What Should I Do with My Yogurt Cup? (part 2)

Written by: Sandi Blanton

Photo by Peggy Gilbert

What About Recycling?

Humans have been recycling in one form or another for hundreds (if not thousands) of years.  For most of history, new materials have been expensive and difficult to obtain, so people used and reused whatever they had.  This has been particularly true in times of war or economic shortages. Mass scale recycling was born sometime in the early 1970s.  The first recycling “programs” required consumers to separate recyclable materials into different bins, such as glass, paper, metal and plastic They also required recyclable material to be clean, and often consumers had to transport the bins to recycling centers. This recycling model was fairly effective, with most of the material actually being recycled, but did not gain wide acceptance.

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What Should I Do with My Yogurt Cup? (part 1)

Written by: Sandi Blanton

Photo by Algalita Marine Research Foundation from flikr

The World’s Largest Dump

In the middle of the Pacific Ocean, between San Francisco and Hawaii, is an area roughly 4 times the size of California that contains approximately 1.8 trillion pieces of trash weighing 80,000 metric tons. This area is known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP). It covers 618,000 square miles and is growing.  The trash collects in the area because of a meteorological phenomenon called the North Pacific Gyre, which is a system of circulating currents in the ocean. From time to time, the ocean currents can cause the area to spit out some of the debris, much of which accumulates on the beaches in the Hawaiian Islands.

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