5 Great Ways to Reduce Microplastics
Did you know that a 2018 study found that the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore had the highest levels of microplastics among 37 US coastal beaches? You can listen and read more about that study from Wisconsin Public Radio.
Education and research doesn't have to be a part of doom-scrolling. While we may not like what we find, it can encourage us to make actionable changes in our own lives.
It only takes one trip to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore to fall in love and build your connection to this amazing place and the surrounding communities.
Here are 5 great ways that you can help reduce your contributions to microplastics ending up in all waterways.
- MEND - Repairing and mending your garments is the perfect way to keep those items out of landfills and garbage systems. Fashion waste contributes to 34 billion pounds of garbage annually just in the US! Often made of polyester and other synthetic plastic fibers, these garments break apart into tiny (often microscopic) pieces that do not fully break down.
- CARE - Caring for our garments keeps them in the best shape for the longest period of time. By reducing washing, choosing soaps that don’t strip away coatings, and reconditioning our garments, we can reduce the amount of wear and tear of our “work hard, play hard” lifestyles.
- REUSE - Reducing our consumption of disposable items is one of the easiest and fastest ways of reducing our plastic waste. Single-handedly one of the worst culprits is bottled water and single use plastic grocery bags. Reusable bags and water bottles are an easy choice to reduce your impact today.
- CHOOSE RECYCLED CONTENT & COTTON - Polyester and plastic-based textiles in the fashion industry increase every year. Pop those tags and read care labels before you purchase. Look for natural fibers, recycled content such as name brand
REPREVEⓇ, or new materials like PolartecⓇ Power Air™ that reduce microfiber shedding.
- EXPLORE - The best way to inspire stewardship is through connection. By getting out and enjoying these amazing places, we create a sense of belonging and attachment to the land and creatures within it.
Want to explore the Apostle Islands and the Chequamegon Bay? High-five! Here are some awesome resources:
Another great way to connect and help is by donating your time or means to local organizations working to protect your parks and waterways. Here are some great ones in the Chequamegon Bay area:
We hope you find even more reasons to love and care for this incredibly beautiful place.
More Food for Thought:
Microplastics are tiny bits of plastic that are less than 5mm in length. They enter our waterways from garbage, clothing, cosmetics, and anywhere we're using plastics in our life. Have you noticed the differences in your Tupperware lids, kids' plastic toys, or that favorite fuzzy sweatshirt over time? Little bits break off and eventually work their way into our streets, soils and water systems.
Once in our waterways, these microplastics not only end up collecting in the places we love but also end up ingested by the fish and animals we eat and the water we drink.
While studies are still being done on the lasting effects, a 2023 study published in the Journal of Hazardous Materials labeled “Plasticosis” a new disease in seabirds caused by inflammation from consistent exposure and ingestion of microplastics.
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