Today, gDiapers is taking a step with our customers towards a future free of plastic pollution. With every purchase of our clean water tee or great white shark gPants, gDiapers will sponsor a foot of beach clean-up executed by 5 Gyres, an organization committed to eliminating plastic pollution from our oceans. gDiapers families have already taken steps to reduce one of the most impactful everyday plastic products—conventional disposable diapers. Now we’re inviting you into deeper water to learn more about plastic pollution and join the work to steer the future in a different direction.
Plastic Pollution Today (and what’s a “gyre” anyway?)
Today, about 50% of the world’s trash goes to landfills or incineration. The other half is officially unaccounted for. But researchers, and any of us who live near waterways, know that trash goes downhill, and the ocean is as “downhill” as it gets. We don’t have accurate measures of how much trash is entering our waters each year, but it’s estimated that 90% of this trash is plastic.
Our oceans are vast and organizations like 5 Gyres are working against the clock to measure the extent of pollution they hold. In the midst of our oceans, explorers and researchers have discovered massive barometers of the world’s trash situation: gyres. There are five major ocean gyres on the planet—huge vortexes of water created by whirling winds and ocean currents.
Gyres are massive, covering 21% of the planet’s surface. And the whirlpool effect created by the ocean currents causes plastic waste to congregate within the gyres. We know of 74 million pounds of plastic in the ocean gyres, but scientists believe the number is much, much greater. Of the 267 samples 5 Gyres has collected in these areas, only two did not contain plastic. Pollution is growing fast. In the North Pacific Gyre, density of plastic has increased 100x in the past 30 years. And scientists don’t yet know how long it will take for a piece of plastic debris to degrade in an ocean environment.
No one likes to see images of garbage floating in our planet’s blue ocean wildernesses. What our eyes can’t see is just how toxic this waste is becoming. Plastic’s porous chemical structure invites pesticides, hydrocarbons, and other pollutants to bind to floating plastic debris, such that ocean-borne plastics can contain concentrations of chemicals one million times more dense than the surrounding water. With nearly 10% of the base food chain fish in the oceans eating these toxic bits of debris (and larger fish eating those fish…), chemicals from these plastics are making their way into our food supply at deeply concerning rates.
How to Help
These hard truths may seem discouraging at first glance, but 5 Gyres believes that we are capable of changing our course and achieving a future where the world’s oceans are free of plastic pollution. Their expeditions to the five ocean gyres have taught us invaluable things about how our unbridled plastic use is affecting our environment, and they’re researching how to make a change. In challenging people to reduce their personal plastic use, pursuing legislative action to cut down on single-use plastic packaging, and encouraging innovation in business and manufacturing, 5 Gyres is helping to create a path towards eliminating plastic pollution.
We’re doing our part to pitch in by sponsoring a beach clean-up on 5 Gyres’ next journey, the North Atlantic Viking Gyre Expedition—a transatlantic trip from Bermuda to Iceland. But we need your help! For every purchase of our clean water tee and great white shark gPants, we will sponsor the 5 Gyres crew to clean up one foot of beach along the journey. The plastic gathered will help 5 Gyres research the extent of plastic pollution in the area, and once it’s done its job it will be properly disposed of back on the mainland. Every bit can make a difference, and we’re honored to have you aboard as we work towards this great mission.