Fork Full of Noodles with Krish Mohan-170-3-The Plastic Problem

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Using the ocean currents to decrease the size of the plastic gyres, the Plastic Bank, and using fungus as a plastic alternative. Full 30 minute episode!

Written, Edited & Filmed by Krish Mohan


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So we’ve talked about burning our trash to decrease the use of landfills. And there are quite a few people against the idea. It does take a lot of effort to put provisions in place to ensure that incinerators don’t affect the environment negatively. “But what about the smell Krish?! What about the smell!?! And it’s not vegan you monster!” Ok, relax. No one is saying that burning trash is THE answer.

Look there are certain things that shouldn’t be burned. Bridges are probably the most important thing NOT to burn. Our infrastructure is not doing great, so we should not burn any literal or metaphoric bridges! Home. Don’t burn that! That’s where you heart is! It’s an irresponsible thing to do!

Plastics should also not be burned! And we’ve all experimented with setting plastic bottles on fire and then gotten dizzy and thought we talked to God in our kitchens, but in reality it was just the paramedics. Now some of us go on realizing the true dangers of plastics, but others go onto huffing paint to Nitrus and never get to the real self discovering drugs. Plastic is a gateway polymer. A gateway to increased ignorance.

Aside from diminishing neurons, plastics do pose a large problem in the world. Currently there are 5 gyres of plastic in the ocean. I know the idea of 5 gyres to American ears sounds like the new special at Applebees, but I promise you this is not safe to eat. In fact animals do eat the plastic, think they’re full and then die. Ok, so in that respect it’s not that different from Applebees food, but at least Applebee’s food wasn’t created in a lab. I know there’s no way of proving that either, but I think you get the point.

The most famous of these is the Giant Pacific Garbage Patch, which is said to be the size of Texas. That’s the only way for Americans to understand the size of anything. Compare it to Texas. To understand the enormity of the plastic problem it’s like the size of at least 7 Texases and maybe even one Oklahoma.  

Now these sound like islands full of plastic, but they aren’t…yet. These gyres are areas where the plastic trash is floating around in the ocean are spread out through this giant area and get caught in the current that swirls them around. So basically the beginnings of a dumpster hurricane. Eventually it could merge into 5 giant plastic islands. Which would be the Height Of Human Hubris, if we did this deliberately, which we probably did.

Oh the Earth gets to make its own islands! NOT ON OUR WATCH! Someone call Shell and Exxon, I have a new way for them destroy the lives of marine creatures. Maybe that’ll get those lazy bastards out of the water and evolve so they can fight in our armies and dig up oil for us to make more plastic so we can become the most redundantly suicidal species on the planet!

And maybe that’s what corporations are waiting for. Corporations love waiting for disaster to capitalize from. And this is one of those disasters. They will wait till the plastic starts coalescing into one so they can turn the Giant Pacific Garbage Patch into the Giant Pacific Amusement Patch! Or if we double down on this dystopia, the Giant Pacific Prison Patch! And this is the reason why humans love plastic, because it’s something WE made that Nature can’t destroy! It’s shows our dominance over a force we don’t truly understand! This is basically why we all hate Kylo Ren. He’s the plastic of the Star Wars mythos.

The plastic that winds up in the ocean doesn’t go anywhere. It weakens and breaks down into microplastics. This where things get really bad. The microplastics are eaten by fish or turtles and eventually pass up the food chain and wind up in us. It’s like we’re being conditioned to eat our own plastic because if we don’t do anything about this issue that’ll be the last resort. Instead of burning trash, we’ll be eating our own trash in the darkest version of recycling to date!

So what do we do about this? There is an idea of using bacteria to eat this plastic. At first glance this sounds like a great idea! But if we introduce a new bacterial species to ocean we have no idea what that will do to the ecosystem. Maybe that’s where Godzilla or the Kaiju’s come from! Species reintroduction usually never pans out. It leads to invasion.

This is just a way for humans to control invasions. It’s like one of our favorite things in the whole world. From European Imperalism, to the American Empire and now using science to invade the ocean, when will it stop?!

It’s like introducing thousands of Bulls on Wall St. Which would be hilarious to show bankers what really happens when you take a bull by the horns. Or introducing humans to anywhere. That concept is why I’m against us flying out into space to colonize another planet. We are an invasive species.

There’s also a 23 year old kid that has a plan to use the oceans currents to collect this plastic and get it out of there. He started this project when he was 19! And you were excited that you got laid when you were 19, this guy is here to ensure that YOUR 19 year old can get laid!

Boyan Slat dropped out Aeronautics schooling to creating his V-shaped nets that are able to catch these microplastics. Then it’s taken back to land where it is recycled. His prototypes and testing was done by crowdsourcing and people donating their pools and spaces to him to try and fix this problem! 

Which means you can’t really depend on corporations to do much about the problems they are a part of. It’s like telling your child to clean up their room and then take a shit in the furnace. But people will be on board because they want the future of the species to be better than one Garbage Patch let alone 5! Which means there’s 35 Texases worth of plastic in the ocean and none of them have an Austin. It’s all Dallases!

This barrier will anchored above water since most plastics float, and marine life can just swim under it. This system is currently in the prototype phase but Boyan is expecting to scale up by 2019. Once this is collected Slat has turned the collected plastic into the cover of his book, among things as well as back into oil for fuel. 

That’s an ingenious idea. Why not just take all the plastic shit we have and turn it back into oil for fuel and then just make things out of a less shitty substance! I’ll use an old adage here. We can put a man on the moon but we can’t figure out a better substance than plastic? Ok, we’re not really putting folks on the moon anymore. But that’s because so much of our oil is used to make plastic shit so you can save a dollar on a coffee at the Shell gas station! And let’s be honest, the moon is a little scared we’re going to invade it for oil on false pretenses.

Now Boyan does have ideas on how to decrease the amount of plastic in our waterways, but this is doesn’t really solve our problems with what to do with the overwhelming amount of plastics and waste in our landfills. And to be fair, he’s only 23! Wait till he’s 50. And when he’s 75 he’ll solve a third of world’s problem while our kids are still trying to get laid for the first time! It takes time to destroy the planet, so it’ll take some more time to fix it, and probably more than just one 23-year old, who’s the size of ⅕ of a Texan.

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A nickname for credit card is plastic and that’s because that’s going to put you everlasting debt. Floating in your soul to create gyres of poverty. Ultimately you’ll try to recycle it, but forget about the interest rate and cycle all that garbage debt back in the ocean of your own possibility and self worth. There’s a program that does monetizes the idea of plastics and no it’s not drinking bottled water. Although yeah, bottled water does monetize plastics. This idea is called the Plastic Bank.

Here’s the basics behind the Plastic Bank. Third world countries have a issues with waste and recycling and also employment. Probably because the Republicans are creating so many jobs for Americans that there’s not enough to go around the globe. David Katz, a Canadian, is utilizing the waste problem to have people in 3rd world countries pick up the plastic from their beaches and waterways before gets to the ocean and then pay them for it. 

This allows these folks to pay bills, get sustainable cooking oils, charge their phones, pay for schools and so on. Seems great doesn’t it. Ok so here’s proof that when you combine 2 negatives it doesn’t necessarily mean a positive. The words Plastic and Bank shouldn’t really be in the same sentence together and here’s why. The company that has taken the most interest in this, Shell. Yes, the company with the most ironic name, considering a shell is supposed to protect and they are actively removing protections like a frat boy trying to get this dick wet by saying he’s got a condom on.  Perfect, it’s nice they got mildly famous person to show how Shell assaults communities and calls it fist bumps.

Shell has decided to invest in the Plastic Bank to help these Third World countries to because we’ve turned waste collection into a monetary system. So now the people of Haiti and various other countries are held hostage as Shell will increase it’s plastic production because the more plastic there is the world the more these people get to clean up and more money they make. Proving again that when you mix a noble cause to Capitalism, it just grinds it up into shit so it can burn it. And it doesn’t care about the smell or if it’s vegan! 

Shell and Exxon-Mobile have said they’re planning to increase their plastic production by 40% in the next decade! And they will leverage these people’s employment as a reason to do it. Make the liberals heart bleed so we turn that into plastic so Haiti can turn in for cash. And that’s the problem, the Plastic Bank put value on trash and corporations want in on that value.

Here’s a better idea. How about we use the ideas generated by David Katz and Boyan Slat to clean up the mess we’ve made and then stop making plastic shit to feed into this cycle of cannibalistic bullshit. This program co-opted by Shell makes its virtually impossible to decrease our need for oil and plastics. With the rise in plastics and our future being tied to automation, the robot uprising will be to get the fuck off this literal dumpster fire of planet we will eventually make.  

OK, so I know most of you are ready to recycle a coke bottle into a shank or a rope, but there is hope. Kamikatsu Japan is known as the zero waste town because it recycles everything! They are so serious that they have 34 categories for it! And here we are complaining that we have a blue bag and regular bag!

I do agree that 34 categories is overkill, but the town of Kamikatsu will be zero waste by 2020. That means all their garbage becomes something else. And that’s how some of their storefronts are surviving. [Stories Clip 3:24-4:36] They turning things they use once into clothes, teddy bears, and all kinds of stuff. In western society its looked down upon to get hand-me-down but in nature and Eastern philosophies it’s called being efficient. Hell America is so against Hand-Me-Down, it won’t even turn it’s dead malls into homeless shelters. The homeless should have fresh homes.

We might not need to have 34 categories to recycle, but a major idea behind zero waste is reduce single use. Now this goes a little further than recycling. Because certain plastics can’t be recycled. And because they are recycled, they become hand-me-down plastics and lose value. So companies want to make fresh plastic to suffocate our waterways instead of something that your parents used to suffocate the rivers and streams with. They feel like this is the progressive way to murder our planet.

This means instead of using a paper or plastic cup, you use a ceramic one. You can buy food in bulk and use your jars. This takes a little bit of an adjustment, but once you do, you’ll find out that it’s actually not that hard. The reason why this isn’t pushed forward in our societies is because it’s counterintuitive to counterintuitive systems. So it’s actually intuitive.

Consumerism is built on the practice that it’s convenient and helps ease your life…for a little bit. But it’s is a very selfish practice. Because of your convenience means someone else is cleaning your trash from their water supply! And it doesn’t matter that it’s creating jobs. That person has the right to be able live a good life where their water doesn’t have a plastic bag choking out the fish they might have to eat. And torment taints all meats.

Instead of using the systems that Nature essentially handed to us, we rebelled like the whiny teenagers of a species we are and created a giant mess. And now we are not just trying to undo the domestic abuse we’ve dealt to the planet but also the emotional ones we doled out with unregulated Capitalism and consumerism.

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We are also exploring options of a new materials that can decrease the amount of plastics we’ve dumped into the ocean. Really we can replace all our plastic items out with bacon. We have a obsession with Bacon in America and I bet if we made it an alternative to plastic we’d eradicate the Great Pacific Garbage Patch from our lifetime.

It is odd that America loves bacon so much. It puts it on everything! From sandwiches, milkshakes, clothes. We already make bowls out bacon. It’s almost like we’re saying “Hey Pigs, we know you’re smart and feel emotions better than us, but don’t think that you’re next in line to control this planet! You haven’t even figured out how delicious you are!” But if we use bacon as a substitute for plastics, they might be cool with it. Till they Animal Farm us off the planet and build a better world probably.

Bio based polymer ideas are an actual solution to replacing plastics. There are a few places that are trying to develop new polymers that won’t linger in our systems forever. It seems like plastics are worse than herpes. They’re a problem and they just never go away!

In Finland the VTT Technical Research Center has made a polymer out of sugar! So when this bio-based polymer goes through the recycling process it can turned back into sugar that can go into your coffee or back into a bottle of water. This is going to revolutionize the sugar water industry! This was developed back in 2012 and was production ready then!

Sweden is utilizing paper to create packages. And most of the paper in the world is recycled! Paper is a lot more biodegradable, you can set it on fire or turn it into legal drug paraphernalia. You can’t outlaw paper, pigs! That’s not me attacking the pigs that might save our lives, but rather cops that make our lives difficult, like Plastic! Law enforcement is the plastic of our communities!

The New Materials Institute is looking to create polymers that breakdown easier to reduce plastic and trash that winds up in the ocean. In tandem with Center for Bioplastics and Biocomposites they’re trying to mirror the systems in nature to create an efficient and sustainable solution for this problem. The only thing that makes me vary of them is they’re also partnering with 3M, Ford, Hyundai, and a few other corporations. And they might not let research move forward if they don’t see a immediate profits. Corporations are the plastics of progress!

But there is a plastic of nature. Fungus. Ok, before everyone orders a mushroom pizza and tries to construct a water bottle out that, just gimme a minute. At the Utrecht University in the Netherlands, scientist are growing fungus, drying them and heating them up to creating the raw materials that you can turn into packages, bottles and let’s be honest condoms! Humans won’t be happy till they’ve basically cum on all of nature. I mean even the name Mycelium sounds like a brand of condom!

Fungi are also being used as a glue to put together 3-D printed furniture. In the states a company called Ecovative is using Fungus to replace plastic packaging. And since it’s not alive and growing, this won’t be an invasive species like a bacteria. And it’s highly sustainable since fungus are part of nature’s cycle. We’d probably get rid of littering as a crime. With Fungal packaging it will become mandatory to liter.

Using something from Nature to be a part of it’s cycle is a huge step to heal the planet. It’s the obvious eureka that our species seldom sees.  With the advances made with Fungal material, we have to make sure that Monsanto doesn’t their grubby little hands on it. Because if they Genetically modify the growth of the fungus in any way, we might wind up a SciFi nightmare that can only be dreamt of by Stephen King. And the most horrifying thing about that would be they’d probably find a way to charge us for living on the fungal epidemic to make a money on the disaster they created!

It’s going to take everything to get this planet back into shape so we don’t wind up going extinct by our own hands. And our legacy is floating vestiges of consumerism, waste and an inability to control ourselves for the sake of convenience. From different methods to clean the ocean, trying to mirror nature’s cycles and working with it, we can divest from oil based plastics. Make ourselves economically unviable so corporations can’t exploit us, kill the planet to turn a buck. When we die we should become a part of nature instead of rejected by it.