There’s an amazing video on YouTube that shows exactly what happens when rivers and oceans collide. On one side is the deep blue sparkling ocean. On the other side is the murky brown river water. The line of demarcation is striking. But the power of nature is even more impressive. The salt in the ocean water captures the silt that clouds the freshwater and carries it to the ocean floor. This natural filtering is a wonder. It creates an environment where nature – fish, dolphins, sea birds, otters, mollusks and more – flourishes.
So what happens when plastics find their way into oceans? Can the saltwater work its magic on plastic bottles, bags, straws and the like that find their way into oceans?
In a word, no. In fact, it’s a huge problem around the world. It’s estimated that up to 13 million metric tons of plastic end up in oceans each year. To put it into perspective, that’s the equivalent of a garbage truck load of plastic being dumped into the ocean every minute. The impact on marine life is devastating. Fish, seabirds, sea turtles, and marine mammals can become tangled in plastic. You may have seen the images of seagulls with plastic six-pack rings stuck on their heads or of sea turtles tangled in plastic bags. Marine mammals and birds can also ingest plastic debris, causing suffocation, blockages in their bodies, starvation, and drowning.
Humans are not immune from the ill effects of plastics in oceans. It’s easy to see how microplastics eaten by fish are then eaten by humans. A study done in the Netherlands recently discovered microplastics in humans for the first time. The sample size was small – only 22 people – but it’s safe to say that having plastics in one’s bloodstream is not the ideal situation.
So how is all of this plastic finding its way to oceans? If you want to know the truth, it’s a lack of human responsibility. Instead of collecting used plastic packaging and recycling it – much of plastic used in packaging like PET is infinitely recyclable – people instead throw their used water and soda bottles in the trash where they end up in landfills. Or worse yet, throw bottles and such on the ground where it often ends up in waterways that flow to the oceans.
Shame on us.
We need a reset on plastics recycling, and we need it now.
Evergreen Has Made Diverting Plastics from the World’s Waterways a Top Priority
Evergreen is among North America’s largest producers – and soon to be THE largest – producers of food grade recycled rPET plastic. Each year, we collect 11.6 billion post-consumer PET bottles and convert this plastic into rPET resin suitable for use in packaging food and beverages along with health, beauty and household products.
Turning plastic trash into high-grade, reusable resin is a difficult and complex process. But each year, Evergreen produces 147 million pounds of rPET that is used by the world’s top brands. In July, that number will increase exponentially with the completion of a major expansion of our plastics recycling and rPET manufacturing facility in Clyde, Ohio. Learn more here.
Our company has strengthened our commitment to capturing post-consumer bottles before they reach the North American rivers and the Great Lakes that flow into the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and the Gulf of Mexico. We will soon be announcing a new recycled PET product made specifically from PET bottles that were at risk of entering waterways that feed into the world’s oceans. We are super excited about this product and the impact it will have on our world.
This is not a “fluff” initiative. A PET bottle tossed into Lake Erie or Lake Michigan will eventually find its way to the Atlantic Ocean. A PET bottle carried by a stream to the Hudson or Potomac Rivers will also find their way to the Atlantic. A PET bottle tossed into the Columbia or Yukon Rivers will end up in the Pacific Ocean. And the Mississippi River is a straight shot to the Gulf of Mexico.
We’ve got to make recycling a priority now.
Evergreen Is Hosting a Beach Cleanup in Cleveland to Divert Plastic from Lake Erie
In honor of Earth Day and to show our commitment to diverting plastic from the world’s waterways, Evergreen is hosting a beach cleanup on Sunday, April 2. On that day, Evergreen team members, our families and friends, colleagues from Greenbridge, and the public, will be at Wendy Park, on the shores of Lake Erie in Cleveland, for the Evergreen Clean beach cleanup. Held in conjunction with the Great Lakes Alliance Adopt-A-Beach Program, we will gather at the park at 1 p.m. ET to provide gloves, bags and other supplies. The cleanup will continue until 4 p.m. after which cleanup participants will enjoy refreshments, games and prizes. See flier below for details.
All PET bottles collected will be taken to Evergreen’s facility in Clyde, Ohio, for recycling and then transformation into food grade rPET pellets for use in new packaging. Closing the Loop! All other trash we collect will be recycled as appropriate.
This Is Just the Beginning of Taking Back PET Bottles and the Natural Pristineness of the World’s Waterways
It is our goal to expand our Evergreen Clean beach cleanup events to other cities across America, starting with our other Evergreen locations in Albany, New York; Amherst, British Columbia; and Riverside, California. At the same time, Evergreen will continue to advocate for increasing plastics recycling rates. With less than 29% of all PET plastic currently being recycled in America, the room for improvement is great.
Also, make sure you bookmark Evergreen so you will be among the first to know about our exciting new rPET product!!
Can we count on you to join us? Our oceans and the world need us to take action. We are better together in this effort. For more information, visit the Evergreen website.