POLLUTION  –  air food plastic etc






plastic   >> plastic post

theguardian.com    5/2021  Twenty firms produce 55% of world’s plastic waste, report reveals – Plastic Waste Makers index identifies those driving climate crisis with virgin polymer production

https://www.bbc.co.uk  17/5/2021 UK plastic waste being dumped and burned in Turkey, says Greenpeace
By Kathryn Snowdon

bbc.com/ 12/5/2021  The world’s first ‘infinite’ plastic   By Katherine Latham

“The way we normally recycle plastics is a downward spiral of waste and degraded materials, but there is another option – turning plastic back into the oil it was made from.  There is one man-made material that you can find in the earththe air and in the deepest ocean trenches. It is so durable that the majority of what has been created is still present in our ecosystem. Having made its way into the food chain, it permeates our bodies, flowing from our blood into our organs, even finding its way into the human placenta.

It is of course plastic, and this durability is also what makes the material so useful. Cables stretching across ocean floors, water pipes under the ground and packaging that keeps food fresh all rely on this property.

Efficiently recycling plastic by conventional means is notoriously difficult, and only 9% of all plastic ever made has been recycled into new plastics. But what if there was a way to turn plastic back into the stuff it was made from? The “next grand challenge” for polymer chemistry – the field responsible for the creation of plastics – is learning to undo the process by turning plastics back into oil.

This process – known as chemical recycling – has been explored as a viable alternative to conventional recycling for decades. So far, the stumbling block has been the large amount of energy it requires. This, combined with the volatile price of crude oil sometimes makes it cheaper to produce new plastic products than to recycle existing plastic.” …

physics world.com  5/2021 Recycled plastic bags make sustainable fabrics   by Isabelle Dumé

… “Polyethylene is one of the most common plastics in the world, but it is seldom found in clothing because it cannot absorb or carry away water. (Imagine wearing a plastic bag – you would feel very uncomfortable very quickly.) Now, however, researchers in the US have developed a new material spun from polyethylene that not only “breathes” better than cotton, nylon or polyester, but also has a smaller ecological footprint due to the ease with which it can be manufactured, dyed, cleaned and used.

The textile industry produces about 62 million tons of fabric each year. In the process, it consumes huge quantities of water, generates millions of tonnes of waste and accounts for 5–10% of global greenhouse gas emissions, making it one of the world’s most polluting industries. Later stages of the textile use cycle also contribute to the industry’s environmental impact. Textiles made from natural fibres such as wool, cotton, silk or linen require considerable amounts of energy and water to recycle, while textiles that are coloured or made of composite materials are hard to recycle at all. … Researchers led by Svetlana Boriskina of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) set out to produce an alternative. …”

phys.org  4/5/2021 Plastic pollution in the deep sea: A geological perspective – Geological Society of America

Plastic pollution in the deep sea: A geological perspective

nature.com  4/5/2021  Plastic pollution in the deep sea: A geological perspective  by 

Pollutants, including plastic, reach deep-sea fans through linked sediment routing systems, as well as from outside the associated catchment(s), via near-shore and shelfal currents (i.e., littoral cells), eolian transport, surface currents, and direct input from oceanic sources such as shipping and fishing.

advances.sciencemag.org  4/2021 More than 1000 rivers account for 80% of global riverine plastic emissions into the ocean – Lourens J. J. Meijer, Tim van Emmerik, Ruud van der Ent, Christian Schmidt ,Laurent Lebreton

Plastic waste increasingly accumulates in the marine environment, but data on the distribution and quantification of riverine sources required for development of effective mitigation are limited. Our model approach includes geographically distributed data on plastic waste, land use, wind, precipitation, and rivers and calculates the probability for plastic waste to reach a river and subsequently the ocean. This probabilistic approach highlights regions that are likely to emit plastic into the ocean. We calibrated our model using recent field observations and show that emissions are distributed over more rivers than previously thought by up to two orders of magnitude. We estimate that more than 1000 rivers account for 80% of global annual emissions, which range between 0.8 million and 2.7 million metric tons per year, with small urban rivers among the most polluting. These high-resolution data allow for the focused development of mitigation strategies and technologies to reduce riverine plastic emissions.

mining.com     3/2021 New fuel from plastic waste aims to replace fossil fuels in marine industry





“These days, there is a huge push for adopting circular economy practices in the industry. Everyone is trying to recycle whatever they’re putting out in the market,” said Vora. “We started talking to industry about deploying 100% percent infinitely recycled plastics and have received a lot of interest.”

“The questions are how much it will cost, what the impact on  and emissions will be, and how to get there from where we are today,” added Helms, a staff scientist at Berkeley Lab’s Molecular Foundry. “The next phase of our collaboration is to answer these questions.”

The future looks bright for infinitely recyclable plastic
A GIF showing how PDK plastic readily breaks down when put in an acidic solutio

The plastic myth and the misunderstood triangle

ndependent.co.uk   5/4/2021  Scientists produce biodegradable plastic made from fish waste –  ‘When we start the process, there is a faint kind of smell, but that disappears,’ explains Francesca Kerton, lead project investigator  by  Tom Batchelor  –  Scientists working on an alternative to polluting plastic have discovered a biodegradable material derived from fish waste that would otherwise be thrown away, which could be used in a variety of products including packaging and clothing.

theconversation.com  15/3/2021  Plastic warms the planet twice as much as aviation – here’s how to make it climate-friendly   by Laurie Wright

We’re all too aware of the consequences of plastics in the oceans and on land. However, beyond the visible pollution of our once pristine habitats, plastics are having a grave impact on the climate too. Newly published research calculates that across their lifecycle, plastics account for 3.8% of global greenhouse gas emissions. That’s almost double the emissions of the aviation sector. If it were a country, the “Plastic Kingdom” would be the fifth-highest emitter in the world.

more:  Plastic is now part of our planet’s fabric – a scientist and archaeologist discuss what happens next

Demand is set to rise, too. At 380m tonnes a year, we produce 190 times more plastic than we did in 1950. If the demand for plastic continues to grow at its current rate of 4% a year, emissions from plastic production will reach 15% of global emissions by 2050.


More than 99% of plastics are manufactured from petrochemicals, most commonly from petroleum and natural gas. These raw materials are refined to form ethylene, propylene, butene, and other basic plastic building blocks, before being transported to manufacturers.

theconversation.com    3/2021   Plastic is part of the carbon cycle and needs to be included in climate calculations

bbc.co.uk   3/2021   Plastic pollution: Is the drinks industry doing enough to reduce single-use plastics?

earther.gizmodo.com   1/21  Archaeologists Uncover Disturbing Amount of Plastic Waste at Iron Age Site   George Dvorsky

theguardian.com   19/3/202   Plastic particles pass from mothers into foetuses, rat study shows – Nanoparticles found in foetal brains and hearts, but impact on human health is as yet unknown   

Tiny plastic particles in the lungs of pregnant rats pass rapidly into the hearts, brains and other organs of their foetuses, research shows. It is the first study in a live mammal to show that the placenta does not block such particles.  The experiments also showed that the rat foetuses exposed to the particles put on significantly less weight towards the end of gestation. The research follows the revelation in December of small plastic particles in human placentas, which scientists described as “a matter of great concern”. Earlier laboratory research on human placentas donated by mothers after birth has also shown polystyrene beads can cross the placental barrier.   Microplastic pollution has reached every part of the planet, from the summit of Mount Everest to the deepest oceans, and people are already known to consume the tiny particles via food and water, and to breathe them in.


Why Plastic Pollution Is a Producer Responsibility


Polyester fibres that injure marine life were found in sea water across region.  The Arctic is “pervasively” polluted by microplastic fibres that most likely come from the washing of synthetic clothes by people in Europe and North America, research has found.

Plastic pollution: Bangor University researchers get samples in wine bottles


That said, is recycling worth it? For bottles labeled “1” or “2”, the answer is “yes,” Pochiro said. There’s also a growing market for plastics labeled “5,” a flexible plastic that includes mini-yogurt containers. An increasing percentage of fives are actually getting recycled. For other numbers, it’s important to check the restrictions of your local recycling facility, Pochiro said.  –  Hocevar’s answer was simpler: a resounding “no” on numbers 3, 4, 6 and 7. These plastics just gunk up an already strained recycling system, he said.  “It does more harm than good,” Hocevar said.

insider.com   2019   mit-research-andrew-mcafee-says-recycling-is-useless   An MIT researcher says we should trash all our recyclable plastic, and he’s probably right –  Recycling plastic uses up a lot of resources, and after all the hauling around, sorting, and processing of bottles and containers, it often ends up getting thrown away or burned. MIT business researcher Andrew McAfee says we’d be better off putting our plastic waste into well-managed landfills.  He argues we should spend our “mental budget for thinking about the Earth on more high-impact changes,” like carbon taxes on major polluters and nuclear energy.


Have British scientists solved the problem of plastic pollution?