Lets get chomping on Ocean Trash

floreyApril 2, 2014

In the Atlantic and the Pacific there are massive areas many miles across of floating debris. No one want's to start dealing with it.
How about converting some ships NOW to take in and process debris.

How?
The hardest part will be the cooperation of the different entities that will be needed.
What do we already know about whats out there and useful technologies.
How to sort? What ways would best preserve sea life.?

What processing would be best after sorting, for the major types of debris?
Try several and check - recheck for toxicity.
Groups of ships could come from different countries and work together.
Countries that fish, and big polluters ought to help.

What's already being done?

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demifloyd(8)

I think it's a great idea.

How are you going to get it started?

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 1:01PM
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duluthinbloomz4

The massive "gyre" is largely plastics. At least not adding to it would be one of the first things. As for scooping up and recycling a Texas-sized (or larger) mass, one is looking at a Herculean task.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 1:13PM
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socks

Florey, I love your thinking. If only this could happen.

We do need to recycle more. It makes me angry every time I hear someone whine about not getting plastic bags in our grocery stores anymore. Too many people just don't take the human impact on our environment seriously enough. And there is too much disposable stuff, a lot of it just junk which took energy to produce and transport here from across the sea.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 1:19PM
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christopherh(SoVT)

I agree, start a company that will convert the ships into garbage trucks.

Or are you waiting for somebody ELSE to do it for you?

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 1:47PM
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demifloyd(8)

Posted by christopherh SoVT (My Page) on
Wed, Apr 2, 14 at 13:47

I agree, start a company that will convert the ships into garbage trucks.

Or are you waiting for somebody ELSE to do it for you?

*

That was my point.

Typical sit and complain about why someone else isn't doing something and criticizing rather than doing it yourself.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 1:54PM
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florey

What kinds of Ships would be the easiest to convert to carry long conveyer belts to raise the trash from the sea, up to a sorter. Maybe on other support ships, 'small' trash to energy furnaces, could modify - burn, melt, compact, or take away various ingredients.
Someone must be thinking about this somewhere, Who? How can we support them?

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 4:39PM
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PRO
Brushworks Spectacular Finishes(5)

What do you estimate it will cost per day? $million?

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 4:54PM
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florey

The costs will be higher as we do nothing. They may include the viability of the oceans.

Lets not be penny wise and pound ~ $ foolish

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 5:06PM
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duluthinbloomz4

I'd imagine some variation of the more modern whaling ship flensing vessels would be useful - they have a stern slipway where the whales (or in this case tons of trash) could be wenched up and pulled onto the ship deck or into holding compartments for sorting. (Couldn't find a good picture in my cursory search.)

Somebody's got to do it and it has to be a multi-national effort since it's for sure multi-national trash.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 6:19PM
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Pidge

The idea of recycling ocean trash is a brilliant idea. While christoprerh and demi are asking us who will do this as if it could not be done, neither is offering a plan for actually doing it.
I wish I could offer a solution myself but I donâÂÂt doubt for a minute that this project could not only clean up the ocean but also create a money-making venture for whoever would be brave enough to create it.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 7:12PM
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eibren(z6PA)

I'm not too worried about it.

At some point it will become cost effective to recycle it, and people will be fighting for the rights to do so.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 7:27PM
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Pidge

eibren, I agree with you. The only problem is how bad it will have to get to invite some capitalist somewhere to see this as a money-making venture.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 7:32PM
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demifloyd(8)

I am not offering a plan because it's not on my priority list.

I didn't start the thread.

As I said, great idea instead of asking why someone else isn't doing something about it what's stopping any of you?

I'm not complaining about other people not doing anything about it.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 8:20PM
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terrene(5b MA)

Because plastics photodegrade into smaller particles, and the oceans are incomprehensibly huge, I doubt it's feasible to clean up the floating debris.

Measures should be taken before the plastic gets into the ocean. For example use less plastic, more plastic recycling, implement bottle deposits, and we desperately need to create biodegradable plastics.

It kind of boggles my mind that we've created so much plastic waste - along with other types of waste - without a reasonably thorough plan for disposal.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 9:08PM
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eibren(z6PA)

I don't like plastic that biodegrades. I've had storage bags disintegrate into particles that are difficult to clean up.

I think we should just criminalize littering, and pollution in general.

We are making too many basic decisions that pander to the lowest common denominator in our society, and as a result our society is deteriorating.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 9:33PM
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tobr24u(z6 RI)

The US will have to lead the way, of course, so be prepared to pony up. Maybe we could form a coalition of the willing and wage a war on ocean trash...

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 5:30AM
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vgkg(Z-7)

At the rate we're polluting it won't be long before oysters start producing plastic pearls.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 8:45AM
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tobr24u(z6 RI)

Could be, and we could all afford to buy them at Wal-mart...

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 8:58AM
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jodik_gw

One of the lesser known problems with the disintegration of plastics into the ocean, and on beaches everywhere, is that this plastic/chemical soup forming contains an estrogen like molecule chain that is poison... it effects the living on a genetic level... one of those hidden scourges of plastics the industry never highlighted, but knew about.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 9:22AM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)

Wouldn't it be nice if all states had container deposit legislation? Back when there was a deposit on glass soft drink bottles, they didn't litter the countryside.

Here is a link that might be useful: Container deposit legislation

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 11:30AM
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david52_gw

Well, deposits on containers are socialist, create jobs, and dent the profits of petro-chemical firms.

/why do you hate freedom?

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 12:53PM
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florey

Yay duluth -
"I'd imagine some variation of the more modern whaling ship flensing vessels would be useful - they have a stern slipway where the whales (or in this case tons of trash) could be wenched up and pulled onto the ship deck or into holding compartments for sorting. (Couldn't find a good picture in my cursory search.)

Somebody's got to do it and it has to be a multi-national effort since it's for sure multi-national trash. "

If there were a perceived profit , ships would be out there already.

jodik -Those tiny particles of ground plastic are a big worry.

It's a big, bad, - no, you do it - problem that just keeps getting bigger.

JFK once said about some similarly hard to tackle problem, that would take a long time to fix: "So there isn't a moment to lose." Love that attitude.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 1:30PM
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eibren(z6PA)

Just saying.

:o/

Food in them tastes better. What to lose?

Here is a link that might be useful: prweb

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 5:12PM
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duluthinbloomz4

I like the idea of food in glass containers - but so little comes in glass these days. We don't have a Container Store here, but I see Walmart (shudder for those who might have philosophical differences) has a lidded assortment from a variety of makers in a variety of shapes and sizes. Glass would be good for me for left-overs, etc. and I could "lose" a bunch of plastic cluttering up the cabinets.

Egads - it's snowing and snowing hard. Another possible 8" is predicted, but I thought they were kidding.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 5:38PM
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terrene(5b MA)

We have a bottle bill in Mass. Of course people screamed about it at first, but it passed easily because this is a communist state (haha). So the drink retailers raised their prices "because of added overhead", plus they charge the deposit, and I'm sure they make money on that too because the redemption rate is still not 100%.

Now we have redemption centers sometimes with an attendant, and it works quite smoothly. People can collect bottles or cans to make a little extra money, they can be donated to charity projects, etc. and it keeps these resources out of the waste stream. And a material like aluminum is quite valuable!

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 7:34PM
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mylab123(z5NW)

Most of the restaurants we frequent offer glass water carafes for the table and its appreciated.

I agree with you Eibren - food and beverages tastes far, far better out of glass or porcelain. I wont drink anything out of plastic and Im actually not fond of stoneware beverage containers either although I dont know why it would effect the taste of beverages - but to me it does.

When the children grew out of the 'drop and break' phase, I got rid of every plastic cup and plate in the house and they began to use the same food plates and glassware as we did.

There was a home catalog I got for years which sold various sized food storage containers in glass with glass lids which fit them very nicely. Over a year's period I got rid of every single plastic container and replaced them with a bunch of those glass containers. I have enough to last me the rest of my life, Ill never have plastic food storage containers ever again.

I love that JFK quote, thanks!

Good heavens Duluth. And here Im worried about the slight possibility that our very first spring group barbeque might get rained out! And that it might still be a bit chilly at the expected 69 degrees high for the day! Should count my blessings instead, dontcha know.
Stay toasty!

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 8:38PM
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elvis

"Egads - it's snowing and snowing hard. Another possible 8" is predicted, but I thought they were kidding."

It started at 6:15 p.m. here; we're expecting 6-12". Ah well, good for the water table. Besides, the humongous snowbanks look dirty; this will make them all pretty again. Unfortunately, snowmo trails closed on the 31st...

We carry our own cloth shopping bags; the stores reward this with 5 cents off for every bag one brings and uses at the store.

Glass storage containers sound wonderful but impractical for DH's lunchbox.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 9:39PM
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Campanula UK Z8

Stainless steel Tiffin boxes, Elvis.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 5:59AM
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christopherh(SoVT)

"...The idea of recycling ocean trash is a brilliant idea. While christoprerh and demi are asking us who will do this as if it could not be done, neither is offering a plan for actually doing it.
I wish I could offer a solution myself but I donâÂÂt doubt for a minute that this project could not only clean up the ocean but also create a money-making venture for whoever would be brave enough to create it..."
******************************
It's not my job to offer any plan. I'm not interested. But too many people want "them" to do it, so all they're doing is.... nothing.

They sit at their computer and say "why don't THEY...."

And that's not a solution.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 8:14AM
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jodik_gw

There are actually lots of people working on solutions... one being the use of discarded water bottles as part of housing construction... mostly used with cob or ferro-cement type mixtures... it's something. And there's more... let Google be your friend.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 10:03AM
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florey

This has been tickling at the back of my mind.

It would be great to see some kinds of small, test, short term, pilot, projects, out in the horse latitudes where the trash swirls into aggregations.
Start small, but with big thinking, that is shared.
Cheap, but energetic, with top people from relevant fields, and maybe TV show, or crowd sourced.

Key, would seem to be finding out what kinds of trashes are most common out there? Can the trashes be sorted, dried, and bundled, for future processing?
Are any valuable enough to mine for?

It's important to remember that many species like eels, fish, and turtles, even fresh water mussels, need the weed and flotsam collecting, Sargasso Sea for important parts of their life cycle. This area of the doldrums of the Atlantic ocean, and its similar, less obvious counterpart in the Pacific, are now overrun with trash. How to sort out the bad, while protecting the good?

The retired whale flensing vessel, with a conveyor belt added, onto a stern that was made low edged for whaling, sounds promising.

Would any burning be safe to do at sea? Or would some wrong toxins be concentrated?

Can trash burning power plant units, be made small enough for shipboard use? If some were made now, small enough to be portable to disaster sites, that might be a start.

Can enough plastics be filtered out, to send to shore in some feasible way, for further processing?

There may be loose container sized items, smaller than a breadbox sized, and micro plastic.

Can the big stuff be hauled off and compacted?

The med. sized is a puzzler.

What about some pilot projects , that test ways to clear, micro plastics?

Good tries that may not work out completely are worth experimenting, just for the experience of being out there learning. Some obvious solutions may appear or be ruled out, thereby making the next attempts much easier.

Lets get going on this so we can start finding out more about the practicalities involved in the. sea site

What are good places to look for resources of equipment, research,and of people? The old sites that had quite a bit on this, seem to have dried up.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2014 at 9:27PM
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florey

How about a contest to generate ideas feasible for small test projects ?

Maybe a famous group could publicize it, with Matt Damon or someone like that. mmm, and an award winning director, like the guy that did the Nova thingy, with Gregory Peck., some scientists.

Well, something like this could use some energy.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2014 at 9:31AM
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florey

Is there some basic mini research, every deep water vessel can do, on every voyage? something small and not bulky? like wetting a small paper, or other substrate, in the days water sample[s]? to be sent , eventually, to a lab that is gathering data? What parts of the ocean, attract the most, of what sizes? Which areas are most critical for krill?
What about, tiny projects on up through small, that motivated ships could do? It's a natural for cruise liners, might attract new customers.
What about container vessels?

Let's get started very soon, on seeing what we know, trying some methods, and learning more.
Some prerelease capture methods, for developing countries might be helpful too.

Does anyone know of anything going on out there? It's getting really hard to successfully search.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 2:15PM
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rosie(Deep South, USA 7A/B)

Good effort, Florey. Perhaps someday when petroleum is scarce, scouring the planet for waste plastics will become economically feasible.

Seemingly the answer has to lie with us at this point -- i.e., stopping our trash from leaving land. Cleaning up those "islands" is not feasible because it's reportedly far more like a "trash soup" out there, and most is not on top.

I hate to say it, but so many people create trash from callousness and irresponsibility (such as bottled drinking water instead of tap) and then litter from callousness, resentment, and greed that I suspect we should toughen and tighten up enforcement of laws on littering and polluting, as Eibren threw out. Scare most slobs into compliance. The biggest problem, though, is commercial pollution. We need to make the corporate shield permeable to criminal prosecution. Scaring the big polluters and litterers into compliance would make a tremendous difference.

That of course would be in combination with government promotion of further technological developments in biodegradables, as well as progressive programs such as the one in Massachusetts Terrene describes.

Criminalizing serious and rescidivist littering and pollution might seem extreme to some, but we're at 7 billion and climbing; the amount of trash we're producing is growing far faster than population even; and this "trash soup" is only a very small part of the problem.

ITM, the ball's in our courts. I doubt many here are tossing trash out car windows, but do better some other way and, importantly, vote to start cleaning up our act on a big scale.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 10:16AM
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jodik_gw

Cost shouldn't be an issue. This should be a combined effort with all nations either participating, or having a say in the process. We all have to share this planet... and we're not doing too well in the "take care of it" department.

It's a shame that so many people are penny wise and pound foolish... more worried about the short term than the long term, the future.

The human race contains some truly brilliant minds... and the best we could come up with is... "let's dump it in the oceans"???

Wow. So much for tomorrow... so much for the world my grandchildren and their children will inherit...

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 1:10PM
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rosie(Deep South, USA 7A/B)

Well, on a happy note, President Obama is using his executive authority under the antiquities act to create the world's largest ocean preserve around some islands between Hawaii and American Samoa to protect the fragile marine life. Apparently this area is remote and has been relatively undisturbed, no one even wants to drill for oil, but more and more commercial fishing operations are expected to be moving in.

President Bush established the preserve in 2009 as Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument (maybe they'll change the name?), but President Obama is extending the boundaries somewhere up to 200 miles out, as allowed by maritime law, from 50. Environmental groups are pushing for the full 200. He hopes that this will merely be a lead that will encourage other nations to follow. Reportedly we have about 13% of all the ocean area that is controlled by nations.

(Obama also is launching a task force to combat black-market fishing and seafood fraud, in which seafood products are mislabeled to hide their origin, costing legitimate fishermen $23 billion in just one year. I haven't been too happy about it either.)

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 7:36PM
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