Located in the Pacific Ocean are a number of circular currents that run several thousand miles wide and are known as the North Pacific Gyre. Most vessels making the journey between the mainland United States and Hawaii typically try to avoid this high-pressure system in the central Pacific Ocean because the water lacks the nutrients necessary for fruitful fishing and it lacks the wind needed to propel vessels relying on the winds power to thrust them across the ocean. Trash and debris that find its way into the ocean from Pacific Rim countries travel via these currents and accumulate about 1,000 miles off the California coast all the way to the coast of Japan into what has come to be known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
Girl Scouts know how to celebrate a milestone. Scouts across the country are commemorating the 100th anniversary of their organization by participating in a Take Action Project that they have dubbed the Forever Green program. This global program consists of three month-long projects Scouts can sign up for and participate in during February, March, and April. The goal is to educate the girls about the environment and sustainability. The Reduce Waste leg of this trifecta teaches girls about the impact waste has on our shared world and how to reduce the amount of non-biodegradable waste each of us contributes to landfills, primarily single-use plastic bags. The program also strives to increase aluminum can recycling. This is a fantastic project that will reach not only the Scouts themselves, but it encourages the girls to involve their friends and family to help spread the message of sustainability and develop lifelong eco-friendly habits that will reduce their carbon footprint.
Kindergarten students at Dillon Valley Elementary in Colorado, which is about 70 miles west of Denver, recently, completed a six week unit on water and oceans, and a main point the kids took away from their studies was that plastic bags are just no good. Lessons focused on water quality and ways to protect our waterways, students learned about the destructive impact of litter and that disposable plastic bags make up the overwhelming majority of litter. The devastating toll plastic bags take on the environment, particularly the world’s oceans, was an eye opener for the kids. Many of the children were saddened by the knowledge that marine animals can become entangled or mistakenly eat discarded plastic bags which lead to their deaths. Empowered with this knowledge the students made the decision to forgo plastic bags in favor of reusable shopping bags.
There is no denying the many merits of reusable bags, from the environmental impact to the cost savings for both the stores that supply disposable bags and the municipalities that pick up litter. Reusable shopping bags definitely are a step in the right direction on many fronts, but they require some care and attention. If not properly cared for reusable bags can possibly nurture and spread bacteria. A few studies have been done on the issue and while the amounts of bacteria found were minimal, exposure is all it takes to become ill. Remember to bring your bags
Plastic bags have come under fire lately, as they should. Resources are drained to create these bags and only a small percentage ends up being recycled, leaving the rest to either sit in landfills or litter streets, parks, and wildlife habitats. To put an end to the environmental and financial havoc plastic bags wreck on the world many cities have taken to banning plastic bags to encourage the use of reusable shopping bags. Many such bans include a section concerning paper bags. A typical ban consists of a straight out prohibition of plastic bags, but allows paper bags to be
There is seldom a one-size-fits all solution to big problems, and the folks of Madison, Wisconsin are proving that point. As cities all across the United States are banning plastic disposable bag in hopes of reducing litter and preventing these non-biodegradable nuisances from taking up space in garbage dumps, Madison decided to step up efforts to recycle plastic bags. In 2009 Madison began a plastic bag recycling program. Drop-off locations were setup throughout the area and residents could simply deposit their plastic bags.
In an effort to combat litter and encourage recycling many states have enacted returnable container laws, more commonly referred to as bottle bills. Oregon was the first state to put such a trailblazing law into place in 1972 and since that time 10 other states have passed similar legislation
Reducing your carbon footprint is an eco-friendly lifestyle choice that may seem daunting, but is completely attainable. To best understand how to reduce your carbon footprint you need to understand what it is exactly. The carbon reference relates to carbon emissions that result from burning fossil fuels, such as coal, oil, and gas. These fuels are used to power cars, create electricity, heat homes, manufacture goods, and a whole slew of other things. The footprint is a measure of use. So every time you drive your gas-powered car or carry groceries home in petroleum-based plastic bags you increase your carbon footprint.
Concerns over the impact on health of BPA – a chemical compound widely used in everyday plastic items – spiked again this week. The release of a study into BPA contamination, from the eating of cans of soup, showed that levels of bisphenol-A (BPA) rose tenfold in volunteers consuming such soups regularly.
It’s becoming increasingly clear that landfill is no solution to the global garbage problem. It’s just a convenient – and all-too-temporary – hidey-hole hole for our overflowing waste-bins. What was convenient for the waste-dumper has turned out to be far from convenient for the rest of us; or for the overstressed environment. And while today’s landfill sites are a far cry from the giant holes in the ground common until the 1970s – which leaked like sieves into the local water supply – today’s tighter controls and regulations only delay, rather than eliminate, the environmental problems of landfill.