Sunday, April 11, 2010

Thank you American Association for University Women

I had the privilege to speak about The Plastic Ocean Project to the Wilmington chapter of AAUW yesterday. We had a room full of savvy women of all different ages. What I've noticed from the numerous presentations I have given on my personal experience out in the North Pacific Garbage Patch and the North Atlantic is that people are genuinely very concerned about the problems with plastic in the marine environment. Inevitably, at the end, there is always a lot of discussion about solutions. One question was about the biodegradable plastics being produced now and I explained that there are a few concerns about biodegradable plastics. Not that its a bad idea, but like our FDA has hastily approved so many products that have had to be removed from shelves later, we just don't know about the chemical implications. Another problem is, some people will think, "It's biodegradable so I can throw it on the ground." And lastly, the biodegradable plastic water bottles, for example, end up getting into the recyclable ones and degrade the quality of the recycled materials. Here is a video that can give you some ideas on how to reduce, reduce, reduce your use of plastic. BECAUSE that really is the best sollution!

Reduce Reuse Reduce from J Sun Productions on Vimeo.


  1. Good information. My research shows that just because something is biodegradable people will not just throw it on the ground. There are of course individuals who will throw anything on the ground regardless of how it is made or its biodegradability. Plastic is in almost everything we touch or use and something must be done about plastic pollution. Recycling is an important aspect and good for the environment; however, here in the U.S. recycling of plastic bottles is a miserable failure. Less than 30 percent of plastic bottles are recycled...the numbers are even worse for all plastics. What to do? We felt that doing something that would address the 70 percent of the billions of bottles going into the waste stream might be a good idea. As a group of environmentalist, we formed a company and designed a biodegradable bottle that (1) Can be recycled and (2) Will biodegrade in the anaerobic environment of a landfill. We didn't worry that someone might decide to just toss the biodegradable bottle everywhere just because it is biodegradable...those types of people will do that regardless of its properties. We wanted to take a realistic approach at resolving what happens to the 70 percent. When the ENSO biodegradable bottle biodegrades, it leaves behind biogases which when captured can be used to produce clean energy.
    "Bottles for a Healthier Earth"

  2. As you can see by the bottle counter I have rolling on the top of the screen, I am very aware of our bottle waste and would really like to learn more about the biogases into clean energy. I strongly believe that the only way we can change the attitude toward our plastic waste is to make it worth something. The answer to these economic and energy conscious times is waste to energy. Also,
    can you tell us more about how your research determining "biodegradable" terminology doesn't lead to more litter? Thanks for your comment.

  3. I believe waste to energy is one of the keys for reducing trash accumulation and improving our environment.
    Our company supports the development of bioreactor landfills; they are more efficient at manufacturing and capturing landfill gases. Most of our landfills are the type known as dry tomb landfills, and are places where we bury our trash to keep it out of site.
    You may have heard that things don’t biodegrade in a dry tomb landfill; they do, but a very slow rate. The ENSO biodegradable bottle is designed with a food grade additive that attracts microbes in an anaerobic environment causing them to biodegrade. When things biodegrade in an anaerobic environment they produce methane which is a green house gas. The federal government here in the U.S. mandates that all landfills capture landfill gases and until recently they would just burn them off. Now they have discovered the value of those gases and are selling them to produce clean energy. We want our bottles to be recycled but as I mentioned most bottles aren't recycled. We feel that anything that makes it into a landfill should biodegrade…even in an anaerobic environment. There are no perfect answers yet, our biodegradable bottle is one step in the right direction; however, the goal is to have all plastics become more environmentally friendly. Our web site as an extensive FAQ section that provide lots of detailed information...please visit us and find out what we’re all about.
    “Bottles for a Healthier Earth”

  4. I'll check out the FAQ to see if some of my questions can be answered there. I do wonder about the ability of your bottles to degrade in the marine environment due to the lact of microbes. I do not advocate individual water bottles, but they are necessary in some cases i.e. major events like earthquakes. And your product sounds like the step in the right direction.