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Plastics Related Stories in the Media

This topic contains 21 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Adrian Coira 5 days ago.

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Frogfall frogfall

Plastics Related Stories in the Media

06/04/2018 at 21:34

I wondered if there could be a thread for recording links to plastics related stories in the general media (newspapers, TV channels, podcasts). It could be stories about the plastics industry, or about plastic polution, or existing methods of dealing with waste, etc.

I’ll start off with this story from The Guardian in December 2017:

$180bn investment in plastic factories feeds global packaging binge

Colossal funding in manufacturing plants by fossil fuel companies will increase plastic production by 40%, risking permanent pollution of the earth

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dedicated
07/04/2018 at 23:53
3

50 minute Podcast from BBC world Service

How Do We Cure Our Plastic Addiction?

We have a problem with plastic. We’re making too much of it and not re-using and re-cycling enough of it. Plastic is contaminating our oceans and polluting our world. Until this year China took two thirds of the world’s plastic waste, but now it’s saying it will no longer be the world’s dumping ground. The Chinese ban on low quality plastic has begun to bite with policy makers urgently looking for new solutions. So what happens now? What has the situation done to expose the way our plastics are recycled? And will developments result in a watershed moment where we finally re-evaluate our plastic consumption? Join Carrie Gracie and a panel of experts discuss how we cure our addiction to plastic.

dedicated
09/04/2018 at 23:24
2

From the Guardian in February 2017

Campaigners reject plastics-to-fuel projects: but are they right?

A rural residential community is not the right site to be testing this technology,” says Naomi Joyce, a solicitor from Appley Bridge, Lancashire. Born and raised in the village, Joyce helped to lead its fight against a proposed waste-to-fuel plant, which had hoped to convert up to 6,000 tonnes of plastic rubbish into diesel, gasoline and other products each year.

Worried that harmful fumes would pollute their valley, locals rallied against the proposal – signing petitions, writing to the council and protesting in the street. In January last year, the project was shelved.

Proponents of the rapidly growing plastics-to-fuel sector, tipped to be worth $1.9bn (£1.5bn) by 2024, say their technology will help to keep plastic rubbish out of our oceans and away from landfill. By melting non-recyclable plastics into liquid fuel, they claim to offer a new and vital solution to the planet’s plastic waste crisis.

Grassroots opponents disagree – and they are getting in the industry’s way. After Appley Bridge in the UK, the latest protest is taking place in the Australian city of Canberra.

Tags: fuel pyrolysis protests

dedicated
09/04/2018 at 23:30
2

From the Guardian in February 2017

Campaigners reject plastics-to-fuel projects: but are they right?

A rural residential community is not the right site to be testing this technology,” says Naomi Joyce, a solicitor from Appley Bridge, Lancashire. Born and raised in the village, Joyce helped to lead its fight against a proposed waste-to-fuel plant, which had hoped to convert up to 6,000 tonnes of plastic rubbish into diesel, gasoline and other products each year.

Worried that harmful fumes would pollute their valley, locals rallied against the proposal – signing petitions, writing to the council and protesting in the street. In January last year, the project was shelved.

Proponents of the rapidly growing plastics-to-fuel sector, tipped to be worth $1.9bn (£1.5bn) by 2024, say their technology will help to keep plastic rubbish out of our oceans and away from landfill. By melting non-recyclable plastics into liquid fuel, they claim to offer a new and vital solution to the planet’s plastic waste crisis.

Grassroots opponents disagree – and they are getting in the industry’s way. After Appley Bridge in the UK, the latest protest is taking place in the Australian city of Canberra.

pyrolysis

dedicated
11/04/2018 at 23:24
3

SPERM WHALE DIED AFTER EASTING 29kg OF PLASTIC WASTE

Sperm whale ‘died after consuming 29kg of plastic waste’

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dedicated
18/04/2018 at 10:55
3

I kept all my plastic for a year – the 4,490 items forced me to rethink

Daniel Webb accrued a mountain of plastic

One early evening in mid-2016, Daniel Webb, 36, took a run along the coast near his home in Margate. “It was one of those evenings where the current had brought in lots of debris,” he recalls, because as Webb looked down at the beach from his route along the promenade he noticed a mass of seaweed, tangled with many pieces of plastic. “Old toys, probably 20 years old, bottles that must have been from overseas because they had all kinds of different languages on them, bread tags, which I don’t think had been used for years …” he says. “It was very nostalgic, almost archaeological. And it made me think, as a mid-30s guy, is any of my plastic out there? Had I once dropped a toy in a stream near Wolverhampton, where I’m from, and now it was out in the sea?”
Webb decided that he would start a project to keep all the plastic he used in the course of an entire year. He would not modify his plastic consumption in that time (although he had already given up buying bottled water), and each item would be carefully washed and stored in his spare room.

dedicated
22/04/2018 at 19:10
1

From the Guardian:

The environmental scourge of plastic has shot to the top of the political agenda. We talk to the creatives and campaigners behind five imaginative new ventures

Meet the anti-plastic warriors: the pioneers with bold solutions to waste

Among retailers and manufacturers, they talk of “the Blue Planet effect”. The BBC series, screened late last year, was the moment that many of us realised the catastrophic impact our use of plastics was having on the world’s oceans. Scenes such as a hawksbill turtle snagged in a plastic sack, the albatrosses feeding their chicks plastic or the mother pilot whale grieving for her dead calf, which may have been poisoned by her contaminated milk, are impossible to unsee.

It’s a crisis that affects us all, and the facts make for dispiriting reading. If nothing changes, one study suggests that by 2050 our oceans will have more plastic swimming around, by weight, than fish. It’s already estimated that one third of fish caught in the Channel contain plastic; another piece of research found that “top European shellfish consumers” could potentially consume up to 11,000 pieces of microplastic a year.

Suddenly our use of plastics is firmly on the political and cultural agenda. While impassioned individuals have been pushing to reduce our use of plastics for a few years, the volume of the debate has been turned up dramatically in recent months.

dedicated
23/06/2018 at 13:31
1

From the BBC:
Marine plastic: Hundreds of fragments in dead seabirds

“Seabirds are starving to death on the remote Lord Howe Island, a crew filming for the BBC One documentary Drowning in Plastic has revealed. Their stomachs were so full of plastic there was no room for food. The marine biologists the team filmed are working on the island to save the birds. They captured hundreds of chicks – as they left their nests – to physically flush plastic from their stomachs and “give them a chance to survive”.

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dedicated
28/06/2018 at 22:35
1

http://www.plasticsnews.com/article/20170913/NEWS/170919960/inventor-converts-waste-plastics-to-fertilizer-fuel

Australian inventor finds a way to use anaerobic digestion on plastic and gets fertilizer and methane amongst other useful byproducts.

dedicated
09/07/2018 at 23:07
1

From the Guardian:
The man who paves India’s roads with old plastic  

The idea emerged from his workshop at the Thiagarajar College of Engineering in Madurai as far back as 2001. Disturbed by calls to ban plastic, which he believed was important to poor people, he wanted to find a solution to the growing environmental challenges it raised.

“Ban plastic and it can severely affect the quality of life for a low-income family,” he says. “But if you burn it or bury it, it’s bound to affect the environment.”

And so, he began a series of experiments in his workshop to discover effective disposal techniques. In a molten condition, he found that plastic had the property of an excellent binder. Acting on the principle that like attracts like, Dr Vasudevan looked at another chemical of similar nature: bitumen, a black tarry substance that was being combined with gravel to lay roads.

“Bitumen, a highly heterogeneous mixture of hydrocarbons is in effect, composed of polymerssimilar to plastic,” he says. When molten plastic was added to stone and bitumen mix, Dr Vasudevan found that, true to its nature, plastic stuck fast and bound both materials together.

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dedicated
12/07/2018 at 21:07
1

Can Norway help us solve the plastic crisis, one bottle at a time?
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jul/12/can-norway-help-us-solve-the-plastic-crisis-one-bottle-at-a-time

These figures don’t seem to quite stack up

Maldum is the chief executive of Infinitum, the organisation which runs Norway’s deposit return scheme for plastic bottles and cans. Its success is unarguable – 97% of all plastic drinks bottles in Norway are recycled, 92% to such a high standard that they are turned back into drinks bottles. Maldum says some of the material has been recycled more than 50 times already. Less than 1% of plastic bottles end up in the environment.

Later it says:

But even with the success of Norway’s scheme there are still challenges. Recycled material only provides 10% of the plastic used in bottles in the country, the rest – because oil is cheap – comes from newly manufactured “virgin” material.Maldum says the system produces enough high-grade material to meet 80% of demand – much of which is currently exported.

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dedicated
22/07/2018 at 22:58
0

Wave of plastic hits Dominican Republic

This was the scene on a beach in the Dominican Republic after a storm last Thursday.

We spoke to the organisation who shot the footage of the plastic on the shoreline.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/world-44914919/wave-of-plastic-hits-dominican-republic

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new
24/07/2018 at 17:56
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I would like to get to this spot and help the community to make tarps, hammocks, baskets and buckets out of this plastic for their home use.

dedicated
04/08/2018 at 13:24
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Greens claim incineration is blocking recycling

This story highlights some of the disagreements over future strategies for dealing with plastic waste.  The Green Party position (at least in England & Wales) is that incineration is a bad thing.  At the very least they talk about the addition of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, and usually there is an accompanying complaint about “toxic” emissions.

Unfortunately, the fantasy that “recycling” actually exists, at any meaningful scale, is still strong.  Statistics that include waste exports as “recycling” are still being quoted, even though we now know they are false.

Of course if incineration is prevented, and recycling is largely impossible, then that has to leave landfill as the preferred “green” temporary solution – with the phasing out of polymer manufacture as being the ultimate goal.

dedicated
04/08/2018 at 13:28
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Plastic food pots and trays are often unrecyclable, say councils

This si still understating the problem, I reckon.

dedicated
28/08/2018 at 13:16
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Map reveals ‘scourge’ of Scotland’s coastal litter problem

“We thought we would just be finding small amounts of scattered plastic, domestic rubbish but it’s not that. It’s industrial rubbish we’ve been finding. “It’s a huge amount of plastic containers that look like they have come off ships. There’s fish boxes, there’s fish nets, there’s old bits of cable. We are talking metric tonnes of stuff in some places.”

dedicated
06/09/2018 at 14:32
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We won’t save the Earth with a better kind of disposable coffee cup
– George Monbiot

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/sep/06/save-earth-disposable-coffee-cup-green

We must challenge the corporations that urge us to live in a throwaway society rather than seeking ‘greener’ ways of maintaining the status quo

dedicated
10/09/2018 at 01:30
0

Giant plastic-catcher gets towed out to tackle ocean garbage patches.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-45438736

dedicated
08/10/2018 at 21:26
0

A group of Argentinian workers occupying a closed down plastic-recycling plant wants to run it as a co-operative.

The former workers at the Bitoplast factory, near Rio Tala in the province of Buenos Aires, have been occupying the building since its closure. They claim the factory owner owes them two months’ salary.

The group has held meetings with workers experienced in taking over recovered factories to enable them to move forward as a co-op. And they’re continuing their occupation in the dark after the building’s electricity supplier cut the power due to non-payment of bills.

Now they have asked for the power to be reconnected and appealed for help from the local council to pay the outstanding bill, on the understanding it will be reimbursed once the co-op is up and running.

“The idea is to be able to start working, to take charge of the factory,” said Juan Céjas, one of the workers. “We do not want to pay the electricity but if we can subsidise this debt, we can return the money when we start working.”

“The intention is to move forward in a co-operative,” continued Juan, who was thankful for the support of numerous Argentinian worker organisations that have been sending the group supplies. “All help and support is appreciated, at least we are know we’re not forgotten.”
https://www.thenews.coop/132542/topic/business/factory-protesters-want-revive-shut-business-co-op/

dedicated
18/10/2018 at 22:08
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UK recycling industry under investigation for fraud and corruption

The plastics recycling industry is facing an investigation into suspected widespread abuse and fraud within the export system amid warnings the world is about to close the door on UK packaging waste, the Guardian has learned.

The Environment Agency (EA) has set up a team of investigators, including three retired police officers, in an attempt to deal with complaints that organised criminals and firms are abusing the system.

Six UK exporters of plastic waste have had their licences suspended or cancelled in the last three months, according to EA data. One firm has had 57 containers of plastic waste stopped at UK ports in the last three years due to concerns over contamination of waste.

dedicated
04/11/2018 at 22:27
0

Deep sea creatures found to have been feasting on plastic for more than 40 years

“Mass production of plastics only began in the 1940s and 1950s, so it would be reasonable to expect less plastic in our earlier samples, with a subsequent upward trend to the present-day levels,” said lead author Winnie Courtene-Jones, a doctoral student at the University of the Highlands and Islands and SAMS.”But we haven’t seen that. In fact, the level of microplastic ingestion is remarkably similar throughout the time series.”This data shows, for the first time, the long-term prevalence of microplastic pollution in the deep sea and indicated that microplastics may have been present on the sea floor of the Rockall Trough prior to 1976.”

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