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  #51  
Old 11-13-2012
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Re: Garbage Island

I find most sailors like other outdoorsman are always conscious of the environment, but there are so many others that arenít. The issue is would you say something to those that arenít. If I see them dumping in the water or the woods I call them on it. Some go back and scoop up their trash other give me the bird and speed off. But we all have to at least try.
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  #52  
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Re: Garbage Island

Well McDonald's switched to Styrofoam serving containers, and one of the arguments they gave was that since it did not use paper it was better for the environment as it "saved trees."

I know we had our rep show us some new packing materials that are made from mushrooms. It was cool, but not good for our equipment that we ship as it is basically 80 pound computers and they need more cushion.
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  #53  
Old 11-13-2012
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Re: Garbage Island

The law of unintended consequences. It was none other than the Sierra Club that pushed to replace paper shopping bags with plastic. (in an effort to reduce logging)

I come from a background in factory automation / production. I know all too well about PET bottles. Trust me- the bottling industry hates them, and all packaging, as much as you do, although for different reasons. Packaging represents a ridiculous amount of cost which adds nearly zero value to a product- and the cost of packaging cannot be recouped in any way that amounts to anything. However- packaging is driven by multiple needs, both real and imaginary. Real needs- such as you have to package a product to get it to the consumer. The package has to survive shipping. It has to survive on the retailers' shelves, and it has to look good for the consumer.

I hate packaging (from an engineering standpoint) more than you can possibly imagine. I especially hate PET drink bottles because they were the ruin of beverage quality. With the outcry (very much justified) of plastic waste, the new name of the game with plastic beverage bottles is to lightweight them, which means they don't run worth crap in the bottling plant, which leads to huge amounts of waste, downtime, and lost production / labor and damage in shipping because they aren't structurally sound. Some can be recycled as waste plastic, but never again for primary beverage containers. Only raw PET can be used for primary consumption containers. Hey...take it up with the FDA.

Packaging represents near total waste. However, when is the last time you purchased breakfast cereal in a bag with a twist tie? When is the last time you purchased peanut butter, pickles, mayonaise, soda, etc in a glass bottle or jar if a plastic one was available? When is the last time you purchased returnable bottles? Considering they are largely only sold in South America anymore, I'd say it's been a while.

Remember in the 70's when the BOSS Pepsi went to plastic (PET) and replaced the glass 2 Liter bottle? The commercial had the nice lady driving home from the supermarket in her LTD stationwagon with the wood panel sides? The Boss Pepsi bottles were bouncing all around and...gasp...didn't break?

The public asked for plastic. They continue to ask for plastic in the products that we all buy every day when there is an alternative. We have met the enemy, and it is us. Each one of us as consumers.

There are some good things on the horizon. Starch products to replace styrofoam, corn based plastics to make them biodegradable..etc. The technology is coming, but it's not there yet in many regards. Trust me, I have worked for multiple Fortune 100 companies where this issue is front and center. But these companies can't price themselves out of the market, either. They are adopting the new products as those products become viable.

I do see things getting better. But it's going to take a very long time in my opinion. In the meantime, we can alter our choices. We can alter our consumer-centric perceptions of what is acceptable packaging. Write letters to manufacturers. Believe me- they DO listen. They listen to complaints far more often than is justified in many cases. Perception is EVERYTHING to businesses that live in single digit margins, which is all of them. The wheels turn slow, but they do turn.
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Last edited by ShoalFinder; 11-13-2012 at 04:05 PM.
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  #54  
Old 11-13-2012
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Re: Garbage Island

Shoal

Just north of you we can recycle:

Plastic bottles - pop bottles are refundable
Glass bottles - beer, liquor and wine are refundable
Juice containers - refundable
Milk cartons - refundable
Glass food containers
Plastic
Cardboard
Paper
Food cans
Plastic bottles
Leaves, pumpkins, Christmas trees (real)
A compostable trial project is underway
Electronics
Tires

I live in a condominium so I take my stuff to a recycle centre or a bottle depot for refunds. Others have a blue bin that city picks up.

I just got back from visiting Yuma and I am always struck by the complete lacking of any recycling. California just over the river does have programs.
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  #55  
Old 11-13-2012
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Re: Garbage Island

One of the issues for sailors I guess is that plastic containers are so much more practical on a boat than glass. That is not such an issue for us when we only spend weekends on board cos we decant into reusable plastic from glass at home. Once we are on board for longer periods it does become a bit problematic.

Australia to its discredit does not have refundable deposits on bottles other than in one state. We do however have pretty active recycling programs.

We also live in an apartment block but have separate bins for general trash, paper, bottles.
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  #56  
Old 11-13-2012
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Re: Garbage Island

Quote:
Originally Posted by jackdale View Post
Shoal

Just north of you we can recycle:

Plastic bottles - pop bottles are refundable
Glass bottles - beer, liquor and wine are refundable
Juice containers - refundable
Milk cartons - refundable
Glass food containers
Plastic
Cardboard
Paper
Food cans
Plastic bottles
Leaves, pumpkins, Christmas trees (real)
A compostable trial project is underway
Electronics
Tires

I live in a condominium so I take my stuff to a recycle centre or a bottle depot for refunds. Others have a blue bin that city picks up.

I just got back from visiting Yuma and I am always struck by the complete lacking of any recycling. California just over the river does have programs.
The problem is that even if we recylce, a certain amount of the material that goes into the recycle bin will end up on the street, into the storm drain, and into the ocean. The truck picks up the bin, some might fall out of the bin on a windy day during the dumping to the truck, some material might blow out the back of the truck. Might only be a small amount, but what ever goes to the ocean could be there for hundreds of years.

I do recycle (we have curb side), and it definitely helps, but it is not the answer. I also pick-up trash when I go to the beach, at my boat harbor, while sailing (been known to turn the boat around to pick somthing up) and along the side of the road. We still need to in someway make all plastic biodegrade in a shorter amount of time when exposed to UV or salt water or else the oceans will continue collect and holding the stuff.
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  #57  
Old 11-13-2012
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Re: Garbage Island

Quote:
Originally Posted by jackdale View Post
Shoal

Just north of you we can recycle:

Plastic bottles - pop bottles are refundable
Glass bottles - beer, liquor and wine are refundable
Juice containers - refundable
Milk cartons - refundable
Glass food containers
Plastic
Cardboard
Paper
Food cans
Plastic bottles
Leaves, pumpkins, Christmas trees (real)
A compostable trial project is underway
Electronics
Tires

I live in a condominium so I take my stuff to a recycle centre or a bottle depot for refunds. Others have a blue bin that city picks up.

I just got back from visiting Yuma and I am always struck by the complete lacking of any recycling. California just over the river does have programs.


Jack,


Right you are, sir. In fact, recycling on an individual homeowner basis is practically non-existant in the US as a whole. In larger cities it is much better, but even there it's nothing at all compared to recycling efforts in Canada, for instance.

It's not that people just don't like to recycle. It's darn near impossible from a practical point of view in most places. The infrastructure just isn't there.

To make something happen, you have to make it easier to comply than not to. For instance, in BC you have to recycle. Why? The recycling truck comes all the time. The garbage truck comes every two weeks. You will live among your garbage until you learn how to separate it correctly and put it out as recycling.
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Re: Garbage Island

Quote:
Originally Posted by casey1999 View Post
We still need to in someway make all plastic biodegrade in a shorter amount of time when exposed to UV or salt water or else the oceans will continue collect and holding the stuff.
Exactly right, but that's also the challenge in and of itself.

How to make a container biodegradable, but not allow the contents of container to degrade it. Even slow degredation will cause a change in flavor for beverages, etc. (real quality issue) Many bottles are meant for very long shelf lives, so the degredation is a serious problem.

The corn and starch based plastics look very promising. I don't know, but probably the solution to them will be a sprayed in coating that only lets them degrade from the outside, much like a soda can.
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  #59  
Old 11-13-2012
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Re: Garbage Island

I've seen the garbage truck dudes chuck the recycling tub and trash bags into the same compactor.. makes ya wonder where your trash AND money are going.

Recycling is good... always has been good to recycle, but reducing use is huge. Anti-theft packaging is ridiculous. Make it too big to stuff in pockets and that leaves a whole lot of packaging. Just wait until the kids open all their christmas presents and check out the trash piled up on the curb for the next trash day... insane. '

And seriously folks... what's with all the water bottles? Bottled water sales are higher than ever and in some instances come from the same tap as the rest of the people in the community where the bottling center is. Yeah... it's not always special. Municipal water centers have high standards and your tap water is probably just dandy!! Same with your well water. Just buy a 1L nalgene bottle and refill it... will last you the rest of your life if you don't lose it. Kinda blows my mind to watch someone spend $1.49 for a 20oz bottle of water in the grocery store line when there's a water fountain on the way out. Don't even get me started on Vitamin water... geeze...

Yeah, the whole save the trees movement was interesting... I love trees.. I'm a biologist!! (mainly human-centric studies though) but I think people forget that trees are renewable. The logging companies plant more trees ya know!! I mean, they want to have more lumber 20 years from now! It's a business investment! Nothing wrong with asking for paper at the grocery store. I know.. the plastic ones make great trash bags for the bathroom though, but the paper ones stand up on their own so you don't need a plastic trash can... Yes, the rain forest argument. Actually that is usually not cleared for lumber but to increase farmland and what is taken out for lumber usually winds up in furniture or plywood. So ask where the lumber for your furniture comes from before buying!!

I think I've gone out on a tangent... Anyway.. interesting thread. It's been a good one to follow. btw, casey1999; I think what you do to help make the world around you tidy means everything. Could you imagine the impact if everyone did the same thing?

PS I've seen quite a few youtube videos of people on sailboats jettisoning broken roller-furlings, cables, stays, whatever... It's a different world on the ocean and I've never been presented with a situation where I have to decide to try to get that mangled bit on deck, or just cut it loose. I'd be interested to see what others have to say about that sort of thing on out on the open water.
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  #60  
Old 11-14-2012
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Re: Garbage Island

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Originally Posted by biology View Post
.......PS I've seen quite a few youtube videos of people on sailboats jettisoning broken roller-furlings, cables, stays, whatever... It's a different world on the ocean and I've never been presented with a situation where I have to decide to try to get that mangled bit on deck, or just cut it loose. I'd be interested to see what others have to say about that sort of thing on out on the open water.
I'll forgive anyone that dumps a dis-masted rig in the ocean as a matter of life or death.
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