Seaweed and Chalk May Help Combat the Ocean’s Plastic Pollution

Nature

A guy shocked by the BBC’s Blue Planet TV series’ depiction of plastic-polluted oceans founded a firm that makes recyclable and biodegradable plastic alternatives.

Plastic waste close to a river

(Photo : Getty Images)

Happy Dolphin in Wrexham, run by David Hughes, creates carrying bags and other things out of calcium carbonate, the same substance found in eggshells.

Using Seaweed Packaging

Photo 2 (IMAGE)

(Photo : Soyoka Muko/Nagasaki University)

A biotech company in Anglesey is working on using seaweed as a food packaging material.

“Our goal is to reverse the flow of plastic pollution,” it stated.

Every year, about 13 million tonnes of plastic are predicted to reach our seas.

Related Article: 26,000 Tons of Covid Plastic Wastes Now Pollute the World’s Oceans

Bag for Life

With 1.5 billion sales each year, the average “bag for life” reusable carrier bag may last for hundreds of years.

Although Wales has one of the highest recycling rates in the world, Mr. Hughes believes the recycle-and-reuse concept is “outdated.”

“We want the Welsh government to understand that there is a new generation of biodegradable items that do not have the drawbacks of the original generation,” he explained.

“This new material has the potential to make a huge difference.”

The packaging substance, which uses calcium carbonate, was developed by Swedish packaging expert Ake Rosen, who worked at Tetra Pak in Wrexham.

Plastic Discussion

At a COP26 event last week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned youngsters that plastic consumption needed to be decreased since recycling plastic products was “not the answer.”

PlantSea, a biotech start-up situated in Gaerwen’s Menai Science Park, explores and develops ways to use seaweed to generate material for several applications, including food packaging.

“We see seaweed as having the potential to replace a portion of the plastic now used in any application,” said PlantSea’s Gianmarco Sanfrantello.

“Seaweed is a renewable resource that may be found in abundance in our oceans.

“Our goal is to reverse the flow of plastic pollution.”

Both firms claim their alternative goods are “competitive” in price.

“We need the gatekeepers, the governments, and especially the supermarkets, to open the doors and test it,” Mr. Hughes added.

Consumers were “willing to pay the difference, even if it was a modest cost… to make a difference,” he added.

“We are constantly looking to assist innovation in this sector,” the Welsh government stated.

“Businesses and industry have a critical role in tackling this problem,” said a spokeswoman.

“We need to adjust people’s habits, so they use fewer single products, regardless of material.”

Plastic Pollution

Sprite plastic bottle on table

(Photo : Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash)

Plastic pollution, also known as plastic trash, is defined as “the buildup of plastic objects (such as plastic bottles and other items) in the Earth’s ecosystem that harms animals, wildlife habitat, and humans.”

Unrecycled Plastics

A massive amount of plastic that isn’t recycled and ends up in landfills or unregulated dumpsites in underdeveloped countries. In the United Kingdom, for example, approximately 5 million tons of waste are generated each year. Unfortunately, only a quarter of it gets recycled.

If we want to solve the problem of plastic waste and pollution on our planet, we must reduce plastic use and raise knowledge about plastic recycling.

Also Read: #TeamSeas: YouTuber MrBeast Launches 30 Million-Dollar Effort to Lessen Ocean Trash

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