|World Centric Quarterly Newsletter||Early Fall 2009|
Out of Sight Out of Mind?
When most people think of the Pacific Ocean, they think of rolling seas and tropical vacations. What doesn’t typically come to mind is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which isn’t exactly aptly named. Estimated to be the size of Texas, the Great Pacific Garbage State seems more accurate.
How does something like this come about and stay seemingly under our radar? First, we must look at what the patch is made out of, which consists almost entirely of plastics. These suspended plastics have been gathered in a perfect storm of conditions, where circular ocean currents slowly bring the materials together and trap them. The area is also rarely traveled for nautical purposes, so what one would consider a road block for sailors would be like a road block in the middle of the Sahara. Surely something so big would be visible by satellite then? This is also not so, as the particles of plastics are so small they are almost invisible to the naked eye.
It wasn’t until 1988 that the discovery of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch was known, and its estimated that 80% of the garbage originated on land. Of this garbage, some disintegrates (or rather photo-degrades by sunlight) after a year, but not without leaving toxic chemicals behind in the water. Also as it breaks down, it becomes small enough for sea life to ingest it, bringing to life a whole new cycle of problems.
The days of irresponsible consumption are long past, and its time we think seriously about the glutinous use of plastic in our daily lives. When entire populations of marine life are extinguished and human health is seriously affected, we can no longer look at plastics the same. It’s time to conscientiously consume less, and appropriately dispose of that which do use.
This month we’d like to applaud Eureka Recycling, St. Paul, Minnesota’s non-profit recycling organization. Eureka Recycling has been working to reduce waste in the Twin Cities metro area for more than 15 years.
This month Eureka Recycling has joined in conjunction with Mill City to create a composting program for the Mill City Farmers Market – making it Minnesota's very first
Representatives from Eureka Recycling have advised the market's staff and vendors to foster the transition to a Zero Waste Market, where all of the "waste" generated at the market by food sales, samples, and events are composted or recycled. Instead of trash cans, the market has set up Zero Waste Stations where market shoppers can compost their plates, cups, and food scraps and recycle any bottles and cans. With help from Eureka Recycling and Mill City community members, Mill City is effectively reducing its carbon foot print!
The Mill City Zero Waste Farmers Market runs through Saturday, Oct. 17, 2009. If you are local and would like to visit, it’s located at Chicago Ave. and S. 2nd St., between the Guthrie Theater and Mill City Museum.
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