"Waste is a design flaw"
-Nate Morris, Chairman and CEO at Rubicon
"The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a collection of marine debris in the North Pacific Ocean. Marine debris is litter that ends up in oceans, seas, and other large bodies of water."
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, also known as the Pacific trash vortex, spans waters from the West Coast of North America to Japan. The patch is actually comprised of the Western Garbage Patch, located near Japan, and the Eastern Garbage Patch, located between the U.S. states of Hawaii and California.
The Lowdown On Waste
8 Million Tonnes
It is estimated that 8 million tonnes of plastic waste enters the oceans every year - about 1 truckload every minute, or the equivalent of over 26,600 Boeing 747 planes.
34% & 23%
34% - thats how much high-income countries, only 16% of the world's population, generate of the world's waste
23% - East Asia and Pacific region generate close to a quarter, 23%, of all waste
Only one third of waste from high-income countries is recovered through recycling and composting. Only 4% of waste from low-income countries is recycled
242 Million Tonnes
In 2016, 242 million tonnes of plastic waste was generated globally. This accounts for 12% of all solid waste.
Plastic can contaminate and affect waterways and ecosystems for thousands of years if not collected and managed properly. Plastic never degrades, it just breaks down into smaller micro-plastics
Chewing gum contains microplastics. So when you're chewing gum, you're actually chewing tiny beads of plastic.
Cigarette butts contain cellulose acetate, a microplastic. Each butt can contain up to 12,000 cellulose acetate fibers. Cigarette butts are the most commonly polluted plastic. About 4.5 trillion individual butts are polluting our global environment.
Plastic is suffocating our oceans.
In 2017, there was "more than 5 trillion pieces of plastic, with a combined mass of more than 250,000 tons, are floating in our oceans."
Cash for Trash - New York
The New York State Returnable Container Act, also known as the "Bottle Bill", has been a tremendous success.
Since its passage, the Bottle Bill has achieved significant impacts to create a cleaner and healthier New York.
The Bottle Bill reduces roadside container litter by 70 percent and in 2016 helped to recycle 5.1 billion plastic, glass and aluminium beverage containers totalling more than 246,000 tons; at no cost to local governments.
Istanbul Vending Machines Offer Subway Credit for Recycled Bottles and Cans
Istanbul on Wednesday rolled out an alternative currency for commuters who need to top up their subway cards but are short of cash: recyclables.
The city is installing “reverse vending machines” at metro stations that allow passengers to add credit to their subway cards simply by inserting a plastic bottle or aluminum can into the machine.
Ireland’s First Reverse Vending Machine Launched in Carrickmacross
"The Carrickmacross Tidy Town Committee officially launched Ireland’s first deposit return Reverse Vending Machine on the 30th of September .
The initiative will allow users to insert their used plastic bottles into the machine and redeem a 10 cent voucher per bottle. The plastic bottles will then be taken away by local company Shabra Plastics for processing and re-cycling."
What Can We Do?
Refuse Plastics - especially single use
About 4 Trillion plastic bags are used worldwide every year. Only 1% are returned for recycling.
Stop using cling-film. Washable containers work perfectly (and look nicer in your fridge!)
Reduce purchases of difficult to recycle items.
Reduce the amount you purchase and only purchase what is necessary - there is no need to buy in excess of what you need.
Mend shoes and clothing where possible.
Sell, swap or donate what you don't use need any more.
Give away items you no longer want or need on sites such as FreeCycle Ireland.
Use reusable items wherever you can.
Cotton/sustainable bamboo cloths in the kitchen are a great alternative to kitchen paper. Save yourself the money, while saving trees.
Compost food scraps.
Food waste that goes into landfill produces methane as it decomposes in a low/no oxygen environment.
Try start your own composting at home or use your local composting service
Where you cant do any of the above, ensure you recycle all recyclable materials.
It is important to ensure you recycle wisely so as to not contaminate other recyclable materials.
The national TidyTowns initiative was launched in 1958 by Bord Fáilte (now Fáilte Ireland). It was originally part of ‘Tostal’, a nationwide festival celebrating all things Irish. A step-up from the original National Spring Clean Campaign, which ran between 1953 and 1957, TidyTowns rapidly developed its own identity and has gone on to become Ireland’s most well known and popular local environmental initiative.
National Trust, Beach Clean-Up
"We look after 780 miles of coastline, providing havens for wildlife and beautiful beaches for everyone to enjoy. But we need your help to clear up the rubbish that washes up on our shores.
We run events up and down the country throughout the year. If you'd like to lend a hand to keep these places special, why not join in with one of our regular beach cleans?"
Get together and clean up your local area.
Put on a high-visibiity jacket and get your community involved in keeping your area cleaner.
Volunteer to spend a morning, and afternoon or a whole day cleaning up trash in your local community - you'd be astonished at the amount of rubbish that is on the side of the road, on coastlines & along rivers and canals.