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Re-Thinking the World’s Plastic
bottles_smIn light of the tragic oil spill off the Gulf Coast, now is the time to become involved in protecting the Earth’s precious oceans. As a recent recipient of San Diego Surfrider’s Clean Water Award, Cali Bamboo puts environmental awareness at the forefront of their business plan and works hard to give back to the planet. This month’s GreenShoots offers inspiration on how others are raising eco-awareness through one of the most innovative sailing voyages ever made, and we challenge you to reduce plastic use in your own life.

The Great Plastiki Adventure
plastiki_smThe crew on board The Plastiki know the real power of recycling and green energy. It’s what keeps them afloat as they make their way from San Francisco to Sydney, Australia, a 10,000 mile voyage that should take about 3 months. Their catamaran sail boat, powered by wind, the sun’s rays, and bicycle-charged generators, is constructed almost entirely of recycled materials. The ship cuts through the waves on two massive 60-foot pontoons filled with 12,500 used plastic bottles, or about the same number consumed in the U.S. every 8.3 seconds. Hence the ship’s name — The Plastiki.

5 Awesome Plastiki Facts:
1. The mast is a reused irrigation pipe, and the sails are reused polyester.
2. A water evaporator desalinates ocean water for an on-deck hydroponic garden.
3. Underwater sea turbines charge batteries which support the ship’s satellite communication systems, bringing the crew internet and weather forecasts.
4. The crew drinks and showers with filtered rainwater collected on the cabin roof.
5. Meals come from the ship’s vegetable garden, canned goods, and deep sea fishing!

turtle_smThe Plastiki’s voyage aims to draw attention to the extreme pollution of the world’s oceans and demonstrate how much more efficiently we can live when waste is viewed as a resource. Its course across the Pacific will visit many environmental hotspots, including damaged coral reefs, huge clusters of plastic marine pollution, and islands threatened by flooding as global warming causes ocean levels to rise. Just as these destinations serve as a wake-up call to the human race, The Plastiki serves as inspiration for a future where sustainability is king.
Learn more about The Plastiki and track the crew’s ongoing voyage!

Do Your Part – Ditch the Plastic Bag!
plastic_smAbout 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide each year, and one fifth of these bags are used and tossed in the U.S. alone. These bags stay in landfills for up to 1000 years, or in oceans where they cause the deaths of 1 million sea creatures a year. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch — an ocean area more than twice the size of Texas — is the world’s largest collection of garbage, 90% of which is plastic. Pieces of plastic in this gyre outnumber plankton by a ratio of 6 to 1. Clearly, something needs to be done, and soon.

The good news is this is an easy problem for the average consumer to help fix. Keep canvas bags in your car so you’ll remember to bring them with you to the grocery store. Most large chains (and all grocery stores in California) are now required to have a plastic bag recycling program, so if you find used plastic bags around the house, bring them right back to the store. With the right political involvement, initiatives like California’s AB 1998 bill could help move us toward a ban on plastic bags entirely! This action would push consumers to bring their own reusable bags or purchase recycled paper bags at the stores for a very small amount.

Learn more about combating plastics at the Coastal Blog.

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