River plastic Interceptors are stopping trash from reaching the ocean

via CNET

Nonprofit The Ocean Cleanup is continuing its mission of ridding the world of ocean plastic by catching garbage before it makes its way to the sea. The organization has introduced a new third-generation Interceptor that it says can remove larger debris more efficiently and at a lower cost.

The Ocean Cleanup Interceptors were first announced by founder and CEO Boyan Slat in 2019. The trash Interceptors are moored to river beds and use river current to snag debris floating on the surface. Then they direct the trash onto a conveyor belt that shuttles it into six large onboard dumpsters. The Interceptors run completely autonomously day and night, getting power from solar panels. 

Read the full sotry here: https://www.cnet.com/news/river-plastic-interceptors-are-stopping-trash-from-reaching-the-ocean/

Why 99% of ocean plastic pollution is “missing”

via Vox

Starting in the 1990s, the world’s attention began turning to the specter of ocean garbage patches — heaps of plastic and other debris that accumulate in distinct areas of the ocean, thanks to currents known as gyres. These patches came to symbolize our global addiction to plastic production and consumption.

A lot of the plastic we consume ends up in the ocean due to man-made causes, such as poor waste management practices. Some of it ends up there because of natural disasters. There’s a lot of Japanese plastic floating in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, for example, due to the 2011 tsunami. Japan is a country that otherwise has above-average waste management policies.

Read the full story here: https://www.vox.com/videos/22406194/plastic-pollution-in-the-ocean-99-percent-missing

How Paving with Plastic Could Make a Dent in the Global Waste Problem

via Yale Environment 360

Roads in which waste plastic is melted down and mixed with paving materials are becoming more common around the world. Although for now they remain a niche technology, experts say the roads could become one of a diverse array of uses for discarded plastic.

Aroad running through Accra, Ghana’s capital, looks like any other blacktop. Yet what most drivers don’t realize is that the asphalt under them contains a slurry of used plastics — shredded and melted bags, bottles, and snack wraps — that otherwise were destined for a landfill.

Read the full story here:https://e360.yale.edu/features/how-paving-with-plastic-could-make-a-dent-in-the-global-waste-problem


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    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