My for the Atlantic

Jen Bell Delaware River Plastic Trash 2004

The state (and fate) of our oceans and inland waterways has long been a cause near and dear to my heart. Long before stories of sea creatures ingesting or being suffocated by plastic products made it into the mainstream, I was photo-documenting images like the one above. To put it all into context, this photo was taken along the Delaware River in Old New Castle, Delaware, in 2004. I was out for a run and couldn’t believe what I had just saw, so I went back to my car for my camera. We should all be more than heart-broken when we see such images. We should be terrified.

Our rich maritime culture and the fate of our ecosystem sits on the brink of irreversible disaster. And while we can’t act on behalf of other countries when they literally dump their waste into the ocean like a toilet bowl, we CAN do OUR part, here on the Atlantic, and every water way that we come in contact with.

I have made a commitment that Aolani will be 100% free of non-reusable, non-biodegradable plastic by the end of this Summer. This isn’t a sales pitch to give you yet another reason why you should make Aolani your summer shore rental. This is a invitation to help and to become part of a movement that will ensure my young son, and your children, will have clean waterways on which they will play, learn and love for a lifetime.

What Does My  for the Atlantic Mean for You?

As an avid boater and beach lover, I began noticing an abundance of polymers floating across the bay almost two decades ago. I’ll never forget fishing what appeared to be a perfectly new (30 year old) Tupperware cup out of the Indian River Inlet. To this day I wonder how many miles that cup had actually logged on the seas, lol.

Now that the message has finally reached critical mass, and it seems people are listening, don’t underestimate the value of even the smallest contribution. And it’s not about donating money (feel free to do so if you can and want to), but we all need to contribute to this cause on a very daily basis. Here’s how…

Toaster Tips for Saying No to Plastic

Traveling to just some of America’s most beautiful shorelines in an Airstream, has given me a greater appreciation for the phrase “less is more.” You need so much less than what you think you do to live comfortably and effectively.

These are my Toaster Tips for traveling this summer and reducing plastic waste:

Buy Local!

Stop by roadside stands for fruits and veggies from local farmers that you can eat in the car or when you arrive at your campsite. And forego the plastic produce bags! You really don’t need it. In lieu of reusable bags, consider leaving a durable basket in the trunk or backseat. Line the basket or bin with your reusable bags. Typically when you buy from a local fish monger or meat market, they will package your fresh cuts in paper, NOT nasty styrofoam and/or plastic. Same with breads and pastries.

  • Use Reusable bags (or Re-Use bags) as much as possible.
    • And when you don’t have them with you, try to decline the usual plastic bag. In most cases you’re just tossing your finds into the trunk or the backseat anyway. And who doesn’t need a flamingo bag?!
  • Kindly Say No to Plastic Straws.
    • And if you or your children really need to have a straw to drink, consider Stainless Steel Straws.
  • Say Goodbye to Plastic Bottles.
    • It is SO easy to leave behind the lids from your water bottles on the beach, not to mention not knowing where your bottle will end up when it hits the trash can (if it hits the trashcan). Same thing with beer bottle lids. Aluminum cans are in again, and you can find much more than just beer in there.

Support Your Local Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation

South Jersey Chapter
Jersey Shore Chapter
Delaware Chapter
Ocean City, Maryland Chapter
Virginia Beach, Virginia Chapter