Global Recycling Day is here, which means it's time to party!
Just kidding, Global Recycling Day is actually a time reserved for self reflection and learning about how your own trash habits affect the world around you.
For example, researchers from Dauphin Island Sea Lab and Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve conducted a study on marine debris in the Gulf of Mexico. From February of 2015 to August of 2017, these researchers surveyed various barrier islands along the Gulf Coast from Mustang Island in Texas to Santa Rosa in Florida. They found that 69% to 95% of all the trash surveyed was everyday plastic items like cups, straws, and bags; the study also found that trash washed ashore at a substantially higher frequency in spring and summer. The most upsetting of the findings? Out of all the states surveyed, Texas had the highest levels of trash along its shores.
Message from Flynn: Want to learn more about trash along the Gulf Coast? Click here!
Marine debris is not just a major aesthetics issue while you are on vacation, it can have a massive effect on the local wildlife and ecosystems. For example: sea turtles like Flynn often mistake plastic bags for their favorite food, jellyfish!
The good news, though, is that you can make a difference by properly disposing of your trash today! Don’t know where to go for recycling on the island? No worries!
5 Tips For Recycling The Port A Way:
1. Make Sure You Know What Goes Where
When it comes to proper recycling, half the battle is knowing what belongs in the bin and what belongs in the trash. The general rule for all recycling is that clean and dry paper, empty plastic containers, and empty aluminum/tin/steel cans are okay to recycle. If any of the aforementioned objects contain food or biological contaminants, they must be disposed of in the trash along with styrofoam, liquids, glass, tissue products, food waste, and food wraps.
Flynn Tip: My favorite recycling memory mnemonic is “A Sea Turtle Paddles Proudly,” which stands for Aluminum, Steel, Tin, Paper, and Plastic!
2. When in Doubt, Look it Up
Remember, it's okay to not know something so long as you seek out answers to your questions! Sometimes it can be difficult to decide whether an object is okay to throw away or if recycling is the better option. If you have some questions about recycling, check out these guidelines from the City of Port Aransas about what materials you can recycle.
3. Keep an Eye Out for the Beach Can Recycling Stations
Remember those turtle-shaped sand pits from way back in the day? Keep Port Aransas Beautiful repurposed a few of those into recycling bins for the beach! Just look for the green recycling turtles to dispose of your cans. Click here to learn more!
4. Use a Butt-ler, Not the Ground, for Discarding Used Cigarettes
It’s no secret that cigarettes are non-biodegradable and have a lot of toxic chemicals that can hurt local wildlife and ecosystems. According to Ocean Conservancy, the largest percentage of trash that gets swept into the ocean is used cigarettes. Thankfully, Keep Port Aransas Beautiful has set up various Cigarette Butt-lers around Port Aransas so you don’t have to throw them on the ground. Click here to find out more!
5. Be An Active Recycler!
Being an active participant in protecting the environment and Respecting Our Island Home doesn’t have to mean hours-long beach clean up days, or even volunteering for different events, though those are great things to do. Respecting Our Island Home and being a good steward of the environment means doing your part day by day and making small changes here and there because those small differences add up and can turn the tide in a big way! Be conscientious of how your actions affect the environment and wildlife and look for ways to improve your own habits.
Message from Flynn: Thank you for recycling and helping to keep my friends and I safe!