NGOs and Governments Push for World Treaty on Plastic Waste

via The Maritime Executive

The push for a global coherent strategy to tackle ocean plastic pollution is gaining momentum amidst failure by some of the world’s biggest polluters to endorse a United Nations-led process to enact a treaty.

Following shortly after World Ocean Day, environmentalists, conservationists and some countries have renewed calls for a global treaty on plastic pollution. Their hope is that a treaty could help contain the growing menace of plastic waste, which is clogging oceans and having adverse impacts on the environment, marine life, human health and economic activity.

Read the full story here: https://www.maritime-executive.com/article/ngos-and-governments-push-for-world-treaty-on-plastic-waste

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

New tool highlights the world’s ocean pollution problem

via The Denver Channel

We know pollution is a problem, and we know waste ends up in our waterways. But it’s hard to quantify exactly how much waste and where it’s coming from. A new, first-of-its-kind data tool aims to change that by letting us see how much plastic is being dumped, and what’s being done about it.

“A lot of the waste is generated on land and ultimately can end up in the oceans being brought through rain and wind and rivers and other forms of direct dumping that produces between 19 and 23 million metric tons of plastic waste entering our oceans and lakes and rivers every single year,” said Molly Morse, project scientist at UC Santa Barabara’s Benioff Ocean Initiative.

Read the full story here: https://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/national/new-tool-highlights-the-worlds-ocean-pollution-problem

National Oceans Day And ‘The Plastic Pandemic.’ What Will You Do?

via Forbes

The covid pandemic increased the amount of plastic used globally in our efforts to try to keep Covid-19 from spreading.

Plastic gloves, plastic bags instead of canvas shopping bags, plastic in face mask fibers, plastic face shields and even those syringes the medical professionals use to vaccinate us all. Plastic water bottles, more takeout food in Styrofoam containers, more plastic garbage bags as we cleaned more and took out the garbage more often, and don’t forget all that bubble wrap for all those online orders….Think about what plastic you used over the past 15 months, for example. Now multiply that times 320 million Americans or 7+ billion people worldwide.

Read the full story here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/joanmichelson2/2021/06/09/national-oceans-day-and-the-plastic-pandemic-what-will-you-do/

MSU Researchers Publish Study On Biomineralization Of Plastic Waste For Cement Mortar

via JDSupra

On April 13, 2021, Montana State University (MSU) researchers from its Norm Asbjornson College of Engineering published an article entitled “Biomineralization of Plastic Waste to Improve the Strength of Plastic-Reinforced Cement Mortar.” The study evaluates calcium carbonate biomineralization techniques applied to coat plastic waste and improve the compressive strength of plastic-reinforced mortar (PRM), a type of plastic-reinforced cementitious material (PRC).

Read the full sotry here: https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/msu-researchers-publish-study-on-8199658/

California Company Hopes To Pave The World’s Roads With Recycled Plastic

via DOGO News

The invention of plastic has been a double-edged sword for humanity. While the cheap, versatile material has made life convenient, it is virtually indestructible and takes centuries to decompose. Since avoiding plastic is impossible, companies worldwide are coming up with innovative ways to repurpose the millions of tons of polymer waste that end up in our landfills annually. Among the latest is California-based TechniSoil Industrial, which has devised an ingenious way to reuse plastic waste to repave roads.

Road resurfacing is an expensive undertaking that starts with using special equipment to extract and grind the topmost 3-to-6 inches of asphalt. Since the recycled material is not strong enough to use on its own, half of it is discarded and replaced with fresh hot asphalt. The combined product is mixed with bitumen — a sludge-like petroleum residue that acts as a binding agent — and relaid on the surface. Repaving a single lane mile requires 42 truckloads of new material and hauling out a similar amount of unusable waste.

Read the full story here: https://www.dogonews.com/2021/1/29/california-company-hopes-to-pave-the-worlds-roads-with-recycled-plastic

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

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