Monday, May 19, 2008

The North Pacific Gyre

This story has been around a few years, but still I meet a lot of people who haven't heard about the Texas-sized plastic dump in the Pacific Ocean.

Below is the result of someone's discarded plastic soda can rings:

Plastic is an unbelievable problem. Plastic only seems cheap, because the associated disposal and clean up costs aren't included in the product price.

Go watch this: Garbage Island *

Then for something a little happier: Canvas Bags (thanks Steve Zara!).

A few minutes into episode 3 of Garbage Island, a crew member says, "You go to Subway for a sandwich. They always put it in a plastic bag. How long do you use that bag for? One minute?"

That's a significant point. We're blind to the plastic waste we create because it all goes someplace else. How will this ever change?

Garbage Island suffers from a lack of aggressive editing. There's some great material in there that won't be seen because it's surrounded by stuff that's reduntant or paced too slowly.

*Updated link here: Garbage Island I haven't watched the updated version all the way through. I notice the piece has been renamed "Toxic Garbage Island," which I find unfortunate as the word "toxic" adds the "scary" but comes with pseudoscience baggage that might be off-putting to smart people.


  1. Hey! Tim Minchin is mine. I want him first, at least...

  2. This page gets a lot of hits for some reason, so I want to clarify: I'm not anti-plastic generally. I'm anti-one-use-throw-away plastic.

    Plastic caps on plastic pour-spouts on orange juice cartons. They help to make a tighter seal than the older style carton. But do we really need 'em?

    Plastic can be light weight, corrosion resistant, and embedded with fibers to make it strong enough for use in buildings and durable goods. Plastic in many structural applications may be more eco-friendly than the alternatives.

  3. I believe in the problem and in the message, but this type of Hippie/"I'm too cool for you" style of presentation is not going to help.

    We need straight forward information from credible/scientific sources. Not an hour long movie full of giggling, guessing, swearing and drug analogies.