Let’s Be Good Earthlings

With today being World Ocean Day it felt like the right time to explain why we don’t allow single-use plastic water bottles or plastic straws. At Casa Xixim we provide large water-cooler style jugs of drinking water and ask that our guests refill a glass or their own travel water bottles throughout their stay. We try to keep paper straws in stock or ask that you forgo a straw altogether. We also refill our shampoo bottles for each group instead of tossing them. These small gestures add up over time and we also hope it introduces a new habit to practice at home.

During my last visit, my sister and our 2 friends walked out to the Soliman Bay point and tide pools. We found pockets of hundreds of tiny baby hermit crabs, sea snails and barnacles. We also found a lot of plastic garbage. We packed out 4 bags of water bottles, straws, shampoo bottles, various plastic bits, and a few lone flip flops. And there was still more we couldn’t cary. We encourage you to bring a bag when you go for a beach walk, too!

Many people may not realize that recycling is not a silver bullet to solving plastic waste either. Much of the US’s plastic used to get shipped to China to be recycled but even that isn’t happening anymore. As we’ve said before, we are honored to be the current stewards of this special place. And we hope you join us in doing our collective best to be good earthlings.

From Daily Kos:
For many environmentally conscious Americans, there’s a deep satisfaction to chucking anything and everything plasticky into the recycling bin—from shampoo bottles to butter tubs—the types of plastics in the plastic categories #3 through #7. Little do they know that, even if their local trash collector says it recycles that waste, they might as well be chucking those plastics in the trash bin.

“[Plastics] 3-7 are absolutely going to a landfill—[China’s] not taking that any more… because of Green Fence,” David Kaplan, CEO of Maine Plastics, a post-industrial recycler, tells Quartz. “This will continue until we can do it in the United States economically.”

Source: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/09/18/1239747/-Think-your-plastic-is-being-recycled-Think-again?detail=facebook#

The amount of plastic debris in our oceans is a sad state and we don’t have a solution to cleaning it up. It finds it’s way into our food chain, ends up killing sea life, and birds. So, we prefer the motto “Reduce, Reuse, and then Recycle as a last resort”. In our location of Tulum, recycling is not a reliable option and in fact our local landfill dump site is full. This is a local problem that the authorities have been trying to solve for a long time.

Additional articles that may be of interest:

Form about Tulum dump site: http://forums.locogringo.com/blog.aspx?m=848557

Problems with recycling: http://www.centerforsustainability.org/resources.php?category=40

Plastic and waste being shipped to China: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/05/09/chinas-crackdown-on-trash-could-make-it-harder-for-u-s-cities-to-recycle/

EPA on benefits of composting: http://www.epa.gov/composting/benefits.htm

Benefits of using reusable water bottles: https://www.banthebottle.net/articles/think-reusable-bottles-forget-plastic-bottled-water/

Effects of plastic on birds, film: Midway http://www.midwayfilm.com/