Tourists' Guide to Reducing Plastics


by Katlyn Morris

image: Brian Yurasits on


80% of the world’s marine pollution is plastic waste, according to the United Nations Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Pollution. In Maine, this plastic pollution is putting local fisheries at risk, meaning food choices for tourists and water quality are also under threat. But by changing your plastic use while you’re visiting the area, you can help to combat this problem.


The issue with plastic

When plastic enters the ocean, it puts the lives of millions of marine animals at risk. This has already been witnessed in Maine oysters and mussels, which contain an average of 177 plastic particles each. Experts state that 267 species of animals have been negatively impacted by plastic in the world’s oceans, and if the trend continues, by 2050, there will be more plastic in the world’s oceans than fish. Sadly, as a tourist, you’re more likely to be adding to the plastic pollution problem in Maine’s waters, as research has found that tourists are responsible for a 40% increase in ocean plastic pollution every summer. With this in mind, it’s crucial that you’re a responsible tourist while you’re staying in Maine and limit your plastic use.


Avoid single-use plastic

When you’re packing for your trip to Cape Elizabeth, avoid travel-sized toiletries, as these miniature items are ditched quickly and only add to the plastic pollution problem in Maine’s waters. Similarly, you should avoid using zip-lock plastic bags if you’re traveling via plane to the state. Last July, tourists staying in Portland got to enjoy the hottest July on record, but this meant they were constantly reaching for bottles of water to stay hydrated. It’s best to avoid single-use plastic bottles of water as they typically end up in the sea. Instead, you can protect the ocean from pollution by reusing water bottles multiple times. This way you won’t be directly responsible for any of Maine’s sea creatures ingesting any plastic and losing their lives.


Dispose of your trash appropriately

Maine is the first state in the U.S. to implement a ban on foam food packaging in 2021. So if you’re served up some food in these plastic containers, ensure you dispose of them with general waste to prevent them from being washed into the state’s oceans. All recyclable plastics that you use during your visit should be placed in the relevant recycling bins. By doing this, they’ll be reused rather than left to float in the sea. As a tourist, this benefits you as it stops microplastics from getting into the local drinking water, so you’re less likely to fall ill as a result of consuming chemicals and pathogens.

A break in a luxury Cape Elizabeth beach resort is a great way to relax and unwind from the stress of everyday life. But it’s important to think about Maine’s oceans while you’re away and to reconsider the way you use plastics so that beaches remain clean and enjoyable for everyone.

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