We all share the ocean, and we need to conserve it.

I grew up in Pensacola, FL, right by the beach. Whenever I wanted to see the ocean, I could drive 15 minutes from my house to the shoreline.

I spent most of my childhood at the beach… playing in the water, making sandcastles, and surfing. My family took me to Pensacola Beach almost every weekend. It was beautiful, almost dreamlike. White sand, clear water, and dolphins happily swimming around.

But even on one of the purest beaches I’ve ever seen, I saw the occasional plastic water bottle, styrofoam cup, or six pack rings. In certain areas, the ocean’s currents washed all the pollution onto the shore in concentrated piles. It was disgusting.

Plastic pollution has been an issue for many years, and it still is. I’d like to say our habits have improved, but I’m not so sure. In 2018, Pensacola’s own curbside recycling program sent materials to the Perdido Landfill for months without notifying residents. Long story short, public officials need to do better, just as civilians do.

My single-use plastic habits:

Full transparency—I could make a lot of lifestyle changes to reduce my impact on the environment.

Currently, I would consider my single-use plastic habits to be average for an American. I recycle whenever possible, but I haven’t taken extraordinary steps to cut down on my use of plastic cups, plastic straws, and single-use water bottles.

It’s not because I don’t care about the ocean. I love the ocean, and I am 100 percent in support of protecting it. I haven’t previously cut down on my consumption of single-use plastic for three main reasons:

1. I haven’t educated myself enough on the topic.

2. I haven’t actively sought out opportunities to live a more sustainable lifestyle.

3. In most cases, I’ve chosen convenience over conservation.

Just me being honest. I know I have a lot of room for improvement, and I WANT to improve. I was excited to try Okeanos Made From Stone products because it’s an opportunity for me to create more sustainable habits for myself and show others why it’s important to do the same.

My thoughts on the Okeanos Made From Stone products

Before learning about Made From Stone, I had never really thought about using stone as a replacement for plastic in everyday products. It was a new experience for me!

I tested two different products – a bottle to drink out of and several straws. 

The first thing I noticed about the bottle was its design. I like how it has indentations so I can get a firmer grip on it. It’s also very lightweight.

The surface of the bottle reminded me a lot of an eggshell, but thicker and sturdier. It must be because of the calcium carbonate content in the bottle! When I drank water out of the bottle, I couldn’t notice any difference in the taste.

I tested the bottle for a few weeks. I will say that I was not gentle with it. I left it in my car in the sweltering Miami summer heat, I dropped it, and I accidentally set things on top of it. (Oops!)

From my experiences, I can attest that the bottle does not break easily. The surface does get scratched if you aren’t careful, and the material does bend. But once you bend it, you can snap it right back into place. I never felt like the surface of the bottle was going to split or break.

Since the bottle withstands temperature changes and regular wear and tear, it gets my stamp of approval for everyday use.

I was also impressed with the straws I tried! Honestly, I would not be able to tell the difference between the Made From Stone straws and regular plastic straws if I didn’t know any better. They feel almost exactly like the single-use plastic straws I’m familiar with.

Seriously, I don’t think there’s a single reason why businesses shouldn’t switch to the Made From Stone™ straws. They’re bendable, and they work just as well as the plastic versions. I can’t taste anything mineral-like when I drink out of the straws.

What I learned from trying Made From Stone products: 

After trying these products and learning more about Okeanos’ mission, the most important lesson I learned was that any lifestyle improvement, no matter how big or small, is a step in the right direction.

Some of the Made From Stone products are not 100% plastic free. They’re not “perfect” yet. But if we collectively start using them, we’ll reduce our impact on the environment by A LOT.

With continued funding and research, Okeanos might be able to produce products that are completely devoid of plastic. Every step counts. Little by little, we can reduce our footprint as a human race, and preserve the ocean for years to come!