The Future of Plastics? 96 Million “Shade Balls” Create Evaporation Barrier in California Reservoir

By: | February 2nd, 2016

Presentiment of a Clean Future

Necessity is the mother of invention. Can it be that pressing environmental problems will change the role of plastics in our lives? According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the answer is yes. To date increasing populations and consumption around the world have led to the widespread negative externalities from plastics such as leakage into ground, rivers and the oceans. But a new age of plastics based on the de-coupling of plastic stocks from fossil fuels and creating an effective “after use plastics economy” is within reach. The recent use of plastic balls to help sustain California’s dwindling water supply may be sign of things to come.

Using Plastics to Save Water From Evaporation

Precision Plastic Ball Company, founded in 1950, is a leading manufacturer of precision grade balls. Precision Co. offers plastic resin balls, high-performance plastic balls, filled plastic balls, hollow plastic precision balls, rubber resin balls, alloy/steel precision balls, ceramic precision balls, registration spheres, and hollow steel precision balls. All of these balls are made from fossil fuel oil.

Interesting & Diverse Applications of Industrial Balls

Precision Plastics has its hands in a number of interesting sustainability projects, including the effort to help see California through its long drought. Precision Co. also provides balls to companies in the personal care and food industries, precision instrumentation, the medical and laboratory industries, for materials handling, and for petrochemical, bearing, fluid handling, and fracking applications. While some of these uses may not be considered environmentally friendly, the trend is toward the use of non-toxic balls which may eventually be made from non-fossil fuel materials.

The following video shows the release of 96 million plastic “shade balls” into the largest reservoir in Los Angeles in an effort to shade water from the sun and prevent evaporation.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation Plastics Report

According to the Ellen Macarthur Foundation’s (EMF) 120 page report “The New Plastics Economy, Rethinking the Future of Plastics” the entire lifecycle of plastics manufacturing and use must become sustainable. The following images from EMF show the future of sustainable plastics.

David Russell Schilling

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