After spending some time researching fascinating stories on physical and mental development I discovered heroes and idols whose names resound through a large collective audience.
Who is our hero when it comes to plastic?
All of whom praise this individual ‘hero’ for his/her accomplishments. However, when it comes to plastic there are no heroes like in the sports world. No one who carries the torch to a brighter future, it seems as though the plastic-free community is fractured among our entire population. Football has Ronaldo, conquering the cold has Wim Hof, although recycling the earth we live on…
(possibly one of the most important and influential, as well the most challenging yet rewarding ‘sport’ is cleaning the world of plastic)
Well, plastic has no one to represent it, maybe public speakers like Leonardo Dicaprio or Algore? Who host big impressive speeches about cleaning the planet. But even they have their ambiguous flaws as they cry wolf about cleaning the world and then fly around in private jets on the flip-side.
But here is an example of a young entrepreneur who took our problem and turned it into his personal problem: Boyan Slat. At 24 years of age, he is currently one of the only entrepreneurs in the world who has made his core business focus on purely cleaning the ocean from plastic. After several years of work, Boyan has started to implement a 600-meter long floating barrier that collects different varieties of plastic in the ocean, namely looking to clean what is known as the ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ a gyre of plastic waste over 1000km squared in size. Boyan is aiming to clean half of this patch by 2025 with his innovative unmanned machine.
But the difficulty doesn’t end there, though an ambitious plan it’s actually a rather feasible one. However, it’s not necessarily cleaning the plastic that makes all the difference, even though it helps. The truth is 8 million tons of plastic enters the ocean every year, almost a full truck of plastic every minute. This includes recycled plastic that had been intended for better use. However, the plastic waste returned to land for recycling actually ends up back in the ocean years later.
“By not making it into anything single-use, you can already reduce the chances of it ending up back in the oceans by 99%,” Boyan says.
It makes the task twice as hard if half the recycled plastic ends up back in the ocean anyways from third-party recycle plants that cater it off to companies that reuse the plastic into single-use plastics. The issue remains in the habits of society that use single-use plastic, without this habit cleaning the oceans would be a lot easier and quicker.
So we must look to do both ends of the task. Both preventing yourself from using single-use plastics like straws, cups, plates, bottles, and cutlery. As well as cleaning up your direct environment from the plastic that you eventually use anyways. A conscious mind on the matter will help prevent the plastic problem from being reiterative.
It’s like we all care about plastic, but no one wants to be the one to make the difference. Well, I have found this to be a pure inspiration in itself, if you clean the streets of plastic no one will hand you a reward but it will make a difference to you. Just like when you go to the gym to exercise, you shouldn’t be going to the gym so someone will praise you for finishing your full set, you should go for your own standards. Take this mindset for the ‘sport’ of recycling plastic, do it for yourself and no one else. If it’s important to you, make it so and take action and like at the gym… set goals. If you think that heading to the gym every week is somewhat doable, you should give plastic ‘sport’ a try. You probably won’t last a month, despite all those HIIT workouts you accomplish week in and out. But if you do, well that’s what I’d consider a real athlete.