After reading nearly a hundred articles about garbage patches and islands I was missing the positive view. The healthy question for this disaster is; how can we solve it?
The answer is simple and does not require your effort but healthy thinking. So far, I found three answers:
- The first solution is biodegradable plastic. Imagine you have something with the properties of plastic but does not have the long lasting property. By the time some accidental piece is lost in nature reaches a gyre, it is completely decomposed in solely organic materials.
- Solutions that remove plastic. All efforts that consider manual or semi-manual collecting trash are good because of their positive spirit. Everything counts! However, the undo the high volume of plastic trash every year, something not to labor and capital intensive is needed. One solution I received is a fungus that decomposes plastic like fungus can do in nature. For more information read this article.
- You. The problem is the behavior of us, the people. Which is also the answer, the people are the solution. That results in the key question; what can you do?
- Spread the word that plastic is not good and discuss by using facts. The more people are aware the more chance on change.
- Start talking about bio-degradable plastic whenever you see the opportunity. Especially on internet and areas where people buy. Feel free to ask in stores if the plastic is bio-degradable or if they have a biodegradable alternative.
But there is more you can do. The Garbage Patch is only an example out of many issues on this planet. Therefore I would like to go beyond the issue of garbage patches. Because if you care about this planet and want to to pass on the best for future generations, the change in behavior is more sophisticated. The following more general actions will benefit every one, including you:
- Use your intelligence; you are smart enough to understand what is sustainable
- Refuse, reduce, reuse and recycle
- Refuse plastic as much as you can. Less is more. Less stuff is more happiness, truly!
- Reduce your need for plastic items by choosing for sustainable alternatives
- Reuse plastic once you have plastic items
- Recycle plastic. All major countries are recycling plastic. Actually your community will receive money for recycling plastic instead of paying for waste. It is not uncommon that the traditional method is more beneficial for public officials; please be aware!
It is always great news if scientist are finding new solutions. When it are two people and they are young it makes the future only brighter. Please take a little of your time to enjoy below video.
Like many TED talks it shows in an entertaining way how people got to some point.
Some interesting parts of the video:
- Plastic destructs eco systems
- The ocean has become a plastic soup. There is no place in the ocean where you cannot find waste
- Plastics have difficult constructions which makes them difficult to biograde
- Phthalates are part of plastic and easily are de-attached from plastic
- Therefore phthalates, which are in many plastic items, get easily into eco systems including human bodies
Man invents machine to convert plastic into oil
From United Nations University (sad to see that videos like this hardly gets hits)
Artist solution: http://www.evolo.us/competition/lady-landfill-skyscraper/
This article (Portuguese) is about the Germany system of recycling trash. The article informs:
- About the colours of the trash cans you see on the streets;
- By 2015 recycling will be mandatory; the law has been approved by the Parliament;
- In Europe, recycling business is a Gold Mine business;
- The big companies such as Alba ( german); Aurubis ( German- increase of 35% on profit with is around €13,3billions), Boliden AB ( Sweden- €4.5billion as business profit ) and Umicore
- German financial times posted: “the trash recyclers are the modern alchemist”
This article (Portuguese) informes:
- Rio de Janeiro recycling companies are far from perfect and has not yet picked up the business – can make million/ billions;
- Eurstat ( Statistics and Data Institute of the European Union) informs that the European countries recycled ( aluminium, glass, metals, paper, plastic, wood) more than 60% since 2009;
- Most efficient countries: Belgica is the top country with 79,07% of consumed trash recycled; Netherlands comes next with 74,86%; Germany = 73,43%; Tcheck Republic = 68,83% ; Italy =63,97%
- Less efficient countries: Greek = 43,82%; Romenia =40,47%
- Americas: USA shows a increase of 46,3% and Canada increased 47%
- Portugal eradicated the big trashes in a period of 10 years with an invest of €1.6billion and has been applying the rules from the EU.
- Germany was the pioneer country to implement a model of recycling; in 1972 the Parliament passed a law related to recycling
There are also other areas that make great progress. To get inspired I will give a few examples:
- Denmark produces more wind energy then the whole country can consume: http://energytransition.de/2013/11/denmark-surpasses-100-percent-wind-power/
- In the ’70 CFS gases were world wide banned to prevent ozone layer depletion
Your involvement is highly appreciated. Therefore, please post your ideas below. What do you think; what would be good solutions for the issue of garbage patches?