The Great Garbage Patch

Every time I order a cup of coffee, hold a grocery store plastic bag, or use a disposable fork, I think about The Great Garbage Patch (aka The Great Pacific Garbage Patch): A massive pile of microscopic trash choking the fragile life of the world’s ocean.

Regardless of what your political or religious beliefs are, you simply can not argue that it is ok for humans to fill the ocean with trash. If you have ever visited a city dump, you will realize that trash does not simply disappear. As a society, we’ve build up a massive amount of garbage that we simply bury in the ground, hoping that once it is out of sight, it will be out of mind.

But our rampant use of plastic materials and disposable items have polluted our beautiful oceans. Scientists have discovered a large collection of waste aimlessly floating in the ocean water. And because most of the waste is composed of pelagic plastic, chemical discharge, and other debris, it will take thousands of years before they naturally degrade.

So next time you choose a plastic utensil for your dinner party, be sure to buy a biodegradable one.

  • Julia

    Hi Vinh,

    I’m sorry to say that biodegradable plastic silverware wont save the planet (well, maybe it will help in the Great Garbage Patch in the ocean which is probably exposed to aerobic decomposition) but for EVERYTHING ELSE that ends up in your trash can and then to your local landfill, it gets bared under a whole bunch of new trash and then capped off. This results in all the trash being sealed off from air, and so it must decompose through anaerobic processes which take way way longer and it still generates methane (green house gas).

    Biodegradable plastics are only a good alternative if they are composted in an industrial compost facility – which is usually not the case unless you are at a “zero waste” event with special trash cans labeled as such.

    So the only real solution is to not generate the trash in the first place and use reusable mugs, cloth grocery bags, and real plates and silverware. Sorry to break the news.

  • Julia

    Hi Vinh,

    I’m sorry to say that biodegradable plastic silverware wont save the planet (well, maybe it will help in the Great Garbage Patch in the ocean which is probably exposed to aerobic decomposition) but for EVERYTHING ELSE that ends up in your trash can and then to your local landfill, it gets bared under a whole bunch of new trash and then capped off. This results in all the trash being sealed off from air, and so it must decompose through anaerobic processes which take way way longer and it still generates methane (green house gas).

    Biodegradable plastics are only a good alternative if they are composted in an industrial compost facility – which is usually not the case unless you are at a “zero waste” event with special trash cans labeled as such.

    So the only real solution is to not generate the trash in the first place and use reusable mugs, cloth grocery bags, and real plates and silverware. Sorry to break the news.