Plastic bottles, the curse of our time?
A “plastic soup” of waste floating in the Pacific Ocean is growing at an alarming rate and now covers an area twice the size of the continental United States, scientists have said. And this isn't the only one. Is this the curse of our time?
Plastic bottles are at the heart of the problem. Manufactured, filled and then left for society to dispose of, they are everywhere. But imagine if the producers of plastic bottles were responsible for them even after we had consumed what was inside them. Imagine if we all sent our bottles back to the company that made them.
So I propose that we select a day and send back our bottles to the companies that made them.
I believe this would define Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) more clearly for them.
god you lot are all full of ####, I wonder how many of you are actually plastic free? you can keep on moaning that others need to clean up the mess, but it is our mess. You want the benefits of plastic but do not want the responsibility that comes with consuming more and more with an ever growing appetite.Stop consuming plastic...simple!, once the need has gone then plastic wont sell. Youre all on plastic computers, have plastic in your homes and cars, pens, shoes the list goes on. Unless you live in a muddy hole in the middle of a field you cant really harp on.
Gordon Craig commented
Should we consolidate our votes to make them count and pick a campaign that best suits the "No Confidence/ General election vote?" I personally feel no confidence says it all and should then lead to a general election.
So if the Economist is taking this seriously...should we? http://www.economist.com/blogs/prospero/2010/12/ocean_pollution?fsrc=scn/fb/wl/bl/onewordplastics
I think we should also pressure world governements, leaders and responsable companies to clear up the huge mess that is killing millions of creatures a year.
Thanks for your post Steve. I believe there are a few other things to consider too: in the US they throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour. Studies suggest that between 7% and 8% of the world’s fossil fuels are used to produce new plastics. Although it doesn’t sound like much, it accounts for millions of tons of fuels per year. As you suggest, all plastic can be recycled. But it’s not being recycled as much as it should be. Some studies show that only 10% of plastic bottles created are recycled, leaving that extra 90% to take up space in landfills and kill marine life. So in essence I agree with your notion that more recycling plants should be set up.
However, my proposal is not just about plastic, its reuse and production. It is about making manufactures responsible for what they produce. When Evian first produced water it was sold in GLASS bottles that were returned to Evian, sterilised, refilled and distributed. This used to be the case with milk in the UK too. It established a relationship between customer and manufacturer where the process was sustainable and circular. Equally children were paid small amount of money for each bottle they collected and returned (this concept is still employed across Australasia).
Recycling is a seemingly simple solution. However, it does NOT address the hubris that encourages designers, manufactures and consumers to perpetuate the disposable society we live in. We as a society are all responsible and this must begin with the choices we make. From the moment a company decides to produce anything, I believe they should factor in the responsibility of that object throughout its 'life'. Only recently Innocent Smoothies have removed the pull-cap-seal on their products, reducing their plastic use by over 20 tonnes per year. This is just a small example of a design decision that can have a huge impact on plastic use.
Plastic is also toxic. And it is becoming part of the food chain. Bisphenol A (BPA) is a ubiquitous compound in plastics. First synthesized in 1891, the chemical has become a key building block of plastics from polycarbonate to polyester; in the U.S. alone more than 2.3 billion pounds (1.04 million metric tons) is manufactured annually.
Since at least 1936 it has been known that BPA mimics estrogens, binding to the same receptors throughout the human body as natural female hormones. And tests have shown that the chemical can promote human breast cancer cell growth as well as decrease sperm count in rats, among other effects. These findings have raised questions about the potential health risks of BPA, especially in the wake of hosts of studies showing that it leaches from plastics and resins when they are exposed to hard use or high temperatures (as in microwaves or dishwashers).
A recent report in the journal Reproductive Toxicology found that humans are being exposed to levels of BPA that are at least 10 times what the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has deemed safe because of the amount of the chemical detected in tissue and blood samples.
I have done a reasonable amount of research into plastics and their affect on the human body and the environment. There are also numerous studies that are repeatedly discovering the dangers of plastics both on us and our environment. For me recycling is a temporary fix for a problem that will change us from the inside out - it is the plastic plaster on a the gaping, gangrenous wound. So although recycling may be the first steps along the road, it most definitely is not the solution. The solution lies in re-education, respect for ourselves and the responsibilities we have to provide a sustainable world.
And time is short.
All plastic (according to websites I've visited), are recyclable.
We have plastic bottles collected fortnightly, but plastic tubs and plastic of a different density to the bottles will be left in our container.
We are told to remove the plastic lids from the milk bottles even though they are the same plastic as the bottle.
We collect the lids for different charities, but no-one seems to know what happens to them after they are taken away.
It's about time that recycling plants were set up to take in all the other plastics that are going to land fill.
In fact the government should do something to stop shops selling stuff with packaging that can't be recycled.
You can see the oceans currents from space due to the plastic that they carry with them. Humans are monsters.
With the defeat of Proposition 19 today and the benefits that could have eventually brought to the global environment in terms of enviromental awareness, CO2 capture, fuel production, reforestation due to hemp based goods becoming the most economic way to make paper and other forestry goods and ozone replenishment along with a multitude of other benefits in human social evolution, I fear that humanity will never learn.
I do not lose hope however.
Vote this topic and the "Legalise & Regulate Cannabis" idea up!
Hungry Beast reports on the pacific ocean garbage dump - with help of photographer Chris Jordon. North East of Hawaii human debris from around the pacific gathers in the ocean and on the shores of midway atoll. The affects of this pollution is devastating to the bird and marine population. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7vHrMsnRFA
Will you care when the bits and pieces of plastic floating around in the ocean eventually become so minute they they are ingested by animals which you eat, and eventually become a toxic substance in your body?
Great Pacific Garbage Dump is a graveyard of toxic plastic http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8a4S23uXIcM&feature=related
Thanks Matty - it used to be that many companies had a Free Post address on their products. This meant that you could send anything to that address and the company would have to pay for the postage, no matter what you sent - imagine if that were still the case! ;-)
Matty B commented
Really simple yet ingenious idea, just like 38 degree's itselfj ....Love your thinking on this John, in fact i suppose corporate responsibility could be applied to many other things too...Come on folks, lets get the ball rolling...
Chemical From Plastic Water Bottles Found Throughout Oceans. A survey of 200 sites in 20 countries around the world has found that bisphenol A, a synthetic compound that mimics estrogen and is linked to developmental disorders, is ubiquitous in Earth’s oceans.
viv morgan commented
Disgraceful, how cold humans let this happen?
Please visit http://www.elrst.com/2008/11/18/plastic-a-curse-of-our-time/ for more information on the HUGE plastic dump that is spreading from California to Japan and Hawaii, it is the world’s largest dump and the biggest sign – with the billion tonnes of CO2 – that we have gone way to far in polluting our planet.