Plastic bags and the 5 Gyres Institute

For my event, I went to the event that we had in sustainability week titled “ban the bag ban.” Though the name gets a little confusing, we talked about how the bag ban on Folly went into effect and the bans that are trying to ban that ban. We started off by watching the movie that was produced by the 5 Gyres Institute on microplastics in the ocean. The movie was called the “Smog of the Sea” which is what they call these plastics which are broken down into tiny pieces and then ingested by the fish. They sailed through the Bermuda Triangle and collected samples along the way with special nets. They also examined small fish that had been caught and counted the pieces of plastic that were ingested by them. Their estimate is that there are 8 million tons of plastic dumped into the ocean each year. With their samples, they resolved that 5.2 Trillion plastic particles could be found floating on the surface of the ocean at any time. Not only are these plastics harmful to the fish which ingest them but, they are also hydrophobic which means they don’t soak up water but they soak up everything that that doesn’t mix with the saltwater, meaning chemicals. These chemicals are released into the bodies of the fish when they ingest the plastic and then they are caught for us to eat. This means we are eating the muscles, which are the parts with all the toxins.

After the movie, we talked about the ban on plastic bags and the people in government that support it. We were then able to write them postcards thanking them for support and encouraging them to keep up the good fight. We also talked about how wasteful plastic bags are. There are over 1 trillion plastic bags manufactured in a year, taking 12 million barrels of oil to manufacture them. Each American uses approximately 813 plastic bags in a year. At the end, we received CofC reusable bags. The very next time I went to the store, I made sure to ask for the paper bags!

3 thoughts on “Plastic bags and the 5 Gyres Institute

  1. I love the idea of writing postcards to the political figures that support a plastic ban! It’s also insane that the average American uses over 813 plastic bags…I was definitely high up in the numbers of plastic bags I used; however, this past year I have really tried to limit myself. At the grocery store I do not put my fruit or produce in the tiny plastic bags offered.

  2. This was really interesting! I love how at the end you got to actually participate and write postcards and also that you got reusable bags! I know that I often tend to forget about reusable bags, but after reading your post I want to look more into it.

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