Here’s another reason for retailers to charge for plastic bags. The swirling debris of plastic trash in the Pacific Ocean has now grown to a size that is twice as large as the continental U.S.
How do we know this? The Alguita Marine Research team just landed from a month-long tour of the area, known as the North Pacific Gyre. They set out to investigate just how much plastic debris is floating in the ocean, how this plastic affects marine life, and how this might affect humans that eat fish found in the area. Specific answers to these questions will be forthcoming as they evaluate the evidence they brought back. But past studies have shown that less than 5% of plastic ever gets recycled and each American disposes of roughly 65 lbs. of plastic each year. In the ocean, “Degraded plastic pieces outweigh surface zooplankton in the central North Pacific by a factor of 6-1. That means six pounds of plastic for every single pound of zooplankton.”
The Algalita Marine Research Foundation, the environmental non-profit organization who chartered the oceanic voyage into the floating trash, will be on hand at this week’s L.A. Green Drinks. Their work is incredibly valuable for demonstrating an even greater need for retailers and producers to limit the amount of plastic used in packaging goods.