Maybe you only recycle at work. Maybe you save those plastic grocery bags and return them at the store on your next visit. Or, perhaps you just switched your light bulbs to those funky-looking energy-efficient ones. That counts, right? The point is, most people today are doing something to contribute to “greener” living.
With Earth Day events and awareness this week, water cooler chatter inevitably turned to the pros and cons of the steps we’re taking to save Mother Earth and debates arguing both sides, but one Associated Press story I read online really had me thinking about my personal plastic footprint, so to speak. In fact, every time I grab a plastic baggie since reading this story it haunts me and I reconsider.
The story explains that researchers have actually identified a mass of floating plastic in the Atlantic Ocean, a plastic soup of global plastic waste merged together in the water, that they’ve dubbed the “great Atlantic garbage patch.” A similar problem was documented about a decade ago in the Pacific Ocean.
The rough waters have managed to grind the plastic into tiny particles, tough to spot from the surface of the water with your own eye, but dangerously evident to fish and sea mammals. One of the researchers even noted that they pulled up an intact plastic bucket with a live fish trapped inside. According to some, our plastic footprint, not our carbon one, may be the bigger, unfortunate legacy we leave behind.
So we here at Parthenon our doing our tiny part to try to stop tossing plastics in the trash can and recycle. Although our office building doesn’t offer recycling on site, I decided to bring in a plastic tub (yes, more plastic) so everyone can pitch in. I haul our office recycling home to put with my own curbside service.
I’m not sure if our recycling efforts are going to stop the spread of the great Atlantic plastic blob, but I feel a little better knowing we’re doing something. What does your office do? Do you recycle paper? Plastics? Do you think it all winds up in a landfill anyway and have given up?