Here at Feller Shades we hate plastic. Which is why we make things from eco-friendly materials. But, over the last 3 decades, plastic production worldwide has increased more than 620%! This is equal to 300 million tons of plastic being generated every year! What's sad about this is that more than 85% of that plastic never gets recycled... When this plastic reaches the landfill, it doesn't stay there. Studies have shown that 80 percent of marine trash is land-based and 90 percent of that trash is plastic. Once plastic ends up in the ocean, the world’s marine animals are stuck with it. It can take thousands of years for plastic to break down, and when it does, it only breaks into small pieces known as microplastics.
These are some serious numbers. However, we can all do our part to help out. That's the attitude one little boy in California has. In 2012, after visiting the local recycling center in Orange County, Ryan decided that recycling would be his future. He was three-years-old at the time. He started Ryan's Recycling Company.
According to his website, “The day after going to the recycling center, Ryan notified his mom and dad that he wanted to give empty plastic bags to all the neighbors and maybe they would save their recyclables for him.” Soon he had an established customer base made up of his neighbors. Ryan collects and sorts plastic, glass, and aluminum items and takes them to the recycling center. Ryan is using the money he’s made from customers to save for college.
Ryan has become a Youth Ambassador for the Pacific Marine Mammal Center (PMMC) in Laguna Beach. Over 700 marine species are threatened with extinction, so this rescue organization can use all the help they can get. All proceeds from t-shirts sold by Ryan's Recycling go to help PMMC’s volunteer efforts.
Ryan is committed to sticking to a regular recycling schedule. He spends time each week sorting recyclables that have been donated by friends, family and neighbors and he and his family make weekly trips to the center. So far, he has recycled over 200,000 bottles and cans and donated over $1,600 to charity. This kid is killing the recycling game right now! To learn more about Ryan’s Recycling, visit the official website.
While efforts are being made to remove waste from the oceans, improve recycling systems, and create barriers to prevent plastic from getting into waterways, we can all do our part to stop plastic waste at the source.
If we all make an effort to identify where we use plastic and find alternatives, we can drastically cut down on the amount of plastic pollution that ends up in our oceans.