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Tag: plastic

Recycling: Where is the plastic waste mountain?

Recycling: Where is the plastic waste mountain?

Science
A year ago, experts warned that the UK could face a mountain of waste plastic as China imposed a ban on waste imports.In recent years, the UK has heavily relied on China to take our unwanted plastic packaging. Three years ago, the UK was exporting half a million tonnes of plastic to China and Hong Kong - accounting for almost two-thirds of all our plastic sent abroad.China introduced its ban on "foreign garbage" as part of a move to upgrade its industries 12 months ago. At the time, the UK recycling industry warned that the decision would be a "game-changer" and that it would be a struggle to deal with the country's waste.Where is that plastic mountain?Well, it hasn't appeared - partly thanks to other countries taking our waste p...
Researchers develops plastic from seawater algae

Researchers develops plastic from seawater algae

Science
Dec. 24 (UPI) -- Researchers at the Tel Aviv University are working on a new biodegradable plastic made from microorganisms that feed on seawater algae. "Our new process produces 'plastic' from marine microorganisms that completely recycle into organic waste," said Alexander Golberg, of Tel Aviv University's Porter School of Environmental and Earth Sciences. Factories already "produce this type of bioplastic in commercial quantities, but they use plants that require agricultural land and fresh water," he added. "The process we propose will enable countries with a shortage of fresh water, such as Israel, China and India, to switch from petroleum-derived plastics to biodegradable plastics" made from algae microorganisms in seawater, he added. "We are now conducting basic research to find th...
California becomes 1st state to restrict restaurants on handing out plastic straws

California becomes 1st state to restrict restaurants on handing out plastic straws

Technology
California has become the first state in the nation to pass a law that will ban restaurants from automatically giving out plastic straws to help protect the environment. “Plastic has helped advance innovation in our society, but our infatuation with single-use convenience has led to disastrous consequences,” Gov. Jerry Brown said in a statement upon signing the bill Thursday. “Ocean plastic is estimated to kill millions of marine animals every year." The law, which will go into effect Jan. 1, applies only to full-service, dine-in restaurants, not fast-food establishments or other businesses. It sets a fine of $ 25 per day for restaurants that violate the rule, with the total not to exceed $ 300 annually. The initiative is the first of its kind, officials said. ...
All the plastic you can and cannot recycle

All the plastic you can and cannot recycle

Science
Most people are trying their best to recycle plastic - but the many different ways in which recycling is collected by different councils across the UK has left them confused. What can be recycled and what can't? We are putting more plastic in the recycling than ever before - but pictures of sea life tangled in all manner of waste plastic mean the pressure is on to do more. The government is now considering changing the way plastic is recycled in England. In the rest of the UK the strategy for recycling is a devolved issue. Each council collects their plastic recycling differently. BBC analysis shows there are 39 different sets of rules for what can be put in plastic recycling collections: Most collect bottles Others col...
Plastic pollution: 'Stop flushing contact lenses down the loo'

Plastic pollution: 'Stop flushing contact lenses down the loo'

Science
Researchers in the US have been investigating the final journeys taken by disposable contact lenses. They found 15-20% of US users simply flick these fiddly lenses down the drain via the bathroom sink or toilet. The Arizona State University study suggests that much of the plastic material then ends up in waste water treatment plants.The lenses are consequently spread on farmland as sewage sludge, increasing plastic pollution in the environment.Around 45m people wear contacts in the US, while rates in other countries vary, with between 5 and 15% of the population in Europe using them. Over the last decade, the use of softer plastic contact lenses has grown rapidly with people using daily, weekly or monthly disposables in greater numbers than ever before. T...