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Pink Tide: Another Case For Plastic Alternatives

This week, thousands of bright pink plastic detergent bottles began washing up on the shores of beaches in Cornwall, U.K. at Poldhu Cove.

The National Trust says it believes the bottles, which are speculated in reports to contain Vanish detergent, had fallen overboard from a ship during a storm. Although the bottles are sealed, some have leaked according to those on the ground.

The National Trust, who own the beach at Poldhu, says the bottles pose a ‘significant threat to wildlife’ are overseeing the removal of the bottles with the help of a dedicated team of voluneers. The Twitter account @friendsofpoldhu tweeted: “In the pink is not what we want on our beach! One only has to look onto the beach and you can see hundreds of micro pieces of plastic”. Alan Noble from Friends of Poldhu added, “It gets into fish, it gets into the food chain – it gets into us. But who knows how many more are out there being pounded by the surf”.

This is not the first time significant amounts of unusual plastic have found their way to Cornish shores. In 1997, a container transporting millions of Lego pieces fell into the ocean near Cornwall. Still today, the BBC reports that small pieces of lego continue to wash up onto the shores (a few examples above).

These bottles and lego pieces are of course far from being alone in the ocean. It is estimated there is currently over 4.8 million metric tonnes of non-biodegradable plastic trash in the ocean, underscoring the need to consider alternative material sources. Companies such as Lego are beginning to make inroads for instance, with an announcement last year that they will be investing over 150 million (USD) in the next five years to find a suitable alternative to the plastic they currently use.