We use plastic every day and often times when we are done using it, we throw it away.
But is plastic really throw away?
Our 6th grade scientists did some research and discovered that 80% of all plastic ends up in a landfill! Plastic does not biodegrade in so once it lands in a landfill it sits for thousands of years. However, the biggest landfill is not found on land, but found in the ocean. Located between California and Japan is an affected area of ocean twice the size of Texas!!! The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is trapped by the currents of the North pacific Gyre (swirling currents in the ocean) where it circles endlessly.
Once trapped in the currents the plastic photo-degrades and breaks apart into tiny pieces. On average, there are 6 pieces of plastic to every 1 plankton (think Plankton from Sponge Bob :). These pieces are incredibly hard to clean up and become bite size. They find their way into the mouths of many sea creatures. Eventually, our trash can end up in our bellies when we eat seafood from this area!!!!
But how much plastic can just one class use in a week?
It can’t be that much right?
Day 1: Notice how much of the plastic in the pool comes from packaging and water bottles.
Day 2 Water and Gatorade bottles continue to add.
Day 3 Plastic bags and plastic containers from birthday treats are added.
Day 4 The majority of our plastic came from food packaging from our favorite chips, deserts, and appetizers.
Day 5 The mound is spilling over!
This is how much plastic will end up in a landfill or in the ocean from just one class for one week.
Where did all the plastic come from?!?!?!
All of our “trash” came from three main items: water bottles, food packaging, and plastic bags.
What can you do to reduce the amount of plastic you use?
What is your plan to clean up the plastic mess in the ocean? How will you separate the plastic pieces from the plankton? How will you pay for your clean up?
What have you learned about the Pacific Garbage Patch?
For more information view these clips: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7rNYzSH-BA