Trash, Trash, Load of Trash Floating Away…

I was reading my local newspaper today when I ran across an article about the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch”.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a patch of ocean approximately twice the size of Texas filled with trash. Granted most of the trash is little bitty pieces of plastic – so small that it is hard to locate the “Garbage Patch” from the air or to determine its boundaries.

The article I read today was all about these little pieces of plastic. Apparently, some scientists “took hundreds of water samples between the Farallon Islands near San Francisco and the notorious garbage patch 1,000 miles west of California, and every one had tiny bits of plastic floating in it.”[@more@]

This is a problem because tiny jellyfish are eating the “tiny, confettilike pieces of broken plastic.” While this doesn’t sound like a problem, it becomes one when you realize that the jellyfish are eaten by salmon or tune, which in turn are eaten by humans.

Sigh Undecided

It is crazy how much plastic is produced globally…granted, some plastic products have a long life cycle (like picnic tables or computer monitors).

Unfortunately, most of the plastic products we use are designed for one-time use (water bottles, food packaging, etc), and whilst they can be disposed of properly thanks to roll-off dumpster Software and other waste management systems, sometimes this just doesn’t happen.

I don’t know….I don’t have any answers…. I just knows that it is hurts to see our oceans covered in tiny pieces of plastic just because of convenience. Frown

0 thoughts on “Trash, Trash, Load of Trash Floating Away…”

  1. Yup

    I agree…it’s a vexing problem. One very simple start would be to reduce our water bottle consumption. I don’t have the numbers on me right now, but it’s ridiculous. All these deluded people around me who have NO idea how blessed they are to have a clean water supply that won’t kill you straight out of the tap. And if they really wanted, they could simply add an on-tap water filter. Or, buy water bottles in the 5 gallon sizes, and keep a dispenser at home. Those bottles are washed and refilled…minimizing waste. Millions or billions of pounds of plastic are wasted on this pointless exercise.

  2. Free competition vs. regulation…
    I still lean towards free competition over regulation, but that’s not to say that more couldn’t be done to push toward more consumption. For example, the commercials that show a water bottle and then the slogan “xxx minutes doing xxx, forever in a landfill”, are, in my opinion, a great example of a free market force. Now, if that great plastic patch becomes a greater part of the public consciousness, then things like that commercial will make much more sense to people, and will have a great market impact.

  3. And some more

    I suppose if we were to have regulation, we should simply issue a sweeping regulation that companies who develop products should consider “birth to death” scenarios that many other companies already must consider. Not only design for use, but design for the “death” of the product. I.e., how it will break down in a landfill, or how it can be recycled, etc.

  4. and finally

    (It put my first comment into moderation mode, so this seems out of order now)

    Of course, all of this will mean jack diddly squat if people don’t want to think about what they’re doing. 🙂

    One example, compact fluorescent bulbs. Sure, they cost a little more, but the energy savings are massive on the power grid…especially if we ALL used such things. Imagine a 60-75% reduction in lighting power consumption across the COUNTRY. That’s a huge energy savings. But, by and large, people don’t see the value in the shift. From an economic perspective, I have had the bulbs last 3-5 years, so I believe they are definitely a worthwhile investment.

    Anyway…lots of thoughts, little space. 🙂

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