Did you know eight million tonnes of plastic ends up in the ocean every year? It’s deplorable and frightening, really. But while we often hear about the problem with ocean plastic, the news doesn’t often cover how the plastic actually gets in there..
A new research study published in Science Advances shows that 80% of plastic is distributed by more than 1,000 rivers. It’s also interesting to note that small rivers flowing through densely populated urban areas—not just large rivers—are playing their own part in the problem.
The good news is that where there are problems, there are solutions! Here are three projects trying to staunch the flow of plastics to our oceans.
1. The Interceptor
The non-profit group The Ocean Cleanup is catching garbage before it makes its way to the ocean. Their futuristic-looking, solar-powered trash interceptors are moored to river beds and around the world use natural current to snag debris floating on the surface. It’s then shuttled into six large onboard dumpsters where it is emptied daily by a small crew. The captured plastic is then pelletized and molded into products like premium sunglasses.
2. The Great Bubble Barrier
In Amsterdam’s Westerdokskade, the city’s historic canal belt, you’ll find an innovative plastic diversion system that basically uses bubbles. Compressed air, pumped through a tube nestled at the bottom of the waterway, helps to push waste to the side where it is trapped in a smart catchment container. Works well with small pieces of plastic too!
3. Mr. Trash Wheel
This smart solution may have a funny face but don’t let that fool you. Mr Trash Wheel—basically a floating waterwheel, conveyor belt, and dumpster system—has been really effective at eating up trash in Baltimore’s inner harbor. Using a unique blend for solar and hydro power, this interceptor prevents hundreds of tons of garbage from reaching the ocean. (It’s also fun to note that Mr. Trash Wheel has its own hilarious Twitter feed.)
These plastic pickers are doing a great job of harvesting damaging bits and pieces before they hit the ocean but still...the ultimate solution would be to stop the problem at the source, right?
Since you’re reading this, you’re already part of the crew who understand that avoiding plastic altogether is the right choice.
To say thanks for helping out, we’re offering 10% off storewide! You might consider something that you need, or to gift to your friends and family who might enjoy a taste of this plastic-free lifestyle.
We’ve launched a number of new products this month including our FLOOR CLEANER and the popular COCONUT SHAMPOO BAR. Now is a great time to test out something new!