When You Have That Plastic Bottle

More fun to watch the cleverness of this post!!!

Single use plastic should be avoided at all times to send a clear signal to the producers of these horrible products that are harming every ecosystem in devastating ways.

The latest evidence of the harm these bottles are doing to our environment is the saddest ever!  North Face and many other environmentally friendly companies have been making polar fleece from recycled plastic bottles.  The unfortunate truth of this process is that we need to wash these garments.  All polyester and polyester polymer fabrics release micro fibers from our washing machine rinse cycles straight into our waterways.  Civic filter systems cannot remove these tiny fibers.  Once in our waterways, they are ingested by oysters, mussels, lobsters and other marine life that we eat.

Can it get much more sad?

Until next time,

Garbage Girl

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The Best Way To Rethink Waste

These are the Top Ten single use items collected, on one day, each fall, when volunteers around the world participate in the Ocean Conservancy’s Annual International Coastal Cleanup Day.  The next one is Saturday, September 16.
https://oceanconservancy.org/trash-free-seas/international-coastal-cleanup/

According to the Ocean Conservancy, 275 metric tons of single use plastic waste becomes 100 metric tons of single use plastic waste on our coastlines and 8 metric tons of that single use plastic waste enters our oceans.  With 2 billion people living within 30 miles of our coastlines; we let 1 in 30 single use plastic items enter our world’s oceans.

When you stand in front of that “convenience” store refrigerator, before you reach for that beverage, take a moment to think about what you are actually looking at.

Try one day without buying any single use plastic.  Ask for your deli sandwich to be wrapped in paper and leave the plastic clamshell for the deli to deal with.  They bought it.  Choose a glass or aluminum container for your beverage or better yet, bring a reusable one with you.   If you do find yourself making bad choices or if you are not faster than that lightning-fast deli server, bring all of the trash home with you. Take responsibility for it. You bought it.

Observe the kind of waste you create, and think how you can change to reduce it.

Challenge yourself to reduce your waste each day.  Its really fun!  And you won’t believe how good it feels!

Follow and support the growing number of responsible institutions, states and governments who just stopped being crazy.

Vancouver Aquarium Bans Plastic Bottles

Until next time,

Garbage Girl

Waste Age

I know! I know its a little aud to bring home a piece of litter plucked from The Colorado River!! But I was fascinated by the travertine deposits on this plastic Gatorade bottle and I wondered if I could find out how long it had been in the canyon’s system.

Travertine deposits on plastic Gatorade bottle

Travertine deposits on plastic Gatorade bottle

Travertine is a deposit in the Grand Canyon that looks like icing dripping from the limestone cliffs. When water percolates through the limestone layer it picks up high concentrations of carbon dioxide. This can dissolve carbonate rocks in the groundwater. Once out of the ground and the water is no longer under pressure, the carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere, allowing the dissolved calcium carbonate to precipitate and form striking travertine drips.   It takes thousands of years to form this surface texture so how long did it take to cover a plastic Gatorade bottle?  And was the Gatorade bottle left by humans on the land and eventually washed into the river?  Or had it traveled a very long time in the river system itself?

My research didn’t exactly answer my questions.  Or, at least, not the research I could understand!  But I learned a lot about plastic and our waterways.

According to Global Industry Analysts, plastic consumption will reach 297.5 million tons by 2015. Plastic is versatile, lightweight, flexible, moisture resistant, strong, and relatively inexpensive. These attractive qualities have created a voracious over-consumption of plastic goods.   Our tremendous attraction to plastic and our behavior of over-consuming, discarding, littering and polluting, has become a combination with a lethal nature.  http://www.strategyr.com

Why Plastic is great.

Plastic bouncy can be great!

Plastic is thought of as a long-lasting pollutant that does not fully break down. Because it is a combination of elements extracted from crude oil then re-mixed in man made combinations unknown to nature, there is no natural system to break them down. The enzymes and the micro organisms responsible for breaking down organic materials don’t recognize plastic. Dr. Katsuhiko Saido, a chemist at Nihon University in Chiba, Japan spoke at a meeting of the American Chemical Society in Washington, D.C. and was the first one to look at what actually happens over time to the tons of plastic waste floating in the oceans. The study presents an alarming fact: plastic waste reputed to be virtually indestructible decomposes with surprising speed, at lower temperatures than previously thought, and as it breaks down it releases toxic substances into the seawater, namely bisphenol A (BPA) and PS oligomer. Since the resin pellets that make plastic are round, shiny, tiny, oily and greasy (basically plastics are solid oil) they can easily absorb hydrophobic contaminants like PCB’s and DDE from the surrounding seawater.  The pellets suck up these dangerous toxins with a concentration factor that’s almost 1 million times greater compared to the overall concentration of the chemicals in seawater. All sea creatures, from the largest to the microscopic are swallowing the seawater soup instilled with toxic chemicals from plastic decomposition. We are eating fish that have eaten other fish, which have eaten toxin-saturated plastics. It makes plastic far more deadly in the ocean than it would be on land.
http://www.nbcnews.com/id/32493098/ns/us_news-environment/t/plastic-decomposes-quickly-sea-study-finds/#.VDhilUuWvts

I did find a report from The Marine Conservancy http://www.oceanconservancy.org/our-work/marine-debris  that states estimated decomposition rates of most plastic debris found on coasts:

  • Foamed plastic cups: 50 years
  • Plastic beverage holder: 400 years
  • Disposable diapers: 450 year
  • Plastic bottle: 450
  • Fishing line: 600 years.

This is the Los Angeles River!!!   The USA!

Entering Jakarta

These images are saddening but they certainly do express how the buoyancy of our plastic waste is capable of accumulating in our waterways.  These and a lot more photos are on the CoastCare site. http://www.coastcare.com.au

 

Ways you can help:

  • Reduce the purchases of single use containers and packaging
  • Become diligent about discarding and recycling plastics correctly
  • Participate in a beach clean up  www.cleanbeaches.com

Until next week,

Garbage Girl