We’ve all heard the “recycle, reduce, reuse” mantra. However, to really combat the current problem of overconsumption and reduce unnecessary waste, this saying should be flipped on its head: “reduce, reuse, recycle.” Recycling is reactive, and society needs to combine it with a proactive solution, because recycling alone will not “fix” our current consumption problem. The first step should be reducing
I became aware of the great “Pacific Garbage Patch” after I learned about the Plastiki Project. Thanks to the Plastiki boat and its crew who already sailed more than 4,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean to raise awareness about marine debris and other environmental issues.
My background is in the energy sector and I’m not an expert on environmental issues other than what’s related to power generation. I do recycle as much as I can. However, I admit I have no idea what’s going on in the recycling process, where our materials are coming from or what type of materials we should be using. By reading some statistics, I learned that more than 90 percent of plastics are not recycled.
This made me aware of what we are doing to our ecosystems without even being able to clean up. I became annoyed and upset when I went to the grocery store and realized that I can no longer live in a world without consuming plastics. Plastic materials are not only a major packaging item in our food chain, but we are forced to buy most of our daily needs in plastic packages. Perhaps we are saving energy and money by using plastics, especially in packaging. However, maybe there is a way to reduce plastic consumption to a minimum level.
I haven’t used plastic bags for a long time. Instead, I bring my own reusable bag for grocery shopping. I stopped buying plastic bottles after I watched the animated film, “Story of Bottled Water,” which alerted me to the environmental danger caused by plastics. However, I realized that I still keep consuming plastics. Therefore I set up a challenge for myself:
I will not consume plastics for the following 30 days!
The Plastiki, a sailing boat made out of 12,500 reclaimed plastic bottles and other recycled waste products, has been sailing in the Pacific Ocean for more than 30 days.
Plastiki started its journey March 20 from San Francisco, with the intention to create public awareness about the effects of plastic usage on marine pollution and consequently sea life.
The Plastiki crew aims to explore a number of environmental hotspots, such as soon-to-be-flooded island nations, damaged coral reefs and the challenge faced by acidifying oceans and marine debris, in particular plastic pollution.
Plastiki’s journey is also scheduled to go through the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a zone of trash one suspended on the water’s surface, twice the size of Texas, and stretching from the shores of California to the Sea of Japan.
The boat crew consists of six scientists, environmentalists and artists, led by the British adventurer David de Rothschild. The 60-foot boat is sailing with an average speed of five nautical miles per hour and the voyage is set end in Sydney in about three months.