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There is a lot of plastic in this world: we buy stuff in it, make stuff with it and touch it everyday. A lot of plastic waste ends up in the ocean, despite our best efforts to contain our waste. Here are some easy ways to start eliminating your personal plastic footprint and save ocean animals at the same time!

Step 1: Bags

Many communities (including California, yea!) are beginning to ban plastic bags: they are light and often float away from their intended landfill/recycle destination. Sea creatures often ingest these flimsy containers, blocking their digestive systems leading to sickness and death. Its easy to reduce or even eliminate them from your life!

Bring your own - stash some in your purse/backpack/car/pocket. Ask for paper, or try carrying things without a bag, your hands are very efficient.

If you do end up stockpiling them at home, clean and save them. Many grocery stores (like Safeway) have plastic bag recycling bins near the front entrance.

Step 2: Balloons

I know this might be a hard one for some people, nostalgia and celebration are strongly tied to this plastic. But like bags they float (and pop) ending up in trees and waterways. Latex balloons will eventually degrade but mylar will not.

Earth friendly alternatives for your party are paper cutouts, streamers, handmade signs, and flowers!

Step 3: Bottles

Another tough one, so many things we love come in plastic bottles! And thats why they are a huge contributor to plastic waste gyres in the ocean.

Try to purchase beverages in glass or aluminum. Make sure to put your caps on your bottles before putting them in the recycling bin. Bring your own cup or make your own delicious beverage at home!

Step 4: Straws

This one surprised me at first, I thought 'how could such a small thing matter?' But these guys are light, like bags and balloons: they float, away from their intended landfill. Next time you order a drink, just ask for it with 'no straw' and see how easy it is to just use your lips!

Alternatives for those with sensitive teeth or great lipstick, buy a reusable straw and bring it with you! Stainless steel, glass and biodegradable straws are all good options.

For more information check out these sites:

http://storyofstuff.org/

http://www.plasticpollutioncoalition.org/

http://www.plasticsrecycling.org/

<p>Good tips.</p>

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