Sunday, August 9, 2009

A field trip to Knowplastic

I want to introduce you all to an excellent blog called Knowplastic written by Sunnye, a coworker of mine. She is saving all her plastic for one year in a spare bedroom in her house. I can't wait to see the outcome, and I'm happy it's not in my spare bedroom!

She just posted her Week 49-50 blog and I wanted to share some of the fun statistics she posted along with a picture of her plastic pile from last week. What really impressed me were the following stats:

-1995 was the highest year for recycling in the US (data from 1991-2006). So we are recycling LESS and not MORE. It should be the opposite.

-The ratio in pounds of plastic waste in the ocean to zooplankton is 6:1. So there's six times more pounds of plastic than animal plankton floating around. That's just scary.

-And finally Ireland charges an equivalent of US $0.15 for each plastic bag used in a store. It's reduced their plastic bag use by 90%. Another reason to remember your reusable shopping bags.

For a complete list of Sunnye's insightful, and unsettling, statistics check out her blog post at Week 40-50: Plastatistics!


  1. I can't imagine the amount of used plastic that is generated in a year. It has to be an astronomical number. I bought those reusable shopping bags and use them whenever I can. I think the USA should adopt Ireland's policy of charging for plastic bags. Just eliminating Wal-Mart's bags would have an impact.

  2. Even though I always carry my reusable cloth bag, I am appalled at the amount of plastic I use every day: although I reuse a ziploc bag for my nut treats, it only lasts for a week.

    Everything I buy comes wrapped in plastic, sometimes it takes me a long time to break into something I just bought, like a pack of batteries for my camera. My birdseed chalet allows me to recycle plastic bottles and charges $1 for every one you buy. My vitamins come in plastic, and occasionally I buy bottled water. Even though I recycle these, it's amazing how much plastic just one person goes through!

  3. Ewww, plastics! One thing I like about plastics is that they can be sold to junkshops hahaha. But at a very cheap price and that's not bad at all. Almost everything I buy in the store are kept in plastics.

    During one of my trip to the coast I found out that there are still irresponsible people who just throw their garbages along the shores especially bottled drinks, and this kind people should be given more information on how to protect the environment. It should start with me, with us, and it always starts with those little things like putting the rubbish in proper places and I think all of us should start being aware now, to protect Mother Earth.

  4. Speaking of charging for plastic bags I think that is an excellent idea. I discovered the other day that my Safeway store give me a 3 cent credit for each of my reusable bags. A great incentive to remember them.

    It is a little scary how much plastic there is in our lives. It's everywhere and now matter how much we try to cut our use we still produce plastic trash.

  5. Rae: I agree on the US adopting Ireland's policy. Seattle is voting on this soon but it's expected to not pass. sad.

    DJan: like it or not we all use plastic. fortunately there are ways to avoid it, every little thing helps.

    AL: living amongst so many islands you must see so much sea-trash. We often pack an extra trash bag for when we're att he beach to pick up other people's trash, although it is hard to haul old fishing gear back to the car. at least we get the little things.

    SQ: many of our natural food stores give a 3 cent credit for each reused bag. but it's the big retailers that need to do it. that's good news about Safeway, thanks for letting me know. I wish Shaw's and Stop and Shop out here would do that.

    thanks for visiting everyone! -kate

  6. Ireland had a great idea in charging for the bags. I can imagine that would curb folks from using them. It is amazing just how much plastic is in our lives. I always check the meadows for stray bags. A grazer can easily consume one and it can and often is fatal. Sad.

  7. Lisa: we have the same problem here with sea turtles swallowing bags and choking. they look just like jellyfish to them, often our rehab facility is full of sea turtles with bags in their tummies. not good at all!


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