The Positive Impacts of Using Ocean Bound Plastics
Updated: Dec 16, 2021
Ocean bound plastic manufacturing focuses on making goods with dumped or transported plastics within the range of waterways that will eventually lead to the open seas.
Manufacturing production is crucial to societies worldwide, but it’s also a significant source of pollution. The positive impacts of manufacturing with ocean bound plastics are multi-fold. For example, this method has reduced marine debris by half, increased the rate of marine debris removal, and reduced factory pollution.
What Are Ocean Bound Plastics?
The Plastic Pollution Coalition states that humans produce over 300 million tons of plastic yearly, and 91% of this amount ends up as garbage, however only 9% is recycled. Although many plastic products can be recycled such as those made from PETE bottles, most end up in landfills because their components cannot be separated for processing as specific equipment to separate different plastics from one another is required.
The remaining 91% ends up as waste everywhere on land and estimates suggest that 15-51% of plastic waste is eventually ocean bound.
Ocean Bound Plastic is all sizes of plastic waste that is not managed or collected correctly and is abandoned in local habitats within the range of water shores where it will be eventually swept or dumped to the ocean either by rain, wind, tides, river flow, floods, storm-drains etc. (https://www.obpcert.org/what-is-ocean-bound-plastic/)
80 percent of plastic in the ocean is estimated to come from land-based sources, with the remaining 20 percent coming from boats and other marine sources.
Why Are Ocean Bound Plastics an Important Issue?
There are many negative impacts of plastic pollution on society, however, the most significant impact is the environmental issue caused by having so much plastic in seas and oceans worldwide.
By nature, plastics do not decompose easily or quickly – meaning all this plastic can exist for hundreds of years if left under water. Because there are more than 5 trillion pieces and particles of plastic, with a combined weight of nearly 269,000 tons, are afloat in the world’s oceans, it’s no surprise that these objects impair marine lifeforms by entangling them or getting consumed/inhaled.
These issues are compounded by the fact that ocean bound plastics are responsible for at least 267 species that die every year (UNESCO). With that in mind, it’s evident why ocean bound plastics are an important talking point right now – this is not something we can ignore because there is so much at stake.
Impact to Marine Life and Habitat
Examples of the negative impacts of ocean bound plastics include suffocating organisms that live on or in oceans and seas by trapping them under a mass of accumulated debris. It also contributes to biodiversity loss as marine life is affected by the accumulation of plastic waste – this can happen through entanglement or consumption/inhalation of debris.
When animals consume ocean bound plastics, they are at greater risk for health complications and diseases because toxins from the plastics accumulate inside their bodies.
When waste plastic floating in seas and oceans breaks down into smaller pieces, this is called microplastics, it releases toxins that affect fish habitats and eventually human health. Fish habitats are affected due to microplastics polluting them. Furthermore, toxic chemicals from plastic waste can seep into aquatic ecosystems when they break down or degrade.
For instance, studies have shown that there are approximately 663 million pieces of plastic per square mile in some parts of the Pacific Ocean alone. Marine animals that live in these habitats can have compromised immune systems as a result of exposure to toxic chemicals and microplastics. This can make them more vulnerable to disease and death.
What Is Ocean Bound Plastic Manufacturing?
Ocean bound plastic manufacturing refers to any process where the waste plastics that were destined to end up in the ocean are instead captured and recycled before they reach the oceans – this is easier and cheaper than once they floated out or have dispersed as a soup of micro particles.
Plastic pollution can afflict land, waterways and oceans. It is estimated that 1.1 to 8.8 million tonnes of plastic waste enters the ocean from coastal communities each year. It is estimated that there is a stock of 86 million tons of plastic marine debris in the worldwide ocean as of the end of 2013 which has only every grown.
In most recycling procedures, items are taken out of landfills before it has a chance to degrade or cause potential harm to the environment. However with ocean bound plastic manufacturing, the goal is instead to take existing sources of marine debris out of oceans and by waterways throughout the world before it can cause potential harm to the environment.
With a proper infrastructure in place, ocean bound plastic manufacturing can help divert harmful garbage away from waterways and oceans while making beneficial use of it at the same time. It also means that land-based sources of trash are kept away from the world’s waterways and out of oceans.
What Are The Disadvantages Of Ocean Bound Plastic Manufacturing?
Cleaning up debris from waterways can prove difficult as well since many rivers connect into larger bodies of water such as oceans or lakes. Manufacturing with ocean bound plastics does not completely solve environmental degradation problems arising from plastic waste.
Although this process is much needed to reduces the amount of plastic released into the waters, more needs to be done in order for industry practices to be completely environmentally sustainable.
How Is Ocean Bound Plastic Manufacturing Reducing Marine Debris?
Ocean bound plastic manufacturing has helped reduce marine debris by approximately 50%. In particular, many countries have implemented policies to take out some plastics before they get swept into the ocean.
Also, it was found that between 2008 and 2016 there was a 62% reduction in the number of trawler nets used on coastal waterways (UNESCO). These statistics suggest that ocean bound plastic manufacturing has had a clear impact on the amount of marine debris.
According to UNESCO, countries that implement oceanbound plastic manufacturing can recycle 90% of their plastics, which is significantly higher than normal recycling rates.
Together with the great environmental improvements, there are several positive impacts of manufacturing with ocean-bound plastics decreased waste management costs, increased natural resource recovery rates, and stimulated employment in the recycling sector. Other positive impacts include increased marine debris removal by half, reduced factory pollution, and improved waste management activities.
Ocean bound plastic manufacturing has been a useful process to divert harmful garbage away from the world’s waterways and make use of it instead. This helps reduce marine debris by removing trash before it enters into the world’s oceans. Although this process is much needed to reduces the amount of plastic released into the waters, more needs to be done in order for industry practices to be completely environmentally sustainable.
s ocean bound plastics manufacturing has entered the mainstream, it is important to work together with reliable partners that have the expertise and resources to check and qualify packaging and product materials from suppliers.