j. #BePlasticWise "You Clean Up Nicely"


The Problem: 
In one week of laundering synthetic clothes, a household can add hundreds of thousands of Plastic pollution in the ocean is truly a global problem. Did you know that microplastics are found in Arctic waters? Zooplankton can mistake microplastics for food, which can have a troubling impact on the aquatic food web. Our researchers explore the effects of plastic and other pollution on ocean life.

Every bit of plastic elimination can help keep our oceans healthy. Keep up the good work and continue to reduce plastic use while cleaning house!

Tonnes of Plastic

Did you know the amount of plastic that ends up in the ocean each year is approximately the same weight as 100,000 blue whales? That’s between 5 and 13 million tonnes! Click on the video to learn more about how plastic ends up in the ocean.


The Challenge:
This month, pledge to #BePlasticWise by reducing single use plastics when you clean the house, your room or your classroom. 

Count the number of plastic containers full of household cleaners in your cupboards. Whoa! Imagine if you lived in Pond Inlet, Nunavut, where such cleaners are much harder to dispose of responsibly. Shelly Elverum, program lead of Ocean Wise's Ikaarvik: Barriers to Bridges Arctic youth program, talks about reducing her single-use plastic. See below

Use What You Trust   

Think about switching to natural cleaning agents. If they were praised by your great-grandparents, why not check 'em out? Stock up on baking soda for stains, squeeze lemon juice for bleaching, and scrub on distilled white vinegar to eliminate lime scale. You're probably going to prefer the smell of this stuff to those of the chemical cleaners. Plus making your own products reduces plastic waste!

You Clean Up Nicely

Curious to know which products harm or help the ocean? Here's a tip: Avoid products with phosphates on the label. While phosphates do support the growth of algae and aquatic life, too many phosphates can make it grow faster than the ecosystem can handle. This is another great reason why making your own cleaners can be helpful for our oceans!

Take a picture of your class and/or coworkers as you embark on your Plastic Wise challenges! Post that picture of you and your students/coworkers using your plastic free cleaning solutions on our blogdiscussion board, or gallery. Be sure to use the hashtag: #BePlasticWise.


Learning Objectives

1) Do you foresee any difficulties going about this challenge? Why or Why not?

2) Were you aware of the issues regarding harmful cleaners and plastic waste?

3) Do you think that individually we can make a difference in our environment? Do you think that collectively we can make a difference? Why or why not?

4) How do our actions (positively or negatively) impact the environment?

Mid- challenge/After the Challenge:

5) Was/is this as difficult as you thought it would be? Why or why not?

6) What was/is your experience of completing this challenge?

Resources to use:

Cleaning House - Shelly Elverum

Whats life like in an Arctic Research Camp?

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