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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...
Public 'back' taxes to tackle single-use plastic waste

Public 'back' taxes to tackle single-use plastic waste

Science
There is high public support for using the tax system to reduce waste from single-use plastics, the Treasury says. A consultation on how taxes could tackle the rising problem and promote recycling attracted 162,000 responses.Treasury Minister Robert Jenrick said the government was looking at "smart, intelligent incentives" to get plastic producers to take responsibility.Reports suggest a levy on manufacturers and some disposable plastic products may be introduced in the Budget.It could include measures such as a tax on single-use coffee cups. What are the alternatives to plastic? Two-thirds of plastic food pots unrecyclable 50 nations 'curbing plastic pollution' Responding to the consultation, the Treasury said it wanted to promote the greater use of recy...
Plastic food pots and trays are often unrecyclable, say councils

Plastic food pots and trays are often unrecyclable, say councils

Science
Most of the plastic food containers that householders wash out after use and put in the recycling bin cannot actually be recycled, it has emerged.The mixture of plastics used in many yoghurt pots, ready meal trays and other containers limits the ability of councils to recycle them. The Local Government Association says that only a third can be recycled. The rest get sent to landfill.Up to 80% of packaging could be made more recyclable, the industry said.The British Plastics Federation said companies are working to use more recyclable containers and called for a financial incentive for manufacturers to use more recyclable plastics. Media playback is unsupported on your device According...