But L.A. Does Not Take Care of Plastic
At the first Will Rogers 5/10K Race Foundation meeting in late April, long-time volunteers Dalena and Thomas Hathaway dropped a bomb.
They explained that last July 4, they unfolded all the cardboard trash cans and stacked them following the race. They also collected water bottles used by almost 3,000 runners and delivered all this trash to the workers at the Palisades Recreation Center, so that everything could be recycled.
Alas, the workers explained that City of L.A. recreation centers don’t have a way of recycling plastic and cardboard. And that meant that the waste from the race ended up in a landfill.
In 2015, emissions from plastics (including recycling, burning and manufacturing) were equivalent to nearly 1.8 billion metric tons of CO2.
Last year, researchers from the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) discovered that several greenhouse gases are emitted as common plastics degrade in the environment. The study, published in PLOS ONE, reports the unexpected discovery of the universal production of greenhouse gases methane and ethylene by the most common plastics when exposed to sunlight.
On April 29, Mayor Eric Garcetti set forth L.A.’s Green New Deal, which calls for a 50% reduction in green-house gas emissions by 2025. The plan foresees a zero-carbon electricity grid, achieving zero waste by phasing out Styrofoam, no more plastic straws and not to send any trash to landfills by 2050.
But according to the plastics manufacturing industry, it takes around 3.4 megajoules of energy to make a typical one-liter plastic bottle, cap and packaging. Making enough plastic to bottle 31.2 billion liters of water requires more than 106 billion megajoules of energy. Because a barrel of oil contains around 6,000 megajoules, the Pacific Institute estimates that the equivalent of more than 17 million barrels of oil was needed to produce these plastic bottles.
If the Palisades Rec Center is not recycling, are there other alternatives for the Will Rogers Race organizers?
Race director Brian Shea discovered that a London-based startup, Skipping-Rocks, has an Ooho product that was used in last year’s London Marathon.
According to Fox News, the “London Marathon replaced plastic water bottles with edible seaweed pods.” The edible seaweed pods,
which are tasteless, can be filled with a variety of liquids, including water.
According to the website (notpla.com), “Ooho is a water sachet that you can eat. It’s made from Notpla, our material combining seaweed and plants.” It biodegrades in 4-6 weeks and is made from brown seaweed.
Unfortunately, no one in the United States makes or distributes such a product.
Who in the Palisades would like to help recycle cardboard and water bottles from the 2019 5/10K Will Rogers Race? Contact Brian Shea: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit: Palisades4th.com.
If you would like to help sponsor the race or volunteer for post-race clean up on July 4th from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., email: email@example.com.
Pacific Palisades residents are urged to contact Mayor Garcetti and Councilman Mike Bonin and ask them to start recycling at City recreation centers and parks and also from City streets.
Race registration is open. Visit: palisades10k.com/register.