Where Does Your Trash Go?
For the first time in my career journey, I am finally working for a company that I truly believe in. Not only do we have a motivating office culture, but we provide biodegradable and compostable products made out of plant matter, which brings me to this week’s blog topic.
It wasn’t until very recently that I discovered the true destruction of our oceans and their marine life, which have been harmfully affected by our consumer culture. “Half of each year’s one hundred billion pounds of thermoplastic pallets will be made into fast track trash. A large unruly fraction of our trash will flow down our rivers to the sea” (i.e. TED 2014). This is a reality most like to avoid, but I encourage you to investigate this issue in more depth, and start making a difference on the individual level.
“In spite of deposit fees, much of this trash leading out to the sea will be plastic beverage bottles. We use two million of them in the U.S. every five minutes” (i.e. TED, 2014). The image below provides a visual of this drastic statistic.
© Ted Presenter, Chris Jordan
“Bottles made out of polyethylene terephthalate, PET, will sink in sea water and will not make it this far from civilization. Also, the caps are produced in separate factories from a different plastic, polypropylene (i.e. PP). They will float in seawater, but unfortunately do not get recycled under the bottle bills” (i.e. TED, 2014). I hope that over time, enough people will become educated regarding this important and very devastating issue, so that we may develop procedures and legislation that will truly make a difference.
According to the research obtained by Charles Moore, after a year of tracing millions of caps that make it to sea singly, the caps from the U.S. will travel along the California current and end up around the latitude of Cabo San Lucas. In addition, the caps from Japan will float straight across into the Pacific (i.e. TED, 2014).
After ten years of cap data observation, most of US caps will litter the Philippines while the Japanese caps add their pollution to the eastern garbage patch (i.e. TED, 2014).
“After twenty years we see emerging of the debris of accumulation zone of north pacific gyre” (i.e. TED, 2014). These credible images provide an in depth analysis of the current global tragedy, caused by our modern day consumer culture.
To take this one step further, we need to start thinking about the marine and sea animals that are affected by our unethical consumer behavior. “It so happens that millions of albatross nesting… in the North West Hawaiian islands national monument, forage here, and scavenge whatever they can find for regurgitation to their chicks. A four month old laysan albatross chick died with this in its stomach. Hundreds of thousands of the goose sized chicks are dying, with stomach’s full of bottle caps and other rubbish, like cigarette lighters, but mostly bottle caps. Sadly their parents’ mistaken bottle caps for food, tossing about in the ocean surface” (i.e. TED, 2014).
I know that most of this information, especially the graphics, can be overwhelming, but this is indeed our current global reality. We must be educated, in order to bring awareness and change.
In addition, “we wanted to see if the most common fish in the deep ocean at the base of the food chain was ingesting these poison pills. We did hundreds of necropsies and over a third had polluted plastic fragments in their stomachs. The record holder, only 2.5 in long, had 84 pieces in his tiny stomach. Now, you can buy certified organic produce, but no fish monger on Earth can sell you a certified organic wild caught fish.” (i.e. TED, 2014).
I hope that the information provided in this week’s blog content will inspire you to start making a difference on the individual level, so that our world and especially our marine life; will be part of sustainable living.
TED. "Captain Charles Moore on the Seas of Plastic". TEDTalks, 25 Feb. 2009. Web. 15 Aug. 2014.