Plastics are essential for modern life as we know it. They are ubiquitous – employed to improve medical products, computers, construction, aerospace, food production and more. They are also often used by the end consumer for less than one minute, and then disposed.
The good news is that plastics are also easily recycled, and much can be done by the end users and industry alike to see that this is done. While there are many large and small scale initiatives to step up plastic recycling, a challenging amount of plastic still ends up in landfills or the ocean.
There are actually giant islands of plastic and garbage in the middle of the ocean—five of them to be exact. The largest is “The Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” which is roughly the size of Eastern Australia. The garbage collects in rivers and flows out to sea, getting caught in the ocean currents and collects in certain spots in our oceans. It’s a sad site to see, and the impact on marine life is devastating.
The ocean conservation organization Sea Shepherd is doing something about it that hasn’t been done before. They are collecting plastic debris from beaches and the ocean and partnering up with the companies Bionic Yarn and G-Star RAW to produce jeans made from the plastic waste.
The evolution of recycling into new and creative products inspires great hope for even more future efforts. And, as these innovations gain visibility there will be more demand for such products, which can only drive even more improvements and hope for the future of our environment.
To learn more or donate to the Sea Shepherd, visit their web site. For more information on the Vortex Project, supporting efforts to generate consumer demand for recycled materials in support of clean oceans, visit their web site.