Calvin Gorman

Consumer Product Analysis

As an avid seagoer I love anything to do with the ocean. I aim to be as environmentally sustainable when on the water, however, this is almost impossible in this day and age due to everything being made for purpose, rather than sustainability. I believe that this must be flipped and we must start taking sustainability into account as a priority, whilst still producing a product that serves its designated purpose. 

The difficulty with fishing gear is that there are many different types of braided lines depending on what the targeted species is, what the weathers like, how far offshore, and many other variables, and these different types of line are all made with different materials. Some lines such as monofilament have life spans of 2 to 3 years, whereas fluorocarbon lines can last up to 10 years. Fluorocarbon is actually the term given to a broad family of compounds including, carbon, chlorine, fluorine, and other synthetics made from hydrocarbons. Fluorocarbon is also used in Freon which is a refrigerant in air cooling systems, evidently it is not good for you. Hence, Freon was banned in the US January 1st 2020, due to health concerns and its role in destroying the ozone layer. However fluorocarbons are still used legally in the international fishing industry. Monofilament hence the name, is comprised from one single strand of line that may contain multiple different polymers chemically fused together, the most common medium for mono line is nylon. Which uses enormous quantities of water to be produced and also emits nitrous oxide which is a greenhouse gas roughly 300 times as potent as carbon dioxide. Monofilament is admired for its flexibility which makes it easier to cast, whereas fluorocarbon line is used for its sturdiness and is more commonly used when targeting larger fish or for rougher conditions. 

Zombie in the Water': New Greenpeace Report Warns of Deadly Ghost Fishing Gear - EcoWatch

In our oceans, fishing gear makes up roughly 10% of the total pollution. This is a very large percentage for solely one industry. Discarded fishing nets and fishing lines have been given the term “Ghost Fishing Gear”, this really implies how these discarded items are haunting our seas and destroying some of the most important habitats on the planet. If we can produce a product that can help reduce this pollution it would be beneficial to restoring sea life populations and helping rejuvenate coral reefs. 

During my research I found that a lot more fishing gear companies have started to experiment and transition to biodegradable fishing lines, in particular Eagle Claw Tackle which is the brand I use personally. Unfortunately many will not make the conversion to sustainable gear as very few anglers will want to buy a product that is designed to break. In response to this Eagle Claw made biodegradable lines much more affordable than other types of braid, and also imposed a 10 month guarantee on all lines made by them. I believe that this is most definitely the right approach to get people to use the product, however I also believe that people need to be made more aware of what consequences their actions have on the environment. Furthermore, government bodies should establish laws to prohibit the use of fishing gear with trace toxic materials, and aim to create a fishing industry that is completely 100% sustainable.

Plastic Portrayal in the Media

On November 2, 2021, a news article was released discussing the impact that the portrayal of single-use plastics in media has on our society. The USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center in Hollywood, CA began analyzing how common these single-use plastics were versus reusable and eco-friendly products in television and film. They ended up coming to the conclusion that plastic pollution was just as prominent on screen as it is in the lives of most US citizens. The ultimate goal of this analysis was to bring attention to and reduce the amount of plastic presented in the media, but to also institute changes that need to be made to progress in this generation.

Most of this research was authorized by the Plastic Pollution Coalition. Through their studies, they were able to make several assumptions about how single-use plastics portrayed in television causes us to subconsciously downplay the importance of reducing our own plastic use. They stated that single-use plastic made an appearance in every episode with an average of 28 items per episode. They also took note that a vast majority of the items were not dispose of on screen, which promotes the “false narrative of ‘magically disappearing trash.’”  Dianna Cohen, Co-Founder and CEO of the Plastic Pollution Coalition states that “We are shaped and formed by what we watch. Media has the power to reimagine the world and blaze a trail to a regenerative, reusable, refillable, healthy, thriving plastic-free world for all living beings, if only we commit and act now.” When we were younger our parents would attempt to censor certain content in an effort to prevent us from mimicking any negative actions done on-screen, but to an extent we never really outgrow that as Cohen states. The things we see on television or listen to on the radio can impact our actions in such a discreet manner that we might not even realize it until it’s already happened. 

The Plastic Pollution Coalition’s ultimate goal is to form better habits in our everyday lives. They’ve reached out to many people in all aspects of the entertainment industry to express their concerns and get them involved in the movement towards change. While these changes are on-screen, they are made with the intent of altering the actions of people off-screen.

The biggest takeaway from this article is that so many different things can make subtle influences on the way we live our lives through the things we listen to or see on a regular basis. If programs like the Plastic Pollution Coalition are able to push for changes in how often and how much we see single-use plastic in our favorite TV shows, then this could subconsciously change our careless habits of consumption with the intent to discard it immediately. By replacing the single-use plastics on TV with reusable alternatives, this would set a better example for people to follow and could make a big impact overall. Every little step counts towards an earth that is free of plastic pollution and its toxic impact on the environment.