What Type of Waste is Found at Sea

With the frenzied advance of progress and consumption, human beings produce more and more waste. Whether they come from countries with recycling systems or not, a lot of this waste ends up at sea.

Garbage at sea in figures

This news made the headlines: there would exist in the Pacific a continent of waste consisting of 334,000 waste per km2 on average. In the European ocean depths alone, the number of litter is estimated to be over 540 million.

Origin of waste at sea

Among the waste found at sea, the proportion of land-based waste would be 80% against 20% of maritime origin. This terrestrial waste is that which one can imagine on a tourist beach: plastic packaging, shoes, butts and cigarette packs, empty bottles, etc. All this without counting the wastewater discharges during sewer overflows, for example. Marine litter comes from fishing activities: lost nets, ropes, traps and other used equipment, etc.

Environmental problems

Obviously, all this waste has a heavy impact on marine flora and fauna. Thousands of marine animals die each year due to the discharge of toxic fluids or gases, the ingestion of materials that are impossible to digest (plastics or rubbers) or victims of fishing nets thrown into the sea.

Each year, in France and elsewhere, coastal municipalities organize days of waste collection on the beaches. Do not hesitate to inquire to participate.

Ultimate waste

According to the Environment Code, an ultimate waste is defined as any waste resulting or not from the treatment of a waste, which is no longer likely to be treated under technical and economic conditions of the moment, in particular by extracting the recoverable part or by reducing its polluting or dangerous nature.

In other words, a waste is said to be ultimate if there is no way to reuse it in any way whatsoever, through composting, recycling, energy recovery, etc.

Ultimate waste is, on paper and since 2002, the only one that can be stored or buried in a waste storage center. On paper, because their definition which incorporates a notion of technical and economic conditions of the moment can give free rein to various interpretations.

Some examples of ultimate waste

The example of organic waste is one of the most striking. There are indeed techniques for composting organic waste and the operation can be done under entirely acceptable economic conditions. However, in the absence of separate collection and treatment of organic waste on a regional scale, the community can accept the landfill of this type of waste.

As for the real ultimate waste, it still constitutes a large volume to be stored or buried. These include, for example, medical waste, paints, rubble (tiles, concrete, ceramics, etc.) or cleaning products, etc.

Vermicomposting means recycling its waste with earthworms. To easily recycle organic waste, nothing better than vermicomposting. This technique based on the natural activity of earthworms is developing more and more because of its ecological and economic advantages.