The "Blue Cycle" Journey of a Plastic Bottle
Lucia Publikigita: 2024-04-21 18:50:33

If a plastic bottle we've used in our daily life accidentally finds its way into the ocean, it will drift aimlessly on the vast sea surface, becoming marine litter that poses a threat to marine life. A report released by the United Nations Environment Programme in 2023 revealed that plastic products account for at least 85% of the total marine litter, making them the largest, most harmful, and most persistent portion of marine debris.

However, when this plastic bottle ends up in the waters surrounding Zhejiang Province, China, it is highly likely to be picked up by fishermen venturing out to sea. They will haul it into the "Little Blue Home," a collection and storage site for marine plastic waste, where it awaits recycling. Next, it will undergo processing in the "Ocean Cloud Warehouse," where it is sorted, compressed, and crushed into plastic particles. These particles will then be used to produce plastic products that meet ecological standards and re-enter consumers' lives. Consumers can scan a QR code to learn about the amount of marine plastic in the product and the entire journey "from the ocean to the shelf." Moreover, the profits from the sale of the products will be shared with the fisherman who retrieved the bottle.This method of managing marine plastic waste is called the "Blue Cycle." Since 2020, more than 60,000 individuals, over 10,000 vessels, and over 230 companies have participated in Zhejiang Province, collecting over 10,000 tons of marine debris, including approximately 2,254 tons of plastic waste. This initiative has effectively improved the environment of coastal waters.

The model has also garnered support and recognition from the United Nations, numerous international organizations, and businesses. In 2023, it was awarded the highest honor in the field of environmental protection by the United Nations—the "Champions of the Earth Award," providing a new approach and example for global marine ecological governance.

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