TBRTC Blog: Plastic apocalypse: Dichotomy of Rodent traps and more.. Cost and price helps the environment edition!

David Bennett David Bennett


Peckin

The saddest thing I ever did see
Was a woodpecker peckin’ at a plastic tree.
He looks at me, and “Friend,” says he,
“Things ain’t as sweet as they used to be.”

By Shel Silverstein

Unfortunately, we have become a “throwaway” consumer society.  According to SeattleMag,  “Americans generate about 4.4 pounds of waste per person per day. Annually, we pile up about 254 million tons of waste, of which approximately 53 percent is trashed, usually ending up in a landfill.”   Much of that waste is plastic.  Plastic often takes years to decompose in landfills, (if ever), and PlasticPollution.org states that “Published in the journal Sciencein February 2015, a study conducted by a scientific working group at UC Santa Barbara’s National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS), quantified the input of plastic waste from land into the ocean. The results: every year, 8 million metric tons of plastic end up in our oceans. It’s equivalent to five grocery bags filled with plastic for every foot of coastline in the world. In 2025, the annual input is estimated to be about twice greater, or 10 bags full of plastic per foot of coastline. So the cumulative input for 2025 would be nearly 20 times the 8 million metric tons estimate – 100 bags of plastic per foot of coastline in the world!” Think about that!  

Some countries like Ireland, Great Britain and Scotland have banned plastic straws, plastic coffee

stirrers, and Taiwan is banning single-use plastic items, including straws, cups and shopping bags, by 2030. The United States is lagging behind these countries with very low recycling rates.  Taking plastic bottles as an example, according to Ban The Bottle,  “Americans used about 50 billion plastic water bottles last year. However, the U.S.’s recycling rate for plastic is only 23 percent, which means 38 billion water bottles – more than $1 billion worth of plastic – are wasted each year.  The EPA agrees with these statistics, adding that recycling rates in the United States is actually declining.“The national plastics recycling rate fell slightly from 2014 to 2015, as the country recycled less but generated more of the material, according to the U.S. EPA. “ The EPA’s Facts and Figures Report states the U.S. in 2015 (which reflects the most recent data) recycled 9.1 percent of the plastic generated, down from 9.5 percent during the previous year. Not only did the percentage drop, but the actual weight recycled fell, as well. Americans recycled 3.14 million tons of plastics in 2015, down from 3.17 million in 2014. The article continues, “Results differed widely within specific product categories, however. For example, containers and packaging garnered a 14.6 percent recycling rate, whereas 6.6 percent of plastic durable goods and 2.2 percent of other non-durable goods were recycled. Within the container category, we recycled 30.3 percent of HDPE natural bottles and 29.9 percent of PET bottles and jars.

We generated 34.5 million tons of plastic in 2015, of which nearly 5.4 million tons were burned for energy recovery and 26 million tons were landfilled. Combustion as a percentage of generation grew from 15.0 to 15.5 percent, although landfilling declined slightly from 75.5 percent to 75.4 percent. Across all materials, the country’s recycling and composting rate remains stuck at just over 34 percent, according to the report.  And then there’s the problem of plastics in our oceans. Studies estimate there are 15–51 trillion pieces of plastic in the world’s oceans — from the equator to the poles, from Arctic ice sheets to the sea floor. Not one square mile of surface ocean anywhere on earth is free of plastic pollution. Plastic is not biodegradable. That means it floats in the ocean foreverand ends up in the stomachs of whales, birds and other animals including humans.

A recent story that made world headlines was about a whale that was found dead with13 pounds of plastic in its stomach.  The animal had swallowed plastic bags, plastic bottles, flip-flop sandals and 115 drinking cups.  Sadly, this whale is not an anomaly.  This sort of thing happens daily, harming and killing thousands of marine animals yearly. The Center for Biological Diversity says that plastics also harm and drown loggerhead turtles who get tangled in floating plastic nets and other plastic debris in the water.  Seabirds die when they ingest plastic. Almost all species of seabirds are ingesting plastic with the number of species ingesting plastic growing yearly.  “Thousands of seabirds and sea turtles, seals and other marine mammals are killed each year after ingesting plastic or getting entangled in it. Endangered wildlife like Hawaiian monk seals and Pacific loggerhead sea turtles are among nearly 700 species that eat and get caught in plastic litter.  The Center has petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to begin regulating plastics as a pollutant and is working to stop plastic pollution at the source, before it ever has a chance to reach the ocean.”

 

The Great Pacific Plastic Patch which is a collection of marine debris that has been slowly getting larger for years as it floats all over the world’s oceans. The patch is not easily seen from the sky, because the plastic is dispersed over a large area. Researchers from The Ocean Cleanup project claimed that the patch covers 1.6 million square kilometers. The plastic concentration is estimated to be up to 100 kilograms per square kilometer in the center, going down to 10 kilograms per square kilometer in the outer parts of the patch. An estimated 80,000 metric tons of plastic inhabit the patch, totaling 1.8 trillion pieces. 92% of the mass in the patch comes from objects larger than 0.5 centimeters.  Research indicates that the patch is rapidly accumulating. A similar patch of floating plastic debris is found in the Atlantic Ocean, called the North Atlantic garbage patch.

The problem is growing into a crisis. The fossil fuel industry plans to increase plastic production by 40 percent over the next decade. These oil giants are rapidly building petrochemical plants across the Globe to turn fracked gas into plastic. This means more toxic plastic in our oceans.  This video shows how plastic ends up in our oceans.   The following is the collateral damage of the plastic waste in our oceans—Garbage Patches in the Atlantic and Pacific, pollution of water, and killing of wildlife. 

 

There is a greater increase in the amount of people who are interested in reducing the amount of trash they throw away every year.   One website run by a woman named Bea Johnson proudly announces she got her family’s trash down to a pint-sized jar that takes a year to fill.  Thousands of people follow her site and are also reducing their trash and increasing their plastic recycling.   In England, a company recycles plastics that are too complex to be recycled. Most of the time complex plastics go in the landfills—this includes toothpaste tubes, candy wrappers, etc.   This company has a machine that shreds these materials, then superheats them to 500C so that they break down into oil. The materials started out as oil anyway, before going through the manufacturing process so they are being returned to their original state.  If more recycling companies are able to use this process, millions of pounds of complex plastics could be recycled, and not go to landfills anymore.   There are companies developing ways to recycle appliances, computers, and automobiles.  Hope remains eternal that we turn certain behavioral traits around, preserve our world, recycle more of what we use, focus on cleaning up the plastic in the ocean, make the Plastic Patches in the oceans a thing of the past.

 

Examples of cheaply made disposable traps would be glue traps, which exact horrific collateral damage on wildlife non-target animals as well as adding to landfill waste. Wooden mouse traps that come in the multipack for $1.49 are meant to be disposed of and can easily break.   So, you end up

not only filling up landfills, but spending money over and over for hundreds of rodent traps over time, when one or two high quality galvanized humane steel traps which never need to be thrown away and can be used for years.  Another example of a disposable trap are the enclosed plastic rat and mouse bait stations that come pre-filled with rodent bait.  Not only are people throwing away more plastic, but people are often throwing out poison which any predatory animal could get into eating the dead rodent inside and getting poisoned in the process. These traps are over $10.00 apiece and since we already know hundreds of thousands of people have rodent issues, people could spend hundreds of millions of dollars laying these traps over and over and putting hundreds of them into landfills risking wildlife, water, and land (who knows what these poisons do to the ground and ground water!).  WildCalifornia.org and other wildlife websites encourage people not to use bait stations for these exact reasons.    They encourage the use of snap traps, which can be placed nearly anywhere and reused for years. 

Meanwhile, we can do our part, recycle, be prudent choose selectively, can’t always judge a book by its cover, that which may appear to be less expensive albeit we instinctively know this sacrifices quality and sadly universally this has become the norm, buy it now, throw it away, as even pondering repair will exceed the cost of simple purchasing a new replacement.

Irony is this is costing us more!

In our business regarding rat and rodent traps, the market is flooded with commodity quality plastic, cheap products! Manifesting on average a 6-month product life cycle.

Another option not only increases a pest control company’s and Nuisance wildlife control operator’s ROI, it significantly helps our natural environment.

Quality engineered, industrialized galvanized steel rodent traps with a 30-year history, conservatively last 10+ years.  An initial investment saves you hard dollars in comparison to keep replacing the  commodity style traps frequently.

The Industrialized Fenn traps for example perform effectively, kill the target animal humanely and have a place in the arsenal when application warrants, ideal to be utilized for IPM deployments, pest control rodents in your city, home, business, apartment complex, hospital, food processing company and more.

 

Circling back to the ROI, to illustrate, we invite Pest Control Company’s and Nuisance Wildlife Control Operators to review the ROI calculator short video, followed by plugging your numbers into the calculator tool. 

Calculator video

A calculator with zero assumptions, this dovetails with the product life cycle of your current Rodent traps.

Calculator tool

Subtle hint life cycle of the Industrialized Fenn trap line is 10 years =120 months. (Please let us know if you have any questions)

   

To close as utopian as article may appear, The British Rat Trap Company is passionately committed to the cause of maintaining the wonders of our beautiful, captivating Earth, world in which we live, both wilderness and urban settings, with collaboration, we can all do better!    



Tags: Center for Biological Diversity, Eco Friendly, Environmental impact, EPA, Fenn Trap, Fenn Traps, Instructional, Integrated Pest Management, Mk 4 Fenn Trap, MK6 Fenn Trap, National Pest Management Association, National Wildlife Control Operators Association, NPMA, NWCOA, NYPMA, Pest Control, Pesticide, PestWorld2019, Pollution, Public Health, Rat infestation, Rat Traps, Rats, Recycle, Rodent Traps, Rodexit, United States Environmental Protection Agency, US Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wildlife removal

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