Ocean Plastic : What you need to know.

Olivia Tocher | Jul 12, 2018

Ever since the invention of the first fully synthetic plastic in 1907, humanity has become sickly dependent on this ‘white gold’. The need to preserve scarce natural resources made the production of synthetic alternatives a priority, and during World War II plastic production in the United States increased by 300%. The EPA reports “Every bit of plastic ever made still exists.” This statement will remain true for quite some time, as plastics take approximately 400 years to decompose. In 1950, the world was responsible for producing 1.5 million metric tons of plastic, and today that number has skyrocketed to 320 million metric tons of plastic being produced each year.

Read more

This crate found in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch was produced in 1977. Source: The Ocean Cleanup

With the rampant invasion of plastic globally, the saddening truth is that less than 10% of this waste is actually recycled. What most people don’t know is that plastic is not infinitely recyclable, causing virgin plastic to be added in the recycling process to strengthen it. Even then, it is still not cost-effective to recycle plastic, leading it to be thrown away after just one use.

With 320 million metric tons of plastic being produced each year, approximately 8 million metric tons of that ends up in the oceans. In fact Earth’s largest landfill isn’t on land at all, it’s in the ocean. Most ocean pollution starts out on land, and is carried by wind and rain, or by rivers, to sea. It remains at the sea surface as it makes its way offshore, transported by converging currents and finally accumulating in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Discovered in 1997 by Charles Moore, there are actually two sections, a smaller Western patch, and an Eastern patch, of ocean pollution. The surface area of the garbage patch is estimated to be 1.6 million square kilometers, or about two times the size of Texas. The surface pollution, however, only accounts for 1% of the 8 million metric tons of plastic entering the ocean each year. The other 99% of the pollution finds its way to the seafloor, coastlines, and inside marine life.

Synthetic materials are responsible for affecting all grades of ocean life. From plankton and algae, fish, marine mammals, coastal birds, and saltwater reptiles, nothing is safe from this threat. Due to its size and color, animals confuse the plastic for food, causing malnutrition, intestinal blockage, abrasive damage, and puncturing internal organs. It poses entanglement risks as well. Fishing nets account for 46% of the mass in the GPGP and they can be dangerous for animals who swim or collide into them and cannot extract themselves from the net.

A sea turtle entangled in a ghost net. Photo credits: Francis Perez

The GPGP, that is 180 times more plastic than marine life, threatens their overall behavior, health and existence. Along with the pollution comes the unseen hazards such as the BPA that is leached from plastics and linked to serious health problems. These substances build up overtime, making their way through the food chain and eventually consumed by humans through food. A recent study from the University of California, Davis, found that a quarter of of fish at markets in California contain plastic in their guts, mostly in the form of microfibers.

The majority of the world, however, is doing nothing to change the direction in which we are headed. Companies that make products that are found in the ocean hold no responsibility to ensure their packaging does not harm coastal environments and waterways. As we idly watch the destruction of our environments and take in the repercussions, Jacques Yves Cousteau reminds us that “The sea, the great unifier, is man's only hope. Now, as never before, the old phrase has a literal meaning: we are all in the same boat.”

Ocean Plastic : What you need to know.

Olivia Tocher | Jul 12, 2018

Ever since the invention of the first fully synthetic plastic in 1907, humanity has become sickly dependent on this ‘white gold’. The need to preserve scarce natural resources made the production of synthetic alternatives a priority, and during World War II plastic production in the United States increased by 300%. The EPA reports “Every bit of plastic ever made still exists.” This statement will remain true for quite some time, as plastics take approximately 400 years to decompose. In 1950, the world was responsible for producing 1.5 million metric tons of plastic, and today that number has skyrocketed to 320 million metric tons of plastic being produced each year.

Read more

This crate found in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch was produced in 1977. Source: The Ocean Cleanup

With the rampant invasion of plastic globally, the saddening truth is that less than 10% of this waste is actually recycled. What most people don’t know is that plastic is not infinitely recyclable, causing virgin plastic to be added in the recycling process to strengthen it. Even then, it is still not cost-effective to recycle plastic, leading it to be thrown away after just one use.

With 320 million metric tons of plastic being produced each year, approximately 8 million metric tons of that ends up in the oceans. In fact Earth’s largest landfill isn’t on land at all, it’s in the ocean. Most ocean pollution starts out on land, and is carried by wind and rain, or by rivers, to sea. It remains at the sea surface as it makes its way offshore, transported by converging currents and finally accumulating in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Discovered in 1997 by Charles Moore, there are actually two sections, a smaller Western patch, and an Eastern patch, of ocean pollution. The surface area of the garbage patch is estimated to be 1.6 million square kilometers, or about two times the size of Texas. The surface pollution, however, only accounts for 1% of the 8 million metric tons of plastic entering the ocean each year. The other 99% of the pollution finds its way to the seafloor, coastlines, and inside marine life.

Synthetic materials are responsible for affecting all grades of ocean life. From plankton and algae, fish, marine mammals, coastal birds, and saltwater reptiles, nothing is safe from this threat. Due to its size and color, animals confuse the plastic for food, causing malnutrition, intestinal blockage, abrasive damage, and puncturing internal organs. It poses entanglement risks as well. Fishing nets account for 46% of the mass in the GPGP and they can be dangerous for animals who swim or collide into them and cannot extract themselves from the net.

A sea turtle entangled in a ghost net. Photo credits: Francis Perez

The GPGP, that is 180 times more plastic than marine life, threatens their overall behavior, health and existence. Along with the pollution comes the unseen hazards such as the BPA that is leached from plastics and linked to serious health problems. These substances build up overtime, making their way through the food chain and eventually consumed by humans through food. A recent study from the University of California, Davis, found that a quarter of of fish at markets in California contain plastic in their guts, mostly in the form of microfibers.

The majority of the world, however, is doing nothing to change the direction in which we are headed. Companies that make products that are found in the ocean hold no responsibility to ensure their packaging does not harm coastal environments and waterways. As we idly watch the destruction of our environments and take in the repercussions, Jacques Yves Cousteau reminds us that “The sea, the great unifier, is man's only hope. Now, as never before, the old phrase has a literal meaning: we are all in the same boat.”

Planet or Plastic?

Olivia Tocher | Jul 08, 2018

As our society continues to produce plastic at an unforgiving rate and throw it away after just one use, the plastic found in the world’s oceans continues to grow. Over 100 million marine animals are killed each year due to plastic debris in the ocean. In hopes of turning the plastic tide, National Geographic announced a new, global commitment to tackle this pressing problem.

Read more

On May 16, 2018 National Geographic launched Planet or Plastic?, a multiyear initiative aimed at raising awareness of this challenge and reducing the amount of single-use plastic that enters in the world’s oceans. Through storytelling and science, the global brand that specializes in discovery and exploration will be holding major research and scientific initiatives, consumer education and engagement campaigns, and will be updating internal corporate sustainability commitments.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vfb-Qy-ovs

What once was considered a industrial savior from the limitations of nature, plastic was introduced into war, transportation, textiles, toys, and domestic uses in the 1900’s. It was so cheap, in fact, we began to make things we never intended to keep. In Life magazine in 1955, an American family celebrates the dawn of “Throwaway Living,” thanks in part to disposable plastics. By 1960, plastics surpassed aluminum, and became one of the largest industries in the country. But by the 1970’s the environmental movement helped catalyze a growing awareness of the toxicity and wastefulness of synthetics. Afraid of losing consumers, the plastics sector continued its expansion by aggressively taking over new markets, which facilitated major industry restructuring and further normalized resins as a part of everyday life. As of now, the average person in America consumes 200 pounds of plastic each year, in the form of packaging.

Many people believe that we need to go through “A Second Industrial Revolution” because recycling alone will not reverse all of the damage caused by our unthoughtful production of plastic. What once was a race for speed and efficiency needs evolve into sustainability and social responsibility.

Starting with the June issue, National Geographic announced that it will begin wrapping the U.S., U.K. and India subscriber editions of the magazine in paper instead of plastic, with the goal of wrapping all global editions in paper by the end of 2019. Although National Geographic is setting a positive example, they are not going to be able to solve the plastic problem by themselves. The good news is, however, that unlike climate change, this is not a problem that we don’t know what the solution is. We need a combination of lowering plastic production and improving waste management. It’s a matter of building the necessary institutions and systems for garbage and recycling, and stopping plastic from entering the ocean in the first place. Industries can use new materials and more recycling, along with avoiding unnecessary uses of plastic. We don't need to wait for a new scientific technological breakthrough when we have enough evidence of low tech solutions, like more garbage trucks and landfills, that we know can make a difference.

Plastic recycling in the state of Idaho

Kaloni Pennington | July 01, 2018

Plastic has been piling up for the western states of the country since China's announcement of their ban of plastic. Idaho is one of the states largely effected by China's change in policy as the state sent the majority of its plastic across the pond.

Read more

Unfortunately as a result, the majority of the state's plastic is being divirted to the landfill. In Boise they have attempted to place a bandaid on a serious flawed system with the roll out of "Orange Bags". These bags have been distributed to many residents within the Boise metro area with the intent to collect items that were once deemed "recyclable". However, the contents that are placed within the "orange bags" are not recycled and instead being sent to Salt Lake City to be re-converted back into the fossil fuel. Learn more by visiting.

https://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/recycling/blogs/worlds-plastics-are-piling-up-china-ban-imports

Planet or Plastic?

Olivia Tocher | Jul 08, 2018

As our society continues to produce plastic at an unforgiving rate and throw it away after just one use, the plastic found in the world’s oceans continues to grow. Over 100 million marine animals are killed each year due to plastic debris in the ocean. In hopes of turning the plastic tide, National Geographic announced a new, global commitment to tackle this pressing problem.

Read more

On May 16, 2018 National Geographic launched Planet or Plastic?, a multiyear initiative aimed at raising awareness of this challenge and reducing the amount of single-use plastic that enters in the world’s oceans. Through storytelling and science, the global brand that specializes in discovery and exploration will be holding major research and scientific initiatives, consumer education and engagement campaigns, and will be updating internal corporate sustainability commitments.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vfb-Qy-ovs

What once was considered a industrial savior from the limitations of nature, plastic was introduced into war, transportation, textiles, toys, and domestic uses in the 1900’s. It was so cheap, in fact, we began to make things we never intended to keep. In Life magazine in 1955, an American family celebrates the dawn of “Throwaway Living,” thanks in part to disposable plastics. By 1960, plastics surpassed aluminum, and became one of the largest industries in the country. But by the 1970’s the environmental movement helped catalyze a growing awareness of the toxicity and wastefulness of synthetics. Afraid of losing consumers, the plastics sector continued its expansion by aggressively taking over new markets, which facilitated major industry restructuring and further normalized resins as a part of everyday life. As of now, the average person in America consumes 200 pounds of plastic each year, in the form of packaging.

Many people believe that we need to go through “A Second Industrial Revolution” because recycling alone will not reverse all of the damage caused by our unthoughtful production of plastic. What once was a race for speed and efficiency needs evolve into sustainability and social responsibility.

Starting with the June issue, National Geographic announced that it will begin wrapping the U.S., U.K. and India subscriber editions of the magazine in paper instead of plastic, with the goal of wrapping all global editions in paper by the end of 2019. Although National Geographic is setting a positive example, they are not going to be able to solve the plastic problem by themselves. The good news is, however, that unlike climate change, this is not a problem that we don’t know what the solution is. We need a combination of lowering plastic production and improving waste management. It’s a matter of building the necessary institutions and systems for garbage and recycling, and stopping plastic from entering the ocean in the first place. Industries can use new materials and more recycling, along with avoiding unnecessary uses of plastic. We don't need to wait for a new scientific technological breakthrough when we have enough evidence of low tech solutions, like more garbage trucks and landfills, that we know can make a difference.

Plastic recycling in the state of Idaho

Kaloni Pennington | July 01, 2018

Plastic has been piling up for the western states of the country since China's announcement of their ban of plastic. Idaho is one of the states largely effected by China's change in policy as the state sent the majority of its plastic across the pond.

Read more

Unfortunately as a result, the majority of the state's plastic is being divirted to the landfill. In Boise they have attempted to place a bandaid on a serious flawed system with the roll out of "Orange Bags". These bags have been distributed to many residents within the Boise metro area with the intent to collect items that were once deemed "recyclable". However, the contents that are placed within the "orange bags" are not recycled and instead being sent to Salt Lake City to be re-converted back into the fossil fuel. Learn more by visiting.

https://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/recycling/blogs/worlds-plastics-are-piling-up-china-ban-imports

Curator - Proud source water

We at Proud Source feel responsible for taking care of our planet. Everything we do, we do at the highest standard. Making decisions based on what is best for mother earth. We feel very proud to offer America’s highest quality spring water in America’s most sustainable packaging. Simply put, our source of pride is in doing what is right

Curator - Proud source water

We at Proud Source feel responsible for taking care of our planet. Everything we do, we do at the highest standard. Making decisions based on what is best for mother earth. We feel very proud to offer America’s highest quality spring water in America’s most sustainable packaging. Simply put, our source of pride is in doing what is right