Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Plastic's Final Voyage

With the holidays approaching there’s no better time to escape the harsh winter and kick back and relax in a tropical paradise. One destination we have for you – The North Pacific Subtropical Gyre. Not ringing a bell? It’s the location of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch also known as “Trash Island “or “Garbage Island”.  Probably not the tropical destination you had in mind, right? We didn’t think so. But we did think you wanted to know where all that plastic your household consumes daily goes.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch {GPGP} is literally a mass of garbage being distributed throughout the Northern Pacific Ocean. Spanning across hundreds of miles, it has been said that the GPGP is twice as big as Texas! Now that is nauseating.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch
So, where is all this plastic coming from? Unfortunately, the answer is us – human beings. According to Algalita Marine Research Foundation {AMRF}, “It is estimated that land-based sources are responsible for up to 80% of marine debris. About 65 % of this, or essentially half of all found in the ocean, comes from consumer used plastics that have not been disposed of properly.” For those of you who recycle your plastic products… good job… unfortunately, it doesn’t stop there.
Diamonds, scratch that, plastics are forever. Based on the form, size, shape and mode of manufacture of each product, it could take anywhere from 20 to 100 to 1,000+ years for ONE plastic product to decompose.  One product! Plastics currently residing in our oceans have been there for decades {!} and are still bobbling around in that “fresh” salty water that we all love.
What does this mean for all the marine life that dwell in these deep blue waters? Marine life unintentionally ingests, chokes, starves and suffocates from the consumption of plastic particles. Sadly, the result in almost all cases is death. Lets take our friend squirt…

Squirt - Our Baby Sea Turtle Friend
Squirt decides he is hungry and looks around for a snack, seeing a jellyfish swimming along he eats it. One problem… he has mistaken this jellyfish with a plastic bag. Now, having a plastic bag in his stomach, he has an illusion of feeling full with an end result in starvation. Bad news for our new friend Squirt and sad news for us since this was all our doing.

National Geographic Ad | Plastic: The Ocean's Deadliest Predator
Ingesting plastic causes a number of health effects for our little sea creatures including starvation, suffocation and intestinal blockages. Just like the circle of life, when an animal dies from ingesting plastic the cruel circle starts all over again. “The plastic is either released to be eaten again, or is swallowed by a predator eating the plastic-ridden prey” (Algalita Marine Research Foundation). Repeating itself over and over, plastic never disappears — becoming, like diamonds, forever. Plastic bags aren’t only dangerous in the oceans; on land plastic bags are consuming our earth… literally. According to Clean Up Australia, “Australians use in excess of 6 billion plastic bags per year. If tied together these bags would form a chain that is long enough to go around the world 37 times.” 37 times! And that’s only one continent; imagine if we calculated all 7 continents… our earth would be turned into one huge plastic mummy. And that would be year round, not just on Halloween.
This is when that age-old question of “paper or plastic?” really comes into play. YOU have the power to help and rebuild our oceans, marine life, environment and future. Reconsider your use of plastic products. Recycle and reuse all materials properly and whenever possible.
Next time you pack a lunch, reconsider the packaging used. Instead of plastic baggies, switch to reusable cloth bags. Certified food-safe, made from lead-free, bpa-free and phthalate-free fabric and dishwasher-safe, LunchSkins reusable sandwich bags are the perfect substitute for the common sandwich or Ziploc bag. If you care about the environment {we hope you do!}, saving money, eating healthy and looking stylish then there is no reason why you shouldn’t house your next sandwich in cloth instead of plastic.
LunchSkins has a commitment in keeping plastic out of inland and coastal waterways and will give back five percent of proceeds from sales of these bags to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Reducing landfill waste, saving marine life and saving YOU money by being reusable, LunchSkins offers environmental and practical benefits while presenting you with a healthy choice to store your food.

LunchSkins Shark Sandwich Bag

LunchSkins Polka Dot Snack Bag

LunchSkins Red Cab Sandwich Bag

Be Green. Save Green. At eco ellies.

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