Why Buy Ocean Friendly?
Blue Water Bento seal cups tucked in a dry bag for responsible kayaking adventures while viewing sea otters at a respectful distance.
The Ocean Friendly Consumer
The choices you make as a consumer matter, but what makes a company or product Ocean Friendly? Navigating the no plastic movement as a consumer can appear daunting. Plastics are across our headlines: microplastics in our drinking water, plastic debris in the stomachs of marine wildlife, and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch growing into a noxious island of plastic. All of these represent threats to ecological communities globally. However, there is hope as more companies like ECOlunchbox are fighting the plastic epidemic with Ocean Friendly products, and we as consumers can aid this movement through what we choose to purchase.
Plastics are poisoning our oceans and our bodies. Chemicals in plastics such as BPA (Bisphenol-A) and BPS (Bisphenol-S) are linked to a chain of serious health risks. These components are endocrine disruptors, meaning they interrupt the function of our hormones by increasing or decreasing production, changing hormone signaling, impacting cellular function, and more. Knowing these risks, we cannot ignore that these are likely having physiological consequences in other species.
We are drowning in plastic and so is wildlife. The sheer amount of plastic littering our natural environments is disrupting habitats, animal behavior, and being unknowingly consumed. Bioaccumulation is the increasing concentration of toxins in tissues that has higher levels up the food chain. This accumulation may have severe consequences for species that depend on the marine environment for food.
If a sea otter, a keystone predator in California coastal communities, consumes large amounts of marine invertebrates (many of them filter feeders), it is possible they are also accumulating the chemicals from plastic debris over time. However, little is known about the effects of plastic bioaccumulation and there is a need for more research on the physiological impacts, which may also affect human seafood consumption. Truth is, plastics are not just disrupting hormones, they ultimately have the power to disrupt entire trophic (food-web) systems.
What is an Ocean Friendly Product?
If you are seeking ocean friendly products, it’s important to first define what that means. To be ocean friendly is to choose sustainable products and environmentally conscious methods that promote the health and biodiversity in our oceans. As a consumer you can choose sustainably sourced seafood, you can reduce waste, use recyclables, but ultimately one of the most beneficial steps to take is to say NO to plastics. It is always good to reuse, and if you have a plastic product that can be refilled that is a good option. Stay away from single-use plastics, but also try and stay away from plastic in general - most cannot be recycled and less than 1% of plastics globally are successfully recycled.
So, shake off your plastic dependency and join in promoting a plastic-free future for you and our ocean-dwelling neighbors. More companies, like ECOlunchbox, are striving for this change, and consumers have the power to promote a widespread mainstream no plastics revolution.
Choose Wisely – Your Choice Matters
Many question whether their decisions can make an impact, but the reality of a consumer market is that each and every one of us shapes ‘consumerism.’ By choosing companies like ECOlunchbox, that outwardly promote Ocean Friendly products and have missions of reducing plastic, you are supporting and shaping this change.
ECOlunchbox is a mission-based, plastic-free lunchbox company that strives to eliminate plastics from lunchtime for the health of people and the planet. The beauty of the boxes and Bentos is that they not only promote healthier eating, but they also eliminate the need for plastics, and encourage better food storage. Say goodbye to plastic baggies and smooshed sandwiches – invest in a product that is safe, sturdy, and plastic-free – truly Ocean Friendly.
Remember, give yourself permission to be choosy and feel comfortable speaking up and reaching out to companies you feel can do better – they need to know. And most of all, choose companies that care, so you support those that are producing better ocean-friendly products.
Guest Blogger Bio: Heather Barrett's interest in ecology began at a young age while participating in outdoor programs with her biologist parents, and interning with the Lawrence Hall of Science and Berkeley Botanical Garden. At University she took a marine focus at UC Santa Cruz where she joined Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Sea Otter Research and Conservation program (SORAC). She is now a recent graduate of Moss Landing Marine Laboratories where she returned to her sea otter roots and investigated the energetic cost of human disturbance to sea otters, collaborating with Sea Otter Savvy.