How plastics are made

Plastic makes up multiple products that we use everyday. Plastics are used for bottles, computers, phones, bags, pens, etc. But where do they come from exactly? As in what is used to make plastic? Well there are multiple sources of plastic.

Plastics come from natural gasses, coal, minerals, and different kinds of plants. The rubber that comes from trees is actually made of plastic. However, most of today’s plastics come from the hydrocarbons found in oil or coal. Plastic is composed molecules of polymers that were all linked together.

If we know that oil is being used to make plastic, we could try to limit the use of oil used to make plastic. Oil itself is limited because it is a finite resource. If we run out of oil and other natural gasses, we won’t have anything to make plastic. So it might be easy to convince companies to use less oil for plastic as at one point it will all run out eventually.

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New Plastic Meme

This meme is meant to highlight how surprising it is to learn that the ocean has a lot of plastic in it. There are around 5.25 million metric tons of plastic in the oceans. That number would be incredibly high to many people. I was surprised myself when I learned how much plastic was in the ocean.



Plastic in the Ocean Youtube Video

A few days ago we made videos based on the topic we choose to make blog posts about. These videos were uploaded to Youtube.

We made these videos with visual guides so more people would pay attention to the issues we are talking about in our blog posts. people would also get a better idea of how much plastic is in the ocean and what effect it has on marine animals, such as Northern fur seals. My video was related to Matthew’s video. They both discussed plastic in the ocean. However, he discussed the dangers of PET, a chemical in plastics.

This video could raise more awareness to the issue of plastic in the ocean. The videos might get more viewers than the blogs so we could get more people following us.

This is a screen shot of the beginning slide of my video which was the title of the video.

Ways to Limit Plastic Pollution in Ocean

As discussed before, plastic can have devastating affects on ocean creatures. It has entangled and killed many innocent sea creatures that don’t deserve to be treated like this. These aren’t the only effects and problems caused by plastic. Plastic enters waters at an alarming rate in large quantities. There are things we can do about plastic pollution.

For starters, there are other people who are trying to help cleanup beaches form plastic pollution. Any plastic that ends up on the shore of a beach will get washed up and it will end up killing a sea animal. Helping to clean up is an effort we could all take to help out with this issue.

An obvious method would be to recycle any plastic products so less of it ends up in oceans. It is a good way of disposing unneeded plastic products. People treat plastic as an expendable material so some people are careless on where it goes. The plastic can be made into another product that we could use.

You can contribute by helping other people who are also trying to do something about plastic in the ocean. For starters, you could support bans on certain single use plastic items. Or you can help organizations trying to limit plastic in the ocean as well.

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Our response to plastic pollution

The city of Washington D.C has taken action against plastic pollution by putting fines onto plastic straws. Businesses started to used paper, metal, reusable straws, etc.

The city of Seattle also started a ban against plastic straws. People have many mixed opinions about this. Some say that this is a distraction from actual plastic pollution such as plastic bags or bottles. But others believe this to be a step in the right direction.

Around the world, 250 groups launch a global coalition to limit plastic waste and debris. The organization is called the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, it is composed of various companies such as H&M, Unilever, PepsiCo, L’Oreal, Nestle, and Coca-Cola. It is working with the United Nations. It is also working with 40 academic institutions. The New Plastics Economy Global Commitment Organization plans on having companies use single use plastic packaging that can be either recycled or reused.

Pacific Garbage Patch

The Pacific Garbage Patch is a large patch of trash in the pacific ocean that is in between Hawaii and California. Although “large” might be an understatement to the size of the garbage patch. It weighs more than 43,000 cars. It weighs about 83,000 tons and it has 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic in it. Micro plastic accounts for 94% percent of the plastics there, but only account for 8% of the overall mass of the patch. The Pacific Garbage Patch takes up 600,000 square miles. Around 99.9% of the patch is plastic trash. This really puts into perspective how much of a problem plastic is considering how much of it makes up an enormous chunk of garbage.

Scientists even have trouble estimating the size of the Pacific Garbage Patch. They failed to capture things like bottles. It was hard to count by eye for smaller portions of it. They had to extrapolate to get their final estimate that still varied greatly to the actual amount. Photographers used plastic currents and math models to scale the Pacific Garbage Patch.

With scientists and photographers scaling the size of the patch, conservationists can use these measurements to come up with solutions to the large concentration of mostly plastic based trash floating in the Pacific.

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The effect plastic has on Whales

Like other marine animals, whales still confuse trash as food. Surgery has been conducted on whales that have been found dead on the shore. The autopsies indicate an increase in plastic trash in the whale’s stomach. Studies prove that hundreds of cetacean species have been harmed by plastic debris. The plastic punctures and damages the whale’s stomach lineage. According to the Marine Pollution Bulletin, cetaceans are consuming plastic at a rate of 31% and 22% die because of the plastic.

Ways to help

There are many things we can do to stop this. For starters, we can start recycling our trash, especially any plastic we have. We don’t even have to bring plastic top the beach. There are alternatives to plastic, such as metal, paper, or tote bags.


Plastic in the Ocean By The Numbers

We have already discussed the problems that are caused by having large amounts of plastic in the ocean, with many sea animals dying in attempts of digesting plastic. What makes this problem even worse is that the amount plastic humans that have dumped into the ocean is going to increase. The amount of plastic in the ocean is already 8 million metric tonnes or 5.25 trillion pieces. Each minute, an entire garbage truck of plastic is being dumped into the ocean. To make matters worse the quantity of plastic is going to increase tenfold by the year 2050. Further More, in 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish in terms of weight. There are 5 large patches of plastic in the oceans. One of them is between California and Hawaii and it is size of Texas.

Infographic: The World's Oceans Are Infested With Plastic | Statista (infographic)