The Kenai Peninsula community is taking their plastic waste problem into their own hands!
Single-use plastics, virgin plastics, and the fact that only a small percentage of it gets recycled are the problems. Government based plastic recycling programs, when available, do not work. If it is not profitable in the global plastics market these programs will throw the plastics stockpiles in landfills. And then just image the large carbon footprint of shipping all the plastic waste around the world. There needs to be a change in our plastics recycling systems.
THE OTHER PROBLEM
Ghost nets! Ghost nets are fishing nets that have been abandoned or lost in the oceans and cause serious damage to the marine ecosystem. Modern fishing nets are made of synthetic materials that don't easily degrade and will have a continuous cycle of destruction if not removed from the oceans. To learn more about ghost nets go to earth.org, Olive Ridley Project, or wikipedia.
This EPA grant funded program will allow the community to keep hard to recycle plastics out of the landfill, as well as out of the oceans, and turn it into synthetic "lumber". This recycled plastic lumber/decking (think Trex composite decking) will be made out of plastic ocean waste, ghost nets, and plastic consumer waste. All collected, processed, manufactured, and sold locally. No more big carbon footprint and logistical costs of transporting the plastic waste globally.
THINK GLOBALLY, ACT LOCALLY!
Plastic ocean waste + Plastic consumer waste = Community sourced and manufactured plastic lumber. All made and sold in Alaska! SO EXCITING!
This community project is made possible by your participation and excitement, plus the following partnerships:
THE OTHER SOLUTION
REDUCE, REUSE, REFILL, REFUSE, AND RECYCLE. Recycling is always the last option. Here are other ways to keep single-use plastics out of the oceans and landfill:
Other links not listed above:
Author: Karen West
Exploring and learning all things sustainability as a small retail business owner in Homer, AK.