Plastic in your seafood

So, just in case you haven’t heard, the ocean is filled with plastic.  According to a publication of the World Economic Forum in January 2016, at least 8 million tons of plastics are leaked into the oceans.  Most of this leakage is a result of plastic packaging.

Each year, at least 8 million tonnes of plastics leak into the ocean – which is equivalent to dumping the contents of one garbage truck into the ocean every minute. If no action is taken, this is expected to increase to two per minute by 2030 and four per minute by 2050.

By 2050, it is expected that there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.

There are videos going viral on social media showing miles and miles of floating plastic islands, beaches on remote islands covered in plastic.  These videos put a face to the danger, and yet we’re still not doing enough to slow it down.

As a child of the 80’s, I grew up in a time of major environmental concern.  As a species, we finally saw what we were doing to our planet and we were committed to making a difference.  Of course, we wanted a better world for ourselves, but our environment and the animals we share this planet with needed immediate action.  I can clearly remember watching Captain Planet every Saturday and I organized a few clean-ups around my neighborhood (and I may or may not have been the only participant in those cleanups…).  Recycle-Reduce-Reuse posters were plastered all around my school and I carefully cut the plastic beverage holders so that no animals would become stuck with one around their body.  This wasn’t enough.

Now, as an adult, I’m paying $44/year for recycling service through my waste service, and in some places like the City of Portage and the City of Kalamazoo offer city-wide, single-stream recycling.

If you aren’t already taking advantage of the recycling services around you, please take a moment to find out what is holding you back.  Single-stream services have made it so easy to do the right thing for the planet, and $12 every 3 months is not a lot to pay for a better future.

Even though you may not live near a visibly polluted body of water, there are plastic fibers, invisible to the naked eye contaminating our rivers and lakes.  And, if you’re eating seafood from the ocean or our Great Lakes, you can bet you’re ingesting plastics.

During a 2013 sample of Lake Michigan, researchers found 19,000 micro-fibers per kilometer when the surface water was strained with mesh netting.  The plastic fibers are coming from fleece items being laundered.  The washing machine water then enters the environment along with these micro-fibers that are too small to be filtered out in water treatment facilities.

Microbeads, like those found in face washes, toothpaste and other home and healthcare products are also causing problems for marine life.  These microbeads have been phased out of health care products with the last production being in July of 2017, but they are still causing problems for our environment.

The World Economic Forum report states that only about 14% of plastic packaging is collected for recycling.  This means that all of us can do a lot better.

Want more info?  Check out these sources.

http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_The_New_Plastics_Economy.pdf

https://greatlakes.org/campaigns/microbead-menace/

http://michiganradio.org/post/scientists-lookout-microfibers-your-fleece-jackets-great-lakes

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-great-lakes-fiber-pollution-20150130-story.html

Shopping for Dog Lovers

Written by guest blogger Jessica Brody, OurBestFriends.pet

woman with aussie puppy

Got someone on your gift list who is in love with her dog? You’re in luck. Dog lovers are relatively easy to shop for because they always need new gear for their dogs. Here are some of the many things your dog lover will treasure.

A dog bed

black puppy in dog bedA memory foam dog bed with a foam bumper is a great gift. The dog may well end up sleeping better than his owner. New research shows that people who sleep in a room with one dog sleep better than people who sleep with no dog. The trick is: the dog needs to have his own bed. People who share their beds with dogs have sleep disruptions that outweigh the benefits.

Be sure you:

  • Make sure there is a good space in your friend’s house or apartment for a dog bed. If there simply isn’t enough floor space, buy another gift.
  • Get the right size bed. Too big is much better than too small.
  • Be sure the bedding material will not aggravate the allergies of the dog or his human.

Recycled wine bottle candles

Even the best dog owners don’t always love the way their houses smell. Dogs are wonderful companions, but they leave an odor behind on fabrics, especially bedding.

If the dog lover on your list already uses air fresheners or candles, consider buying her a set of recycled wine bottle candles. This great gift:

  • is original and crafty.
  • reuses resources. Since many pet owners are also environmentalists, they love to recycle or buy recycled art.
  • is so much prettier and better smelling that those installed air fresheners.

Dog coat

two dogs in coatsSome dogs, like huskies and bichon frises, have ample fur to keep them warm. Other, shorter haired dogs may need a fleece coat and rain jacket to get them through the winter. The best test is whether your friend’s dog shivers on a cold day and looks miserable. Dogs should enjoy the outdoors at almost any time. The right dog coat could make an important difference, especially if the dog’s owner is outdoorsy.

Here’s a short list of dogs most in need of coats:

  • They are both skinny and super thin coated.
  • Short-legged dogs like bassets, corgis, and dachshunds.
  • Older dogs, eight or more in years.
  • Dogs with health issues, especially diabetes.

GPS collar clip with charger

The dog owner’s worst nightmare is a lost dog. Unfortunately, microchips are of limited value. Mostly they are used by veterinarians to return lost dogs to their owners. But what if no good samaritan steps forward to take your dog to the nearest vet?

The gift of a GPS collar clip will allow your friend to track his dog’s location without having to call every pound and veterinarian in an effort to locate him. This gift also:

  • Tells the owner how much exercise his dog has gotten.
  • Tells the owner the precise locations of his dog throughout the day.
  • Keeps dog walkers and daycare personnel honest.

Dog water bottle

It might seem a little over the top, but not if your dog lover takes his dog everywhere. Dogs need to drink, but human water bottles are not contoured to let a dog easily drink from them. And some dog lovers might balk at sharing their water bottle, no matter how much they love Fido.

A dog water bottle is designed to accommodate the shape of a dog’s muzzle. So the dog lover on your list knows that his dog has gotten a real drink and not just splashed a lot of water on the ground. This is a great gift for:

  • People who take their dogs on vacation.
  • People who take their dogs camping or hiking.
  • People who take their dogs to cafes and parks.

Shopping for the dog lovers in your life is a creative and fun endeavor. Use your imagination and enjoy the experience!

KHS Blog Authors

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