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  • Writer's pictureNatalie Gilson

How Ocean Plastics Could Impact Business in the Florida Keys

I recently spent a few days in the beautiful Florida Keys.

While the Keys are an area that's truly breathtaking both in terms of views and experiences, something that I couldn't get my head around was the sheer volume of single-use plastics that are still in use by local businesses.

It kind of blew my mind to see so many businesses that are 100% dependent on the oceans for their revenue, so entangled in single-use plastics.

That's not to say that all the businesses in the Keys are built around plastics - in fact, I really enjoyed learning about Florida's Blue Star coral restoration program from a local dive shop - but many are, and it really got me thinking about the implications of these practices for the future of the Keys and their oceans.

The Florida Keys are located on the Florida Reef - the only living coral barrier reef in the continental United States. I've dove and snorkelled around the world but being in the Keys is the first time I've seen a fully living reef, and watching lavender sea fans dancing in the current was an experience I'll never forget.

Because the Florida reef lies only a few miles offshore from the Florida Keys, this precious example of one of the world's few remaining living reefs exists only miles away from businesses that consume hundreds, if not thousands of single-use plastic items every day.

What are the implications of so much single-use plastic for the Florida Keys?

First, there's the potential detriment to the reefs themselves. From microplastics to open-water pollution to plastic consumption by marine life, plastics are a significant threat to the Florida Reef as we know them today.

Beyond the reefs' impact, what will an overabundance of single-use plastics do to the tourism industry?

If your tiki bar is located right on the beach like so many are in the Keys, and your beaches become littered with the plastics you serve your drinks in, will people still visit you?

If your snorkel charter sells plastic bottles of water to guests and those plastic bottles end up littering the reef, who will want to snorkel there?

There has to be a better, more ocean-positive way to do business in the areas of the world, like the Keys, that rely so heavily on the ocean.

I understand that single-use plastics are cheap for businesses.

I get that plastics keep shards of glass off the beach, protecting the feet of beachgoers.

I respect that there aren't always easier options for businesses.

But when your business is on the line because our oceans are at risk, isn't it worth innovating to try and find something new to do that's good for business AND the oceans?

Positive ocean innovation doesn't have to be expensive.

It doesn't have to change everything you do.

It's about balancing business growth and positive ocean impact and finding solutions that work for both... create a better future for the oceans AND stronger, more sustainable businesses.


Book a discovery call to learn more about how you can balance business growth and positive ocean impact.


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