Plastics Related Stories in the Media

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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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.

Yeah, I noticed the other day that the only activity was a spam post to a spam topic.
Agreed, there was some good discussion and excitement when this forum was active.

too bad, all this nice efforts and posts have been killed 🙁

I really miss the good and old flair of PP – it’s all gone – on Discord we have now just a tiny fraction of what has been contributed here in the forums – I wanna meet this guys who killed it and …. them …. for hours long 🙂


@frogfall
, @s2019, and all the others – I miss you guys, really

This is a great thing, I think everyone feels this information is very valuable, thank you candy crush soda

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-8042651/Depressing-images-squirrel-using-plastic-bags-build-nest.html
I guess, technically it isn’t single use plastic anymore. Now if we could set up a nuts-for-bags exchange program, the forest would get cleaned.

Thanks, I think that part of the story needs to get some solid numbers behind it and push governments to stop the exports and deal with their own mess. In the US there is an attempt to push distracting, feel-good laws like banning hotel shampoo bottles in the hopes that people forget that we are exporting millions of tons each year that are mislabeled as recycling.

Hi @s2019 – good question.
This story suggest not a lot is being recycled.
There are not nearly enough recycling facilities to process their own domestic plastic waste – so it seems the extra imported waste is mostly being burned or dumped.

This item in Wikipedia tells a similar tale:

The report warned that there were regulation violations in the disposal of imported plastic waste to the country (plastic is burned on roadsides in the open-air, dumped in unregulated or poorly regulated dump sites close to bodies of water, discarded in abandoned buildings or just left to degrade and rot in the open) thus contributing to environmental pollution and harmful health impact for Malaysians.

@frogfall , Have you seen any articles or reports that break down what happens to the plastic waste that gets exported to places like Malaysia? What percentage gets recycled, how much gets burnt for energy, incinerated as waste, landfill, or dumped into environment/ocean.

Revealed: microplastic pollution is raining down on city dwellers

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/dec/27/revealed-microplastic-pollution-is-raining-down-on-city-dwellers

Argentina could become ‘sacrificial country’ for plastic waste, say activists

Argentina has changed its definition of waste in a move that could allow it to import millions of tonnes of plastic waste discarded in the US.

The country’s president, Mauricio Macri, signed a decree in August reclassifying some materials destined for recycling as commodities instead of waste, allowing looser oversight of mixed and contaminated plastic scraps that are difficult to process, and are often dumped or incinerated.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/nov/01/argentina-plastic-waste-dumping-ground-imports

well researched and interesting article about ‘How the Plastics Industry Is Fighting to Keep Polluting the World‘. I ordered the book, ‘THE USE AND ABUSE OF AMERICAN ENVIRONMENTAL IMAGES‘; looks like legit homework 🙂 . There is also a quote :

“They’re trying to create the perception that there’s a viable way to recycle most plastic waste into new products, and that’s simply not true.” ; say hello PP

Story in this weekend’s Observer newspaper:
How melting plastic waste could heat homes.
The story is about a type of pyrolysis plant that takes the process further to produce hydrogen.  The story doesn’t actually use the word pyrolysis, and by talking about clean hydrogen energy it taps into the current “hydrogen economy” rhetoric that is being used by some people.

The information appears to come from the University of Chester website. But there isn’t much extra there either.  To me, it sounds like they may just be using a variant of the old coal syngas process – which requires steam and a carbon source to reduce water to H2 & CO.  In this case they are using mixed plastics instead of coal, and may also get CH4, amongst other gases.

They are talking about collecting the H2, for sale, and burning the rest of the off-gases to make electricty.  As such, this is basically an EFW (energy from waste) plant, that collects hydrogen as a byproduct.  It looks like the combustion products (including CO2) will still enter the atmosphere – so, arguably, like all EFW plants it is just displacing an equal amount of fossil fuel use.

At least it will consume a lot of plastic – preventing it entering the oceans – even if it does pump out CO2.

Now this is only indirect linked to plastic but please check the alerts of MIT. Might be an amazing exercise to get the PP network active 🙂

Costa Rica Has Banned Styrofoam (actually it means they will ban expanded polystyrene containers in two years time)

Malaysia sending thousands of tons of rubbish back to the countries it came from.

https://edition-m.cnn.com/2019/05/28/asia/malaysia-plastic-waste-return-intl/index.html

 

And other southeast Asia countries are doing the same.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/may/28/treated-like-trash-south-east-asia-vows-to-return-mountains-of-rubbish-from-west

I suspect it was the bad scripts, wooden acting, and wobbly scenery that left me scarred…

@frogfall

Just reporting a “Plastics Related Stories in the Media”

It’s todays Ted talk.

Don’t melt the messenger 😉

 

But it is an interesting thought that just like with the overuse of antibiotics nature WILL strike back if we don’t behave ourselves!

 

@donald

As a ten year-old kid, I was exposed to this.

It left me mentally scarred – for life.

People need to be very careful over what they wish for…  😉

Ted.com:

Humans produce 300 million tons of new plastic each year — yet, despite our best efforts, less than 10 percent of it ends up being recycled. Is there a better way to deal with all this waste? Microbiologist Morgan Vague studies bacteria that, through some creative adaptations, have evolved the unexpected ability to eat plastic — and could help us solve our growing pollution problem.