Last night we went to see, Expedition to the Plastic Vortex, a documentary which aims to show the various impacts that marine debris have on our oceans and the marine life that lives there.
The film is a summary of Project Kaisei‘s mission, a non-profit organization based in San Francisco and Hong Kong, established to increase the understanding and the scale of marine debris, its impact on our ocean environment, and how we can introduce solutions for both prevention and clean-up.
Kaisei is a beautiful sailboat that carries many scientists and environmentalists into the Pacific gyre, an area in the Pacific Ocean where many currents converge, about a thousand miles off the California coast, above the Hawaiian Islands. This area is where the plastic vortex occurs, also known as the “garbage patch”.
The documentary shows how plastic bags, bottles and fishing nets become tangled into these islands of garbage and dead marine life. The images were amazing as the Kaisei team swims into the water and films the mountain of debris from below as it floats. It explains that the the plastic is broken down in the ocean into tiny particles the size of plankton, and that a lot of marine life, including birds, eats it thinking it is food. This causes a lot of problems for the animals but also ends up in our food chain, as those same fish are caught, then sold at supermarkets and eaten by us. Bottom line: we are slowly poisoning ourselves.
In the developed world, like the U.S., we are careless about how we dispose of our plastic. Most of us do not recycle- Project Kaisei notes that only 5% of all plastic is recycled! And in developing countries, lack of adequate garbage disposal solutions makes it so that much of the garbage produced in those nations ends up on streets, then rivers, then eventually, out to sea.
We walked away from the film feeling a renewed sense of determination to do our part as citizens and business-owners to be responsible for our trash. Please recycle your Royal Hawaiian Honeys jars and plastic tubs!
Does your neighborhood recycling program not take our #5 plastic containers? Recycle them here!
By recycling your #5s through the Gimme 5 Program, you are:
- Saving plastic from being sent to landfills
- Keeping it local by recycling it here in the USA
- Powering Preserve by helping them transform your recyclables into new Preserve toothbrushes and razors