It is no secret that ocean plastic waste is a huge problem for our seas but, in its enormity, it’s hard to know how you as an individual can help make a difference. However, while it will ultimately be government legislation and international initiatives that are needed to solve the problem, there are some very simple things you can do to help.
One factor, says Y.CO Clearwater ambassador and ocean conservation advocate Emily Penn, is the way we think about solutions for tackling the problem of plastic waste. “We can physically block plastic from getting out there in the first place by putting barriers across our rivers and streams,” she explains. “But even better than that we can just not be using the plastic in the first place because then we won’t need to worry about it going into our seas.”
One group of people who have taken this message on board are the captain and crew of 55 metre Amels superyacht Step One. A popular charter yacht, for the past few seasons all plastic drinking bottles have been removed and, for the crew, replaced with insulated reusable bottles that can keep water cold for up to 24 hours.
The benefits, says captain Jason Spence, have been immediate and immeasurable. “There was a huge amount of plastic reduction instantly, not to mention it’s actually cheaper and we don’t have to cart on palettes of plastic bottles every week. Those days are gone - I can’t believe we used to do that really.”
This small, simple yet utterly effective change was quick and easy to implement and, in fact, made life on board even easier for a busy charter yacht crew. With thousands of superyachts making up the international charter fleet, should each one of them choose to follow suit the reduction in global ocean plastic waste could be enormous.