in Cheap Thoughts, Green

Cheap Thoughts: buoyant disposables

With a built-in air pocket, this can might have stayed at the top of Falls Lake, not the bottom.

On my greenway ride last weekend I couldn’t stop staring at the trash floating on the surface of Crabtree Creek. The trash was mostly plastic bottles: sealed but empty plastic bottles, that is, and therefore buoyant.

I thought it would be far easier to fish floating trash out of the creek as opposed to submerged trash. Empty plastic bottles are easy to fetch, but what about empty aluminum cans? Most go under as soon as they are filled with water.

What if all disposable bottles and cans were mandated to float? What if each was made with air pocket built in that would force the empty container to float? I think it would make it far easier to corral trash that floats before it fouls our seas than trash that doesn’t float. Recycling the materials would be boosted as well, since containers which might have ordinarily been flushed into the oceans could be better recovered.

I wonder if something like this could be done.