Update October 11, 2016
How's this project and process shaping my attitude? This process is continuously making me consider my impact on the environment. I'm also struggling with my execution on whether I should be developing a methodology or if I should be playing the role of an advocate. Wanting to work with materials and do an installation is proving challenging. I've been doing a lot of thinking on how to develop new visuals and ideas to show people who have been subjected to the topic of environmental impact, recycling, reducing waste, etc.
Today I went back to Reedy Creek to collect trash. After the weekend of rain from the hurricane I was expecting to notice a lot of trash washed into the creek and on the banks. And I did.
As I continue to work through this project I'm finding some terrifying facts.
-The U.S. is responsible for more than 30% of the planet’s total waste generation.
-Each American discards an average of more than 1,650 pounds of garbage every year, or approximately 4.6 pounds per person each day, nearly double the 1960 average of 2.7 pounds per day.
-More than 30% of municipal solid waste is packaging, and 40% of that waste is plastic
-Plastics never biodegrade; instead, plastic goes through a process called photodegradation, in which sunlight breaks it down into smaller and smaller pieces until only plastic dust remains. Plastic does not disappear – even as dust it persists for centuries, wreaking havoc in ecosystems.
-American’s receive almost 4.5 million tons of junk mail per year. About 44% of junk mail is never opened.
-80 % of plastic is used once and then goes to landfill sites
http://www.rsc.org/, http://www.toxicsaction.org/problems-and-solutions/waste, http://leachate.co.uk/main/trace-leachate-contaminants/
These are a few of the mass amounts of information I have been combing through. When I revisited Reedy Creek I noticed a majority of the trash was plastic. This is no surprise. I originally was set out to tackle issues based around the leaching of paper dyes, chemicals, inks and other materials. I'm now considering taking a look deeper into plastics.
The process of photodegredation is really interesting to me. It's also high controversial. Most of the concern is around whether breaking plastic into smaller pieces that will "hopefully" biodegrade is better or leaving containers, packaging and other plastic products mostly intact.
It seems like a majority of people I've asked aren't really aware of the process at all. Maybe some portion of awareness needs addressed with this process. It's apparent that our oceans are becoming heavily impacted from this process.
More images from my trip to multiple spots of Reedy Creek