School Email Exchange

After learning about all the plastic in the ocean, will your personal use of plastic change?

Posted on November 06 2012

Question submitted by Bainbridge High School

One thing everyone onboard has in common is a deep concern for the health of our oceans.  During afternoon classes we have shared different ways we have reduced, reused or recycled plastics at home.  For me, I learned to make sure from now on my reusable bags do not contain plastic and to bring my own mug when buying a cup of coffee at a cafe.   

We’ve also discussed how we might communicate about problems caused by the over-use of plastic and people not recycling it properly, without preaching to others or making them feel guilty.  We know that plastics have been very helpful in improving science and medicine.  There are very valid uses for it.  Just saying plastic is “bad” is not a way to change the habits of people who may be unaware of the problems it causes, but we agree we need to find positive ways to do that.  

In class today we heard from someone who works for a computer company.  She said there are people whose job it is to listen to feedback from consumers and act upon it, and encouraged us to email companies and let them know if we are unhappy with the types and amount of packaging they use.  I intend to do that.

All over the Seamans there are trash cans for regular trash and those for plastics.  The one in this photo is from the galley where we tossed some tea bags that contain plastic, as well as milk cartons, tape, bandaids, dental floss, Q-tips, and anything else made with plastic. The garbage bags are kept in a deck box specifically designed to hold them until they can be properly disposed of on shore.  Cans lined with plastic are crushed and stored below decks.