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Here are More Reasons Not to Use Plastic Bags and Bottles

Wave Tribe

It’s a sad fact that our society still depends on plastic despite its negative effects.

Published by Wave Tribe

A lot of the plastics that we used end up in the landfills or worse, into the ocean.

Every minute, up to 10 million plastic bags are used all over the world. Here in America, some 300 to 700 plastic bags pass through the hands of an average American in just one year. That’s a lot of plastic that will only end up in landfills or worse, into the ocean.

And yet we still like using it. We know how bad they are for the environment. They kill marine wildlife. They break down into tiny particles that enter into the food web and later into our diet. They leach toxins into the water and disrupt the reproductive cycles of marine organisms.

As if those weren’t enough, there’s even more reason not to use plastic bags and bottles.

It Breaks Down Into Greenhouse Gases

Yup, not only does it emit a lot of carbon when it’s being synthesized but it also releases other more problematic greenhouse gases when it degrades.

As sunlight hits the plastic trash floating in the ocean, it breaks down the plastic. In the process, it releases methane and ethylene.

Methane is a greenhouse gas whose impact is 34 times greater than CO2 over a 100-year period, according to the latest IPCC Assessment Report. In nature, methane gas comes from the digestive process of livestock and from landfills, which emit it as waste decomposes. But it is also a by-product of fossil fuel production which is the source of all human-made methane emission.

Ethylene, meanwhile, is an indirect greenhouse gas. This means that it contributes to carbon monoxide formation in the atmosphere. It’s also a key ingredient in the production of polyethylene. That’s what our plastic grocery bags are made of.

When plastic breaks down in the ocean, it releases methane and ethylene.

It’s Toxic

That’s right. Polyethylene is the most produced and discarded synthetic polymer globally. It’s used in packaging and bottling industries, virtually every cheap plastic packaging that we use.

The thing with polyethylene is that it has a weaker and less dense chemical structure than most plastics. This means it breaks down more easily, releasing toxic additives and other chemicals into the environment.

And get this, the more surface area a plastic trash has, the more gas it gives off. And given the amount of shopping bags floating all over the oceans, continually releasing ethylene and methane, it’s no wonder that the amount of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere is getting higher.

Polyethylene breaks down easily, releasing toxic chemicals into the environment.

By simply reducing the consumer demand for plastic, we can reduce greenhouse emissions drastically.

— Derek Dodds, Wave Tribe Founder

It Drives Global Warming

Because of the gases that plastics emit, they have become a driver for global warming.

Scientists have calculated that plastics account for 3.8% of global greenhouse gas emissions. They pointed out that it’s almost double the carbon emissions of the airline industry. In the scale of high-emitters, plastic trash is the fifth-highest emitter in the world.

Methane, in particular, is a greenhouse gas that is 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide. There is already evidence that the methane gas being released into the atmosphere is causing a warming effect that is 25% higher than previous data estimates.

This is alarming, especially since we’re already at the tip of the global carbon threshold.

The gases that plastics emit contribute to the worsening problem of global warming.

So What Can We Do?

By simply reducing the consumer demand for plastic, we can reduce greenhouse emissions drastically.

In a study, it was found out that reducing the annual growth in plastic demand from 4% to 2% could result in 60% lower emissions from the sector in 2050.

When combined with recycling and the use of alternative materials, it could have a significant impact on the climate crisis. For example, if we all were to use a reusable water bottle, we could eliminate the need for the estimated 20,000 single-use bottles bought each second around the world.

Here at Wave Tribe, that is what we are trying to do. By coming up with surfing gear made from recycled and sustainable materials, we hope to help reduce the surfing industry’s reliance on plastic and its by-products.

Surfing has been rightly pointed out as a toxic sport. From its use of neoprene and other substances like petroleum wax, it has no doubt contributed to the greenhouse emissions. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Our surfboard travel bags are made from sustainable hemp. It’s durable and stylish, qualities which make it one of our more popular and well-reviewed products.

Our Eco Leash, meanwhile, is made from recycled plastic pellets. It costs us a little more money to produce them but we don’t care about the cost because we want to do our bit to save our planet.

Wave Tribe's eco-friendly surfing gear.

Using recycled plastic has resulted in lower energy consumption and since we were no longer dependent on polyurethane to produce the cord, there is less carbon emission as well.

Our surfboard eco wax is an all-natural version of the commercial board wax. Because it doesn’t have paraffin, it’s biodegradable and non-toxic. More importantly, it gives you more friction than any other board wax.

So if you’re a surfer trying to cut down on your plastic footprint, check out our good stuff. We owe it to the ocean to keep it clean, not only for us but for the next generation who will inherit the planet.

 

 

More Wave Tribe Reads

Things You Can Do For Trash Free Seas - The Ultimate Guide

The Ultimate Guide on How To Lower My Carbon Footprint - Surfer's Edition
Why A Broken Surfboard Is Bad For The Environment

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