In order to continue our commitment to protecting the planet, we are pleased to announce our partnership with Earthwake, an association that inspires and educates people about sustainability. Read on to learn more about what this partnership means to us and how you can get involved!
The planet is in danger. It's no news to anyone that climate change is happening, but it can be hard to know where to start when it comes to making a difference.
Pollution can take many forms: the air we breathe, the water we drink, the soil we use to grow our food, the illuminated skies, and even the increasing noise we hear every day can all contribute to health problems and a decline in the quality of life, with major disruptions and effects on wildlife and ecosystems.
One of the greatest problems facing the world today is that of environmental pollution, which causes serious and irreparable damage to the natural world and to human society. Approximately 40% of deaths worldwide are due to water, air and soil pollution and, together with human overpopulation, it has contributed to the malnutrition of 3.7 billion people worldwide, making them more susceptible to disease.
In this article, we would like in this article to focus on marine pollution.
Each year, 8 million tons of plastic end up in the ocean. This equates to a truck load dumped into the sea every minute of the day. From there, he embarks on a long destructive journey. Plastic that enters the ocean can be transported great distances by currents to all parts of the world, including Antarctica and the Mariana Trench, the deepest place on earth. Along the way, they infiltrate ecosystems and cause untold damage to marine life.
Yet, despite the scale of this problem, the global production of plastic continues, putting the oceans at increasing risk. What makes the ocean so vulnerable to plastic pollution and what can we do to limit the amount of plastic that gets into it? ?
Plastic is almost unavoidable in our daily lives. It is used to make everything from food packaging and toiletries to clothing, furniture, computers and cars. This ubiquitous material is designed to be very durable, which is why so much of it is not biodegradable.
Depending on the type of plastic, it can take decades to millions of years to disintegrate in landfills. Therefore, unless burned, which in itself is a source of pollution, nearly every piece of plastic ever made still exists today – and when it enters the ocean, its effects can be felt. For centuries.
Globally, we produce more than 300 million tonnes of plastic waste each year, and this figure is growing. Yet, of all the plastic waste created, only 9% was recycled, while the rest was incinerated or discarded, ending up mostly in landfills.
This situation is largely explained by the fact that 50% of the plastic we produce is single-use, that is to say, it is intended to be thrown away immediately after having served its purpose, such as straws, plastic bags and water bottles. Because it is produced so frequently and thrown away so quickly, single-use plastic increases the amount of waste that goes into landfills and, therefore, the amount that inevitably escapes into the environment.
Incredibly vast and deep, the ocean acts as a huge sink for global pollution. Some of the plastic in the ocean comes from ships that lose their cargo at sea. Abandoned plastic fishing nets and longlines are also a major source, accounting for around 10% of plastic waste at sea. Marine aquaculture contributes also to the problem, mainly when the polystyrene foam used to make the floating frames of the fish cages ends up in the sea.
Once in the ocean, the harsh conditions and constant movement cause the plastic to break down into particles less than 5mm in diameter, called microplastics. The plastic then disperses even further and deeper into the ocean, where it invades more habitats and becomes virtually impossible to recover.
Hundreds of thousands of marine animals become entangled in plastic waste each year, limiting their movement and ability to feed, and causing injury and infection. The damage caused by plastic ingestion is less visible: seabirds, turtles, fish and whales often mistake plastic waste for food, as some are similar in color and shape to their prey .
Floating plastic also accumulates microbes and algae on its surface, giving it an appetizing smell to some marine animals. Once animals consume it, ingested plastic can puncture internal organs or cause fatal intestinal obstructions; it also leads to starvation, as a stomach stuffed with plastic gives the animal the illusion of being full.
Microplastics also resemble plankton, which serves as food for hundreds of species at the bottom of the food chain, which means plastic infiltrates entire ecosystems. Researchers have even found that organisms as tiny as coral polyps regularly consume microplastics.
In addition, plastics absorb pollutants that float in the ocean and themselves contain dangerous chemicals. Preliminary research suggests that the consumption of these toxic particles by animals could damage their organs, make them more susceptible to disease and impair their reproduction.
When marine animals consume plastic, the toxins it contains break down in their bodies. So when humans eat seafood, they eat it too. Some of these plastic toxins are linked to hormonal abnormalities and developmental issues.
But researchers are still trying to understand exactly how our health is affected when we consume plastic through fish and shellfish. The analyzes carried out so far suggest that microplastics do not necessarily pose a risk to human health.
But there are still a lot of things we don't know. One of the concerns is that plastics in the ocean eventually degrade into nano-plastics, which are so small they could enter human cells when consumed.
Earthwake's crazy project: Turning plastic into fuel
As a small French company, we are committed to being good stewards of our planet. There are so many small initiatives people take every day and this article offers an example of one of them. We would like to focus on an organization that is close to our hearts and do everything in our power to help them in this worthy cause.
We are proud to be associated with Earthwake, an association that shares our commitment and contributes to the protection of the planet. Through this partnership, we hope to raise awareness of the importance of protecting the environment and inspire people to take action.
The Earthwake association has long worked to turn plastic waste into fuel. It would support generators, boat engines or agricultural vehicles.
How it all works
The association has developed a machine called Chrysalis which performs this transformation. The model was presented by the first founders: Benoît Miribel and Samuel le Bihan, better known for his acting profession. The machine is now able to process one kilo of plastic per hour and supply 500 to 600 grams of diesel.
Once crushed, the plastic is heated to high temperature and then refined. The next objective is to design a machine capable of processing 70 kilos of waste per hour. The estimated cost of this crusher would be 50,000 euros.
The Earthwake association has been working for a long time to transform plastic waste into fuel. It would support generators, boat engines or work vehicles.
This system will make it possible to recover plastic waste to promote its recovery and therefore contribute to eliminating it from our coasts, enthuses Earthwake. During the demonstration, the machine turned plastic waste into fuel.
Our partnership with Earthwake
After hearing aboutEarthwake, we wanted to contact them and introduce them to our company which has similar values. We thought we could help them grow their organization.
We are proud to be associated with Earthwake and its mission to rid the oceans of plastic. It will take a concerted effort on everyone's part to solve this problem. If you want to do your bit, head to our store and buy one of our eco-friendly t-shirts. 1% of our sales will be donated to Hearthwake. Not only will you be supporting a great cause, but you'll also be in style!
The Ocean Cleanup Machine created by Hearthwake is a major step forward in cleaning up the world's oceans. It can help reduce this amount of plastic pollution. With the continued research and development of this association, we can hope to see even more progress in cleaning up the world's oceans.