Discarded Face Masks Used to Improve Road Materials

via ThomasNet.com

According to a report in New Atlas, the masks are being utilized in a material called recycled concrete aggregate – or RCA – that’s mostly made up of processed building rubble. In this case, the “recipe” is being tweaked and 1% of the traditional RCA is being replaced with the non-woven layers of plastic found in shredded masks.

The scientists are not only able to find a use for the discarded masks that doesn’t involve a landfill or an incinerator, but they also provide a benefit: the end product, which still meets civil engineering standards for road base layers, has improved flexibility over previous formulas. And while a road that’s one percent mask doesn’t sound like it’s making a dent, think of it this way: the scientists say that if their material were used to build a two-way roadway that’s just one kilometer in length, it would divert about 3 million masks from the landfills.

Read the full story here: https://bit.ly/3qdLzIT

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/

SeaChange uses plasma arc technology to save the oceans from plastic waste

via Inhabitat.com

SeaChange will outfit its ships with something called the Plasma Enhanced Melter (PEM). The PEM uses plasma arc technology to zap plastic and other trash before it enters the ocean. Plastic is shredded before it enters the Plasma Arc Zone.

Instead of leaving harmful residues like conventional waste treatment methods, plasma arc technology uses high temperature and high electrical energy to heat waste, mostly by radiation. Organic material can be burned down into a combustible gas called syngas, which can be used as clean fuel for SeaChange’s ships. Inorganic components wind up as glassy slag. This reusable black glass is said to be nontoxic and safe for marine life.

Read the full story here: https://inhabitat.com/seachange-uses-plasma-arc-technology-to-save-the-oceans-from-plastic-waste/

How Big Oil Misled The Public Into Believing Plastic Would Be Recycled

via NPR

Laura Leebrick, a manager at Rogue Disposal & Recycling in southern Oregon, is standing on the end of its landfill watching an avalanche of plastic trash pour out of a semitrailer: containers, bags, packaging, strawberry containers, yogurt cups.

None of this plastic will be turned into new plastic things. All of it is buried.

“To me that felt like it was a betrayal of the public trust,” she said. “I had been lying to people … unwittingly.”

Read the full story here: https://www.npr.org/2020/09/11/897692090/how-big-oil-misled-the-public-into-believing-plastic-would-be-recycled

An audio version of this story aired on NPR’s Planet Money

ISRI adopts position on minimum recycled plastic content

via Recycling Magazine

The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries’ (ISRI) new position on minimum recycled plastic content encourages efforts that will help spur demand for recycled plastics. It also aims to increase the commitment by stakeholders throughout the supply chain to ensure plastics are responsibly manufactured, collected, and recycled into new products.

Plastics are a diverse, versatile group of materials that are used in nearly all aspects of daily life, from life-saving medical supplies to light-weight food packaging. However, despite the benefits plastics offer, many remained concerned about high levels of plastic waste entering the natural environment. To avoid further environmental harm, it is imperative that all plastics be handled responsibly at end of life.

Read the full story here: https://www.recycling-magazine.com/2020/08/18/isri-adopts-position-on-minimum-recycled-plastic-content/

COVID-19 Lays Waste to Many US Recycling Programs

via Manufacturing Business Technology

Many items designated as reusable, communal or secondhand have been temporarily barred to minimize person-to-person exposure. This is producing higher volumes of waste.

Grocers, whether by state decree or on their own, have brought back single-use plastic bags. Even IKEA has suspended use of its signature yellow reusable in-store bags. Plastic industry lobbyists have also pushed to eliminate plastic bag bans altogether, claiming that reusable bags pose a public health risk.

Read the full story here: https://www.mbtmag.com/home/news/21138099/covid19-lays-waste-to-many-us-recycling-programs

How NASA’s 3D-Printers Test Recycling Plastic in Space

via FedTech Magazine

NASA’s 3D-printing program began with making tiny wrenches and may end up building infrastructure on the moon. In between those moments, however, astronauts aboard the International Space Station are testing technology designed to make the printing process more efficient.

The space station is currently home to two 3D printers, one known as the Refabricator and another called the Additive Manufacturing Facility (AMF). A third device, the Recycler, is designed to recycle used material to save room and weight on the ISS, much like the Refabricator. Each works in a slightly different way, and astronauts are trying to determine which works best.

Read the full story here: https://fedtechmagazine.com/article/2020/05/how-nasas-3d-printers-test-recycling-plastic-space

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

Draft US law seeks to make plastic industry responsible for waste

via Yahoo The proposed “Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act,” introduced by Democratic lawmakers, would be the most ambitious regulation the US plastics industry has ever seen.

It would require producers to collect and recycle their own waste, create a nationwide drink container refund scheme and phase out certain single-use plastic items.

Read the full story here: https://au.news.yahoo.com/draft-us-law-seeks-plastic-industry-responsible-waste-011137658–spt.html

IKEA’s plan to give plastic and polyester a second life

via Toronto Sun

It was just a little more than a year ago that IKEA Canada announced it would phase out all single-use plastic straws in Canada, nine months ahead of its global commitment to eliminate all single-use
plastics from its product range and restaurants by January 1, 2020.


It should not be surprising that this announcement got a lot of play — people really do care about this topic — but at the same time, only a smaller part of the retailer’s sustainability plans.

Read the full story here: https://torontosun.com/life/homes/ikeas-plan-to-give-plastic-and-polyester-a-second-life

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