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Plastic Plastic Everywhere: The 5 Gyres Project

In August they will be traversing the South Atlantic, from Rio De Janeiro to Cape Town South Africa, an area that has been left relatively undocumented. Then they will embark on a North American Speaking tour, traveling over 2000 miles by bicycle, in order to bring attention to what we are doing to our oceans.

While I think its important for everyone out there to understand this problem that we are creating, I think it’s more important to offer some ideas on how we can fix this problem. The simplest way to start is by not buying plastic. I know that seems ridiculously simple, and in many ways, impossible, but keep in mind, cutting your plastic consumption in half is better than not cutting it down at all.

Head to the store and see if you can do your shopping without buying any single use “disposable” packaging. If you’re like most Americans, that’ll be tough. Having said that, once you are aware, start buying what you can that uses no, or at least non-plastic recyclable/compostable packaging. But don’t stop there. When you get home, fire off a letter or email to the makers of the products you are no longer buying and tell them you stopped buying from them because of their packaging and will be happy to start again once they step up and fix the problem they are creating. Your message might not have an impact, but trust me, 100,000 of them will and you can be a part of that.

Want to step it up? Start writing to your representatives and tell them about the gyres. Ask them about considering legislation where manufacturers have to consider the endlife of their packaging. Why should we pay with our taxes to deal with packaging we don’t want in the first place?

Finally, if you are really gung ho, start leaving your packaging in the store at the counter–tell them you don’t want it and they need to deal with it. Again, one person is a nuisance, but 10,000 is a call from the store to the manufacturer and the message will get through.

There are certainly other ideas, but knowledge is the first step. Check out the 5gyres site for more ideas on what you can do, to donate to the cause and follow their exploits, and to spread the word.

Thanks for reading.



Read more: Conservation, Home, News & Issues, Reduce, Recycle & Reuse, Sustainable Dave, , , ,

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Dave Chameides

Dave Chameides is a filmmaker and environmental educator. His website and newsletter are designed to inspire thought and dialogue on environmental solutions and revolve around the idea that no one can do everything, but everyone can do something. "Give people the facts, and they'll choose to do the right thing."


+ add your own
5:46PM PDT on Jun 14, 2011

I wish we could just cast a net and scoop it right up

1:50PM PDT on Jun 13, 2011

I was very sadden to watch this video. Thanks for sharing.

5:26PM PDT on Jun 8, 2011

Saw this on Oprah...Sometimes I just fell so helpless... I try my best, but it feels like nothing changes...
Anyway, thank you Dave...

1:09AM PST on Nov 18, 2010

PLEASE somebody buy one of the "everything to oil" pressure cooker mini oil refinery contraptions for each of the gyres and set them to work turning that plastic into something between crude oil and number 2 diesel.

1:55PM PDT on Sep 12, 2010

This video is very disturbing, but I want to relate another way that shows how bad plastic is for the environment. On Big Pine Key, Florida (in the Florida Keys), there is an old rock quarry called the Blue Hole, which is the home to one or more alligators. In April of 2008, we found our 9' male gator floating dead. The necropsy determined that he died from swallowing a 2"x3" plastic toy turtle. Alligators love to eat turtles, and he was able to swallow it whole, but it became lodged at the opening from his stomach to his intestines. He died a very slow, painful death from a major blockage.

plastic spring

9:17AM PDT on Aug 17, 2010

"Give people the facts, and they'll choose to do the right thing."
The sad thing is that it's not always true. I live in Texas. I try to tell people about these things. I show them videos and photos and stories about the horrible things we're doing to animals and the planet. Most of them don't care at all. They still eat meat 4 times a day and use plastic everything. It's horrible. It makes me really start to dislike people. How could they not care??

2:05AM PDT on Aug 17, 2010

Thank you for this article and Lilah's comment.Awareness, ideas and encouragement really help me to change my habits.
it takes effort, but I am getting better every day.

11:53AM PDT on May 31, 2010

This is really sad.

3:09AM PDT on May 25, 2010

everyone, please sign & share:
than you so much

9:14AM PDT on May 7, 2010

The basic building block of plastics is cellulose taken from petroleum, but toxic petrochemical compositions are not the only way to derive plastics. Plastics can be derived from plant cellulose, and since hemp is the greatest cellulose producer on Earth (hemp hurds can be 85% cellA recent technological advance with biodegradable plastics made from cornstarch has led to a new material based on hemp. Hemp Plastics (Australia) have sourced partners who have been able to produce a new 100% biodegradable material made entirely from hemp and corn. This new material has unique strength and technical qualities which have yet to be seen before, and this new material can be injection or blow-molded into virtually any shape using existing moulds, including cosmetic containers, Frisbee golf discs, etc.ulose), it only makes sense to make other organics, instead of letting our dumps fill up with refuse.
The possibilities are endless with hemp plastics and resins, and bio-composites. Virtually any shape and purpose can be fulfilled by bio-composite plastics. Hemp plastics are already on the rise, it is only a matter of time before we will see the need to grow hemp in the United States to meet our demands.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

Glad to see eggs on the list. The yolk is one of the very rare natural sources of Vitamin B12. It …

Thank you. Might be worth checking the label if you want to avoid GMOs, which a lot of US-supplied s…

mmm bookmarked some great ideas :) Thank you for sharing.

I must admit that they do look delicious ☺


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