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Old 11-23-2006, 06:34 PM
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Animals getting caught in plastic 6-pack rings-true or urban legend?


So I was helping myself to a can of ginger ale earlier today and as I pulled it out of the plastic ring thingy, I got to wondering-is it REALLY true that animals get caught in them? I always make sure to cut them up before tossing them-because I'm a big softy when it comes to animals and I'd hate to think of some poor little duck getting caught in one of them. Also, it takes up less room in the trash can.

But is that true, or just an urban legend that someone started?
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Old 11-23-2006, 06:43 PM
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The Master speaks...
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Old 11-23-2006, 06:44 PM
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It's true. A lot of marine life gets caught in six-pack rings either by trying to swim through them and getting caught partway, or getting their appendages tangled in them.
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Old 11-23-2006, 06:45 PM
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To elaborate, and so nobody absolutely MUST follow the link:

Yes, they can be dangerous to wildlife. But no, you don't really have to cut them up, as they actually are responsible for a MUCH smaller number of wildlife injuries and deaths than most people think they are.
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Old 11-23-2006, 06:46 PM
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I didn't see the Cecil article before I posted.

The effect of six-pack rings may be small compared to discarded fishing nets and lines, but to save a few hundred animals it's still worth it to cut them up.
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Old 11-23-2006, 06:55 PM
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Yeah, like I said, even if it's just one animal, really, I'm SUCH a sucker for animals that I can't bring myself not to do it.

And, as I also said, it takes up less room in the trash can.
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Old 11-23-2006, 07:00 PM
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I think you all are missing a rather large point. Unless you're plannig to drop the rings on the beach after you've cut it up, rather than throwing it in the trash, I'm not sure I see anything much being accomplished.
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Old 11-23-2006, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Sage Rat
I think you all are missing a rather large point. Unless you're plannig to drop the rings on the beach after you've cut it up, rather than throwing it in the trash, I'm not sure I see anything much being accomplished.
Because I'm sure most people are able to ensure that every item they discard ends up in a controlled landfill.

Do you have any idea how much garbage ends up in the ocean?
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Old 11-23-2006, 08:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Guinastasia
Yeah, like I said, even if it's just one animal, really, I'm SUCH a sucker for animals that I can't bring myself not to do it.

And, as I also said, it takes up less room in the trash can.
Good for you Guinastasia! I feel exactly the same way. In fact, I've even given up buying six packs of *ahem* ginger ale, and now only buy it in bottles, and by the case, for the sake of the environment don't you know.

seriously: thumbs up for you!
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Old 11-23-2006, 08:44 PM
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Do you have any idea how much garbage ends up in the ocean?
No, I don't. How much?
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Old 11-23-2006, 10:28 PM
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Whether a lot or a little ends up in the ocean, I should think the point is that once the plastic is out of your hands, it could end up in water.

One precaution I take on behalf pf wildlife, stray dogs, cats etc, is when I cook a roast, I cut the string up into pieces no longer than an inch or so. Then if something eats them, they won't get the string wound up in their gut. Very painful way to die, I hear.

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Old 11-23-2006, 10:47 PM
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Whether a lot or a little ends up in the ocean, I should think the point is that once the plastic is out of your hands, it could end up in water
How does it get to the ocean? From Ohio?
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Old 11-23-2006, 10:51 PM
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Well it might not make a difference in the big picture, but why not cut them up because it takes little time and feels right. By the way I do not know where my trash ends up normally, but when my house burned down a few years ago, had to have the old stuff hauled away before building new, and had to pay for it to be hauled to a certified landfill to handle waste than might have asbestos in it. It is somewhere in Iowa. I live in Wisconsin. 27.74 tons trucked out. It cost me more to have the burned out stuff to be trucked out than it did to have a new foundation poured. I am not complaining, the insurance company was kind to me. But really, after the trucks left my lot, do I really know where it ended up? No. and the Mississippi river is only a few miles away, and between here and where the stuff was supposed to go. You hire a state certified contractor to do the job right and hope they did.
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Old 11-24-2006, 01:50 AM
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I once saw a seagull with a plastic six-pack ring thingy wound around its head. The plastic was stuck in the bird's mouth in such a way that it couldn't eat. I tried to catch the bird but failed, and finally gave up and called animal control. The bird may have died of starvation.

These plastic doohickeys can cause harm even if they don't get into the water. Seagulls love dumps, for example, and it wouldn't surprise me if gulls got caught in six-pack rings there. They could be a hazard for any trash-picking animal.

I always cut up the rings. It takes little effort on my part, and might do some good, so why not?
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Old 11-24-2006, 02:48 AM
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We also found a seagull with one of the rings round its neck, and its beak twisted up and jammed down into one of the other rings. It was in a very bad way, and my mother and I caught the bird by getting a sheet from our washing line and chucking it over the bird, then my mother held onto the seagull while I cut the rings off. Was it grateful? No! Pecked the hell out of me while we were trying to disentangle it from the sheet - those things are big and scary close up!

But yes, whether or not you actually chuck your rubbish on the beach, which I am sure you do not, to prevent any rubbish you do produce from doing future damage can only be a good thing.
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Old 11-24-2006, 03:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Hokkaido Brit
Was it grateful? No! Pecked the hell out of me while we were trying to disentangle it from the sheet - those things are big and scary close up!
Greater love for animals hath no man than this, that a man nearly lays down his life to save a bloody 'orrible vicious scavenging seagull from a miserable death. You are a braver man than I - I wouldn't go near one of those turkey-sized herring gulls for love or money.

Ring-packs, plastic bags, tin cans - pretty much any durable packaging that gets out into the general environment can lead to a miserable lingering death for hapless animals. Be tidy and choose biodegradeable where possible.
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Old 11-24-2006, 03:55 AM
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Originally Posted by slaphead
Greater love for animals hath no man than this, that a man nearly lays down his life to save a bloody 'orrible vicious scavenging seagull from a miserable death. You are a braver man than I - I wouldn't go near one of those turkey-sized herring gulls for love or money.
Well, I was about 15 and softhearted - though if I saw such a distressing sight again I would have to try to help even now. It was flapping up and down on the green outside our house, so it was pretty much unavoidable. I had seen them all over the place since childhood but never realised how enormous (and strong!) they are until that day. The beak was really big and strong, quite capable of snapping off a finger once it was free of the rings.

Having lived on an island I have seen a huge amount of wildlife damage due to rubbish or pollution and it is horrible to see up close. If you make sure as far as you can that your rubbish never is responsible for such a horrible end of (bed tempered and dangerous!) animals, then that's a good thing.
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Old 11-24-2006, 08:31 AM
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I've also seen a ring around a squirrel.
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Old 11-24-2006, 09:37 AM
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I've also seen a ring around a squirrel.
That was what I figured-that even if they don't end up in the ocean, you still might get some local animals who get into your trash (raccoons and such) and end up getting hurt.

Thanks, people.
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Old 11-24-2006, 09:55 AM
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I've seen a young California Sea Lion with one on its neck, girdling it so that flaps of bloody skin were hanging down. Pretty gross. I don't imagine it's common, but yes, it does happen.

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Old 11-24-2006, 10:12 AM
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WARNING: DISTURBING IMAGES IN THE FOLLOWING LINKS - DON'T SAY I DIDN'T WARN YOU!

Turtle caught in a ring when young, with growth abnormalities as a result.

Several animals killed by plastics, including a starved seal and a mutilated fish from six-pack holders.

A gull with his head trapped.

A different gull with his beak trapped shut.

Not a UL.
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Old 11-24-2006, 10:20 AM
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How does it get to the ocean? From Ohio?
Maybe if a swallow tried to use it for carrying a coconut?
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Old 11-24-2006, 10:25 AM
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It is not an urban legend, as Cecil noted.

However, if you are going to worry about six-pack rings, why not worry about everything ELSE that can escape from your garbage and end up causing wildlife headaches? How many of you toss items into the garbage that have toxic substances in them? How many make sure that all your plastic grocery bags, etc, are recycled instead of wadded up and tossed into the can? How many of you make certain to avoid tossing sharp-edged cans away? Etc., etc., etc.

How you deal with it depends upon your viewpoint, and I would not discourage anyone who feels as Guinastasia does. However, I have never been impressed by people who will feel bad about one obvious manifestation of a problem, but ignore the multiple other less obvious ones; they aren't really taking the lesson to heart.
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Old 11-24-2006, 10:44 AM
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However, if you are going to worry about six-pack rings, why not worry about everything ELSE that can escape from your garbage and end up causing wildlife headaches? How many of you toss items into the garbage that have toxic substances in them? How many make sure that all your plastic grocery bags, etc, are recycled instead of wadded up and tossed into the can? How many of you make certain to avoid tossing sharp-edged cans away? Etc., etc., etc.
But as Earl learned this week, doing 5 minutes worth of work on your part of the world is better than doing nothing because you can't fix it all. There's always going to be something you're not doing well enough, we can never make our ecological impact zero. That's why we now talk of reducing our ecological footprint. Make whatever small differences you will make, and it's better than nothing. And maybe once cutting her six pack rings into bits is second nature and no longer feels like a chore, Guin will consider reusing yogurt containers for storage instead of buying Rubbermaid. Or starting a countertop compost bucket. Or putting in florescent bulbs instead of incandescent. Or installing solar panels on her roof. Or using graywater to water her garden. Or raising her own goats for milk and organic fertilizer.

I don't care how ecologically sensitive you think you are - there's always something more than can be done. But don't let that stop you from doing something.


(Not picking on you, Guin dear, just a name for an example.)
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Old 11-24-2006, 10:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DSYoungEsq
It is not an urban legend, as Cecil noted.

However, if you are going to worry about six-pack rings, why not worry about everything ELSE that can escape from your garbage and end up causing wildlife headaches? How many of you toss items into the garbage that have toxic substances in them? How many make sure that all your plastic grocery bags, etc, are recycled instead of wadded up and tossed into the can? How many of you make certain to avoid tossing sharp-edged cans away? Etc., etc., etc.


Any cans I have are recycled, and we reuse ALL of our plastic grocery bags-in fact, we use them as trash bags. As for toxic substances, which ones are the ones we should be concerned about.

And I DO reuse yogurt containers-and all the others for storage. Why bother buying rubber maid-these are much more convenient, and cheaper in the long run.


That poor, poor turtle broke my heart-is it possible to find out anything else on her?
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Old 11-24-2006, 11:09 AM
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I do not by soda or beer that comes in plastic rings, and when someone brings them, I do cut them up.

I also recycle plastic shopping bags and use cloth bags most of the time.

I recycle all batteries, even little button batteries from stupid musical cards.

I recycle my compact fluorescent bulbs. I have only had one burn out so far. This was after five years of heavy use.

I use digital cameras instead of film cameras. No more toxic chemicals in development.

We do laundry in cold water. The clothes get clean, amazing.

We have thought about and then installed Solar Panels to provide much of our electric requirements.

We use a lot of compact fluorescent bulbs in place of incandescent.

We have a programmable thermostat for heat and installed a very high efficiency burner for the boiler for our baseboard heat.

I mulch and slow compost all of our grass and leaf clippings.

We replaced our leaky 40-year-old windows with new double pane, high R-value windows over a three-year period.

I actively participate in a local environmental group and I strongly encourage everyone else to get involved.

I am a member of several national/global environmental groups. My money helps to push for green legislation.

We recycle our plastic glass bottles and our cans.

I reuse as much stuff as possible or find ways to donate it.

I do monthly recycling center runs to properly dispose of old computer equipment from work. (We remove the hard drives and handle these separately).
We also wipe most PC and reload them with just Win98 and find homes for these and old monitors.


We do not recycle our junk mail and old papers. We have nowhere to take it. I find this very disappointing. When we lived in Howell, we could recycle our junk mail and did. I do recycle our old phone books.

We do not compost our kitty litter anymore. We use scoopable instead, which greatly reduced the volume and should therefore save in transport costs instead.

I need to buy a Hot Water Heater tank blanket to increase its efficiency by about 10-15%.

We do not compost our waste produce and we really should, we had problems with collecting it and it getting moldy.

My next car is very likely to be a hybrid; I am hoping Toyota will sell a Camry Wagon Hybrid. Maybe someone else will step up and make a small Hybrid wagon. Otherwise I will find the best Hybrid Sedan that I can.

There is so much that we all can do and much of it would save us money or cost very little extra effort. If we all did a little more, we would make a big difference cumulatively.

Jim
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Old 11-24-2006, 11:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guinastasia
That poor, poor turtle broke my heart-is it possible to find out anything else on her?
I can't find anything else about that turtle in particular.

However, you'll be glad to know that at least one company, in response to the turtle problem in particular, has developed photodegradable rings. They also have recycling programs where schoolkids send them plastic six-pack ring holders and they...do something with them. I'm not sure what, but it does not include sticking them around turtles.

You can tell a ring is made by this company if it has a small embossed diamond on it. Now that I know, I won't buy any other.
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Old 11-24-2006, 11:16 AM
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You can tell a ring is made by this company if it has a small embossed diamond on it. Now that I know, I won't buy any other.
But I'll still cut them up. They'll still degrade in pieces.
  #29  
Old 11-24-2006, 11:30 AM
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Hi WhyNot,

I love your suggestions. We have even thought about the goats. My wife had goats as a child. They use to make a lot of chocolate pudding. She has told me it is the best. I do not think we will get goats, but we have looked into it and I offered to build the corral and goat shed, if my wife and daughter want to follow through on this. Same thing for a garden, I will till it, fence it and do all the prep work. I will not weed or tend it however. These things do not hold my interest.

I forgot to mention, when we bought a Hi-Def TV, I bought a very efficient Westinghouse 37 LCD instead of a Plasma or DLP as the energy consumption was much lower of the LCD and was actually lower than our 32 tube set.

Jim
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Old 11-24-2006, 11:40 AM
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I think you all are missing a rather large point. Unless you're plannig to drop the rings on the beach after you've cut it up, rather than throwing it in the trash, I'm not sure I see anything much being accomplished.
Apparently you don't live anywhere near the coast. There are so many seagulls and bald eagles circling the air over our local landfill, they damn near block out the sun. At times you can't hear yourself think.

Just imagine the concentration of plastic and 6-pac rings in a landfill for a 30,000 people city.
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Old 11-24-2006, 11:58 AM
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What Exit?, I love your list as well. You illustrate so many things that can be done with a little attention and money.

I just don't want people to think that because they can't afford solar panels (or don't own the building they live in) or a hybrid car or even $200 to replace all their light bulbs at once that they can't make some impact. Every week, I buy one florescent bulb (at about $5). It will take me half a year or more to change them all out. But it's what I can afford to do, and it's a little positive step. Do I wish I could run away and go live in some earth-friendly geodesic underground yurt with a composting toilet and a huge garden watered with my shower run off? Yeah. But it ain't gonna happen soon.

Similarly, I don't want people getting so overwhelmed by everything they "should" be doing that they say "screw it!" and don't do anything at all.

I don't own my building, so I can't buy a more efficient washing machine. But I did put an article on the wall in the laundry room about washing clothes with cold water, so hopefully some of my neighbors will make that choice.

I put an extra recycling bin in the basement, because while most of the tenants recycle their garbage in their apartments, the common area invites just throwing everything in the trash. One blue bin later, and people throw their cardboard in there instead. Ditto for yard parties - put out recycling containers, and people will use them. Don't, and the bottles and cans end up in the trash.

I can't afford any new car, much less a hybrid. But I guess you could say I "reuse" other people's old cars!

We recycle cans, bottles, paper and cardboard, as well as plastics 1 and 2.

I use fabric bags at the grocery store some of the time. The rest, I ask for plastic and use them to line my wastebaskets and take out the cat litter (also scoopable).

We teach our kids to turn off the tap when soaping their hands or brushing their teeth. Is there a water shortage in Chicago? No. We have a big lake to our right. But it's easier to install the habit now than learn it as an adult. Ditto recycling, reusing, etc.

We buy big cans of applesauce, fruit cocktail, and other kiddie snacks and put them in smaller containers for lunchboxes, instead of buying single serve packs. Lunchables make my head hurt.

We freecycle.

And, now that I think of it, all these things seem like no big deal anymore, even though when I started them many seemed like a pain in the ass. So it's time for me to kick it up a notch and find something new that seems like a bit of a stretch.
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Old 11-24-2006, 11:59 AM
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Shoot. Wrong URL. That should be www.freecycle.org , of course.
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Old 11-24-2006, 06:41 PM
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Ya gotta cut up those plastic Halloween pumpkins..

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/world/2...2661651365.jpg
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Old 11-24-2006, 08:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samclem
How does it get to the ocean? From Ohio?
So you're saying that it's okay for people who live inland to toss garbage every which way because it probably won't get into the ocean?

The six pack rings can still get into rivers and lakes, and as other people have mentioned, they are also a hazard for some terrestrial animals.
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Old 11-24-2006, 09:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir Reginald Bumwipe
So you're saying that it's okay for people who live inland to toss garbage every which way because it probably won't get into the ocean?
No, I'm just curious how my properly-disposed-of six-pack-rings get birds into trouble. I don't throw my garbage every-which-way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir Reginald Bumwipe
The six pack rings can still get into rivers and lakes, and as other people have mentioned, they are also a hazard for some terrestrial animals.
My garbage is disposed of in a landfill within 5 miles of my house in Akron, Ohio. How does this get into a river or a lake?

Not trying to be a hard-ass here. I definitely would like to crucify anyone at a beach who went fishing, drinking, and tossed their trash.
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Old 11-25-2006, 11:28 AM
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My drive to school is along the same route to the local landfill - you would not believe the amount of trash that falls out of the back of those garbage trucks. Even if it doesn't end up in water, it still has the potential to end up somewhere where an animal could get into it. Garbage bags burst, garbage falls off the trucks. It doesn't need to be in/near water to do harm.
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Old 11-25-2006, 12:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samclem
No, I'm just curious how my properly-disposed-of six-pack-rings get birds into trouble. I don't throw my garbage every-which-way.

My garbage is disposed of in a landfill within 5 miles of my house in Akron, Ohio. How does this get into a river or a lake?

Not trying to be a hard-ass here. I definitely would like to crucify anyone at a beach who went fishing, drinking, and tossed their trash.
Sam that is cool. 6-pack rings are not the #1 threat to wildlife and if you are far from a major water source, the problem is minimized.

I would suggest you find one thing suggested in this thread, that you do not do yet, and start doing it. Many of them are win-win acts where you end up saving money.

Go green, it feels good*.

Jim *Warning might cause a high level of smugness that offends others.
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Old 11-25-2006, 12:18 PM
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I found out that said turtle is named "Peanut" and that she is now still alive and kickin', two years after that video was made.

I may not live near an ocean, but I do live in the city of "Three Rivers", and there are tons of creeks and streams and lakes around here.
  #39  
Old 11-26-2006, 07:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhyNot
... reusing yogurt containers
One thing people should remember, if your yogurt comes in packs (mine does), and you don't have access to trash recycling (I don't), is to rinse out all plastic containers. Small critters put their heads into those things, going after the food residue - even if you scrape it out, the odor remains and attracts them. Very often, their heads get caught, and they starve to death. I soak out the yogurt cups, and rinse (and crush them as much as I can, if the opening is narrower than the body). Not a big deal, but as disabled/mostly housebound, there are limits on how much I can do.

I did go over to fluorescents 12 years ago, when the bulbs cost $14 & up (yeowch; $5 or so apiece nowadays amortizes against the electric bill in "no time"), and am holding onto burnt out ones until I can get them to safe disposal. I will not put them in trash (adding more mercury to the environment).
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