Changing the Tides on Plastic Pollution

I try to never lose sight of just how lucky we are to live a few miles away from the pristine beaches that surround Wilmington, NC. Locals in this area are blessed to have some of the most gorgeous, well-kept beaches on the East Coast, thanks to regular beach sweeps led by a number of committed nonprofit organizations, like the Surfrider Foundation and the Plastic Ocean Project.

Last week, at a Rotary Conference, I had the pleasure of hearing the Executive Director of the Plastic Ocean Project, Bonnie Monteleone, give a talk about her research and conservation efforts. To be honest, I was blown away, but what I learned wasn’t pretty. The state of our oceans is dire: Every year, 9 million metric tons of plastic are dumped into the ocean, and the average American contributes 185 pounds of plastic to that.

To put this into perspective, the World Economic Forum predicts there will be more plastics in our oceans than fish by 2050. Already, microplastics kill millions of marine animals of all sizes, from zooplankton to whales, every year.


This art installation imitates real life, unfortunately: in Spain, a whale washed up on shore with 64 pounds of plastic debris in its body!

Hearing depressing, big-picture information like this, it’s easy to wonder what you can possibly do – if anything at all – to make a difference. Personally, I was so compelled by what I was hearing, I signed on Matchmaker Logistics as a Corporate Sponsor for the Plastic Ocean Project. But beyond donating money or raising awareness, there’s actually a lot that we can do, every single day.

Step one: Cut down on single-use plastics like the bags you get at the grocery store and straws from restaurants. Bring your own reusable tote and get yourself a FinalStraw, one you can reuse over and over again. Our Office Administrator extraordinaire, Lindsey Slingerland, is the perfect example of this: Ask her about her forever straw!

Step two: Make it fun. Here, a few ways you can enjoy yourself and support clean oceans:

  • Choose to eat at ocean-friendly establishments, like Bluewater Grill, Catch, Hieronymus Seafood Restaurant, Oceanic, and the Shuckin’ Shack.
  • ShopAll of these companies donate a portion of their proceeds to support the Plastic Ocean Project.
    Take your boat out and go fishin’ for plastic. (Thank you, Mary!)
  • Help break the next world record – 633 divers conducted a mass clean-up in Florida, setting a world record for the largest mass subaquatic clean-up of a section of seabed.

plasticOr, join a beach clean-up crew on a smaller scale – just bring a bag with you, the next time you head out for a long walk down the coastline. For your next family beach day or vacation, bring your kids along and show them what caring for the oceans looks like.

Together, we can change the tides and fight plastic pollution.

Fuel for Thought,