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Talkin’ Trash

Posted on Jul 28, 2016

Plastics are ubiquitous in our daily lives due to their many desirable attributes; they’re lightweight, durable, and can be shaped into so many different items! Unfortunately, these same qualities have also led to their widespread distribution and persistence in our environment. Almost half of the more than three hundred million tons* of plastic that are produced each year are unaccounted for; in other words, they aren’t making it to recycling facilities or landfills. The majority of the plastic trash that originates on land – those soda bottles, shopping bags, drinking straws and cigarette butts that litter our streets – are destined for our local waterways and ultimately the ocean. These items don’t biodegrade, but rather they break down into smaller and smaller pieces. What’s more, plastics contain various types of chemicals that leach out over time, and they also act as magnets accumulating other toxins from the environment. As these poisonous particles travel through the environment, they are accidentally ingested by living things which introduces the poisons that they contain into the food chain. Guess who’s at the top of that? Yep, you and me.

Talkin Trash Orbitist Screenshot

A screenshot of the interactive ‘Talkin’ Trash’ Map at Orbitist.com

So the folks at the Roger Tory Peterson Institute are asking you to join in an initiative called TALKIN’ TRASH! The next time you see a plastic item on the ground or in the water, note the location (GPS coordinates, street address, or nearest intersection), pick it up and properly dispose of it (preferably in a recycling bin, but a trash receptacle will do), and report your findings at Orbitist.com (in the data form on map # 2459). We’ll add all of your submissions to our interactive TALKIN’ TRASH map, and together we can witness how many pieces of plastic we’re taking out of our environment! Thank you for participating in this exciting citizen science initiative!