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I am sure many of you are aware there is a lot of plastic scrap being dumped in our oceans. Of course, a lot of other garbage is also dumped, but fortunately the other garbage decomposes, whereas the plastic doesn’t. In fact you may have seen photos of plastic scrap “islands” floating in parts of the ocean.

Don’t remember where I read it, but it was forecast if the rate of plastic scrap being dumped in the ocean continues to escalate, by the year 2050, there will be more pieces of scrap plastic in the oceans than there will be fish.

With this idea in mind, I was very pleased to see an item in the Recycling Today newsletter mentioning how at least one company we are familiar with is doing something about it. The article was titled: “Re-focus 2018: Dell commits to using ocean plastics.”

Interestingly on its cost, the company’s director of worldwide procurement and packaging said Dell uses ocean-bound plastics at cost parity with PCR or virgin material.

“Dell Technologies, headquartered in Round Rock, Texas, says it has committed to keeping plastics in the economy and out of the ocean, creating what it calls the first commercial-scale global ocean-bound plastics supply chain, Nextwave,” the article said.

The company has found an economical way to use plastic scrap collected from beaches, waterways and other coastal areas. Thus, in 2017, Dell was able to use 8 tons of such plastic in their packaging. Unfortunately, that is about the amount of this plastic scrap that is dropped in the oceans each year, with about 60 percent of it coming from the growing companies in Southeast Asia. By the year 2025, it is expected to be much more than that, 80 million tons dumped.

It should be noted that Dell is not alone in using such plastic scrap, however, most of the other companies use a mixture of only 10 percent or less of the ocean plastics in the packaging. Dell is currently using 25 percent and moving towards increasing it even more,

“Dell has made a United Nations commitment to increase its use of ocean-bound plastics tenfold by 2025, creating an open-source supply chain for others to follow.”

While I am quite pleased to read stories like that, but it definitely gives even more reason to be sure our plastic bottles, bags and other such things are recycled so they don’t end up in the ocean and waterways.

Switching subjects to paper, the news isn’t quite as good. From the same newsletter, we find the amount of recycled paper has slightly dropped last year.

It decreased from 67.2 percent in 2016 to 65.7 percent in 2017. In the article, no reason was given for this drop. However, it did mention the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&- PA) had a goal of reaching 70 percent.

As the AF&PA president said, “Paper recycling brings continued economic, environmental and social benefits to communities across the country. We thank the millions of Americans who choose to recycle every day for their essential contributions to paper recycling’s success.

“Paper recovery for recycling helps extend the useful life of paper and paper-based packaging products.”

All the more reason for all of us to continue recycling as much of our paper as we can instead of it ending up in the trash.

Till next week, do have a great one...

--Ollie is a local citizen concerned with the environment and helping others. A retired Air Force fighter and instructor pilot, he is a graduate of Leadership San Marcos and received his degrees at Texas State University where he worked on staff before totally retiring. For questions or comments, he invites you to call him at 512-353-7432 or e-mail

San Marcos Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666