The journey nd life of a Medicine Bottle

As we are all well aware we have a lot of plastic items in our life that we deem as important to us and upon reflection and after watching the journey of a plastic bag in class I have found one of my most important plastic items I use daily is my medicine bottles I looked at all the ones I have and I saw a wide range of different types of plastic. Before I looked I believed that they would all be the same numbers for recycling and thinking this I when recycling I would put them all in the same bin but seeing this today It has taught me something new. When researching bottles similar to the ones I have I found a site where there are all types of plastic medicine bottles and it tells how they are made and after reviewing the different types of plastics I believe the plastic that is used for making medicine bottles is Polyethylene terephthalate or PET it is a hard plastic that is recyclable. This type of plastic is made in factories and is only touched by machines and only uses good raw materials to form their bottles. They then pack their bottles into sterile bags and box them and send them off for shipping. They mark on their website how long it should take them to make the order and it usually ranges from30-45 day unless there are specific time the costumer needs them.


“pills” by plasticrevolver is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The usage depends on what is put into the container and how many. It also depends on how often you use what is in the container. For me a medicine container would last 60 days and I use the container everyday. Now that I am in college I will be recycling differently I will use the recycling bin down stairs that are for specific small plastic containers and hope it will be disposed of properly. At the end of its functional cycle it will depend on the person using it I already said what I would do but for others that depends entirely in them. Some may chose to throw it in with the trash others may chose to find a recycling center that the number of plastic and throw it away there so it can be reused. The environmental impact of this product during the stages of development is putting out toxic chemicals in the air when using the machines to make the plastic after its use if not disposed of properly it can damage the environment through animals eating it to it being in places it shouldn’t be and not going away.

21/365 - western medicine

“21/365 – western medicine” by jypsygen is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The social impact it has is the people who get the raw materials and their working conditions, the people who work in the factories to make sure the machines are working right and them being exposed to harmful chemicals, the people who stock them in stores and are payed not enough for the work they do, and they people who will be impacted by this product if it is not disposed of properly. This would be called the economic snapshot. Way that we can reduce this is by voting with our wallets , selecting our majors that support our ideas. My assumption based on todays world is that the youth will start the change and will enforce sustainable products throughout generations. I can always be wrong and the people who believe our world is fine how it is could take control and further damage our world causing a number of catastrophic events to occur.\


Group, Foerhao. “HDPE Pharma Bottle.” Foerhao Pharmaceutical Packaging Co., Ltd., 2011,

“What Materials Make up Plastic Bottles.” MJS Packaging Blog, 30 Sept. 2014,

Green Business Feature: MOM’s Organic Market

Recycling rules are different everywhere, and the rules can be constantly changing. Some states and counties collect certain items, whereas others will not take it. For example, in my hometown, Fairfax, Virginia, the county does not take glass items in single stream recycling. This is because glass is heavy and it costs more to transport it. This leads to issues with recycling further down the line, because there is a surplus of glass items that have nowhere to go. For this blog entry, I decided to talk about a company located in my hometown, called “MOM’s Organic Market”. I chose this business because I worked there for about a year, and I was involved in investigating and restoring environmental issues. Their purpose is to protect and restore the environment and one of the ways they do this is through a recycling program called the “Recycle Center”. 

The idea was created by an individual who worked for the company and it has been implemented in every single one of their stores across the east coast. The Recycling Center is a wooden container with different labeled compartments that correspond with unique types of recyclable items. Since being implemented, MOM’s has recycled hundreds of tons of compost, holiday lights, natural cork, and more. A unique aspect of the company is that some locations accept items that their corresponding counties do not accept. For example, the Alexandria, Virginia location participated in a drive with The Purple Glass Bin Project. This organization collects and crushes glass (which turns to sand and gravel) in Northern Virginia, as many counties in Northern Virginia do not accept glass. Together, they recycled 822,520 pounds of glass and raised awareness throughout the state on this issue. 

MOM's Organic Market evolves as it expands to 19th location | Supermarket News

How the Recycling Center works is: you enter any of the locations along the east coast and ask where the Center is located in the store. There is no charge whatsoever to drop off recyclable goods, and you do not have to be a customer to drop off items. You then toss whatever items are recyclable, and you leave! It’s as easy as that. If you have questions about recycling, all of the employees are knowledgeable on the topic and can locate a place or organization that would take particular items. One item they do not accept is plastic grocery bags, because most places in Northern Virginia that do accept them as recycling tend to incinerate the bags, causing greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere. The company does not “greenwash” their sustainability goals, as the entire purpose of the business is to protect and restore the environment. The owner and founder of MOM’s is named Scott Nash and he made the business as a grocery store to pay for the real mission, which is fixing the state of the environment. The company does not provide plastic bags to customers, and they also only use solar and wind power for energy sources. This company is truly a “green” business that gives back to the planet, and their employees.   


“Glass.” Fairfax County Virginia, 

Hamstra, Mark. “Mom’s Organic Market Evolves as It Expands to 19th Location.” Supermarket News, 5 June 2018, 

“Our Purpose Is to Protect and Restore the Environment.” MOM’s Organic Market, 

Product Life of Feminine Hygiene

As a consumer, one of the hardest products for me to find plastic free alternatives is feminine hygiene products. This product is a necessity to me, and many others. Women in the United States alone spend around 2.8 billion dollars on femine products. Firstly, let me explain how tampons were created. It dates all the way back to Cleopatra, using natural products rolled into the tampon shape. Women created their own out of their living rooms, using cloth materials. In 1933, the first applicator was created, made completely out of cardboard. It became a patented product and became a household staple. Soon the tampons and applicators were changed. The cardboard was switched to a plastic material. 

Tampons today are made of a mixture of cotton and rayon. Rayon is a fiber that comes from cellulose, created from wood. Rayon alone takes 250 megajoules to produce 2.2 kilograms. This blend of fibers goes through a rigorous process to create. Outside of the cotton and rayon layer, a lining of synthetic fibers surround the interior. The string is connected inside of the tampon which allows you to take it out. This string is also made of a synthetic material blend. The tampon is then enclosed in a synthetic plastic applicator. Once the tampon is done in production, it is then placed inside of a plastic wrapper. These items are used once and disposed of. 


In the first step of production, cotton is produced. The production of cotton is not sustainable. It takes high amounts of water and energy to farm. Oftentimes, causing the farmers to work in unsafe conditions. The rayon is created using toxic chemicals and is then strung into fibers. The packaging process is extremely harmful to the environment. The plastic is created using raw materials and fossil fuels. These production plants fill the air with high amounts of dangerous emissions. They are then shipped out to different stores. They have different methods of transportation such as trucks, ships, trains, and airplanes. All of these methods damage the environment. 

On average, women use 240 tampons a year. Menstrual products are considered to be medical waste so it is hard to track how much ends in landfills. Experts guess that there are around 20 billion sitting in the landfills. Sadly, the lack of oxygen in landfills makes it extremely difficult for this product to decompose. The fibers are very dense, and while in production, they go through a process that leads to the fibers being bleached. This process of bleaching adds more time in the decomposition process. It takes around 500 years for them to fully decompose, including the applicator and wrapper. 

Unfortunately, it is hard to reduce the impacts of this product. They are not recyclable once they are used due to the fact that they are contaminated. There are many other options if you want to cut down on your plastic waste. Most tampons will still contain an amount of plastic, but cardboard applicators are a great alternative. They are wrapped in a paper wrapper instead of plastic.  


These are products that are necessities and most people do not realize just how much plastic, energy, and waste goes into each tampon. I hope that in the future these big companies will come out with more eco-friendly options for the consumers.


Life Cycle Assessment of a tupperware

I use tupperwares every day to store food. I like to bake multiple loafs of bread or several servings of pasta. Then freezing individual servings in several tupperwares to eat later on in the week. The containers are durable enough to be microwaved and cleaned in a dishwasher. These properties allow me to reuse the containers for months. But eventually they ware down or break and get thrown away. What happens then? What happened before I started using the tupperware?

File:Tupperware-PP.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

When I think of a tupperware, I think of a see through plastics container with a snap on lid. But the tupperware didn’t begin it’s life as a container, it started as fossil fuels deep in the Earth. Once this oil is transported to a refinery, it is heated up and boiled. One of the many gases produced is propylene. The gas is distilled and then introduced to a catalyst where a plastic powder is made that is converted into pellets. A lot of energy and water is required to distill the gases. Water is converted to steam during the condensation part of distillation. Energy is used to boil the crude oil. Polypropylene is a relatively benign plastic with a clean manufacturing process. But the refining of crude oil releases toxic gases that can cause cancer and other health defects. Refineries are often located in poor areas which are usually populated by minority groups.

Natural PP Pellets | LNS Technologies

The plastic pellets are then shipped to a manufacturing plant. This is done often done by boat, train, or air. If these pellets were to be released during shipping they can cause damage to the environment and the communities that depend on it. The plastic is then injection molded into its desired shape and waiting distribution. Different Brands of tupperwares have different methods of distributing. The brand, “Tupperware”, uses direct selling where products are bought from their online store/catalog and shipped directly to the consumer. This method can use less energy during transportation.

When the tupperware is in my hands the product usually lasts many months, sometimes years. The plastic is very durable, easy to clean, and stores food very well. The way I clean them is a dish washer, which needs lots of water and electricity to run. However, while durable, they will not last forever. And when they are no longer useful, I throw them away. This means they are destined to an incinerator or a landfill.  Either way, the tupperwares will have environmental impacts. During combustion, CO2 will be releases and, depending on the additives or plastic, toxic gases too. CO2 is a greenhouse gas and contributes to global warming and the toxic gases can cause cancer if inhaled. In a landfill, polypropylene is prone to oxidation and easily damaged by UV light. If it were to escape the landfill, the plastic can easily breakdown and release microplastics into the environment.

Peachy Sea Co and It’s Impact (or Lack Thereof) on our Earth

Although we must still focus on the amount of plastic we consume and use to help reduce pollution, when companies do not promote and practice sustainability, consuming sustainability can be hard.  Things necessary to my life are not always sustainable.  Sometimes, I do not have the option to choose between an eco-friendly product and a non-eco-friendly product.  Products such as medicine are not available in eco-friendly packaging, but are necessary to my life.  Areas that I can make a difference by preserving our Earth is choosing sustainable businesses whenever I can.  Peachy Sea Co is a brand I support that chooses sustainability, and promotes their message.

This company was started by one of my good friends and coworker, Hannah Susane.  The company’s tagline is something that stands out to me.  On the website it says, “Made with all (un)natural ingredients”.  When I first read this, it took me a minute to figure out what it meant.  Soon realizing that all the bikinis are made from collected water bottles found on polluted places such as beaches and parks, it clicked.  All though the bikinis are made to reduce the problem of plastic pollution, sadly, so much pollution has already been done that there needs to be ways to reuse what has already been produced and trashed to extend the plastics life cycle.  Instead of generating more plastic for the bikinis to be made, Hannah uses what has already been generated and polluted to make something that can last a lot longer, and have more purpose than just staying a bottle in a landfill. 


Beyond the sustainable measures being taken by cleaning up nature and reusing the plastic found, Hannah also makes every bikini to order.  As a small business, she is able to do this so there is no more energy wasted than necessary.  It also ensures that if the bikini style suddenly goes out of style, or the season changes, there are no bikinis that were made to go to waste in another landfill, right back where the products to make it came from.  Hannah also uses her business to promote other ways to be sustainable through social media.      

Because Peachy Sea Co is a brand new company, the global impact is still very small.  This should not be something to deter small businesses from being sustainable.  At the rate plastic is being consumed and discarded, every reduction helps.  One plastic bottle has much more impact than we can imagine.  Reducing that one plastic bottle makes an equal impact for the better.

I believe for people to change their purchasing habits from buying the cheapest, most convenient, and harmful product, the alternative should be made high quality and competitive with other brands.  Peachy Sea Co has trendy bikinis, at an extremely affordable price, made very high quality.  It is extremely competitive with unsustainable brands such as Shein and Urban Outfitters.  If you really care about our Earth, every little effort to put an end to the production and consumption of unsustainable materials can make waves (and keep the actual waves clean) on our one Earth.     


Life Cycle of a Plastic Water Bottle


Plastic surrounds us everywhere. Almost all of the products we use everyday are made from a form of plastic. As a consumer, the biggest contributor to my plastic footprint is plastic water bottles. I own a hydro flask that I fill up everyday before class, however there are days where I’m running late and will grab a plastic water bottle from the fridge. Plastic water bottles are convenient when I’m crunched for time and need to grab something on the go. Typically plastic water bottles are made from polyethylene terephthalate also known as PET. PET is produced from petroleum hydrocarbons. Polyethylene terephthalate is polymerized to create molecular chains. This allows it to produce PET bottles later on. The water bottles are made by melting plastic pellets, and injecting the melted plastic into multiple-cavity molds. They are then shipped to bottling facilities.

The life cycle of a water bottle starts when it is manufactured. After, they are distributed to stores where they are sold. On average a single plastic water bottle lasts me around a few hours. Once it’s empty I try to recycle it, but if that’s not an option I throw it in the trash. If the bottle is recycled it gets shredded down into flakes, and then melted down into pellets. The pellets are then sold to companies that can melt them and turn them into different products. If the bottle doesn’t end up getting recycled it could end up in a few places. The three most common things to happen to the bottles are, they end up in a landfill, the ocean, or they get incinerated. When the bottles end up in a landfill or the ocean, the PET can take up to ten years to break down. When the plastic is in the landfills over time the toxic chemicals leach into the ground, which ultimately could end up in the water we drink. When in the ocean, the plastic affects marine ecosystems and could harm the sea life. Animals mistake the plastic as food and eat it. This is not only harmful for them, but for us too. In addition, when the plastic is incinerated it releases harmful toxins back into the atmosphere.

We are in control of our consumption of plastic. To help prevent the plastic from ending up in landfills or the ocean, it’s important to recycle or refrain from purchasing plastic bottles. There are alternative reusable water bottles that can be used to replace plastic ones.


The Ocean Cleanup our future solution in the fight against the plastic pollution?


More than 5 trillion pieces of plastic currently litter the oceans, and about 8 million tons of plastic end up in our oceans each year, making up 80% of all marine debris from surface waters to deep-sea sediments. And this amount entering the ocean is expected to nearly triple to 29 million tons annually by 2040, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts. Meanwhile, there are five giant plastic garbage patches in the ocean, to be exact: the North Atlantic, the South Atlantic, the North Pacific, the South Pacific, and the Indian Ocean garbage patch, which have a significant impact on the ocean. This is because not only are coasts polluted by plastic trash, but the trash also harms marine animals in particular, which can get caught in larger pieces and mistake smaller pieces for food and swallow them. Swallowing plastic particles can prevent them from digesting normal food and cause toxic chemical pollutants to build up in their organisms. Humans also ingest plastic through the food chain. The effects on health are as yet unknown.

"File:Boyan Slat (2018).jpg" by DWDD is licensed under CC BY 3.0

“File: Boyan Slat (2018).jpg” by DWDD is licensed under CC BY 3.0


Numerous projects and organizations are committed to combating plastic pollution in our oceans, one project that has been launched to much media attention is The Ocean Cleanup. The Ocean Cleanup is a non-profit organization that develops advanced technologies to rid the oceans of plastic and was founded in 2013 by Boyan Slat, a 19-year-old Dutchman at the time. The goal is to remove 90% of floating plastic from the oceans by 2040.


The plastic catcher consists of a long tube-like or hose-like u-shaped construction made of plastic, which is supposed to be up to 600 meters long, depending on the model, and float on the sea like a crescent moon. Below it, a five-meter-long plastic curtain hangs down into the water. The plastic waste is supposed to stick to this curtain. The system should also be able to trap plastic as small as 1mm. To ensure that this floating barrier does not float in front of the garbage, but catches it, it has an anchor that hangs freely in the water at a depth of 600 meters. This slows down the floating body so that the current drive the trash in. Every few weeks, a ship is then supposed to come by and collect the trash and transport it back to shore, where it is recycled or incinerated.

May 2018 saw the first deployment, of the system after several experiments with prototypes since 2016. The system 001, about 120m long, was tested for about two weeks 90km from the Golden Gate Bridge on the open sea. However, there were some problems and the captured plastic could not be held as planned. The system collected 8.2 tons of plastic during the 120-hour deployment this August, which is less than the normal load of a garbage truck equivalent

200127 037 Maritime Museum of San Diego - Pilot boat cruise of San Diego Bay, Maersk Transporter Ocean Cleanup Vessel, designed to remove floating plastic waste from the ocean

“200127 037 Maritime Museum of San Diego – Pilot boat cruise of San Diego Bay, Maersk Transporter Ocean Cleanup Vessel, designed to remove floating plastic waste from the ocean” by cultivar413 is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The project has a very ambitious goal and also brings some good points because it proposes a solution to a huge problem. It makes use of the force of the wind, waves, and currents to capture plastic on the open sea, which is almost impossible to do in any other way. It also tries to impact wildlife as little as possible, as larger marine life such as fish or turtles can dive through under the filter. Furthermore, it tries to reverse or reduce the negative effects caused by plastic.

However, there are also many negative sides and problems with the project, because first of all the project is enormously complex and extremely expensive one estimates that, one, to remove approximately 20,000 tons hundreds of million-dollar would need. In addition, the constant transportation of the ships emits a lot of exhaust gases and requires a lot of fossil fuels, which in turn are harmful to our environment. Furthermore, the system can only remove plastic with a density lower than saltwater, plastic located in the deep sea cannot be removed. And finally, recent trials have shown that the systems still have many flaws and problems and are definitely not as effective as hoped.

All in all, The Ocean Cleanup is a good idea from my point of view, but cannot be implemented in reality as it should be. In addition, the project only fights the symptom and not the cause, which gives the feeling that we as a society do not have to change anything and this way of thinking is fatal. To start at the end, when the plastic is already floating in the sea is too late – we have to focus on our general plastic handling in general.