A Giant Net Has Been Deployed to Clean Up Plastics in the Pacific Ocean

Posted On: October 17, 2018

A 23-year-old Dutch inventor named Boyan Slat has figured out a way to clean up the Earth's oceans: by deploying the world's first ocean plastic cleanup system. It is a 2,000 foot floating barrier, that Slat has named System 001 and it will make its way from San Francisco into the Pacific Ocean, collecting plastic on its journey. The Dutch environmental start-up, Ocean Cleanup Foundation, launched this device last month. The system's ultimate destination is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is a swirling collection of plastic waste that has ballooned to a size that is two times larger than the state of Texas. This barrier is held in position by ocean currents between California and Hawaii.

Slat projects that an array of 60 different plastic pickup systems can reduce the amount of plastic in the area by half by the year 2025. This new system is solid and not a net, which is great because that way the sea life will not get entangled. It is a U-shaped pipe that is connected to a 3 meter deep net that helps to trap litter. The system will collect the plastic and make it ready to be collected by boats and subsequently taken for recycling by using GPS-enabled buoys and satellite receptors. Every few months, a garbage hauling boat will make trips to remove the collected plastic. 

The U.N. says over 8 million tons of plastic still enter the oceans each year. The goal of this new system is to turn the collected plastic into something that can be reused, like a helmet, coat hanger or even a tooth brush, and is not just for a single use. By doing so, this tactic will reduce the chances of the plastic then ending right back in the ocean. Slat will be monitoring the progress of this system and hopes that the results of the barrier prove worthwhile. The plastic in the ocean has been an epidemic for some time and this new invention seems like a promising step into cleaner waters.

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How Plastic Kills the Ocean and Impacts Our Food Chain

Posted On: September 05, 2018

Fish and other ocean animals are often found with pieces of plastic in their stomachs, giving the cliché "you are what you eat" a much scarier meaning to people whose dinners include those animals. This Vice News video explores the plastic conditions near the southern tip of Hawaii's Big Island, which has become a magnet for the ocean's plastic. Plastic from Asia, mainland America, and a lot from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch make its way to this presumably tropical paradise.

A lot of the plastic you see in the video at Kamilo Beach has been circulating in the ocean for a very long time that it actually is broken down into tiny particles or micro-plastics and litters the shoreline. This makes the beach nearly impossible to clean up. The caretakers of the beach come down just about once a week to clean it up. And no matter how good of a job they do, when they come the next time it can be just as bad or even worse.

It is estimated that nearly 700 marine species have encountered man-made debris on the earth. Oceanographer Dr. Anela Choy studies the plastics impact on the entire ocean food chain and spoke to Vice News about her findings. She talks about Lancetfish and how they make for good research subjects when it comes to ocean pollution. This is due to the fact that the fish samples the ocean and can be used to monitor what is happening in the ocean. You can see what they are feeding on due to pieces of plastic they digest.

When asked how out of hand this plastic pollution situation is getting, Choy says, "animals at almost every single trophic level of the food web in the open ocean are ingesting plastics." When pieces of plastic are in the water column, they act as little sponges as they accumulate toxins and then get ingested by animals. And the ocean is the biggest habitat on the planet, so if there's plastic throughout that habitat, it's gonna have some really serious impacts.

Many of the fish species we eat prey on lancetfish, which means the plastic they ingest are moving up the food chains and onto our tables. This is evident from fish distributors who notice these signs, but it is very difficult to do anything at that point. The plastic pollution problem is one of the biggest facing this planet and more needs to be done to change this situation.

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What You Need To Do To Ban Plastic From Your Life

Posted On: August 06, 2018

Becoming more green is all the trend now. As many people are becoming more and more aware of their carbon footprint, they are thinking about the impact their actions in terms of recycling has on the environment. This idea has dawned on many different companies too, as plastic bans are all the rage. It is important that these steps are being taken, but is it enough? The New York post recently wrote an article that outlines what you can do to ban plastic from your life. Here are the main points laid out in the piece.

  • BYOS (Bring Your Own Straw): If you are one of those people who enjoy using a straw for your drink, then you can bring your own straw when heading out. Amazon, Walmart and Target all sell metal straws in stainless steel or copper, as well as glass straws from from "ultra-durable beaker glass."

  • Use reusable cups for coffee: Many people routinely go out and get coffee on their way or while at work. However, many do not bring their own reusable mug. Forgo using single-use cups and invest in a mug or tumbler. Some outlets even provide a small discount for using your own cup.

  • Bring your own bento box when eating out: Americans through out too much food. When going out, simply bring your own food storage container and limit the restaurant's need to use whatever type of product they have. On top of that, bring your lunch to work in these types of packages. That cuts down on food waste in general. You can even wrap your sandwich in eco-friendly sandwich bags, such as cloth and seared silicone bags.

  • Stop buying plastic bottled water: Americans are drinking an absorbent amount of bottled water, that is wholly unnecessary. Stop buying plastic bottled water and invest in a reusable water bottle that you can refill each day. And even in the home, there is no need to drink bottled water, when convenient and affordable water filters are available.

  • Buy a tote bag: Few things are worse for the environment that a single-use plastic bag. It is beyond wasteful to use a plastic bag of that nature for only one time. Many places have a minor plastic bag tax, but still that's not enough. Make a concerted effort to buy and use reusable tote bags. This can go beyond simply the grocery store. Avoid bringing home any extra bags by investing in multiple eco-friendly tote bags that can be used for years.

These steps can be used to help set a trend and limit plastic waste. There is only so much one person can do, but doing it nonetheless is important. Perhaps others will slowly take notice and change some habits themselves. 

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San Francisco Plastic Straw Ban

Posted On: July 26, 2018

San Francisco supervisors have unanimously approved a ban on the use of plastic straws and takeout containers treated with fluorinated chemicals. This follows an earlier decision this month, where in Seattle they voted to ban the use of plastic straws and stirrers. That news made headlines and is now impacting other cities, with San Francisco following suit to make their city more eco-friendly and green. This vote is San Francisco will need a second vote, which will occur next week, but it is expected to pass.

In conjunction with this legislation, napkins and utensils with takeout or delivery are only available on request unless there is a self-serve station. This is a way to implement a greener lifestyle for patrons. 

Starting on January 1, 2020, food and drink vendors in San Francisco must use carryout containers and food wrappers that are free of fluorinated chemicals. These chemicals are currently used to stop grease and water, however the chemicals used do not break down in compost, making them harmful to the environment. Seattle and San Francisco are some of the more liberal thinking cities in America, so it makes sense that they are the pioneers in this endeavor for a greener earth, but I would expect more cities in the near future to follow these similar types of bans.

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More Recycling Won't Solve Plastic Pollution

Posted On: July 18, 2018

Matt Wilkins of Scientific American recently wrote an article that presented the idea that it is not the individual habits of each person that is leading to the pollution problems, but rather it is the wasteful technology being implemented. He posits, "the lie is that blame for the plastic problem is wasteful consumers and that changing our individual habits will fix it." It is true that we all could do a little more when it comes to recycling and our plastic footprint, but it is difficult to overcome the overuse of plastic bags.

The very idea of manufacturing plastic items on a wide-scale level is a "reckless abuse of technology," according to Wilkens. Take grocery bags for example, which are used on average for about 12 minutes. However, these bags can linger in the environment for half a millennium. So, no matter how many people recycle, those bags will still exist. To really solve the plastic pollution problem, these single-use plastics should be avoided in the first place.

And aside from the difficulties recycling different plastics, there are also other dangerous factors to consider. They pose multiple threats to wildlife through entanglement and consumption and some more recent developments indicate an absorption of toxic chemicals in the water. And some plastic odors even mimic some species' natural food. It is also likely that we are ingesting plastic ourselves when consuming seafood. It is undeniably dangerous for plastics to exist in our ecosystems.

To combat the use of plastics, Wilkens presents a few reasons. The first is to simply reject the lie. Understand that it is more a systemic issue than a people issue. It is far too easy to use plastic than it is to generally recycle. That is a problem and leads to his second reason "talk about our plastic problem loudly and often." Start conversations and get people aware of the issues at hand. Once people are aware of the issue, then real changes can occur through their actions, such as protesting. The third and final aspect is to simply think bigger. Instead of just reducing waste by a small fraction, think about a shifting lifestyle to help ensure that nearly everything is reused, recycled or composted. That would be the truest way to combat the plastic pollution problem.

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The Surprising Solution to Ocean Plastic

Posted On: April 18, 2018

Plastic pollution is becoming more and more of a problem around the globe. New and innovative ways are being developed and fleshed out in order to combat this issue that is now worldwide. One interesting and new solution is The Plastic Bank, which was formulated by David Katz. The Plastic Bank is the world's only organization that monetizes plastic wastes while providing an opportunity for the financially disadvantaged to trade and collect plastic waste as a currency.

The overall goal of The Plastic Bank is to end the ocean plastic pollution problem, while hoping to aid end limit extreme poverty by developing a currency for the poor. This bank aims to be a worldwide chain of stores that offers a variety of items and supplies for purchase, such as cooking fuel and even school tuition. The items in this bank are available to be purchased by exchanging plastic garbage. Once handed in, this garbage can then be sorted and shredded and eventually sold to brands who can reuse the plastic when manufacturing their own products.

David Katz recently did a TED Talk where he discussed this bank and the steps required to close the loop in the circular economy. "Preventing ocean plastic could be humanity's richest opportunity," Katz says in the talk. Join Katz in this effort to end global ocean plastic waste today. Any small part can help.

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Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Posted On: March 23, 2018

Scientists have recently found that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is growing at an exponential rate. According to a recent report, seventy nine thousand tons of plastic debris can be found in the Pacific Ocean between California and Hawaii. Estimates say that is it nearly 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic that covers an area in the ocean that is three times the size of France. This is a problem that is getting out of hand.

This study was led by the Ocean Cleanup Foundation along with some researchers from around he globe. The survey process was completed by two planes and 18 boats. The Garbage Patch has been gaining in size for some time now, but these new numbers are much larger than previously thought. The Patch is continuing to grow in size as it accumulates more and more garbage on a regular basis. This is due to a combination of ocean currents and careless actions by us humans. 

It is suspected that much of the plastic is coming from Pacific countries, but due to the currents some garbage can be from anywhere. It has built up where is has due to slack currents and naturally grows in the calm waters of the area.

At The Complete Package, we pride ourselves by supplying and distributing eco-friendly and disposable products. By doing so, we are helping combat issues such as water pollution. By providing our customers with quality and environmentally friendly materials, we hope to produce an climate where these products are simply the norm and not anything special. We should all strive to do what we can to help the environment. For more information about any of our products, please contact us today.

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Dangerous Water Pollution

Posted On: March 12, 2018

Water pollution is becoming more and more of a danger to our environment on a daily basis. Recently, Richard Horner, a former mechanical engineer from England, took a video of rampant water pollution off the coast of Bali. The video he shot is near Manta Point Bay on the Indonesian coast. In this video, you'll see Horner swimming through debris, such as wrappers and bags. Also in the video is the local sea life. Together, the plastics and the fish, are living together in a not-so-ideal habitat.

This issue has various aspects to consider. The first area to consider is pollution education. Horner mentions in the article that the education of the people of Indonesia is not up to par with the people in England. They are simply not as aware of the impacts their pollution causes compared to other parts of the world. This is one of the reasons why he made this video. To shed light on an issue that is important to him. Horner has been living in Bali for a few years and diving there for ten. In this instance, the pollution was much worse than in previous excursions and he felt compelled to share it.

Another aspect to consider is the fact that there simply are not many places in the area to dispose of garbage, according to Horner. He says the rivers are used as a dumping ground and that water flows right into the ocean. And if there are areas of garbage collection, they are not as thorough as they could be and do not collect everything or go everywhere. This essentially leaves people with no other option, since they need to get rid of it somehow. 

Lastly, the inclusion of more disposable and eco-friendly products into their marketplace can have a great effect in changing the ecosystem and culture in Bali. Pollution of waters is less of an issue if the materials used in a product decompose over time. It is seeing videos like this one shared by Mr. Horner that makes me believe that disposable materials should be more the norm. We are making great strides in that area, but clearly much more progress needs to be made. You can do your small part in helping the environment by browsing our selection of eco-friendly products

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