Category Archive: Myths

Myth: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch Consists Mostly of Straws, Bottles, Bags, and Other Consumer Items

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a floating mass of trash that is the size of Texas located off the coast of Hawaii, is often evoked when environmentalists discuss the need to reduce single-use plastic waste. But most of the patch is not small items like bottles, bags, or straws. According to National Geographic, the bulk of the garbage patch is abandoned fishing gear. These abandoned “ghost nets” can entangle animals and cause other harm to the ocean.  Some of the fishing gear in the garbage patch has been abandoned on purpose, but as much as 20 percent of the abandoned fishing...

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Myth: Pizza Boxes Cannot Be Recycled

There is a long-standing belief that pizza boxes cannot be recycled, but that is not true today in most municipalities. Most pizza boxes can be recycled just like any other box.  To recycle a pizza box, just make sure all of the slices, crust, and stuck-on cheese has been removed and place it in the bin.  It is true, however, that some other paper or box-like items cannot be recycled. Many adhesive papers, such as stickers, cannot be recycled because of the mixture of glue and paper. Similarly, carton boxes, such as juice or water boxes, are difficult to recycle because they...

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Myth: Boiling Water Can Remove Toxic Metals Like Lead

Almost every day, some Americans are notified that their home has been placed under a boil water advisory because their drinking water has been contaminated. This leads many to believe that boiling water is a catch-all solution to any water contamination. While boiling water can get rid of some of the harmful contaminants found in tap water, such as E. coli bacteria, it cannot get rid of metals like lead. In fact, it can make them more harmful.  When metals like lead or benzene are boiled, they can become airborne meaning that they can harm anyone in the vicinity of the...

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Myth: America Is Responsible for the Bulk of the Trash in the Ocean

The United States is not responsible for most of the trash in the ocean. While the U.S. produces a lot of the world’s trash, almost none of it ends up in the ocean. Only one percent of mismanaged trash in the ocean can be traced back to the U.S., according to research estimates. Most of the trash can be traced back to Asian countries. More than 90 percent of ocean trash is tied to just 10 rivers in Africa and Asia. A lack of trash infrastructure is a main reason why countries in this region of the world tend to have...

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Earth Day Environmental Myths

Earth Day was first celebrated in 1970 as a way to reflect on the beauty of the planet while also planning on how to best protect it. In the more than four decades that followed, individuals, corporations, and governments have all taken steps to reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions to better protect the planet.  Along the way, however, some myths have developed that must be dispelled. Here are six common environmental myths that belong in the trash:  Myth #1: All plastic can really be recycled. Many types of plastic cannot be recycled via the common “blue bin” curbside recycling programs. Most curbside...

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