We recognize the existence of plastics in our environment. According to the World Economic Forum “The New Plastics Economy”, the use of plastics is expected to double in the next 20 years. The low cost, convenience and versatility of plastics has caused its proliferation in our lives. The lack of adequate end-of-life waste management in many parts of the world is part of the problem. A mindset of not viewing packaging at the end of life as a valuable resource to re-circulate as a feed stock for something new is also a problem. Both contribute to liter and marine pollution problems. Stopping the leakage of plastics into our waterways is a global problem.
On May 4th, 2019, we participated in Riverkeeper’s Hudson River Clean-up annual event. In April 2019, American Rivers named the Hudson River among America’s most endangered rivers. Riverkeeper’s mission is to “protect the environmental, recreational and commercial integrity of the Hudson River and its tributaries and safeguard drinking water of 9 million New York City and Hudson Valley residents.” May 4th is just one awareness / project –oriented event of many that take place throughout the year. The May event saw clean-up efforts all along the Hudson from the Adirondack Mountains to New York City. Over 50 clean-up efforts were organized on May 4th all with the same goal of removing litter from the river banks and in the river itself.
We participated in the Corning Preserve Albany NY clean- up effort on the banks of the Hudson River. Within a few hours, we collected 4 garbage bags full of trash. We found shoes, pants, bottles, wrappers, straws, trays, metal siding, socks, styrofoam etc… Our waste collection system in the United Sates is considered very good compared to other countries. We have a waste management system that makes it easy for us to dispose of items to prevent them from winding up in the environment. Even with the collection system we have, the garbage bags full of trash we collected along the river made me think we can do more. It also makes me think about countries that do not have waste management systems like we do. It became clear to me if we have trash along river banks with a collection system, countries without them cannot help but experience the free flow of trash into waterways.
In a previous blog, I wrote about the feeling I get when trying to address plastics end-of-life questions. The pollution issue seems too large to do something about and at the same time too large to ignore. Experiences like the Riverkeeper motivate me to continue to work to better understand our role in the packaging and waste management systems to find solutions however small. Something small may turn into something bigger down the road.
It was a special day and one I shared with my 9 year old son. He asked me what we were doing the week leading up to the event. I informed him that Clear View Bag makes packaging material and are trying to find ways to make them better. We also want to help cleanup what is already in the environment. I asked him after the event what he thought. He summed it up very well. See video link www.youtube.com/watch?v=eGZwSoyL5qQ&t=37s.
Our sustainability efforts can be found at http://www.clearviewbag.com/sustainability/
Thanks for reading! Trent
For more detailed information on Riverkeeper, visit www.riverkeeper.org