Plastic-Free Cape Fear
MORE than 300 million metric tons of plastic are produced globally every year. Eight million tons of
it ends up in the ocean, much of it deposited there after floating down the world’s rivers and leaving
a trail of litter along the banks. Soda bottles wash up on the shores of formerly pristine beaches, and
sea turtles fill their bellies with grocery bags mistaken for jellyfish. Microplastics make their way to
seafood markets and dinner tables inside fish and oysters and clams.
Here in the Cape Fear region, we know how important the water is. The ocean and the rivers, the inlets
and sounds — these are the places we live, work and play. We have a vested interest in taking care of the waters
In the face of such a vast challenge, it is easy to despair or to wait for the experts to find a perfect solution.
However, there’s plenty we can do to be good stewards of both land and sea while supporting local businesses at the
If you want to make some radical changes, you can follow the example of Alison Rogers and her family, who
created ILM Urban Farm at their home just off Market Street in Wilmington. In addition to growing produce,
Alison makes things like yogurt, lip balm, and household cleaners as her family works toward a plastic-free lifestyle.
By growing their own produce and making many daily essentials at home, Alison and her family reduce their “plas-tic
footprint,” avoiding all the packaging that comes with items like soaps, cleaners, dairy products and produce.
But it is not necessary to take up the urban farm life to make a difference. Single-use plastics make up almost 90
percent of the plastic contaminating the ocean, so cutting those items out of your life can have a tremendous impact.
Here’s how to get started.