Is laundry fuelling the marine plastics crisis?

via BusinessGreen.com

Clothing and textiles are a major and underacknowledged source of microplastics pollutions in the world’s oceans, a new study analysing seawater samples from across the Arctic Ocean has found.

The study revealed that synthetic fibres make up more than 90 per cent of microplastic pollution found in near-surface seawater samples from across the Arctic. Nearly three-quarters of those fibres are polyester and resemble fibres widely used in clothing and textiles, with the bulk of this pollution thought to released during domestic laundry, the research states.

Read the full story here: https://www.businessgreen.com/news/4025745/laundry-fuelling-marine-plastics-crisis

New process upcycles plastic waste into a more valuable adhesive

via News Atlas

A team at UC Berkeley has developed a process that turns plastic waste into something more valuable – an adhesive. Based on an engineered catalyst, the inspiration was to find ways to “upcycle” plastics by putting them to new uses while preserving the properties that made them attractive in the first place.

Plastic waste is one of the modern world’s biggest environmental concerns, but plastics are notoriously unattractive to recycling companies. Unlike corrugated cardboard, glass, or scrap metal, plastics are very difficult to reuse and doing so makes the end product less valuable than the original plastic – which isn’t very valuable to begin with.

Read the full story here: https://newatlas.com/science/waste-plastic-polyethylene-adhesive/

Marine pollution: How do plastic additives dilute in water and how risky are they?

via Science Daily

New research shows that additives in plastic materials deployed or thrown in coastal environments diffuse into the environment at different rates. Their findings demonstrate how assessments of exposure risk based on the composition of the source plastic waste will be inaccurate, because this composition varies as plastics break down and additives dilute into the environment at different rates. A new evaluation method is needed, and these scientists have just the solution.

Plastic pollution has been at the center of environmental debate for decades. While it is well-known that plastic in the environment can break down into microplastics, be ingested by humans and other organisms, transfer up the food chain, and cause harm, this is only one part of the picture. Plastics are almost always enriched with additives, which makes them easier to process, more resistant, or more performant. This poses a second problem: when the polymer material is left in an environment for long durations, these additives can easily leach out and contaminate the environment.

Read the full story here: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/12/201214192338.htm

Plastic waste forms huge, deadly masses in camel guts

via Science News

Marcus Eriksen was studying plastic pollution in the Arabian Gulf when he met camel expert Ulrich Wernery. “[Ulrich] said, ‘You want to see plastic? Come with me.’ So we went deep into the desert,” Eriksen recalls. Before long, they spotted a camel skeleton and began to dig through sand and bones.

“We unearthed this mass of plastic, and I was just appalled. I couldn’t believe that — almost did not believe that — a mass as big as a medium-sized suitcase, all plastic bags, could be inside the rib cage of this [camel] carcass,” says Eriksen, an environmental scientist at the 5 Gyres Institute, a plastic pollution research and education organization in Santa Monica, Calif.

Read the full story here: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/camel-eating-plastic-trash-waste-deadly-masses

This Norwegian start-up wants to build houses out of 100% recycled plastic

via WeForum.org

Using one of the world’s problems to solve another is the philosophy behind a Norwegian start-up’s mission to develop affordable housing from 100% recycled plastic.

Since 1950, more than nine billion tonnes of plastic have been produced globally, of which only 9% is recycled, according to building tech company Othalo, while almost a billion people live in slums.

Read the full story here: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/11/un-africa-recycled-plastic-housing/

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.Related stories

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

Plastic Fuels: Do They Fix Waste Or Greenwash It?

via Forbes

Marketed as a solution to the environmental and waste problems the plastic industry is currently facing, recycled carbon fuels are problematic. And they will be at odds with Wednesday’s vote from the EU Parliament backing a 60% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

briefing published by Zero Waste Europe shows that these fuels are produced by converting plastics back to their original fossil form. As they are burnt and carbon is released to the atmosphere, they are ultimately exacerbating climate change.

Read the full story here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/emanuelabarbiroglio/2020/10/08/the-pros-and-cons-of-plastic-to-fuels/#4508a3ce48cb

How Big Oil Misled The Public Into Believing Plastic Would Be Recycled

via NPR

Laura Leebrick, a manager at Rogue Disposal & Recycling in southern Oregon, is standing on the end of its landfill watching an avalanche of plastic trash pour out of a semitrailer: containers, bags, packaging, strawberry containers, yogurt cups.

None of this plastic will be turned into new plastic things. All of it is buried.

“To me that felt like it was a betrayal of the public trust,” she said. “I had been lying to people … unwittingly.”

Read the full story here: https://www.npr.org/2020/09/11/897692090/how-big-oil-misled-the-public-into-believing-plastic-would-be-recycled

An audio version of this story aired on NPR’s Planet Money

Oceans’ plastic tide may be far larger than thought

Artificial fibres now go everywhere. The oceans’ plastic tide may reach their whole depth, entering marine life and people.

via Eco-Business

The world’s seas could be home to a vast reservoir of hitherto unidentified pollution, the growing burden of the oceans’ plastic tide.

Up to 21 million tonnes of tiny and invisible plastic fibres could be floating in the first 200 metres of the Atlantic Ocean alone. And as British research exposed the scale of the problem, American chemists revealed that for the first time they had found microplastic fibres incorporated within human organ tissues.

Read the full story here: https://www.eco-business.com/news/oceans-plastic-tide-may-be-far-larger-than-thought/

Kauai Artists Collaborate With Nature For Marine Debris Projects

via Honolulu Civil Beat

Ghost nets and plastic fragments are becoming collectibles as artists turn the trash into works of art.

Plastic bags and straws cause countless marine fatalities as their small size, shine and color are an irresistible lure to birds, fish, and turtles. But the most lethal plastic products in the North Pacific are the fishing nets and gear purpose-built to catch and kill marine wildlife. These nets, which can stretch 6 miles in length, comprise about half of the plastic garbage in the Patch. But on Kauai, fishing nets account for almost 90% of marine debris that washes in with the tides.

Artists sensitive to this disaster have started to look at ghost nets and fragments of plastic as raw material for their creativity. Only 10% of plastic on average is recycled. This leaves a tsunami of synthetic waste to pollute our most precious natural places and resources. They hope their work can bring focus to the problem.

Read the full story here: https://www.civilbeat.org/2020/08/kauai-artists-collaborate-with-nature-for-marine-debris-projects/

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