example, in restaurants, kindly ask the waiter to serve your beverage with no straw. In stores, if you are buying small things that can fit into your bag easily or that you can carry, refuse the plastic bag. If there is redundant plastic wrapping that isn’t necessary, but inescapable – mention it kindly. Putting that idea into the mind of others can start a domino effect of habit change.

2. Carry your own reusable water bottle. Fun fact: a lot of coffee shops will actually allow us to refill my bottle for free.

3. Bring your own shopping bag. Re-purpose any old tote bag as a shopping bag. Keep them in your car so you are always prepared for spontaneous shopping – not just at the grocery store.

4. Bring your own coffee cups.  Some coffee shops will reward customers with reusable cups by giving discounts.

5. Avoid unnecessary food packaging. It’s easy to bring along a few cotton net bags made for carrying produce – instead of several plastic bags each trip. There are many options to choose instead of plastic wrap. This is a great time re-think “stocking stuffers.” 

6. Swap your plastic toothbrush with a bamboo toothbrush. Toothbrushes are among the top 10 items found in beach cleanups.

7. Be a mindful consumer. Consumerism is one of the biggest contributing factors to current plastic pollution. Most products (think toys and packaging) are covered in unnecessary plastic. You can always shop second-hand to minimize the waste and save money.

8. Spread the word! Be inspired by the youngest generation of “NO Single Use Plastic” and ocean stewards – we love this video!

You Asked: Give Me Some Blue Life Ideas

Blue Life Choices, Plastic Pollution, Solution Strategies No comments
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When you purchase your first Blue Life Journal you will discover that it is jam-packed with ideas for adding easy-to-implement “Blue Life” actions to any day. In fact, the journal has almost 100 ideas with more coming regularly here.

One of the most powerful aspects of YOU living YOUR “blue life” is that you become the momentum powering a global wave of change. Just as millions of individual drops of sea water create the oceans waves the inspire us with their beauty, millions of individual “blue life” choices create a swell of hope. Our voiceless friend, the Ocean, will survive only if we all inspire each other.


A Few of our hundreds of Blue Life Action Ideas

Google and research local environmental groups whose mission aligns with your own – VOLUNTEER

Pack a small mesh bag in your pocket or purse – use it to collect plastic litter wherever you find it. So much better than using a plastic bag (easy to rinse and re-use)

burgerEat green a day or more per week. Meat production costs water and produces other environmental impact (too much to fully explain here). The Water Footprint Network estimates that every kilogram of bovine meat requires 15,415 liters of water to produce. That comes out to 1,847 gallons of water per pound, or more than 460 gallons for a quarter pound of beef. The Water Footprint Network also reports that its estimate includes the amount of water it takes to raise the crops that feed the cow, as well as the amount of water the cow drinks.

Bring your re-usable water bottle, coffee cup, straw and utensils. #Don’tSUCK

Say NO to single plastic liquid soap dispensers – use a bar of soap or get a stainless/glass dispenser to re-fill from ONE huge liquid soap bottle (which you recycle)


Pocket of Plastic Challenge with Zane Schweitzer & Sustainable Surf from Mat5o Media on Vimeo.

Plastic – Turning Off the Faucet

Tags: , , , Blue Life Choices, Plastic Pollution, Solution Strategies No comments
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The movement to stop plastic pollution is growing up.

Working with kids lately through the Blue Life Program I realize that they do not believe the problem is consumers and litter. They want to do beach, lakes, river and ocean cleanup – but they look straight in the face of where the problem originates. Kids are not believing stories that blame only the consumers for litter. Lately we see more honest, data driven narratives that hold corporations accountable for their role in producing waste.

We still have a long long way to go, but the conversation is catching on globally. The challenges and solutions are important to the next generation of environmental stewards. Working with young people is full of a hopeful and optimistic perspective.

How did this happen so quickly? It’s because people like you have been stepping up, speaking out, taking action in your communities and contributing to a global groundswell – every single action adds up.

I hope you will FOLLOW our efforts on FacebookTwitter and on the BLUE LIFE CONNECTIONS  website

The Blue Dance: Humans Have Two Left Feet

Tags: , Blue Life Choices, Plastic Pollution, Solution Strategies No comments
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Isabel Wijsen (middle), co-founder of Bye Bye Plastic Bags, goes on the streets of Bali to raise awareness on plastic pollution.I recently read the inspiring story of Melati Wijsen, a teen from Bali who has been the leader for Bali’s Bye Bye Plastic  initiative since 2013 when she was just 12 years old.  That’s Melati in the middle, in the picture. I was struck by her comment, “Dancing with politicians — it’s three steps forward, two steps back, and then again and again. But I understand that we need to be doing it together.”

Anyone who has been motivated to be a change maker for the Ocean against plastic pollution has done that dance. It’s the same dance we do when working to change habits even among friends and family. We are used to living the “plastic” life full of single use items, the idea that trash goes “away” and that we “need” to have certain items. We are feeding the demand by our choices. It’s time to dance together.

When I started teaching in 1970, I am not sure I was ready to appreciate the optimism, commitment, passion and voice that a group of 7th grade students could share when informed of a problem and invited to brainstorm how to make a difference. My first group of students who worked hard to save burrowing owls from a construction site, pitch for a city to invest in a recycling plant (not the usual of in those days), and fill the classroom with more questions than I could answer, inspired me. From them my “teaching” journey became more of a “learning, door-opening adventure.”

The next generation of ocean stewards are already making a difference. I created the Blue Life Journal for Kids and the accompanying Teacher Materials (no charge for the digital version) for those very young people. Whether they are inspired to be “green” on the land or have made the leap to “blue” for the ocean – it’s all connected.

Like any initiative that asks for habit change, we are going to find ourselves in the “blue dance” taking one step forward and two steps back. At other times – we waltz easily through a project and create enormous change. Either way, we need to dance together.

My hope is that you share our blog and our programs with like-minded others. Just put the link on your social media. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook. E-mail us your stories and questions. Let’s dance!

Enjoy this video about Bali’s fight against plastic (

This is how Bali is fighting plastic pollution from CNBC.

Starboard Achieves Gold Level Status ECOBOARDS

Tags: , , Blue Life Choices, Equipment, Plastic Pollution, Solution Strategies No comments
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We feature Starboard as an example of a “Blue” company leading others, sharing innovation and making a difference at the manufacturing stage of their products. We are happy to share this Press Release by Brett Giddings – Programs Manager at Sustainable Surf:
The First Gold-Level Board – Verified By Sustainable Surf

Starboard – a SUP and windsurf brand with 25 years of innovative board building and design – reaches Sustainable Surf’s Gold Level status for their Blue Carbon technology board range.
It’s no small task – requiring multiple audits of source materials, building facilities and processes, and for a brand as large as Starboard, commitment to helping the environment on a company-wide level.

End-Grain Balsa Boasts Honeycomb Properties

Starboard’s Blue Carbon technology makes them the 1st SUP Brand to mass-produce a Gold Level ECOBOARD SUP. Gold Level is awarded for using sustainable materials, sourced from responsible supply chains, with improved manufacturing processes.  Working closely with Sustainable Surf, Starboard developed several eco-conscious innovations from scrutinizing the materials used and how they build their boards.

Zane Schweitzer – Sustainable Surf Ambassador

“One of the most satisfying parts of my work is the challenge to redesign our products to lower the environmental impact and achieve higher performance.  Sustainable Surf is setting the goal posts for the industry to not only fast track, but to showcase how quickly and easily it can be to change the way we build better boards for the planet.”

Ollie O’Reilly – SUP Product Manager.

“The team at Sustainable Surf continue to be impressed and inspired by Starboard’s holistic commitment to sustainability and ocean-health. Our mission to protect and preserve ocean health starts with people and brands making better choices everyday – just like the ECOBOARD SUPs produced by Starboard, especially their new range of Gold Level models. We look forward to seeing the next round of eco-innovations from the team at Starboard.”

Brett Giddings – Sustainable Surf.

Eco Innovations involved in reaching gold level include:

Natural end grain balsa replaces PVC foam on the full deck and bottom. “End Grain” Balsa is a natural sandwich structure that is lightweight with incredible sheer strength when compared to conventional petroleum PVC foam. The carbon footprint is actually climate positive, meaning it offsets more than it consumes to use it.

ECOBOARD Project Verified 33% Plant-based bio Resin is used to laminate the entire board.

Main Inserts switching to be made from up-cycled fishing nets sourced from India. Akulon ECO is produced by DSM, a leader in sustainability.

IQ centre carry handle is made from recycled ABS.

All traction pads will be made from post-industrial waste. Recycled EVA has a high UV resistance in some colours than virgin EVA, so the pads stay the same colour for longer. Using recycled EVA reduces the amount of petroleum used by 50%.

Natural Balsa wood is now at the core of all of Starboard’s composite fins, avoiding plastic while improving flex and reducing weight. Balsa core fins made with bio-resin are up to 31% lighter on certain fin sizes.

For every board made, Starboard plants one mangrove tree, absorbing 1 ton of CO2 over a 20 year lifespan.

All packaging for accessories is now made of cardboard, with the exception of the dust bag made out of recycled plastic

In addition, all board bags are made from up-cycled PET from plastic bottles. An average of 52 bottles makes 1 typical bag.

And as an added benefit, Starboard has found most of these up-cycled materials outperform the original virgin materials.

In addition, Starboard is involved with several initiatives to reduce their footprint and impact on the environment:

Carbon Net Positive – Thor Heyerdahl Mangrove Park in Myanmar

Plastic Disclosure Project

SUP kids education program.

Education of local schools about plastic issues.

Sustainably-built offices at Starboard HQ, including solar power.

Frequent community cleanups

Partners for the Oceans with Sustainable SurfParleyTrash Hero and Watertrek.

Political lobbying for stricter plastic policies in ASEAN.

Starboard conducts full Life Cycle Analysis of their company’s carbon footprint available here.

Starboard is taking responsibility for its role in the plastic industry by offsetting their plastic footprint. This involves calculating exactly how much plastic goes into production and are now removing 48 metric tons of ocean plastic in 2018 to create a positive impact on the planet – instead of a negative one. For every board sold – Starboard collects 2 kg of ocean plastic. Starboard’s Plastic Offset Program funds local cleanups and puts a financial value on discarded plastic.

For more information on Starboard Eco initiatives visit Starboard Blue Projects