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/

Oceana report says Amazon has a ‘plastic problem’, pollutes oceans with 22 million pounds of plastics per year

via Fox29.com

Oceana analyzed e-commerce and packaging market data as well as a recent scientific report, published in Science about predicted growth in plastic waste and found that Amazon has a large and rapidly growing plastic pollution footprint.

“Amazon has a plastic problem,” Oceana wrote in the report released on Dec. 15. “Oceana estimates that in 2019, up to 22.44 million pounds of Amazon’s plastic packaging has ended up in the world’s freshwater and marine ecosystems as pollution. This amount is roughly equivalent to a delivery van’s worth of plastic being dumped into major rivers, lakes, and the oceans every 70 minutes.”

Read the full story here: https://www.fox29.com/news/oceana-report-says-amazon-has-a-plastic-problem-pollutes-oceans-with-22-million-pounds-of-plastics-per-year

These solar-powered barges can scoop up 50 tons of plastic from rivers each day

via The Optimist Daily

While removing the plastic waste that currently contaminates the ocean today will be crucial for protecting marine ecosystems, it is arguably more important that we stop any more plastic trash from entering the ocean. Fortunately for humanity, The Ocean Cleanup, a nonprofit taking on plastic waste in the ocean today, also has a novel solution for stopping plastic from entering it via rivers.

The solution comes in the form of a solar-powered barge named the “Interceptor”. The 24-meter-long (78 feet) vessel resembles a large houseboat and uses a curved barrier to catch waste floating downstream. The trash, much of it plastic, is directed to the “mouth” of the barge — which operates autonomously and silently — from where it rolls up a conveyor belt and is dropped into dumpsters. Apparently, the Interceptor is capable of collecting up to 50 tons of waste a day.

Read the full story here: https://www.optimistdaily.com/2021/01/these-solar-powered-barges-can-scoop-up-50-tons-of-plastic-from-rivers-each-day/

Bali’s beaches buried in tide of plastic rubbish during monsoon season

via The Guardian

Bali’s famous beaches are being strewn by plastic rubbish in what experts say is becoming an annual event thanks to monsoon weather, poor waste management and a global marine pollution crisis.

Authorities are struggling to keep up with the tide of rubbish washing up on beaches at Kuta, Legian and Seminyak, where about 90 tonnes of rubbish was collected on Friday and Saturday.

Read the full story here: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jan/04/balis-beaches-buried-in-tide-of-plastic-rubbish-as-monsoon

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

More than 1.56 billion face masks could end up polluting oceans: report

via CTV

TORONTO — More than 1.56 billion face masks used in 2020 will make their way into our planet’s oceans, joining literal tonnes of other plastic pollution, according to an estimate by OceansAsia.

The Hong-Kong based marine conservation organization released a report on Monday that details one of the devastating side-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic: the increase in plastic use and disposal.

Read the full story here: https://www.ctvnews.ca/sci-tech/more-than-1-56-billion-face-masks-could-end-up-polluting-oceans-report-1.5221239

Java’s protective mangroves smothered by plastic waste

via Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research

The mangrove forests on Java’s north coast are slowly suffocating in plastic waste. The plastic problem in northeast Asia is huge and a growing threat to the region’s mangroves; a natural ally against coastal erosion. Based on fieldwork published in Science of the Total Environment, NIOZ researcher Celine van Bijsterveldt shows that restoration of this green protection belt is impossible without better waste management.

Read the full story here: https://www.nioz.nl/en/news/javas-protective-mangroves-smothered-by-plastic-waste

Brewers are addressing the beer industry’s plastic dilemma

via Marin Independent Journal

Early this year, a brewery in East Aurora, New York, began offering customers a free pint of beer for each plastic four-pack or six-pack can carrier that they returned, a reuse program aimed at reducing the volume of plastic that flows into our economy’s waste stream, the terrestrial environment and the ocean.

It was a good move for the beer industry. 42 North Brewing’s effort is focused specifically on the almost ubiquitous beverage carriers made by the company PakTech, and it will hopefully inspire other breweries to follow suit. After all, the United States and the European Union are huge contributors to the world’s plastic crisis, which poses an existential threat to marine wildlife.

Read the full story here: https://www.marinij.com/2020/11/24/brewers-are-addressing-the-beer-industrys-plastic-dilemma/

The Uneasy Afterlife of Our Dazzling Trash

via The New York Times

Every day, for the past 14 years, Bruce Bennett has received packages filled with CDs. Sometimes a few at a time and sometimes in packs of hundreds, shiny old discs arrive at his CD Recycling Center of America in Salem, N.H., a 300-foot blue trailer tucked behind a commercial strip, to ascend to the CD afterlife.

The CD recycling process requires Mr. Bennett, 55, to store a truckload, or approximately 44,000 pounds, of CDs in a warehouse before the discs can be granulated into raw polycarbonate plastic, resulting in a white and clear powdery material that glints and resembles large snowflake crystals stuck together.

Read the full story here: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/07/style/the-uneasy-afterlife-of-our-dazzling-trash.html?action=click&module=Well&pgtype=Homepage&section=Style

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