Have you ever considered that our oceans could be free from plastic and that we never have to see imagery of marine life tangled in it again? I have and I invite you to do the same.

I know, it seems like something that is far off into the future or perhaps unachievable. Each day, the media bombards us with statistics and graphic photos of the consequences of our addiction to plastic. We see all types of marine life that wash up on shores either tangled in fishing nets or with bellies full of plastic. The part that you don’t see is life not just in the oceans, but in other environments where there are casualties we never see.

We can shake our heads in disappointment and wonder what we can do, or we can take action. When the path of action is taken, it then becomes possible to see plastic free environments.

As a marine biologist and entrepreneur, I created a special long term project called Mission Plastic. Each year, approximately 8-12 million metric tons of plastics end up in our oceans from land based sources. There are many organizations around the globe that are dedicated to cleaning plastics from our oceans, however it is futile if we don’t stop plastic at the source.

What are the sources of plastic?

One large source of plastics are businesses that package their products in plastic. In fact, packaging is one of the largest industries contributing 141 millions tons per year to the waste stream. Packaging is used for a short time and then discarded. It’s a rarity that it can be recycled. If it can be recycled, few people make the effort.

Examples of this packaging include food and beverage packaging, beauty and hygiene packaging, delivery and insulation packaging, etc. What happens when we finish that bag of chips or that tube of toothpaste, or we don’t know what to do with the air pillow that came in the online delivery? These items all go straight to the trash can, or do they?

The reality is that items destined for a landfill, waste to energy facility or even a recyclery may not always make it there. Trash can end up in the environment by innocent means like the wind, or purposely dumped into places like the ocean.

The Mission Plastic campaign was designed as a grassroots movement to “make the switch.” We are bringing together people from all around the globe to help businesses switch from plastic packaging over to a sustainable alternative. This isn’t a campaign about shaming companies to do the right thing. Instead, we are providing possible sustainable packaging solutions that make sense for the planet and the business itself.

As the founder of Green Me Locally, I have been building a global directory of companies that are aimed at providing products and services to consumers that have less of an impact on the environment. Through this building process, I was able to identify companies that were already specializing in alternative packaging solutions. When the Mission Plastic campaign idea was born, I realized that the piece of finding packaging solutions was already in motion. Now, as a collective team we are able to offer viable alternatives to companies that can switch out of their plastic packaging and into something better. Our planet deserves it.

Learn more about Mission Plastic and how you can get involved as an individual or a business. We’re leading the way to cleaner oceans today!

Tara LaSalla is the founder of Green Me Locally and is a business profitability consultant. She specializes in helping companies lower their environmental impact, do good things for people and the planet and become more profitable at the same time.

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