How ‘super-enzymes’ that eat plastics could curb our waste problem

How ‘super-enzymes’ that eat plastics could curb our waste problem

via The Guardian

plastic scrap
Photo by Catherine Sheila on Pexels.com

Beaches littered with plastic bottles and wrappers. Marine turtles, their stomachs filled with fragments of plasticPlastic fishing nets dumped at sea where they can throttle unsuspecting animals. And far out in the Pacific Ocean, an expanse of water more than twice the size of France littered with plastic waste weighing at least 79,000 tonnes.

The plastic pollution problem is distressingly familiar, but many organisations are working to reduce it. Alongside familiar solutions such as recycling, a surprising ally has emerged: micro-organisms. A handful of microbes have evolved the ability to “eat” certain plastics, breaking them down into their component molecules. These tiny organisms could soon play a key role in reducing plastic waste and building a greener economy.

Read the full story here: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/feb/05/how-super-enzymes-that-eat-plastics-could-curb-our-waste-problem

DOE Invests $13.4 Million to Combat Plastic Waste, Reduce Plastic Industry Emissions

via Energy.gov

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced $13.4 million in funding for next generation plastics technologies that reduce the energy consumption and carbon emissions of single-use plastics. The seven selected research and development (R&D) projects — led by industry and universities — will convert plastic films into more valuable materials and design new plastics that are more recyclable and biodegradable. This investment advances  DOE’s work to address the challenges of plastic waste recycling and supports the Biden Administration’s efforts to build a clean energy economy and ensure the U.S. reaches net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. 

Read the full story here: https://www.energy.gov/articles/doe-invests-134-million-combat-plastic-waste-reduce-plastic-industry-emissions

Mouse study shows microplastics infiltrate blood brain barrier

Mouse study shows microplastics infiltrate blood brain barrier

Much of the millions of metric tons of plastic waste that washes into the sea each year is broken down into tiny fragments by the forces of the ocean, and researchers are beginning to piece together what this means for organisms that consume them. Scientists in Korea have turned their attention toward the top of the food chain by exploring the threat these particles pose to mammal brains, where they were found to act as toxic substances.

In recent years, studies have revealed the kind of threat microplastics pose to marine creatures. This has included weakening the adhesive abilities of muscles, impairing the cognitive ability of hermit crabs and causing aneurysms and reproductive changes in fish. They’ve turned up in the guts of sea turtles all over the world, and been discovered in seal poo as evidence of them traveling up the food chain. Research has also shown they can alter the shape of human lung cells.

Read the full story here: https://newatlas.com/environment/microplastics-blood-brain-barrier/

TRASH AND BURN

BIG BRANDS STOKE CEMENT KILNS WITH PLASTIC WASTE AS RECYCLING FALTERS

Consumer goods giants are funding projects to send plastic trash to cement plants, where it is burned as cheap energy. They’re touting it as a way to keep plastic out of dumps and use less fossil fuel. Critics say it undercuts recycling efforts and worsens air quality. One said it was “like moving the landfill from the ground to the sky.”

The global consumer goods industry’s plans for dealing with the vast plastic waste it generates can be seen here in a landfill on the outskirts of Indonesia’s capital, where a swarm of excavators tears into stinking mountains of garbage.

Read the full story here: https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/environment-plastic-cement/

Trafficking of plastic waste is on the rise and criminal groups are profiting, report says

via LA Times

Americans like to think they are recycling their plastic takeout food containers, cutlery and flimsy grocery bags when they toss them into those green or blue bins. But, too often, that waste is shipped overseas, sometimes with the help of organized crime groups, where it litters cities, clogs waterways or is burned, filling the air with toxic chemicals.

report published Monday by the independent Swiss research group Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime, whose members include current and former law-enforcement officials, sheds new light on how this waste winds up in poorer countries that had agreed not to accept it.

Read the full story here: https://www.latimes.com/environment/story/2021-11-08/report-trafficking-of-plastic-waste-is-on-the-rise-and-criminal-groups-are-profiting

Plastics to outpace coal’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 -report

WASHINGTON, Oct 21 (Reuters) – The carbon-intensive production of plastics is on pace to emit more greenhouse gases than coal-fired power plants within this decade, undercutting global efforts to tackle climate change, a report released on Thursday said.

The report by Bennington College and Beyond Plastics projected that the plastic industry releases at least 232 million tons of greenhouse gases each year throughout its lifecycle from the drilling for oil and gas to fuel its facilities to incineration of plastic waste. That is the equivalent of 116 coal-fired power plants.

Read the full story here: https://www.reuters.com/business/cop/plastics-outpace-coals-greenhouse-gas-emissions-by-2030-report-2021-10-21/

plastic scrap recycling
Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com

Bubble Curtain Technology Prevents Entry Of 500 Tonnes Of Plastic Waste In Yamuna River

via The Logical Indian

In a bid to address the growing menace of plastic pollution in the water bodies, Geocycle India—the in-house waste management arm of Ambuja Cements Limited and ACC Limited, has been doing enormous efforts to collect and co-process the plastic waste in the country. The company implemented bubble curtain technology in April 2021 to stop plastic from entering the river Yamuna in Agra. Now, it has successfully managed to thwart 500 tonnes of plastic waste leakage in the river within a span of just six months. The collected waste will now be processed within Ambuja and ACC plants, as per India CSR.

Read the full story here: https://thelogicalindian.com/responsiblebusiness/geocycle-indias-bubble-barrier-plastic-waste-yamuna-30936

Activities at PVC market should be stopped till fire-safety arrangements made: Delhi Fire Service

via Outlook India

Terming a recent fire incident at the PVC market as the most “intense and widespread”, the fire department said, “It has been observed that the scrap is spilled outside the plots, covering almost the entire stretch of the road, and at some points, it is mixing with the scrap of other plots too. The situation is highly alarming from the fire safety point of view as it helps in propagation of fire at a rapid rate.”

The move comes after a massive fire broke out at an open godown in the PVC market in the Tikri Kalan area on July 11. According to the fire department, it took more than 200 fire-fighters over 10 hours to douse the blaze as PVC materials in huge quantities were stocked up at the spot and since the godown did not have a boundary wall, the risk of the fire spreading to the adjoining areas was high.

Read the full story here: https://www.outlookindia.com/newsscroll/activities-at-pvc-market-should-be-stopped-till-firesafety-arrangements-made-delhi-fire-service/2129182

Genetically engineered microbes convert waste plastic into vanillin

via Chemistry World

Scientists in the UK have genetically engineered Escherichia coli to transform plastic waste into vanillin. ‘Instead of simply recycling plastic waste into more plastic, what our system demonstrates for the first time is that you can use plastic as a feedstock for microbial cells and transform it into something with higher value and more industrial utility,’ says Stephen Wallace from the University of Edinburgh. The biotransformation ‘isn’t just replacing a current chemical process, it’s actually achieving something that can’t be done using modern synthetic methods.’

Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is one of the most widely used types of plastic. Most existing recycling technologies degrade PET into its substituent monomers, ethylene glycol and terephthalic acid, then repurpose them in second-generation plastic materials. Wallace and Joanna Sadler, also at the University of Edinburgh, want to upcycle these monomers into alternative products.

Read the full story here: https://www.chemistryworld.com/news/genetically-engineered-microbes-convert-waste-plastic-into-vanillin/4013767.article

plastic scrap

Myanmar volunteers build a great library for orphans from plastic waste

via EuroNews.Green

Volunteers have built a library for orphans in Yangon, Myanmar, using recycled plastic waste.

The project at Taikkyi, a neighbourhood in the north of Myanmar’s biggest city, started in December 2020 as a venture of the NGO Clean Yangon. Using rubbish donations from the local community, the team made eco-bricks by filling plastic bottles with other plastic waste.

Read the full story here: https://www.euronews.com/green/2021/05/30/myanmar-volunteers-built-a-stunning-library-for-orphans-from-plastic-waste