Marine Debris Resources

 

Marine Debris office of Response and Restoration has great resources on learning about debris!

Here is a list of some frequently asked questions (and links to answers):

Visit their website for more educational resources!

Plastic-eating Caterpillar

Yet again, we find ourselves turning back to “mother-nature” for answers with regards to environmental restoration.

Announced on BBC news only days ago, we’ve now discovered a caterpillar that munches on plastic bags could hold the key to tackling plastic pollution, scientists say.

Researchers at Cambridge University have discovered that the larvae of the moth, which eats wax in bee hives, can also degrade plastic.

Experiments show the insect can break down the chemical bonds of plastic in a similar way to digesting beeswax.

Each year, about 80 million tonnes of the plastic polyethylene are produced around the world.

The plastic is used to make shopping bags and food packaging, among other things, but it can take hundreds of years to decompose completely.

However, caterpillars of the moth (Galleria mellonella) can make holes in a plastic bag in under an hour.

Dr Paolo Bombelli is a biochemist at the University of Cambridge and one of the researchers on the study.

“The caterpillar will be the starting point,” he told BBC News.

“We need to understand the details under which this process operates.

“We hope to provide the technical solution for minimizing the problem of plastic waste.”

Visit the source link on BBC News for more information!

Reintroducing ByFusion

Consider the empowering solutions to pollution, waste management and local community development made possible by the ByFusion machine. Their goal is to put all plastic waste to work cost effectively, maximizing efforts of people cleaning by creating building blocks called RePlast. Here is an overview:

PLASTIC-AGNOSTIC: We do not discriminate against any type of plastic. We take it all.

 STREAMLINED PROCESSING: No sorting or pre-washing required. Just shovel in the plastic and the transformation process begins.

100% MODULAR: Self-contained and fully transportable. Runs on gas or electric to meet varying conditions.

ECO-FRIENDLY DESIGN: Nearly 100% carbon neutral, non-toxic manufacturing process.

CUSTOMIZABLE BYPRODUCT: Able to control density and shape of the product, called RePlast. Currently configured to manufacture common cinder block sized material.

FIT FOR PURPOSE: RePlast was developed to be used in a wide variety of applications from walling to roadway barriers. In most cases, we are able to customize RePlast to meet the needs of the job.
Check out their website http://www.byfusion.com for more info!

Edible 6-Pack Rings

edible6packringSaltwater Brewery out of Florida has come up with a possible solution to the extreme waste of plastic we find in the ocean from beer rings. Make the rings not only biodegradable but edible!

They say that the United States consumes roughly 6.3 Billion gallons of beer each year, 50% in cans, which means a significant amount of the plastic 6-pack rings end up in the ocean. Sea life, whether it be birds or aquatic life get trapped in the plastic try eating it but are unable to digest so it gets stuck in their stomachs. Some people think that the idea of cutting or ripping the plastic rings will solve the problem, but the animals can still take them in not knowing the plastic material is harmful.

Imagine if the cost to manufacture edible plastic rings dropped because more companies opted to use them? It could mean a significant drop in plastics finding their way into the ocean.

Watch a video here to find out more about Saltwater Brewery‘s vision for cutting down on plastics in the ocean!

#BreakFreeFromPlastic

tagaytayaccord_640x320For Stiv Wilson, it started off when he noticed a patch of flotsam waste off of the Oregon coast. Then, after researching more into “Ocean Plastic” he was inspired to help put together “The 5 Gyres Project” mounting the task with a few other visionaries they accrued various findings (Check out his website for more figures!). After no time at all had plastic bags no longer distributed in Oregon state as well as putting a huge halt on plastic microbeads found in beauty and cosmetic products.

“[…the] result was a collective vision and set of principles that we’re calling The Tagaytay Accord, as well as a series of proposed collaborative projects we plan to launch in 2017. This fall, we announced this movement effort and asked other groups to join us. Within days, more than 500 organizations signed on, and agreed to build this movement together. We’re calling this movement #BreakFreeFromPlastic.”

-Stiv Wilson, (StoryofStuff.org)

It is clear the the efforts worldwide are not only in regards to recovery from ecological damage that has been done to the planet but also in the prevention of further environmental destruction. Cutting back on what is harmful to the ecosystem is as important as cleaning up the mess we’ve already made. And, of course, how we dispose, reuse and recycle our waste. Aiming to break a vicious cycle!

Let’s Do It! Clean Earth Day 2018

letsdoit_trash_cleanup_kosovo-1600x995Let’s Do It! World is an organization leading an effort to put together a worldwide cleaning day in September 2018.

Teams in countries around the world have already began setting up teams. They have multiple maps on their website sharing where teams have set things up, teams who are in the process of setting up and countries where there remains to be a team set up. Nice to have visual data.

When you land on their homepage, they have you recommend a leader to run a cleanup in your area—not a bad way of enrolling inspired individuals to gamify the process of cleaning the planet!

Check out their website for more info on how you can get involved and contribute.

Imagine if we could clean the surface of the earth all at once as a planet. What a spectacle it would be. Save the date?

Building Blocks from Waste Plastic

recycled-plastic-bricks-byfusion-replast-ocean-trash-2-0

Plastic waste can be made into building blocks!

Peter Lewis is a New Zealand-based engineer whose research has now laid the foundation for the use of waste plastic to create building materials from a material comprising plastic sourced from the oceans and machine-compressed into the dimensions of a typical concrete masonry unit. Because the blocks do not require a binding agent, such as glue or adhesive, their carbon footprint is said to be far less in comparison to concrete.

The startup ByFusion created by Gregor Gomory is getting started with the project of creating what they are calling RePlast blocks and are exploring different possible uses for the building materials. Gomory told SustainableBrands. “We want to see RePlast used in a modular way in low-income housing, for example. There are much smarter people out there than us that will have ideas.”

Like a bird preparing its nest the materials await to be scavenged. A potential gaming element is evident: Collecting waste plastic materials to get more blocks, more blocks builds more houses. More houses, less trash in the oceans and the land. Next, do we cut down on use of plastics? 🙂

Plastic-eating Worms

As it is Halloween, I thought this would be a suitable post to share on Clean Earth Future:

worms_news(Above) Plastic-eating mealworms which Stanford researchers have found to be a potential solution to the mounting of waste.

An ongoing study by Stanford engineers, in collaboration with researchers in China, shows that common mealworms can safely biodegrade various types of plastic.

New Water Drones

Through a collaboration between Port of Rotterdam Authority and academic institutions such as Erasmus University in Rotterdam and Port Innovation Lab with the Delft University of Technology new innovations in the line of “do good” drones are starting to make their appearance in the ports. Among the emerging breeds of Water Drones are the “AquaSmartXL” and the “Waste Shark”. The AquaSmartXL is a useful alternative to port surveillance that would normally require a man-operated boat burning fuel. The unmanned Waste Shark is able to collect around 500 kg of wast in the water through its mouth-like opening 35 cm below the surface of the water. It is around the size of a average four door car.

rotterdam_innovate_with_new_water_drones_600_375_84An AquaSmartXL in the port of Rotterdam.

 

wastesharkdroneportPrototype fleet of Waste Sharks along with drone port charging stations.

wastesharkAnother look at the garbage-collecting Waste Shark.