Apr 13, 2011

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

a.k.a. the Pacific Trash Vortex

Believe it or not, the world's largest landfill isn't on land at all - its in the middle of the Pacific Ocean! The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a section of the ocean where currents bring trash to an area estimated to be twice the size of Texas. Charles Moore, a marine researcher, has estimated the mass of the patch at 100 million tons.

An estimated 80% of the garbage comes from land based sources......meaning you and me! Most of it is plastic. The plastic disintegrates into smaller and smaller and smaller pieces until the pieces are molecules. But get this: It's still plastic! Eventually, that plastic is ingested by aquatic organisms. Plastics have been found in the stomachs of marine birds and animals such as albatrosses, jellyfish, and more - research has shown that this debris affects at least 267 species across the world.

"Why do I care?" you ask, being human. Besides the fact that it's totally gross, more than a million birds and marine animals are killed each year who eat or get caught in the trash. Plus, these jellyfish and other animals are eaten by bigger fish, and then by us. So those toxic chemicals can make their way into your dinner!

How to keep the Patch from growing:
  • Reduce the amount of disposable plastic you use. Try using a reusable container or water bottle instead of a Ziploc bag or plastic bottle. 
  • When buying anything made from plastic check before buying to see if it's recyclable in your town. Most towns only recycle #1 and #2 plastics. Go here to find out what and where you can recycle in your town.
  • Make sure what you are buying will last awhile, instead of immediately breaking. Try to buy things that will be used multiple times.
  • Before buying something, ask yourself if you really need it. 
To learn more about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, visit:

And to learn how to reduce your plastic waste, visit:

Good luck! :)


  1. Hi Green Teen!
    This is a fantastic thing you are doing!
    Tom & I are trying to recycle EVERYTHING. and use less to begin with. And trying not to throw things out; reuse, recycle.
    Tom saw this photo and said he'll never forget climbing to the top of Mt. McKinley in Alaska (now Denali) and seeing all the trash left behind from all the expeditions. Evidently now on mountains like Everest, all bags are weighed and climbers must bring back a certain percent of the weight they took in to minimize littering.

  2. All this garbage is making us ill.The pollution around is giving rise to the illnesses like asthma.They must be cleaned soon.breast reconstruction surgery Los Angeles

  3. And for more tips on making less trash, visit this post:


  4. We need to change our ways... like yesterday ! Just imagine if we don't... imagine the size of this trash vortex doubling soon. And the poor, beautiful creatures in the ocean caught up in it because of our ignorance, selfishness and companies greed.