Posted by Tessa
Last Thursday we had our Community Forum where every group presents their project to faculty and parents at Windward. It is basically the last step in our Challenge Based Learning Process. Our community forum presentation went very well, and people seemed to like our project. Many people came to hear our presentation and we presented to them in a few different ways. If there was only one person, we would switch off talking about different things. For example, one person would talk about how the microbeads get into the cosmetic products, then another person would talk about how they get into the ocean and then into the fish and finally into our bodies, then 2 people would talk about different parts of our solution, and finally someone would talk about our data.
If there was more than one person at out station, one person would talk about everything to someone visiting our station, or two people would switch off talking to one person or group of people visiting.
We had many things on our table at the community forum. The first thing was our poster, which had lots of information on it about our problem, solution, and data. We also had our final filter and the two 3D printed prototypes for the filter. Another thing we had was a bottle of face wash that did contain microbeads. We used this to test our filter in a container of water. We also had big containers of our face wash and scrub, and a smaller sample of our toothpaste. We let people put the wash and scrub on their hands and they liked it. We also let them smell our toothpaste. The last thing we had on out table was our pamphlet. We showed everyone who came to our station what it was and what it had on it. We prepared for our presentation by making a list of the key things that we need to talk about for each part of our presentation. For example, we wrote down some statistics to describe the underlying problem we chose to solve and we wrote down all the ways that microbeads get into the ocean. For the data we wrote down the exact percentages for our filter and our google form.
From this project, I grew a lot in terms of public speaking because I didn’t say umm or like often. I also felt more confident speaking to people that I didn’t know.
Posted by Konrad
This week, we tested our filter. We put a face wash that contained Microbeads through our filter and it caught 92% of the microbeads that were in the face wash.
Then, we made a Google Form asking people whether or not they would use our filter. We already put the chart with the amount of microbeads that our filter caught into the poster, and we have gotten 43 responses. Google Forms gives us a chart of how many said “yes”, how many said “no”, and how many said “maybe”.
We started the poster, and we have captured footage for our final video. We still need some more, and we will take it this week and next week.
Our final product is a container of toothpaste that does not have microbeads, and the same thing for a face scrub and a face soap. We also have a filter and two prototypes for the filter. Right now, we are working on the pamphlet about how to make the toothpaste, the face soap, and the face scrub.
Posted by Michael.
So, we worked on a different version, This one will go over the drain so it can go in the kitchen sink, and over the bathroom sink, so it’s biocompatible.
Next we made the toothpaste. We decided to make a toothpaste because some of the high brand toothpaste have microbeads in them, so we made one without the microbeads. It is still a prototype, so it is a little bit chunky. It has 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, 1 tablespoon of baking soda, and 20 drops of peppermint oil. After the toothpaste, we did a survey to see what people want in a face wash and a face scrub. Then we actually made them according to the survey. Our Face wash does the exact same thing high brand ones do, but it costs less, you can make it yourself, and does not harm marine life when it gets to the ocean. The ingredients for the Face Wash is Pure Unscented Castile Soap and Lavender Essential Oil. The face scrub is a little bit chunky as well, so it did not look appealing. So we are going to practice making it more slick and less dense. The ingredients for the Face Scrub are, Olive Oil, sugar, and orange essential oil. We are planning on getting feedback on the looks, and if people would actually want to make it and use it.
Posted by Meg.
This week, faculty from the Windward community came into our science class and we told them about our solution and they told us what they thought of it. Our day with them went pretty well. They seemed interested in our product, and didn’t have too many concerns. They did give us a few ideas on how we could make our filters. The first idea was to make our filters with a metal strainer that is very finely woven. We would use the part that filters things out of water and other liquid and put it in a ring that we make. We do not know if we want to make it flat, like a dome, or like a pit. Our prototype right now is a design in tinkercad. It is a flat filter and will be 3D printed soon.
Also, the faculty members liked the idea of the pamphlet with the information about our solution. We have also decided on adding in samples and recipes of DIY (do it yourself) toothpaste and facial scrub/wash that don’t contain microplastics or anything else toxic. We are adding these items even though microbeads will be banned from products because we could reduce the amount of microplastics finding their way into the ocean right now, and not later. Our product will reduce the amount of microbeads by so much if people decide to use it. The filter needs to be cleaned out every few days, but that is a small price to pay for a smaller chance of getting cancer and other horrible, life-threatening diseases. A modification that we had to make was taking the guppy friend out of the kit because they cost roughly $30.
We will measure the impact of our product by putting it in a sink for a few days, and seeing how many microbeads it catches. Then, we will send out a google form to the Windward community asking whether they would use this product. We will include how many microbeads the filter caught.
Posted by Tessa.
Have you ever gone to a Nike or Lululemon or any other athletic clothing store and bought a couple of shirts or pants? Probably, right? No big deal. Actually it is a big deal. The one pair of pants or a shirt is actually contributing to over 5 trillion pieces plastic that are in the ocean, and millions more microplastics. These pieces of clothing are made of synthetic fibers. When they are washed they release microplastics which stay in the waste water and eventually get to the ocean. Microbeads are also a problem, they are small plastic beads that are in cosmetics. They are going to be banned by 2020 but many companies are trying to defy this law and keep putting them in their products. When marine life eat these plastics, they stay in their guts. Then we, humans, eat the fish and it increases our risk of cancer, liver disease, and reproductive problems. This is a huge problem that needs to be solved which is why we are now trying to find a way to solve it.
This week we brainstormed many different solutions and we researched what is already being done now. Some of our ideas are: a silicon filter for washing machines and sinks, a line of cosmetics that do not use microbeads, contacting government wastewater companies and asking them to put in microplastic filters, make athletic clothing that is made of breathable materials that do not produce microplastics (bamboo, cotton, wool, etc.), and a filter bag for synthetic clothing in the wash. From our research we learned that the filter bag is already being done and it is called the ‘Guppy Friend’. We also learned that the ‘Cora Ball’ is a laundry ball that collects microplastics in the wash. Finally, we learned that many organizations are working together to create a large v - shaped machine that collects plastics that are already in the ocean. The ‘Guppy Friend’ is expensive so we were thinking of making our own filter bag that is less expensive so more people will want to use it. The ‘Cora Ball’ is a successful product and works really well. Both of those products are available online across the world. We used these products as inspiration and as a group we have decided on a final solution. It is to make a DIY Microplastic Reduction Kit. It will include a filter to put in a sink or washing machine that is threaded small enough that it will catch the microplastics. It will also include instructions on how to make your own toothpaste and face scrub that does include microplastics. Finally, it will include a pamphlet about the dangers of microplastics and microbeads, how we can help, and statistics on who is affected, how, and a link to our blog for more information.
Posted by Konrad.
We have narrowed down our topic from ocean plastics to microbeads and micro plastics. Microbeads and Microplastics are very small pieces of plastic that can easily pass through filters and drains. Microplastics can come from bigger pieces of plastic that breaks into smaller parts. Microbeads come from products such as toothpaste. Companies that make toothpaste sometimes put Microbeads in the toothpaste, and then the microbeads go right through the drain and into the ocean. Microbeads are so small (they are about 5 millimeters in length) that they pass right through the drains and filters.
We reached out to a few different organizations, Adventure Scientists, The NOAA Marine Debris Program, and OEd Outreach. We reached out to them because when we looked at their websites we found that many were were fairly small, non-profit organizations. We learned that there is no one solution for Microplastics and Microbeads. But there are a few things that normal people can do to help fix the problem. One thing is to participate in local cleanups in your area. People can also raise awareness about the problem dispose of waste properly, and reduce the amount of waste they produce. People also should reuse items when they can choose reusable items over disposable ones,and always recycle when possible. A huge one is buying fewer plastic items. This helps because if less plastic is bought, then less is thrown in the ocean, so their is less plastic in the ocean as there would normally be.
You should care because so much marine life is dying because of plastic that is in their habitat. A staggering 700,000 Microbeads and Microplastics come off of polyester clothing in one wash in a washing machine. And a very large amount goes straight to the ocean. Not only can these plastics get past filters, but they are also too small for fish and other marine life to detect. So the plastics enter a fish’s body, and it sometimes kills them, but when they don’t die from the plastic but they get caught in a fisherman’s net, they get shipped to fish stores, bought, and eaten, and plastic is not a good thing for people to eat, and people can get cancer and other diseases from eating microplastics and microbeads.
Posted by Michael
You go to the beach on a hot day with your bottle of water and bag of chips. You are lazy so you decide not to throw away your trash and you leave it on the sandy shore. Little do you know that sea birds can mistake it as food, or the tide can wash it in and a fish could think its an easy meal. This tiny decision that you made is adding two pieces of plastic waste to the 5 trillion pieces already in the ocean. Each water bottle when you first come to the beach what do you think of? The hot sand, cool ocean, sand castles. You think of all the good stuff. But there are so many bad things that go on behind this. 260 million tonnes of plastic waste is produced each year. 8 million tonnes of that goes in the ocean. There is a plastic land that is the size of Texas in the ocean. Our team is trying to stop this massacre.
We have decided to do something about plastic waste, specifically the plastic waste that goes into the ocean. We found that over 8 million metric tons of plastic enter the ocean each year. That is the equivalent of 5 bags of plastic for every foot of coastline in the world. And that number is expected to double by 2025. We also found that plastic is not biodegradable, and the only way that it breaks down is by breaking into smaller parts, which is worse because it can go more places. We also found that plastic can get stuck in sea ice and combine with rocks, creating a new material scientists call Plastiglomerate. Another big issue is plastic bottles. They are convenient to use, but they severely damage the environment, and a staggering 1 million bottles are bought around the world every minute. In addition, only 50% of those bottles are recycled, and of that 50% only 7% are turned into new bottles. The rest ends up in the ocean or landfills.