Coronavirus is causing a flurry of plastic waste. Campaigners fear it may be permanent

via CNN

Surgical masks, gloves, protective equipment, body bags — the Covid-19 crisis has spurred a rapid expansion in the production of desperately-needed plastic products, with governments racing to boost their stockpiles and regular citizens clamoring for their share of supplies.

Such production is necessary. But all that plastic ends up somewhere — and environmental campaigners fear it is just the tip of a looming iceberg, with the pandemic causing a number of serious challenges to their efforts to reduce plastic pollution.

Read the full story here: https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/04/world/coronavirus-plastic-waste-pollution-intl/index.html

COVID-19 is forcing us to rethink our plastic problem

via World Economic Forum

  • The global demand for PPE has caused a concurrent uptick in demand for single-use plastics.
  • As lockdowns are lifted, we may find our reliance on plastic has increased.
  • Companies and governments now have an even more urgent – and tricky – responsibility to transition to a circular economy.

Economic uncertainties and risks of a second wave of COVID-19 might impose significant limitations on waste services. With the pandemic contributing to increased plastic use in healthcare, and large volumes of waste being unfit for recycling due to potential biohazards, medical plastic waste could grow at an unprecedented scale. A similar situation might arise in the food industry and other services that had previously decided to temporally limit reusables. The disrupted waste management and recycling sector would also take some time to recover and would not be able to effectively handle massive volumes of post-pandemic plastic.

Read the full story here: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/05/covid-19-is-forcing-us-to-rethink-our-plastic-problem/

Researchers uncover highest-ever amount of microplastics on ocean floor

via CBS News

Researchers have uncovered the highest-ever concentration of microplastics on the seafloor. According to a new study in the journal Science, scientists recently found 1.9 million pieces in an area of about 11 square feet in the Mediterranean Sea. 

Over 10 million tons of plastic waste enter oceans each year — but the visible floating plastic that has led to anti-straw and anti-plastic bag movements accounts for less than 1% of the ocean’s total plastic.

Read the full story here: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/highest-ever-concentration-microplastic-ocean-floor-plastic-pollution/

30-year survey assesses plastic problem in the Antarctic

Via New Atlas

Two new studies by the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) are shedding new light on plastic waste in the Antarctic. Based on 30 years of extensive surveys of marine debris ingested by sea birds or washed up on Bird Island at South Georgia and Signy Island in the South Orkneys, researchers have been able to determine the source of plastics in the region and the effectiveness of mitigation efforts.

We like to think of Antarctica as a pristine, wild continent that’s as untouched as a fresh snowfall, but its shores are still as exposed to the ocean’s currents as anywhere else and often end up as repositories of plastic waste either brought in by waves or in the stomachs of seabirds.

Read the full story here: https://newatlas.com/environment/30-year-survey-bas-plastic-waste-antarctic/

The show must go online: Recycling drama headed to Vimeo on Demand

via Plastics News

For plastics recycling veteran Michael Domino, the show must go online.

Domino, founder and chief operating officer of Domino Plastics Co. Inc. in Port Jefferson, N.Y., was gearing up to show his recycling-centered movie Mott Haven: Cash for Keys at film festivals in Florida and New York when the COVID-19 crisis hit. The independent film already had won the People’s Choice Award at the Chandler International Film Festival in Chandler, Ariz., earlier this year.

Read the full story here: https://www.plasticsnews.com/blog/show-must-go-online-recycling-drama-headed-vimeo-demand

Watch the film here: www.vimeo.com/ondemand/motthaven

Visit www.motthavenfilm.com

Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Enhances Functionality

via ThomasNet.com

In what could be a game-changing development for prosthetic limbs, researchers at the University of Michigan have had success in accessing faint signals from nerve endings in creating a robotic hand with never-before-seen capabilities. The team has been able to amplify faint signals from nerves in amputated arms in such a way that wearers can manipulate the fingers of a prosthetic hand just by thinking about it.  

This has been achieved in clinical settings by separating the bundles of remaining nerves into more manageable fibers. This creates a direct connection that is easier to amplify in generating more precise movements and enhanced prosthetic control.

Read the full story here: https://www.thomasnet.com/insights/mind-controlled-prosthetic-enhances-functionality/

Plastics recycling entities largely deemed ‘essential’

via Plastics Recycling Update

In the states that have issued stay-at-home orders, companies engaged in recycling processing or plastic product manufacturing are not subject to forced shutdowns.

As states over the past week prepared to enact strict stay-at-home orders to help stem the spread of the novel coronavirus, the “essential” designation became a key talking point across many business sectors.

Read the full story here: https://resource-recycling.com/plastics/2020/03/25/plastics-recycling-entities-largely-deemed-essential/

Continuing To Promote Your Manufacturing Business During An Economic Downturn

via ThomasNet.com

Many companies worry about how their business will fare in bad economic conditions, but sometimes opportune outcomes stem from times of economic uncertainty — especially for manufacturers.

With seemingly difficult economic conditions on the horizon, there are plenty of indicators that can seem at odds with one another. Recently, the stock market had its worst week since 2008 while sourcing activity for North American suppliers on Thomasnet.com saw record-breaking numbers. Based on a Coronavirus Impact survey conducted this month, over half of the manufacturers surveyed are ‘likely to extremely likely’ to bring production and sourcing back to North America and 47% of U.S manufacturers report they are now seeking domestic sources of supply — likely the reasons for sourcing surge.

Read the full story here: https://blog.thomasnet.com/continuing-to-promote-your-manufacturing-business-during-an-economic-downturn

‘A worldwide hackathon’: Hospitals turn to crowdsourcing and 3D printing amid equipment shortages

via NBC News

3D printing, a relatively new and niche technology that can create everything from houses to tiny and complex structures from raw materials, has remained mostly on the fringes of the manufacturing and health care sectors.

But the coronavirus has suddenly made it a crucial resource. On Thursday, Slavin called on people with 3D printers to help make protective masks for hospital staff.

Read the full story here: https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/innovation/worldwide-hackathon-hospitals-turn-crowdsourcing-3d-printing-amid-equipment-shortages-n1165026

Financial fallout from coronavirus could devastate the fracking and plastics industries

“The likelihood of them being able to meet financial targets after this is quite small,” says one financial analyst.

by Kristina Marusic via Environmental Health News

The process of extracting oil and natural gas from the Earth by drilling deep wells and injecting liquid at high pressure is expensive; many fracking companies go into a tremendous amount of debt. Due to oversupply and consistently low prices for natural gas over the last 10 years, many have yet to pay those debts back and become profitable.

“The industry had already been seeing negative cash flows and a huge debt overhang for quite a while, and we certainly don’t see that changing after this current downturn in the market,” Tom Sanzillo, director of finance for the Institute of Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) told EHN.

Read the full story here: https://www.ehn.org/coronavirus-oil-and-gas-2645520057.html

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