Monday, August 15, 2011

The plastic problem: The pacific plastic patch-- most important post!

I am including two videos below about the pacific plastic patch.  The first one is short and gives an introduction to the problem.  Plastic (or more technical polymers) are amazing in that they are cheap, strong, lightweight and just have some excellent properties.  Actually, its biggest advantage leads to the core problem- it is non-biodegrable.  I would state the problem more to its applications for disposable items.

This was only discovered in 2007.  This is a problem that has been building for decades.  I have been quoting to be people that it is the size of Texas and I was wrong- it is twice the size of Texas and growing.  And this is completely a manufactured problem.  This problem would be much smaller if we captured the full costs of reclaiming garbage.

From what I understand they have now also found a garbage patch in the atlantic ocean.  This is again a complex system problem that is more expensive and bigger than any one country is willing to front the expense on.

What makes me angry is how avoidable this problem would have been in the first place. I heard recently a California politician  lamenting a new law that would close down three plastic bag factories.  Well, I got news for you- they are should be shutdown.

I have talked about it before, but I will include it again:

and also:

Step 1) Carry reusable shopping bags and do not accept plastic bags.  I keep four in my car, but to be honest- I forget them sometimes.  Also, since I live in the city I usually take the train- if I have a bag I limit the plastic bags I use.

Step 2) Try to shop at stores that do not give plastic bags. The three I know are Ikea, Costco, and Trader Joe's (Trader Joe's actually will give paper bags or a raffle for a $25 gift certificate for every reusable bag you bring in).

This is only the beginning- spend your money at stores that at least make an effort to reduce or eliminate plastic bags. There is so much more to do- but we have to start somewhere.

Please forward and spread the word.  Also feel free to comment with other stores that do not give plastic bags or other ideas we can do as individuals to start on a solution to our plastic garbage problem.

Thanks for reading,



Jeff King said...

Very informative... and we also watched.

Great post.

Anonymous said...

Excellent. I always shake my head at the site of styrofoam cups blowing around in the streets... That stuff lives forever!