As has been mentioned on this blog before ocean plastics are a real problem. Marine animals can be killed when they swallow them and by doing so chemicals in them enter the food chain. In at least one place in the Pacific there is a huge conglomeration of plastic. These chemicals are “gender benders” and can cause cancer and have other biological effects on sexual health. The main solutions up until now with ocean plastics are to try and reduce usage of plastic (plastic bag taxes) and collect them, although this latter solution is still at the experimental stage. As is the fact that at least some bacteria have been found that degrade some types of plastics. However plastic use is set to soar over the next 20 years and there could even be more plastics by weight than fish in the ocean by 2050.
Now Proctor and Gamble have come up with the beginnings of a solution*. The company has found a way of recycling the plastic and is making a limited run of shampoo bottles (you know the brand name). Up until now one major problem with ocean plastics is that they have been exposed to UV light. This with the weather makes them degrade (at least into tiny ultimately microscopic pieces). The company have found a way around that problem. They have not found a way round around the other problem though. How to collect the waste. This is being doing by volunteers on beaches who then hand it over to a recycling company.
This initiative is to be applauded, but it can only be regarded as a very partial solution to the problem. We need to use a lot less plastic and what we do use make sure it is properly recycled.
* there have been others who have used ocean plastics in limited ways before as the photo above implies.