When you use the straw, you throw it in the garbage can. Then you put the garbage in a bigger garbage can, and put it out by the road. I’m a civil e

An Illustrated Guide to Plastic Straws

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2021-09-27 05:00:06

When you use the straw, you throw it in the garbage can. Then you put the garbage in a bigger garbage can, and put it out by the road.

I’m a civil engineer. Landfills get a bad rap because they seem horrible, but modern landfill technology is really pretty amazing. They are sealed on the bottom with geotechnical fabric to prevent leachate from entering the groundwater. They burn off, or sometimes even harvest, the methane produced from decomposition. Landfill cells are capped off with clay or bentonite to protect the environment. And then often they’re turned into parks or golf courses at the end. It takes about fifty years for the biodegradable material in a landfill to decompose by anaerobic means, and there are pilot projects to use aerobic processes to reduce that time to five years or less. And anything that goes into the landfill does not get into the ocean.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is two large zones of floatable debris, mostly plastic, trapped by the physics of the Coriolis effect as it manipulates oceanic currents into the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre. It’s double the size of Texas and experiences a ten fold increase in size every decade. It’s made primarily of plastic. And zero plastic thrown in a garbage can in the United States enters the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre.

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