Seagrass ‘Neptune balls’ bundle plastic waste

via Phys.Org

Underwater seagrass in coastal areas appear to trap bits of plastic in natural bundles of fibre known as “Neptune balls,” researchers said Thursday.

With no help from humans, the swaying plants—anchored to shallow seabeds—may collect nearly 900 million plastic items in the Mediterranean alone every year, they reported in the journal Scientific Reports.

read the full story here: https://phys.org/news/2021-01-seagrass-meadows-marine-plastic-sea.html

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/

Packaging, PPE and surgical supplies: How COVID-19 is pushing hospitals to reduce waste

via Supply Chain Dive

cquiring enough personal protective equipment and supplies to test for and treat COVID-19 in the United States was a major challenge in 2020. With case numbers rising and vaccines rolling out, managing supplies and reducing waste continues as a huge issue this year.

Isolation gowns, gloves, masks, needles, syringes and vials discarded after use: some waste is inevitable, but supply chain leaders are finding ways to reduce the quantity, reusing and recycling when possible and adjusting procurement and packaging to help the environment and sometimes their bottom line.

Read the full story here: https://www.supplychaindive.com/news/packaging-ppe-surgical-supplies-covid-19-waste/593179/

Single-use plastic bag ban begins in Delaware

via Delaware State News

DOVER — Customers in the checkout lines at grocery, retail and convenience stores throughout Delaware should be prepared for a new way of conducting business starting New Year’s Day.

That’s because consumers and some businesses in Delaware will no longer be able to use or distribute single-use plastic carryout bags at the point of sale.

Read the full story here: https://delawarestatenews.net/news/single-use-plastic-bag-ban-begins-in-delaware/

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

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

Welsh government backs project to turn waste plastic into carbon nanotubes

via Circular

The Welsh government is backing a cutting-edge science project at Swansea University that changes waste plastics into highly valuable compounds for the energy industries.

The government is to invest in a plastics upscaling project which has the potential to create highly-skilled jobs in Wales, the university says.

Scientists are extracting carbon atoms found in waste plastics and turning them into a nanotube format that can be used for the transmission of electricity.

Read the full story here: https://www.circularonline.co.uk/news/welsh-government-backs-project-to-turn-waste-plastic-into-carbon-nanotubes/

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