Recycled picnic containers and bottles will keep seas pristine
BY DANIELLE ROSE
The beaches of the Treasure Coast are famously beautiful and residents have to do their part to keep them that way. My mom and I regularly walk the beach.
We’re always on the lookout for pretty shells, but most of what we collect is litter.
It’s more than unsightly or a nuisance. Trash in the water or washed up on beaches is harmful to wildlife. In addition, marine debris can wrap around boat propellers and clog intakes, causing engine damage.
To keep the coastline pristine, trash needs to be kept from entering waterways. First, be a responsible angler. Recycle used monofilament in a specially designed monofilament recycling bin. Monofilament can’t be recycled in regular recycling bins, but these special PVC bins can be found at many boat ramps and fishing piers.
Next, pack a better boat lunch. Kendra Cope is the founder and executive director of Coastal Connections, a local organization working to protect coastal habitats for sea turtle survival by educating and connecting people to the environment.
She says some of the biggest dangers to sea turtles are single-use plastics and Styrofoam.
To protect the turtles, Cope shared these tips: Pack lunches in reusable storage containers. Choosing to use a washable container instead of a plastic bag is number one because bags blow off the boat in the wind. Floating clear plastic bags look like a jellyfish, tricking sea turtles into eating them.
Next, use refillable bottles. Ideally, choose glass or aluminum, which have an endless recycling lifecycle, meaning their core components can be used over and over again. Plastic is different. Although recyclable, plastic has a maximum lifespan making the material not as valuable as aluminum or glass and not as safe.
Plastic never decomposes, it only breaks into smaller and smaller pieces, so the components of plastic only become easier for animals to consume when they are released into the environment.
If you’d like to take an even greater step, take part in a beach cleanup. Coastal Connections hosts regular beach cleanups, and they also supply baskets at local beaches to encourage beachgoers to collect trash on any trip. Visit www.coastal-connections.org to find upcoming events. Keep Indian River Beautiful is another great local organization that hosts cleanups. Check out their website for more information: www.keepindianriverbeautiful.org.
Mediterranean Chickpea Sandwiches
The best boat lunches are the ones that are easy to transport and can be served as is, at any temperature. No sauces, no prep, and no utensils.
Sandwiches are my go-to, but I prefer to stay away from meat and mayo, which don’t keep well. Mediterranean chickpea sandwiches are my favorite. I dare say, they get even better after they sit a while.
I’m including my recipe here, but I hope you’ll make them your own with your favorite vegetables, or tuck the filling into a pita or wrap. They’re a cinch to make when the sun is shining and the water is calling.
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons olive oil
Zest and juice of half a lemon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Pinch of red pepper flakes, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon capers, drained, chopped
1/4 cup thinly sliced black olives
1/4 cup roasted red peppers, chopped
4 slices Provolone
Thinly sliced red onion [quick-pickled, if you like]
1 small cucumber, thinly sliced
1 to 2 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
Fresh herbs [basil, oregano, parsley]
Lightly smash the chickpeas with the back of a fork or a potato masher. You want a coarse chop with texture, not a smooth puree like hummus. Add olive oil, lemon zest, juice and parsley and mix. Season well with salt, pepper and pepper flakes.
Stir in the capers, olives and roasted red peppers.
Split the baguette in half and drizzle both sides generously with olive oil. Spoon the smashed chickpeas on the bottom half. Top with onion and cucumbers. Drape the provolone over the top. Finish with the tomatoes and more salt and pepper on top, then fresh herbs.
Close the baguette and slice into 4 sandwiches. Pack them in a reusable container and chill until you’re ready to eat.