The sea is filling fast with garbage, but there are 3 things the world can do to stop it.

Some very smart people have some very smart plans to fix this.

As the saying goes, there are plenty of fish in the sea.

This is a sea bream (Diplodus Vulgaris) fish. Photo by Emily Irving-Swift/AFP/Getty Images.


But it might be just as true — if not quite as applicable — to say, "There's plenty of plastic in the sea, as well."

In fact, a new report from the World Economic Forum and Ellen MacArthur Foundation predicts that by 2050, our oceans will be filled with more plastic than they are fish. Currently, the ratio of fish to plastic (in weight) is 5:1, but that's changing quickly.

A plastic bottle is seen coated in oil on Pensacola Beach. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

This is likely happening because we love plastic but hate recycling.

As it turns out, only 14% of plastic ever gets recycled. Of the 78 tonnes (around 86 U.S. tons) of plastic produced each year, 40% of it winds up in landfills, and 32% leaks into the soil and oceans.

That's not great. This behavior hurts the world economically: Because most plastic packaging is used just once, somewhere between $80 billion and $120 billion worth of plastic gets discarded each year. It also hurts us environmentally: In addition to the dumping in the ocean, producing plastic has a negative impact on climate change.

So, what's there to do? Well, some very smart people have some very good ideas.

Those ideas are actually the crux of the New Plastics Economy report. It's an achievable three-step plan to change our relationship with plastics, hopefully helping the world both environmentally and economically.

Here's what they recommend:

1. Recycle!

We really need to start recycling. That might mean creating new incentives for consumers to recycle, and it probably involves making the process of recycling more efficient as well as looking into bio-degradable plastic alternatives.

2. Reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in the ocean by encouraging multi-use packaging.

It would be smart to shift to multi-use plastic packaging that has some after-use value. Making it economically advantageous to keep using the same piece of plastic over and over (even if it's for different issues) could save us.

3. Move away from traditional, fossil-fuel-based manufacturing.

Instead of making plastic through traditional methods, we need to put an emphasis on creating technology that allows us to more efficiently manufacture plastic via "bio-based" materials like plants or captured greenhouse gasses.


Photo by Indranil Mukherjee/AFP/Getty Images.

While steps 2 and 3 are mostly about manufacturing, there are some important things we can do as consumers.

Namely, we can stop throwing plastic away! When you toss it, it winds up either in a landfill (not good) or in the ocean (even worse). And while, sure, it may take a little more effort to recycle, you really are helping the environment in the long-run.

I mean, if we want our oceans filled with this...

Photo by Boris Horvat/AFP/Getty Images.

...instead of this...


That's a LOT of plastic. Photo by China Photos/Getty Images.

...we need to step up our recycling game. You in?

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Breasts were made to feed babies. Yes, they also have a sexual function but anyone who has the maturity of a sixth grader knows the difference between a sexual act and feeding a child.

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Courtesy of Macy's

In many ways, 18-year-old Idaho native, Hank Cazier, is like any other teenager you've met. He loves chocolate, pop music, and playing games with his family. He has lofty dreams of modeling for a major clothing company one day. But one thing that sets him apart may also jeopardize his future is his recent battle against a brain tumor.

Cazier was diagnosed in 2015. When he had surgery to remove the tumor, he received trauma to his brain and lost some of his motor functionality. He's been in physical, occupational, and speech therapy ever since. The experience impacted Cazier's confidence and self-esteem, so he's been looking for a way to build himself back up again.

"I wanted to do something that helped me look forward to the future," he says.

Enter Make-A-Wish, a nonprofit organization that grants wishes for children battling critical illnesses, providing them a chance to make the impossible possible. The organization partnered with Macy's to raise awareness and help make those wishes a reality. The hope is that the "wish effect" will improve their quality of life and empower them with the strength they need to overcome these illnesses and look towards the future. That was a particularly big deal for Cazier, who had been feeling like so many of his wishes weren't going to be possible because of his critical illness.

"In the beginning, it was hard to accept that it would be improbable for me to accomplish my previous goals because my illness took away so many of my physical abilities," says Cazier. His wish of becoming a model also seemed out of reach.

But Macy's and Make-A-Wish didn't see it like that. Once they learned about Cazier's wish, they knew he had to make it come true by inviting him to be part of the magical Macy's holiday shoot in New York.

Courtesy of Macy's

Make-A-Wish can't fulfill children's wishes without the generosity of donors and partners like Macy's. In fact, since 2003, Macy's has given more than $122 million to Make-A-Wish and impacted the lives of more than 2.9 million people.

Cazier's wish experience was beyond what he could've imagined, and it filled him with so much joy and confidence. "It is like waking up and discovering that you have super powers. It feels amazing!" he exclaims.

One of the best parts about the day for him was the kindness everyone who helped make it happen showed him.

"The employees of Macy's and Make-A-Wish made me feel welcome, warm, and cared for," he says. "I am truly grateful that even though they were busy doing their jobs, they were able to show kindness and compassion towards me in all of the little details."

He also got to spend part of the shoot outdoors, which, as someone who loves climbing, hiking, and scuba-diving but has trouble doing those activities now, was very welcome.

Courtesy of Macy's

Overall, Cazier feels he grew a lot during his modeling wish and is now emboldened to work towards a better quality of life. "I want to acquire skills that help me continue to improve in these circumstances," he says.

You can change the lives of more kids like Cazier just by writing a letter to Santa and dropping it in the big red letterbox at Macy's (you can also write and submit one online). For every letter received before Dec. 24, 2019, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. By writing a letter to Santa, you can help a child replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy, and anxiety with hope.

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