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I'm reading Plastic Ocean by Capt. Charles Moore. I got to the data about animal deaths by ingestion of plastics, and I feel so sick! Oh my! We are killing the entire biosphere.
Captain Moore begins with sea animals, and continues the litany to camels in the middle east (one documented corpse holding more than 100 pounds of plastics in the gut!) and cattle in India. I haven't even finished this chapter.
One of the facts he has helped to establish is that tiny plastic bits outweigh and out-number the food plankton in large parts of the Pacific. Another fact is that plastics are not inert, and collect and concentrate toxins. I'm actually listening to the audio version, but I've got the print book on order to go back and review the information.
Here are some related websites:
I've added that title to my TBR soon pile.
I ordered the book Plastic-Free yesterday, and began an inventory of plastics in my household last evening.
I am now an activist on this issue, and I'm beginning to outline in my head where and how I can begin passing the urgent word on to others. Classroom presentations, library events, talking to various groups...
I just finished reading Our Stolen Future. My intention was to skim read it, but it was so well put together, I ended up doing a serious read of the entire book.
The main body of the work (published in 1996) covers pesticides and PCBs, with a passing mention of plastics' role in dispersal of homone disrupters, as that material is more recent.
Some of these scientists, while looking for control populations of less man-made-chemically laden humans, have discovered that people such as the Inuit, living simple lifestyles at the back of nowhere, are some of the most burdened, because of their position at the top of the aquatic foodchain; consuming high fat animal diets.
What an experiment we are performing on the world!
Their Wingspread Consensus Statement can be found here:
It appears to be a milder, more recent version of the 1991 statement in the appendix of the book.
The Great Lakes, collectively the world's largest body of fresh water, have not been spared: http://greatlakesecho.org/2012/10/29/the-great-lakes-have-some-of-the-worlds-gre....
Yes. In fact Colborn's original job was to study all of the data coming from the Great Lakes and try to observe the patterns.
I've been eliminating plastics from my personal environment, particularly in food storages and preparation. I just read an article recommending to not use plastic coffee makers, and I'm slapping my forehead. Duh!! Hadn't even registered that my tea water is passing through all that heated plastic, though the quality of tea is demonstably poorer than that made from tea-kettle boiled water. I don't have good alternatives at work and at my cabin for heating water.
Apparently, facial and body scrubs with "micro beads" of plastic are thought to be a large part of Great Lakes' plastic problem. I recall using an almond scrub years ago, but I think the pieces (of the shell?) were too sharp to use on face.
Yeah. I see. Plastic is made to last. So let's pour it down our drains and into the world.
Speaking of cosmetics, DEHP (This compound is the most common of the class of phthalate plasticizers) is a culprit now coming to light associated with pre-diabetes insulin resistance and inhibiting male hormomal development. It's been banned in many countries, but not in the US.
It's in a lot of topical products and in much disposable medical equipment such as IV bags and tubing. Exposure is especially contra-indicated in newborns, male fetuses, diabetics.
Macrobiotics (a natural lifestyle and diet approach) recommends using alternatives to plastics such as:
Earthenware kettles for boiling water. (Some herbalist catalogs sell these.) They are quite fragile and look a little weird but they do work and the boiled water tastes great.
Non-plastic thermoses...these are slowly coming onto the market.
Some folks have begun to blog about the plastic-free life, and share lots of tips:
I finally got my rocket stove constructed for cooking purposes and fired it up this past weekend. Brewed tea and made breakfast. Lighting and fuel feeding will take a bit of practice, but it's straightforward. Very much like the tin can stoves we used at Girl Scout camp.
I replaced the Mr. Coffee style brewer at work with a metal electric kettle. It brews a much tastier pot of tea, and faster too. Well, the electric part is faster. The steeping takes the same amount of time, but starts with boiling water rather than water run over a heating coil.
The Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015 requires manufacturers to eliminate microbeads from their products by 2017 and stop selling them by July 2018.
I'm encouraged. Bipartisan, non-political decision making to eliminate a very dangerous pollutant.
Britain is considering a microbead ban after a Parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee report on them:
I'm new to the group, but wanted to chime in here.
I am also trying to eliminate plastic if/where possible. It is so difficult! I have to admit that I do like still my Tupperware, though. I won't likely be buying more, however.
I have a pretty (blue) metal stove-top kettle that I picked up a few months back. I donated the plastic-outlined one.
I used to bring home and wash any plastic utensils I picked up (I hated throwing them all out!), but I kept picking up and bringing home more and more! I finally put a few of each utensil in a Ziplock bag (ugh! more plastic! But now, I mostly wash and reuse those, too) and carry them around with me so I'm at least not picking up more. I do use and reuse and reuse again and again until they break.
I had heard that microbeads were supposed to be phased out. That is a good thing!
>15 LibraryCin: Welcome to the group!
There is a tactile insufficiency using plastic utensils. My first move at carrying my own stuff began when I went to meetings and hot beverages were offered in Styrofoam. Yuck! I can taste the Styrofoam as it melts into the tea. I started with a china mug and then a spoon to stir, rather than those dorky plastic stirrers that don't really do the job.
And I drink a lot of water; thankfully my tap water is still good. I have a glass bottle to keep in the refrigerator. Water bottled in plastic doesn't taste as good.
I finally discovered a local group of environmentalists and was pleased to see that some of these mannerisms/quirks are more widespread than just outlier me. Our nametags are made of cardboard and twine and are meant to be worn over and over again.
>16 2wonderY: I finally discovered a local group of environmentalists and was pleased to see that some of these mannerisms/quirks are more widespread than just outlier me.
Haha! I do sometimes feel that way, as well!
A brief Trash Tracker questionnaire:
A talking point for those who argue for oil exploitation so that we can be energy independent
"It takes 17 million barrels of oil annually to produce all the water bottles used globally."
Kenya is due to ban plastic bags in September. Pressure for this came not only from within but also from some neighbouring countries who felt that Kenya was not just polluting itself but polluting them as well.
Mind you, there is also adverse pressure from within. Small shopkeepers and market stall holders (who form a much greater part of the retail trade than supermarkets) feel this will hit their business badly. Plastic bag manufacturers and casual sellers also fear loss of revenue. Also there are politicians behind most businesses here, and they will resist anything that threatens their vested interests. We saw this very clearly a few years ago when an enlightened Minister of Transport introduced new rules to make public transport safer. He was quickly removed and the minibus transport sector went back to lethal business as usual.
Bioplastic bags endanger life at ocean floor
Major American aquaria stand together to reduce the plastic soup
Nineteen of the largest aquaria in the United States have launched the In Our Hands campaign. This coalition of aquaria is tackling the plastic pollution of the ocean and has announced that each member will stop its use of single-use plastic items. (me: It's about dang time!)
The aquaria have also announced that they are stopping handing out plastic bags forthwith. Further, they are starting to phase out plastic straws, and all plastic bottles will be banned from all their cafeterias by 2020. They will work with their suppliers to dramatically reduce the quantity of plastic packaging in their souvenir shops.
These companies’ mission is marine conservation and education, and as such they strive to set an example to their visitors in their waste management. In our hands aims to change the consumer behaviour of the more than 20 million visitors to the aquaria every year while raising awareness about the plastic soup. Special exhibits which explain plastic pollution to visitors and show alternatives to plastic and ways to reduce plastic consumption should also help.
One of the initiators of In Our Hands is the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The aquarium’s spokesperson, Ken Peterson, said to the Mercury News that the coalition will encourage zoos, sports teams, airports and other companies to join the movement.
Maria Westerbos, director of the Plastic Soup Foundation, said “Companies that exhibit the underwater world that they wish to protect are perfectly placed to set a good example and to motivate other organisations to dramatically reduce their plastic footprint.”
In Our Hands (pass it on!)
Kenya banned plastic bags as of last Monday. The first week seemed to go well. Plastic bags disappeared from the shops and even from many of the informal markets. People used cloth bags and woven baskets, fruit and veg were sold in net bags, meat in grease-proof paper, things were wrapped in old newspapers... reminds me a bit of my childhood in UK! The national environmental agency has teams of inspectors out checking, and there are huge fines (tens of thousands of US dollars) for supermarkets and other instititutions if they breach the ban.
>21 johnthefireman: Wow--not just white plastic shopping bags!
As child, we mostly came home for lunch, but I remember sandwiches wrapped in wax paper. The wax can't have been much better than a plastic baggie? How does parchment paper stack up to wax paper, I wonder? (My kids weren't ever keen on bread--perhaps because of early Asian diet--so their lunches were often soups and hot leftovers in small stainless thermoses. Talk about sustainable--I passed those thermoses on as Craigslist freebies to live again in other kids' lunchboxes! Even the dented one was still functional and gratefully received!)
Here's hoping plastic bags become so rare that they become collectibles.
In elementary school, our shoes had leather soles, but that changed and quickly. Most artificial soles wear quickly and can't be fixed. Just read an article (apparently well-sourced) that suggests we didn't do our health any good by the switch. (Could that be true??)
Studies Show What Happens To The Human Body When We Walk Barefoot On Earth
Arjun Walia | August 24, 2017
Grounding, or ‘earthing,’ as some people call it, involves placing your feet directly on the ground without shoes or socks as a barrier. The logic behind this practice relates to the intense negative charge carried by the Earth. This charge is electron-rich, theoretically serving as a good supply of antioxidants and free-radical destroying electrons.
...blood urea concentrations are lower in subjects who are earthed (connected to the earth potential with the use of copper wire) during physical exercise and that earthing during exercise resulted in improved exercise recovery...
...How You Can Get Grounded
We all spend most of our time walking on the earth wearing shoes with rubber or plastic soles. These materials are insulators, used to insulate electrical wires. They also disconnect you from the Earth’s electron flow, which we are supposed to (naturally) be connected to. If you wear leather-soled shoes (or vegan leather!) or walk barefoot on sand, grass, soil, concrete, or ceramic tile, you will be grounded. If you walk on asphalt, wood, rubber, plastic, vinyl, tar, or tarmac you will not be grounded.
So the next time you are outside, take off your shoes! You can also use conductive systems while sleeping, working, or spending time indoors for a more convenient and lifestyle-friendly approach....
Video: German man in full Medieval costume explaining how people used to walk in the Middle Ages, before the advent of fixed-sole shoes.
Plastic fibres found in tap water around the world, study reveals
Exclusive: Tests show billions of people globally are drinking water contaminated by plastic particles, with 83% of samples found to be polluted
Damian Carrington | 6 September 20
Invisibles: the plastic inside us
Chris Tyree & Dan Morrison
There are many profound issues with drinking water. Plastic is in some ways the least of it.
Sadly, I can envision the sellers of bottled water hyping this up, though. :-(
...New studies find microplastics in salt from the US, Europe and China, adding to evidence that plastic pollution is pervasive in the environment
Jessica Glenza | Sept 8, 2017
...Sherri Mason, a professor at the State University of New York at Fredonia, who led the latest research into plastic contamination in salt. Plastics are “ubiquitous, in the air, water, the seafood we eat, the beer we drink, the salt we use – plastics are just everywhere”.
...Her research looked at 12 different kinds of salt (including 10 sea salts) bought from US grocery stores around the world...
Mason found Americans could be ingesting upwards of 660 particles of plastic each year, if they follow health officials’ advice to eat 2.3 grammes of salt per day. However, most Americans could be ingesting far more, as health officials believe 90% of Americans eat too much salt.
The health impact of ingesting plastic is not known. Scientists have struggled to research the impact of plastic on the human body, because they cannot find a control group of humans who have not been exposed.
“Everybody is being exposed to some degree at any given time, from gestation through death,” researchers from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Arizona State University wrote in 2013. “Detectable levels of the plastic bisphenol A have been found in the urine of 95% of the adult population of the United States.” ...
Less than a month after Kenya banned plastic bags there are already media reports that the visible plastic waste in Lake Nakuru has reduced.
There is also talk now of banning disposable plastic bottles. A couple of conservation areas have already banned visitors from bringing them in to the park areas, and there is talk in the media that the government is planning to introduce a nationwide ban in due course.
Guess What's Showing Up In Our Shellfish? One Word: Plastics
Ken Christensen | September 19, 2017
...In 2016, (Dudas, shellfish biologist) at Vancouver Island University planted thousands of clams and oysters across coastal British Columbia and let them soak in the sand and saltwater of the Strait of Georgia. Three months later, they dissolved hundreds of them with chemicals, filtered out the biodegradable matter and looked at the remaining material under a microscope. Inside this Pacific Northwest culinary staple, they found a rainbow of little plastic particles.
...In 2013, (Ross, director of the Vancouver Aquarium's Ocean Pollution Research Program) began sampling the coast of British Columbia for microplastics. The researchers found up to 9,200 particles of microplastic per cubic meter of seawater — about the equivalent of emptying a salt shaker into a large moving box.
...the majority of microplastics in Ross's samples resembled those showing up in Dudas' shellfish. They're showing up by the thousands along Puget Sound's shorelines, too. They're microfibers.
...many of the fibers ending up in the ocean are starting their journey much closer to home — probably in your home laundry machine.
Outdoor gear manufacturer Patagonia found that the average synthetic jacket releases 1.7 grams of microfibers per load of laundry. Each load may generate hundreds of thousands of fibers, which can slip through filters on washing machines and wastewater treatment plants and eventually make their way into ocean waters.
...Improved filters may be one way to stop ocean-bound microfibers, Crook (chief product officer at Mountain Equipment Co-op, one of Canada's biggest outdoor retailers) says, but he's looking to Ross' data for other information, like whether some types of fibers are ending up in the ocean more than others. The data could help start a conversation about creating industry-wide standards around fiber shedding...
...The clams and oysters in Dudas' study contained an average of eight microplastic particles each (after three months exposure)...
In this sustainability group in all our future postings, I look forward to seeing mostly postings of the "problem AND solution" variety. Each year here in this Sustainability group, stop yourself every once in awhile to see if you are falling into into the trap of posting only about problems. If so, deal with that.
For those who don't recognize importance of plastics issue, below is a potentially huge impact from plastic pollution--rafting by nonindigenous species as revealed by tsunami debris. (Deal with that.)
James T. Carlton et al. 2017 Tsunami-driven rafting: Transoceanic species dispersal and implications for marine biogeography. Science 29 Sep 2017: Vol. 357, Issue 6358, pp. 1402-1406. DOI: 10.1126/science.aao1498. http://science.sciencemag.org/content/357/6358/1402
Abstract. The 2011 East Japan earthquake generated a massive tsunami that launched an extraordinary transoceanic biological rafting event with no known historical precedent. We document 289 living Japanese coastal marine species from 16 phyla transported over 6 years on objects that traveled thousands of kilometers across the Pacific Ocean to the shores of North America and Hawai‘i. Most of this dispersal occurred on nonbiodegradable objects, resulting in the longest documented transoceanic survival and dispersal of coastal species by rafting. Expanding shoreline infrastructure has increased global sources of plastic materials available for biotic colonization and also interacts with climate change–induced storms of increasing severity to eject debris into the oceans. In turn, increased ocean rafting may intensify species invasions.
Almost 300 marine species hitched a ride on tsunami debris from Japan to the US
They traveled more than 4,300 miles across the ocean
Alessandra Potenza | Sep 28, 2017
Zero tolerance of plastics pollution in oceans proposed.
PT Torabika Mayora
Procter & Gamble
Six international brands are responsible for nearly 54 percent of plastic waste found in Freedom Island.
International Coastal Cleanup Day
Break Free From Plastic, the global movement working to stop plastic pollution for good is taking coastal cleanups a step further – by naming the brands most responsible for plastic pollution found on our beaches and coastlines.
Some very sad photos and statistics:
The Marine Conservancy has published that the estimated decomposition rates of most plastic debris found on coasts are:
Foamed plastic cups: 50 years
Plastic beverage holder: 400 years
Disposable diapers: 450 year
Plastic bottle: 450
Fishing line: 600 years.
UN resolution calling for targets to tackle ocean plastic waste rejected by US, China and India
It is thought our seas now contain about 51 trillion microplastic particles – 500 times more than the number of stars in our galaxy.
This pollution is harming more than 600 species worldwide amid what many are now regarding as the sixth mass extinction of life on Earth.
Countries did agree that the world needs to stop plastics from entering the sea, but the final resolution published on Wednesday has no timetable and is not legally binding.
I often attach a (plastic...) bag to my dog treat dispenser when walking country roads and Great Lakes beaches to pick up debris, mostly plastic. (Easily stabbed with my walking poles! :-) It makes a difference I can see, and I enjoy subsequent walks until the stuff builds up again.
I was shocked a year ago, though, to see all the plastic on the beach when I wandered a bit away from my wedding party on Mexico's Mayan Riviera. I stooped as usual to pick up a few pieces, but thousands of small pieces were incorporated into the substrate at least several inches deep. I can imagine other turtles and sea-life in similar predicaments as photo above...
I learned from my dad and the Girl Scouts to always leave the outdoors better when you leave it, so we've always gathered up debris as well. I've helped on the Ohio River clean sweep a couple of years. I even fashioned a kinda snowshoe so as to be able to cross the mudflats. Styrofoam and bottles seem to be the primary plastics there.
I actually rescued a kitten in a ditch by the side of the road. He had found one of those Icee containers with the large domed plastic top; stuck his head in and couldn't pull it out. Grrrr.
To Burst The Bottle Bubble, Fountains In Paris Now Flow With Sparkling Water
That's right: a public fountain that serves up sparkling water. France might be known for its bottled water — take Evian from the Alps, or a bottle of bubbly Perrier. But in Paris, the mayor is pushing people to give up the bottles in favor of tap water from the city supply. One way the city is trying to do so is to make its water more appealing.
$180bn investment in plastic factories feeds global packaging binge
The new facilities – being built by corporations like Exxon Mobile Chemical and Shell Chemical – will help fuel a 40% rise in plastic production in the next decade, according to experts, exacerbating the plastic pollution crisis that scientist warn already risks “near permanent pollution of the earth.”
IMPORTANT: plastic bottle bombs (Drano, foil, water) are a real hazard, so inspect capped bottles carefully before handling--
'Plogging' is a Swedish fitness trend that combines running with picking up litter
Feb 13, 2018
...pick up litter while out running...
It's called 'plogging'—a portmanteau of jogging and the Swedish plocka upp, meaning 'pick up.'
...Plogging combines going for a run with intermittent squatting or lunging (to collect rubbish), which actually sounds like a pretty satisfying workout. According to (Swedish fitness app) Lifesum, a typical user will burn 288 calories in 30 minutes of plogging, which is more or less the same as what's burned off while jogging.
As with all fitness trends, there are plenty of #plogging pics on Instagram, offering a glimpse of what this trend looks like IRL. Ploggers take plastic bags along with them so they can store the collected litter they find along their route.
...Lifesum has also teamed up with the non-profit Keep America Beautiful to provide an online resource for ploggers who want to log the rubbish they've collected...
margd: WE 'plalk' our dog almost every day: my walking sticks are great for spearing/lifting litter I'd rather not touch directly! ;-)
Yeah, I pick up trash when I do my 3-mile state park mountain walk. Our local rattlesnakes woke up from hibernation last week. February? Kind of early ... the new normal.
Now, speaking of avoiding plastic, here's an idea with potentially huge legs:
5 ways the United Kingdom is leading the fight against plastic pollution
19 Feb 2018
1. Queen Elizabeth bans disposable plastic at royal estates
2. Restaurants ditch plastic straws
3. Scotland announces nationwide bans on plastic straws and plastic cotton buds (whatever they are :-)
4. The UK says no to microbeads
5. Supermarkets go plastic free...chain Iceland... plans to eliminate plastic packaging for all Iceland branded products...Other companies such as Tesco and Aldi UK have announced similar plans...
Beat Plastic Pollution is the theme of World Environment Day 2018...(June 5)
Re: cotton buds
We call them cotton swabs and they used to have wood or cardboard stems; now replaced with plastic straws. I just checked and mine are cardboard.
An interesting potential by-product of a plastics ban:
Plastic bans worldwide will dent oil demand growth, says BP (Guardian)
8 steps to solve the ocean’s plastic problem
Nina Jensen | March 2, 2018
...It was a sad but important day when a Cuvier's beaked whale was beached on Sotra in Norway with 30 plastic bags in its stomach.
...Every year, an estimated 8 million tons of plastic end up in the ocean. A product that was once lauded as a stroke of genius has become one of the fastest growing environmental problems in the world. It can be hard to imagine how much 8 million tons actually is. To put it in perspective, it’s roughly equal to the weight of the entire population of Spain and the United Kingdom. The figure is estimated to rise to 60 tons per minute by 2050 if today's plastic use and lack of adequate waste management continues...
Eight essential steps we can take
1. We must reduce our plastic dependency...
2. Increased producer responsibility...
3. Increase fees and taxes on polluting plastics...
4. Increased waste management where the problem is greatest...
5. Implementation of the zero vision for ocean plastic...
6. Increased mapping, surveillance and research...
7. Stop the flow of plastic waste into the sea...
8. Increased funds for clean-up...
Interesting perspective from the BBC
War on plastic may do more harm than good, warns think tank
It reminds me a little of biofuels. At first they were welcomed because they could potentially reduce the usage of fossil fuels. Then concerns began to be raised about the amount of arable land, particularly in the poorer parts of the world, which was being turned over to producing biofuel instead of food, and the forests which were being cut down (again mainly in poorer areas where there is little meaningful government regulation).
In chapter 16 of Harper Lee's novel To Kill A Mockingbird, here's a description of the materials people used in the American South of the 1930s to package their lunches:
The author says that "bits of newspaper, cellophane, and wrapping paper" were used. Nowadays, people could use waxed paper, for example.
Biodegradable waxed paper is sold by a number of manufacturers. Here is one: https://buy.ifyoucare.com/Products
Some of their products are both recycled and recyclable. Some of their products are biodegradable in commercial composting facilities, and some are biodegradable in a home compost setup.
Here is the current BBC report on plastic microparticles found in bottled water:
2wonderY and everyone, your above link is not working. At this BBC news page, the link to the full scientific findings on bottled water is near the bottom of the page.
The science team at Orb Media developed this initial data set. A major source of the microplastic appears to be a combination of the bottle cap plastic liners and possibly the bottling buildings themselves.
Previous tests on tap water, however, reveal many plastic microplarticles in many tap water sources. I look forward to hearing what the UN-certified Berkey water filter manufacturer has to say about the performance of their water filtration products in filtering out microplastics from drinking water.
On vacation trip recently, experienced the neatest paper cup for coffee--sort of corrugated with liner, all thin cardboard, I think? It lasted two weeks in secondary use in bathroom, though was getting a little soft--probably not up for hot liquids--by end! White (bleached), though.
Interesting that two 11YO Canadian girls petitioned Starbucks to act (below): https://www.change.org/p/starbucks-we-know-you-can-breakfreefromplastic-and-make-a-bettercup. Canadian coffee shop, Tim Horton's uses paper cup, I think, with insulating sleeve--might/not be entirely paper, but enough that it has contest in which one unrolls rim to reveal prize (or not). Recyclable, at least onsite: http://www.timhortons.com/ca/en/about/faq/can-the-tim-hortons-cup-be-recycled.ph...
Starbucks commits $10 million to recyclable, compostable cups
Stephen Cohen, Seattle | March 21, 2018
...commit $10 million to a partnership with environmentally focused investment firm Closed Loop Partners and its Center for the Circular Economy. That partnership will launch the "NextGen Cup Challenge" providing grants to entrepreneurs for research into fully recyclable and compostable cups.
...we are declaring a moon shot for sustainability to work together as an industry to bring a fully recyclable and compostable cup to the market, with a three-year ambition."
...making straws greener, in the future
...it would work with the National League of Cities in advocating for legislation and best practices to widen access to recycling programs across the U.S.
The announcement came after an online petition started by two Canadian girls, calling on Starbucks to make a more environmentally friendly cup, raised over 310,000 signatures...
"making straws greener"
That's right! I remember paper straws.
However, I think the saner route is to move away from single use materials altogether.
You're right that saner route is to move away from single use materials altogether, but there will always be a need?
My son keeps buying reusable coffee cups etc, but rarely seems to have them with him when he buys a second time... My cupboards (and Sally Ann's, no doubt, where I often take extras) are full to bursting! :(
I have stainless steel straws that I clean with teeny brush and bleach water or dishwasher, but not quite confident that they're clean enough to offer a guest. Not that we use more than an occasional straw--that 200-count box DH bought eons ago is still with us...
Bali's battle against plastic pollution
The BBC story was prompted by British diver, Rich Horner's video which showed him swimming in Manta Point, a famous diving site about 20km from the popular tourist island.
Krill can digest ocean plastics: 'That is certainly not good news at all'
The headline is misleading. The krill do not digest by changing the chemical components; it's a mechanical breakdown, creating even smaller plastic particles.
Good intentions on my part, but only a C on execution.... :(
Helps me to remember that my moment of convenience could live on for decades and centuries.
>58 margd: I have stainless steel straws that I clean with teeny brush and bleach water or dishwasher, but not quite confident that they're clean enough to offer a guest. Not that we use more than an occasional straw--that 200-count box DH bought eons ago is still with us...
I actually have a package of about 200 plastic ones that I bought about 25 (or more!) years ago. I use them rarely. But, the past few years, I also wash and reuse, until they get a hole.
Plastic pollution within the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is increasing exponentially and at a faster rate than in surrounding waters.
I was surprised how much plastic debris came from fishing: eel trap cones, oyster spacers, ropes, and fishing nets. Floats.
Also, wooden pallets, etc., though these will decompose relatively quickly, and are 'natural' as a tree would be, though no doubt we generate more than Nature does!
L. Lebreton et al. 2018. Evidence that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is rapidly accumulating plastic. Nature. Scientific Reports volume 8, Article number: 4666 (2018) doi:10.1038/s41598-018-22939-w https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-22939-w
Ocean plastic can persist in sea surface waters, eventually accumulating in remote areas of the world’s oceans. Here we characterise and quantify a major ocean plastic accumulation zone formed in subtropical waters between California and Hawaii: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP). Our model, calibrated with data from multi-vessel and aircraft surveys, predicted at least 79 (45–129) thousand tonnes of ocean plastic are floating inside an area of 1.6 million km2; a figure four to sixteen times higher than previously reported. We explain this difference through the use of more robust methods to quantify larger debris. Over three-quarters of the GPGP mass was carried by debris larger than 5 cm and at least 46% was comprised of fishing nets. Microplastics accounted for 8% of the total mass but 94% of the estimated 1.8 (1.1–3.6) trillion pieces floating in the area. Plastic collected during our study has specific characteristics such as small surface-to-volume ratio, indicating that only certain types of debris have the capacity to persist and accumulate at the surface of the GPGP. Finally, our results suggest that ocean plastic pollution within the GPGP is increasing exponentially and at a faster rate than in surrounding waters.
Boxed water.... Milk cartons are recyclable, right?
(Milk used to come in reusable glass bottles...)
Cartons look like heavier weight than plastic to ship to (China?) to recycle.
Plastics-in-bottled-water might propel more consumers to "boxed water"?
(Except fragments were same type plastic as the caps, and all but one water-box (looks like like juice box) had caps.)
Can boxed water compete against bottled water?
Water companies are turning to environmentally-friendly packaging - and sales have doubled in the last two years.
Posted January 2, 2018 (~2-min video)
(I'll save you the effort, 2wonderY: AARGH! ;-)
I’ve had a four year experiment going, with a regular plastic to-go cup and a biodegradable cup side by side. Both holding soil and water and sitting in the sun and exposed to weather. Until recently, no visible changes. Last week I noted that the second set is breaking down. The cup has split vertically in four places. The cap though, is breaking into many small particles.
I finished reading Junk Raft, or rather listening to the audio. The travel part of the story has some amazing scenes - a mid-ocean meet-up with Roz Savage to exchange food and water supplies, in particular.
But the bulk of the book is educational. Most I'm educated about, but there was some new material in the last chapter. So I'll have to order the physical book.
Here's an interesting product meant to collect floating trash at shoreline locations such as marinas - the Seabin.
But the creators see it as mostly an educational tool, not a solution.
National Geographic posts more of an advertisement than a news or science story:
Evian has launched its circular economy initiative.
"This January, evian made an announcement that changes the conversation, turning talk into action with a commitment to make all of its plastic bottles from 100% recycled plastic by 2025.
Of course, for this to work evian needs a reliable supply of recycled plastic, so it is collaborating with governments and the waste processing industry to reinvigorate the collection of plastic.
Evian’s approach could completely transform the way we think about plastics: they have imagined a world without plastic bottle waste, and with it the prospect of a truly guilt-free healthy beverage."
No mention of the health issues connected to plastic's endocrine-disrupting properties and pesticide affinities.
ETA: A related radio report on BBC is fascinating if you can find it online, e.g., soft plastic bags are used for soft loaves of bread, and crinkly plastic for chips, etc. The kind of plastic measurably affects whether we think chips are fresh or stale!
Interesting story below on the history and future of plastics:
A brief history of plastics, natural and synthetic
Laurence Knight | 17 May 2014
Plastic Bag Found at the Bottom of World's Deepest Ocean Trench
Even one of the most remote places on Earth couldn't hide from the scourge of plastic trash.
Sarah Gibbens | May 11, 2018
...A recent study revealed that a plastic bag, like the kind given away at grocery stores, is now the deepest known piece of plastic trash, found at a depth of 36,000 feet inside the Mariana Trench.
...Last February, a separate study showed that the Mariana Trench has higher levels of overall pollution in certain regions than some of the most polluted rivers in China. The study's authors theorized that the chemical pollutants in the trench may have come in part from the breakdown of plastic in the water column....
Canada proposes international plastics reform
Marc Montgomery | 11 May, 2018
Canada will host the upcoming G7 meeting in Quebec City this June. One of the things expected to be proposed by Canada during the gathering is a “plastics charter”
...Critics say Canada’s plans would carry more weight however, if this country were itself doing more...
The BBC has an article today about the hidden costs of not using plastics, particularly in the food industry. I haven’t read the whole thing yet, but there are pieces that need to be challenged.
Posting it here for later reference and other inputs.
On Lake Erie, we painted our white styrofoam floats. Otherwise,seagulls would peck them to bits. We think they mistook white styrofoam for bellies of dead fish:
Marine Worms Are Eating Plastic Now
Michael Allen | August 13, 2018
In the burgeoning plastisphere, these worms are plastivores.
...Tamara Galloway, an ecotoxicologist at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom...the finding is bad news for the worms and for the wider marine ecosystem. “Our own research has shown that sediments contaminated with plastic particles take longer to pass through the gut of polychaete worms than normal food, leading to a reduction in growth.”
She adds that since marine worms are an important food source for many fish and wading birds, this could have consequences across the food chain.
These polychaetes, which usually live in muddy sediment in shallow water, were using their strong teeth to crush and burrow into the plastic buoys. White styrofoam particles were scattered throughout their burrows and were clearly visible in their digestive tracts through their transparent bodies...
We won’t save the Earth with a better kind of disposable coffee cup
George Monbiot | 6 Sep 2018
...The ideology of consumption is so prevalent that it has become invisible: it is the plastic soup in which we swim...
Going after the Pacific Garbage Patch
Giant plastic catcher heads for Pacific Ocean clean-up http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-45438736
Hoping to eliminate it by 2040.
On the question of parchment paper versus waxed paper, parchment paper is more expensive because it has to stand up to the high heat of ovens ... it's designed for baking. Otherwise, both are moderately reusable.
An experiment to examine the effects of plastic microparticles on mosquitos, starting with their larvae:
The problem is plastic oceans. The solution may be the plastic-eating machine invented by the organization Ocean Cleanup. Their current prototype should have already been deployed to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. If it works, then roughly every seven weeks, the trash will be taken out by boat and recycled. Link:
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