Across Tampa Bay, local zero-waste businesses and non-profit organizations are fighting red tide and other environmental crises. These organizations are offering alternatives to the unsustainable way we act as consumers. Individuals can make a collective difference in our communities by supporting efforts and learning more about how to live sustainably.

Red tide in Florida causes massive loss of sea life

The summer of 2021 is not a good time for ecosystems in the Tampa Bay area. Hundreds of tons of dead fish have washed up along the coast, turning 2021’s into a notably destructive case of red tide. We’ve lost a record number of our sweet Manatee. Gigantic Grouper, who’ve been able to escape human grips for ages have succumbed to the poisonous red tide system.

Combine the rising ocean temperatures with a massive amount of man-made, nutrient-rich toxic runoff, an early and prolonged red tide season is what you get. There is no question that red ride is magnified by the poor management of Florida’s waste disposal.

Red tide is naturally occuring from man-made waste

Zero-wasters fighting red tide are merely a small group of neighbors doing what they can. We need elected officials to stand with the environment. Back in 2018, a red tide outbreak reached Palm Beach county. Senatorial candidate Rick Scott, and governor at the time, took the position that red tide is naturally occurring. He is right, but he does not connect the man-made elements of the cycle that could substantially minimize the harm to our precious Florida ecosystems.

Our Florida legislators are telling us that red tide is naturally occurring. Ok. Piney Point made the news in April. The government allowed a phosphate mine to leave 215 million gallons of toxic water sitting in giant waste pools since it shut down around 2001. By 2021 The lining of the structures storing the nutrient-rich wastewater was tearing. The public drama lasted a few days and was over when the toxic waste was dumped into the bay. No biggie. Consequently, the state corporate politicians like to have you believe that dumping anything into large bodies of water will simply dilute and have no consequences.

By August 2021, an environmental protection arm of the Florida government “jumped in” and filed a lawsuit against HRK holdings. This is twenty years too late. The business has made its profit and walked away. There is no justice for all the lost sea life.

Ground level community efforts are one way to get involved in saving our state.

Community members should adopt a mindset of individual responsibility and civic duty to sustain our environment.

As consumers, our individual actions can’t stop the algae blooms that create red tide. But when communities work together and develop new consumption and waste disposal habits, we can lessen the intensity of the problem.

These Tampa Bay zero wasters fighting red tide are at the forefront of local efforts to lower the amount of waste we produce, in turn lowering the volume of toxins that end up in our water and landfills.

Fresh healthy gourmet meals made by 360 Eats from rescued food.

Every day 40% of fresh food is wasted, while at the same time, over 14 million Americans experience food insecurity.

Mom and son team Cameron and Ellen Macleish started the non-profit 360eats program to help connect and combat both food insecurity and food waste in the Tampa Bay area.

360eats model is a superstar of sustainability

Fighting red tide by Saving Food

360 Easts is a mobile, zero-waste, program based in Safety Harbor, and volunteers travel all over the bay area collecting leftover food from grocery stores, restaurants, event venues, and local farmers’ markets.

Fighting red tide by Serving Food

Food is taken to the 360eats kitchen, where chef Ellen creates healthy meals for the team to serve to the public.

360eats partners with other non-profits, community centers, and local businesses to provide a space to serve fresh, hearty, healthy, and delicious meals.

Fighting red tide by Sprouting Food

How do 360eats sustainably dispose of their food scraps? They compost it, of course! local farms, composting initiatives, and apps like Waste No Food connect to get food scraps back into the ground to begin a new life cycle.

Resupply’s Tampa shop is inside the Sweetwater Cafe and is open every Sunday from 9 am to 4 pm.

ReSupply Market is an independently owned zero-waste and low-waste store with locations in Dunedin and Tampa.

Check their website for hours at each store. They offer free delivery to a limited area near the Dunedin shop.

Find low-waste items like hand-made bar soaps and shampoos, vegan lip balms, toothpaste tablets, and all shapes and sizes of wooden scrub brushes. Buy liquids in refillable branded brown glass and aluminum bottles. All refillable items are for sale by the ounce.

Bring your own reusable clean containers for extra cost savings and good human mental bonus points. The staff weighs empty containers and takes the difference to determine the total weight of your refill.

Lüfka brings eco-friendly luxury to Wesley Chapel

Lüfka’s newest location in Wesley Chapel is open Tuesday through Sunday.
Lufka Logo

Lüfka now has three shops across Tampa Bay, with the newest luxury eco-friendly store in Florida’s booming suburban mecca, Wesley Chapel.

Located half a mile east of I-75 on the northeast corner of Highway 54, Lüfka is a refreshing shift from the usual cookie-cutter big box stores and corporate chains.

Lüfka offers luxurious raw materials for DIY creations as well as housemade formulas for skincare, haircare, and household cleaning products.

Give the gift of Zero waste with this laundry detergent subscription

Alright, this one isn’t local, but Earth Breeze concentrated detergent sheets are made in the USA and they do a bunch of eco-friendly good deeds when we buy. You should be able to pick up a similar brand for yourself at Resupply Market.

Everyone can easily make an impact by ending our relationship with giant plastic jugs. I was thinking of very practical gifts to give my nephews as they begin adulting. An eco-friendly concentrated laundry detergent subscription checks all the boxes for me. They are lucky enough to buy whatever material thing they desire for the most part. Buying responsible laundry detergent is the last thing on their minds.

  • It’s practical gift because it is necessary to clean your clothes
  • It is compact and therefore travels easily
  • There is no plastic waste like the pod detergent options

Choose the number of loads and the frequency of deliveries such as monthly or quarterly. I believe it is better than any jug or pod, and it comes unscented as well.

Understand retail mind control

I worked at a small vitamin retailer and heard the owner advise a new protein powder vendor. He told the vendor to make bigger plastic jugs so the customers will think they are getting more value. Laundry soap marketing is the same concept. Further, larger packaging appeals to our most basic consumer belief that bigger is better.

I love the idea of this as a gift. Even the package is compostable. The perfect item for a kid going to college. The detergent sheets are perfect for small living spaces and easy to carry back and forth to the laundry room.

Remove the plastic jug from your life:

I get a small commission when you order through my link. So I thank you, but you will be thanking me after you try it! And they plant a bunch of trees every time we order! Hello! How great is that?

What feels like an inconvenience today could be what saves tomorrow

In conclusion, we need to embrace personal waste disposal as more than just tossing our trash in a bin and moving on. Every single thing we dispose of ends up taking space somewhere in our state, whether it’s food down the garbage disposal or heaps of packaging from your latest Amazon order. Before you buy, think twice about the waste that will come from your purchase.