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

New enzyme cocktail digests plastic waste ‘six times faster’

via Circular

The scientists who re-engineered the plastic-eating enzyme PETase have now created an enzyme ‘cocktail’ which can digest plastic up to six times faster.

A second enzyme, found in the same waste dwelling bacterium that lives on a diet of plastic bottles, has been combined with PETase to speed up the breakdown of plastic.

Read the full story here: https://www.circularonline.co.uk/news/new-enzyme-cocktail-digests-plastic-waste-six-times-faster/

Plastic trash flowing into the seas will nearly triple by 2040 without drastic action

An ambitious plan, two years in the making, might have the solution.

via National Geographic

THE AMOUNT OF plastic trash that flows into the oceans every year is expected to nearly triple by 2040 to 29 million metric tons.

That single, incomprehensibly large statistic is at the center of a new two-year research project that both illuminates the failure of the worldwide campaign to curb plastic pollution and prescribes an ambitious plan for reducing much of that flow into the seas.

Read the full story here: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2020/07/plastic-trash-in-seas-will-nearly-triple-by-2040-if-nothing-done/

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/

Upcycling plastic waste toward sustainable energy storage

via UC Riverside News

Simple process transforms PET plastic into a nanomaterial for energy storage

What if you could solve two of Earth’s biggest problems in one stroke? UC Riverside engineers have developed a way to recycle plastic waste, such as soda or water bottles, into a nanomaterial useful for energy storage. 

Mihri and Cengiz Ozkan and their students have been working for years on creating improved energy storage materials from sustainable sources, such as glass bottlesbeach sandSilly Putty, and portabella mushrooms. Their latest success could reduce plastic pollution and hasten the transition to 100% clean energy.

Read the full story here: https://news.ucr.edu/articles/2020/08/11/upcycling-plastic-waste-toward-sustainable-energy-storage

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

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/

E-cigarettes highlight the challenges of dealing with plastic waste

Via ABC News

E-cigarettes and vapes have made the headlines amid national concerns about nicotine addiction among young people and health problems linked to black-market products. But among environmental advocates the increasingly popular products pose another challenge — how to get rid of them after they’re used.

E-cigarettes and pods for e-cigarettes or vapes can be both hazardous and electronic waste — depending on the product — and the plastic poses the same concerns as other plastic products that can add to overall waste and break down into microplastics that harm ocean ecosystems.

Read the full story here: https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/cigarettes-highlight-challenges-dealing-plastic-waste/story?id=68890487

Dumped fishing gear is biggest plastic polluter in ocean, finds report

via The Guardian

Lost and abandoned fishing gear which is deadly to marine life makes up the majority of large plastic pollution in the oceans, according to a report by Greenpeace.

More than 640,000 tonnes of nets, lines, pots and traps used in commercial fishing are dumped and discarded in the sea every year, the same weight as 55,000 double-decker buses.

Read the full story here: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/nov/06/dumped-fishing-gear-is-biggest-plastic-polluter-in-ocean-finds-report

A floating device created to clean up plastic from the ocean is finally doing its job, organizers say

via (CNN) A huge trash-collecting system designed to clean up plastic floating in the Pacific Ocean is finally picking up plastic, its inventor announced Wednesday.The Netherlands-based nonprofit the Ocean Cleanup says its latest prototype was able to capture and hold debris ranging in size from huge, abandoned fishing gear, known as “ghost nets,” to tiny microplastics as small as 1 millimeter. Read the full story here: https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/02/tech/ocean-cleanup-catching-plastic-scn-trnd/index.html

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