A view of the North Pacific Garbage Patch

Plastic ocean trash

I came across a video about the North Pacific Garbage Patch (vs. the newly discovered gyre in the South Pacific Ocean). I’ve written a number of times about this whirling maelstrom but have rarely seen footage that displayed it like this.

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New “garbage patch” discovered in South Pacific ocean

South Pacific Garbage Patch 1

Many are getting familiar with the Great Pacific Garbage Patch or the term “gyre”, referring to areas of our oceans where large amounts of plastic debris lay swirling in ever-growing dimensions. Now a study published in he journal Marine Pollution Bulletin marks the first documentation of a defined ocean garbage patch in the Southern Hemisphere, where little research on marine plastic pollution exists.

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Upcycling the Plastic Gyres to create fuel

The Upcycle the Gyres Society wants to collect and convert ocean plastic into usable fuel

Over the past three years, I’ve written about the plastic debris or plastic gyres, in our world’s oceans.   The latest news is that the gyres are growing larger, making the need to find solutions to clean them up even more critical.

The Upcycle the Gyres Society is a new, not-for-profit that plans to upcycle floating ocean plastic debris into diesel, gasoline, and kerosene.

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Plastic pellets made from ocean debris

I’ve written several stories about the dirth of plastic in our oceans and creating gyres around the world. The problem with collecting it has always been that the majority of it consists of small fragments, making it difficult to simply scoop up. Also it’s more brittle due to its exposure to ultraviolet light and ocean degradation.

But a partnership between Method, the “green” laundry product company, and recycler Envision Plastics Industries LLC. has done what no company’s done before. Pellets made partly from ocean plastic debris rolled off Envision’s Chino, California’s plant assembly line on March 1st.

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Top green columns of 2010 (Part 1)

Now that 2011 has begun, I thought it would be useful to highlight some of the most memorable columns as a way to say goodbye to the old and ring in the new.

This is the first of a two-part homage to my top picks of 2010, with a few update

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Electrolux Vacs from the Sea – vacuums made from reclaimed ocean garbage

Plastic trash that's washed up on beaches off the coast of Baja, California

There’s a lot of garbage in our oceans.

The majority of it’s plastic. Marine life like sharks, dolphins, whales, fish, even birds mistake it for food and try to eat it, often suffering starvation because they can’t digest it.

Almost all our oceans contain plastic “gyres” – accumulated plastic trash that’s been swept out to sea or been dumped and carried by currents into a swirling maelstrom. Gyres exist in the northern Pacific Ocean (the Great Pacific Garbage Patch) said to be larger than the state of Texas), the Indian Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, the Baltic Sea, the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.

Electrolux Vacs from the Sea collection are made with reclaimed ocean plastics

Swedish-based Electrolux – international manufacturer of quality appliances including their well-known vacuum cleaners – has taken on the issue, launching a global initiative to work with organizations to begin recovering plastic from the ocean.

For more on this story, see http://bit.ly/deRYeM. And to learn more information on Electrolux’s campaign to recover plastic from the sea, go to http://bit.ly/9G4wfL.