While straws and water bottles may get more attention, environmental groups cite "ghost gear" — abandoned or lost fishing gear such as nets, buoys and ropes — as a major cause of plastic marine debris.
As Steve Toloken writes, the U.S. has signed on to a program aimed at reducing the presence of this derelict gear in waterways. The Global Ghost Gear Initiative hopes that U.S. involvement, along with 15 other national governments and 85 organizations, can help tackle the issue. "Abandoned equipment like plastic fishing lines and netting ... accounts for between 46 and 70 percent of the macroplastics floating in the oceans, according to the Washington-based Ocean Conservancy, which administers the GGGI," Steve writes.
A California-based startup is taking a different angle on the ghost gear issue. Pufferfish just launched sales of its premium sandcastle-building equipment line, which consists of heavy-duty shovels, scoops, a flexible bucket and other items to make massive sand sculptures.
"Building sandcastles with the family can be a ton of fun," Lee Ott, founder of Pufferfish, said on a product launch on Kickstart. "But everything on the market is designed for toddlers and is mostly flimsy junk. We're making really awesome, thoughtfully designed, strong and durable tools that let dads and moms and everyone have an incredible time and enable them to build something amazing."
And the Super Scoop, which can be used to shape the sand, is made with plastic recycled from ghost gear. The carrying bag also uses recycled plastic.