Need some research help on Ocean Plastic
We are looking into making an underwater (ocean) object made from recycled ocean plastic in collaboration with an artist. Currently we are in the research-phase to test feasibility. However this raised us some fundamental questions. Does it make sense to put the plastic back into the ocean, even if we control and maintain it?
– Is it toxic to have plastic underwater in the ocean.
– Will it erode and break apart over time and become ocean plastic?
– If so, are some types of plastic more suited then others?
Anyone has experience in this area? Most of our knowledge is applied on land, we haven’t explored the ocean that much yet and could really use some crowdsourced information 🙂
I know that Plastic Change and the danish University RUC is doing a study on how/if/whether micro plastic attracts bad chemicals already in the ocean (PCB, DDT) – the thesis/fear is that this actually places these chemicals in the food-chain, where they before were to small to find its way.
Plastic Change is making a great ongoing effort to research the plastic in the oceans. Here is the link to their links of reports:
I’ve the same problems and interest, i guess to some degree most plastics will erode into smaller pieces of plastic eventually under water, and if it is really shallow, UV rays might eventually degrade it,? especially if there were no stabilisers in the plastic,
ps. is the artist Jason deCaires Taylor by any chance ?
Thanks for sharing the research @davidpaag, i’ll have a look into that. A lot to digest 😉
@kettlekekkers that’s what i am thinking as well, not sure if it goes for all types of plastic though. Or maybe some will degrade after a year where others might start after 20 years, which is a long enough timeframe for us.. Nope not Jason deCaires Taylor, he makes impressive stuff though!
I also remember reading about an experiment with some sprayable coating that was used to protect polymers from breaking down and degrading into agricultural crops. Even if it was not succesfull, the idea of coating the plastic to protect it from corrosion, hydrolysis, UV-light and other degrading factors might be worth ideating on. I.e. what if the plastic reef was ‘coated’ in concrete – would UV light and hydrolisis not be decelerated sigificantly ?
Coating is how we stop metals from corroding, so it should work with polymers aswell?
Also as a sailor i know nylon is a preferred material on boat gear when it comes to UV and saltwater.
@davehakkens this has a bit on saltwater plastics
Could you not proceed anyways, but on a non-permanent installation basis – so raise awareness for X amount of time? then recycle again before degrades…?
apparently plastic can be in the ocean and not degrade as long as it is kept in the shade. this is the principle behind repurposing empty plastic bottles to keep Richart Sowa’s man made island afloat
Yeah I saw this program here in Australia (here’s the youtube link… hope you can watch it elsewhere: https://youtu.be/UpGt5L3GC7o?t=348). If you watch from that time-spot that I linked it talks about plastic absorbing ambient chemicals from seawater.
There are a few studies I have seen that look into this…
This suggests that plastic kept under floating islands could serve a beneficial purpose in the way of attracting and concentrating chemicals already introduced into the body of water it sits in, as long as it is protected from degradation by keeping it in the shade. Thanks @aidenryan
I think maybee you should try to get in touch with adidas fundation they just lanched this new shoe based on plastic waste from the ocean. i don’t know if it’s a greenwhashing thing or a real value they are trying to push forward for the brand but it sounds good.
They are working with Parley they for sure will have some expert to recommand.
Here is the presentation video of the shoe.
By the way the shoe is crazily overpriced.
https://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/wilderness-resources/blogs/ocean-plastic-rivers “10 rivers may deliver bulk of ocean plastic” with links to the original research paper
thanks for the replies everyone! However project is postponed..so closing the topic for now 🙂
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