Take a stroll along just about any beach in the world and our civilization’s troubling relationship with plastic comes into sharp focus. According to a 2015 study conducted by the peer-reviewed academic journal Science, a staggering 8 million metric tons of plastic enters the world’s oceans each year. To put this number in perspective, it's equivalent to five grocery bags full of rubbish for every foot of shoreline on our planet. Scary stuff, right?
Today, however, we are happy to report that a local company, Guangdong Polymat, is preparing to ramp up production of a water-soluble plastic bag.
Image via @voice.for.change/Instagram
The bags are made with polyvinyl alcohol which, according to a report by GRT Radio, dissolves in water within five minutes. An odorless substance, polyvinyl alcohol is nontoxic and extensively used in products for the freshwater sport fishing industry.
The environmentally-friendly bags recently debuted at a press conference held by Chilean company Solu Bag, who are working with Guangdong Polymat to promote the product in Chile after a national ban on plastic bags there went into effect on August 3.
At the media event, Solu Bag General Manager Roberto Astete reportedly drank water that contained dissolved bags, presumably in an effort to demonstrate the safety of polyvinyl alcohol.
According to GRT Radio, it’s anticipated the bags will begin mass production by the end of this year in the Guangdong city of Qingyuan, roughly an hour's drive from Guangzhou.
Image via @theplanetlovelife/Instagram
Based on the amount of debris that finds its way into the Pearl River – and then onto Shenzhen’s struggling coral reefs – we hope these new water-soluble bags go into use in South China’s convenience and grocery stores in the near future.
[Cover image via @lucky__roland/Instagram]