Turtle intertwined in fishnet. Photographer: Jordi Chias
Turtle intertwined in fishnet. Photographer: Jordi Chias

Bracelets Made From Plastic Are Cleaning the Ocean

February 18, 2020

(Turtle chasing a plastic water bottle to eat. Image credit: Pinterest)

Have you seen the ocean? It’s beautiful, right? All the animals, clear water, and the view are mesmerizing. Well, it won’t be so beautiful and mesmerizing if we keep polluting it with plastic and landfill. 91% of our plastic isn’t recycled, it ends up in where? Our ocean.

Plastic unlike other materials can’t decompose. This means that plastic won’t disappear. It can break up into tiny pieces called micro-plastics. These tiny pieces of plastic can be consumed by fish, turtles, and other sea animals. Once the animal has consumed an amount of plastic in its digestive system, it will soon die. Even tiny micro-plastics affect a whole food-chain that soon leads to us. Many people have found clumps of micro-plastics in their fish. What if everyone ate that fish without knowing there was plastic in there? Would we catch a sickness? Would we die? One way people are eliminating plastic in the ocean is making bracelets out of them. A company “4ocean” make bracelets out of the landfill in our ocean. Each bracelet is made from one pound of plastic. That means one less pound of plastic in our ocean. 4ocean has collected over 1 million pounds of plastic so far and they hope to collect more.

(Shot of plastic bottles and landfill. Image Credit:Shutterstock/RichCarey)

This relates to engineering because Andrew Cooper and Alex Shulze saw a problem, and they wanted to solve it. Who would’ve thought, just a small little project could help make a difference in our ocean and marine life. It all started with two surfers, Andrew Cooper and Alex Shulze. “My favorite thing when surfing is ducking under a wave, you go under open your eyes, and the light from the sun’s coming through the wave. It’s just crystal clear water and everything just moves so slow, you just see everything around you. It’s just so pure and amazing,” Alex Shulze says. To create the bracelet they first collect the landfill in the ocean. Second, they divide the landfill into clusters. Third, they use the steel to make the charms, the plastic bottles to make the cords, and the glass bottles to make the beads. 4ocean does its best to include all recycled materials into their bracelets. This is just the beginning, other companies might be inspired to make other creations using recycled materials to prevent landfill in the ocean. This gives us hope to look forward to a beautiful ocean instead of an ocean filled with trash.

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