There are a ton of articles, literature, and scientific studies that show how damaging plastic waste is to marine life, but the problem remains. Recently, Greenpeace Philippines took action. The non-profit created a work of art designed to be a wake-up call for all consumers.

Greenpeace created a 50-ft dead whale out of plastic debris and put it on a beach for the public to see. It’s a shocking piece with red debris symbolizing blood coming from the whale’s back and loads of plastic bottles gushing from its mouth.

Greenpeace hopes the shocking artwork forces consumers to stop using plastic altogether.

Photo Credit: Vince Cinches / Greenpeace Philippines

The damage caused by plastic pollution in the ocean

A staggering amount of that plastic ends up in the water. There is 270 million tons of plastic waste floating in the ocean. That’s the weight of 36,000 elephants, or 135,000 cars.

It’s estimated that plastic garbage affects 700 marine species, according to Plymouth University. Animals not only get tangled in plastic debris, but they digest it too.

Sea Turtles, for example, mistake plastic waste for food, which obstructs their digestive system and can lead to death. Seabirds that dive into the ocean after fish often grab a mouthful of plastic as well.

Sea creatures killed by plastic garbage continue to make headlines. In Spain, for example, rescuers tried to save a beached sperm whale only to find that the animal had ingested so much plastic that it couldn’t survive. Inside the whale was 38 pounds of plastic trash that had blocked its digestive system.

Photo Credit: Vince Cinches / Greenpeace Philippine

Plastics aren’t being recycled

To help stop the flow of plastics into the ocean, consumers have to take action. Many people believe that most plastic in the U.S. is recycled. After all, plastic water bottles and laundry detergent jugs are all recyclable, right?

True, some plastics are recyclable, but the truth is just 6.5% of plastic is actually recycled, according to Columbia University.

Why are rates so low? Some plastics aren’t recyclable at all, others get contaminated and are separated out at a recycling plant, and sometimes people choose not to recycle.

The result is a glut of plastic that makes its way into the ocean.

Time for a solution

There’s no question that plastic waste is hurting marine life, and since such a small amount of plastic is recycled it’s not a viable solution.

To keep plastic out of the ocean, consumers must make a change. Rather than buying disposable plastic containers, why not buy refillable bottles?

You could take refillable bottles to your local retailer and get them filled with your favorite product at a small, do-it-yourself kiosk. For instance, you can get laundry detergent refilled, mouthwash, soap, perfume – you name it.

The technology exists but retailers don’t think consumers are willing to use it.

Given the harmful effects of plastic consumption, it’s time for consumers to refill bottles. Tell retailers that you’d like to refill bottles to keep hundreds of marine animals safe from plastic pollution.

Join the movement. Tell retailers #WeWantRefill. Sign the petition below.