cleaning up kahuku beach

we like to clean up whenever we can. especially when there’s a beach involved. our content manager, blair, did exactly that with Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii. then, she hijacked our blog to tell us all about it:

“I like to think of myself as a relatively environmentally conscious person. I recycle. I compost (though I must admit, fruit flies really gross me out). I bring reusable bags to the grocery store. and I use non-toxic cleaning products (cough. method plug. cough.). in short, I do all of the things you’d expect someone who grew up in a Northern California hippie family would do. but all it took was one trip to Kahuku Beach in Oahu to realize that all the good I thought I was doing, still wasn’t good enough.

I think I lost you at Oahu, so let’s backtrack a bit. method has a really innovative product line called ocean plastic. we take plastic pollution—you know, all that crap you find on beaches like the one I went to in Hawaii—and we turn that trash into soap bottles. we are literally turning trash into treasure.*

this idea was the brainchild of our co-founder and chief greenie, adam lowry. he’s not big on plastic, especially when it ends up in the ocean. did you know that an estimated 80% of marine debris in our oceans today are plastics? and did you know that plastic pollution kills hundreds of thousands of birds, sharks, turtles and whales? that’s just counting the creatures who eat it. even more animals are harmed when they get tangled in trash, like the bags, nets and ropes that are left floating in the ocean. tragic, right?

but as devastating as the facts are, I think it’s hard to grasp just how bad this problem is without seeing it firsthand. so it was a real eye-opener when I got the chance to represent our method at a beach clean-up with Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii. it was only then that I began to truly understand the scary impact that we as humans are having on this planet.

Kahuku Beach is considered to be Oahu’s dirtiest beach, yet it’s in one of the prettiest places i’ve ever been to—such a crazy juxtaposition. walking down to the beachfront and soaking in the tropical air, I looked to my right and there was trash for miles. I looked to my left and saw the same. buoys, vienna sausage cans, toothbrushes, plastic bottle caps, rope—the rubbish went on and on. one volunteer said she’d sat in the same spot for an hour and didn’t even make a dent in the garabage pile. pretty terrifying. all of it washes up on shore from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a trash pile about as big Texas that’s just sitting in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

while I don’t expect you to read this and start picking up all the trash you see, I do hope sharing my experience will inspire you to be mindful. next time you grab a coffee, think about bringing a reusable mug. take a pause before reaching for a straw. because, the reality is, even thinking about the impact you’re making is one step in the right direction.”

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