Introduction to Plastic

Plastics are becoming a huge problem in the Great Lakes. The solutions to the problem are quite complex.

If you’ve been watching the news you have probably heard that major cities have begun to ban single-use plastic straws. I would say in an average clean up we’re finding large numbers of straws, anywhere from 20-100. However, even a nationwide ban on single-use plastic straws is not going to solve the marine debris issue. So what will it do? It will be a start.

Today we use plastics for just about everything. What we’re seeing is an increased number of these plastics making it to the rivers and lakes. There are many issues when we talk about plastics in the marine environment, but let’s keep it simple for now.

1. Plastics don’t break down quickly

2. Some types of plastics can release harmful chemicals during their break down the process

3. As plastic does break down, it may break into many different smaller pieces

4. Smaller pieces are harder to clean

5. Last but not least, these “microplastics” can get into the fishery’s and water supply

These are 5 very basic examples which in no way encompasses the entirety of the issue. 

I don’t think anyone plastic product is to blame. There are just too many variations. One thing is for sure, we all need to do better. The optimist in me says that people aren’t intentionally throwing trash into the lakes, but carelessness is more to blame.

We believe that learning about the problems is a good first step. As we grow we hope to educate more people about the issues. We will also be investing in our process, and continue to search for new and creative ways to make sure that our efforts are having a lasting effect on our Great Lakes.