Killing our planet with plastics

Seasoned Oak

Minister of Fire
Oct 17, 2008
7,213
Eastern Central PA
Just saw a commercial for these guys. I like it: https://4ocean.com/
The tip of the iceberg. Virtually noting can be done about all the microplastics that are already in the Rivers and Oceans. Even if every intact piece of plastic is recovered. Only keeping it out of the waste stream altogether will have a meaningful impact. IMO. The micro synthetic waste from millions of washing machines are also adding to it daily.
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
15,715
Philadelphia
Virtually noting can be done about all the microplastics that are already in the Rivers and Oceans. Even if every intact piece of plastic is recovered. Only keeping it out of the waste stream altogether will have a meaningful impact. IMO. The micro synthetic waste from millions of washing machines are also adding to it daily.
I do not see any reason to discourage removing plastic waste from our oceans. Yes, this is not a fix for the micro plastics that are already in our oceans and rivers, but it is helping to reduce the addition of more.

Today’s discarded soda bottle is tomorrow’s micro plastic, after sufficient UV exposure and mechanical scrubbing.
 
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Seasoned Oak

Minister of Fire
Oct 17, 2008
7,213
Eastern Central PA
I do not see any reason to discourage removing plastic waste from our oceans.
For sure , but it seems it would be easier to get it on the way rather than chasing around the open ocean. Since most of it probably comes from asian countries rivers that would be hard for us to do.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
87,146
South Puget Sound, WA
For sure , but it seems it would be easier to get it on the way rather than chasing around the open ocean. Since most of it probably comes from asian countries rivers that would be hard for us to do.
That is true for most of what now makes up the great Pacific garbage patch. However, the greatest concentration of microplastics coming from a river was tested a couple years ago and the results showed the worst was not from Asia, but in England. That surprised a lot of people. Textiles was the suspect.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
5,656
Downeast Maine
The tip of the iceberg. Virtually noting can be done about all the microplastics that are already in the Rivers and Oceans. Even if every intact piece of plastic is recovered. Only keeping it out of the waste stream altogether will have a meaningful impact. IMO. The micro synthetic waste from millions of washing machines are also adding to it daily.
Do you have links for this info? I'd like to show some people I know.
 

Seasoned Oak

Minister of Fire
Oct 17, 2008
7,213
Eastern Central PA
Do you have links for this info? I'd like to show some people I know.
The washing machine waste thing pops up every now and then, im sure if you google it you will find some articles.
 

semipro

Minister of Fire
Jan 12, 2009
3,991
SW Virginia
I can't help but wonder if the risk presented by micro-plastics isn't exaggerated. No doubt their pervasiveness is alarming but what are the risks relative to other hazards? It would seem to some degree that they are just "roughage".
Large plastic bits are no doubt a problem though. Their risk to marine life and birds that ingest them is well documented and extremely troubling (check out the photos at the Smithsonian link).
 

semipro

Minister of Fire
Jan 12, 2009
3,991
SW Virginia
A recent piece from The Guardian on the problem.

A quote from a women living in Java:
“If it carries on like this we will be buried in plastic. We have no choice but to throw plastic into the rivers. Now we are angry. Something must be done,”

Look closely at the the first photo and you'll see a child retrieving a fish from the mess, I'm assuming with the intent to eat it.
 
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Seasoned Oak

Minister of Fire
Oct 17, 2008
7,213
Eastern Central PA
If these places were really serious about cleaning up the mess they would pay a bounty per pound of waste plactic same as they do for invasive species, or deposit on bottles and cans. Those kids on the beach would be more than happy to clean up that beach so they could buy lunch. The producers or importers of these products would have to pick up the tab for that. Everyone must be responsible for their own garbage disposal. "Free" disposal in streams and rivers is not working out so well.
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
6,148
Northern NH

Seasoned Oak

Minister of Fire
Oct 17, 2008
7,213
Eastern Central PA
Not sure if this popped up previously but a very extensive article on why recycling single use plastic is not the cure to how to deal with the plastics problem. https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/more-recycling-wont-solve-plastic-pollution/
Thats the 800 lb gorilla. Its just lip service. True progress would be for the Mfg(along with the customer) to start feeling the pain and cost of cleanup and responsibilty for their product. IMO. Which in turn would usher in bio degradable products and alternatives to single use plastic. Sometimes the difference can be just a few pennies per use. As long as theres no cost in $ (for either the Mfg or the consumer)for destroying the ecosystem it will keep happening on a large scale. This has already begun on a small scale with Aldis grocery stores providing paper bags and reusable bags and encouraging customers to use their empty cardboard boxes which are easily recyclable. I dont see any single use plastic bags at their locations.
 
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SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
5,656
Downeast Maine
Thats the 800 lb gorilla. Its just lip service. True progress would be for the Mfg(along with the customer) to start feeling the pain and cost of cleanup and responsibilty for their product. IMO. Which in turn would usher in bio degradable products and alternatives to single use plastic. Sometimes the difference can be just a few pennies per use. As long as theres no cost in $ (for either the Mfg or the consumer)for destroying the ecosystem it will keep happening on a large scale. This has already begun on a small scale with Aldis grocery stores providing paper bags and reusable bags and encouraging customers to use their empty cardboard boxes which are easily recyclable. I dont see any single use plastic bags at their locations.
I've noticed that pretty much every independent store in my town has switched to paper and have no single use plastics. Perhaps my personal boycott of the local supermarket is spreading to other people.
 
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Seasoned Oak

Minister of Fire
Oct 17, 2008
7,213
Eastern Central PA
I've noticed that pretty much every independent store in my town has switched to paper and have no single use plastics. Perhaps my personal boycott of the local supermarket is spreading to other people.
Now if they can do something about plastic water bottles. I personally dont buy bottled water, but use glass bottles tofor water ,but those things are everywhere by the billions.
 
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SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
5,656
Downeast Maine
Now if they can do something about plastic water bottles. I personally dont buy bottled water, but use glass bottles tofor water ,but those things are everywhere by the billions.
I have also abandoned plastic bottles. I've been collecting glass containers slowly to replace my plastic stuff in the kitchen too. Plastic zip bags are difficult to give up, I don't yet have a good solution.
 

Seasoned Oak

Minister of Fire
Oct 17, 2008
7,213
Eastern Central PA
I have also abandoned plastic bottles. I've been collecting glass containers slowly to replace my plastic stuff in the kitchen too. Plastic zip bags are difficult to give up, I don't yet have a good solution.
I use a lot of tupperware type containers to freeze things in ,still plastic but very reusable. Plus were using more glass bottom leftover containers for food because no way do you want to reheat food in plastic containers.
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
15,715
Philadelphia
Plastic zip bags are difficult to give up, I don't yet have a good solution.
My grandma used to wash and re-use them, 35 - 40 years ago. We used to tease her for being so frugal, but she was just ahead of her time!
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
87,146
South Puget Sound, WA
My grandma used to wash and re-use them, 35 - 40 years ago. We used to tease her for being so frugal, but she was just ahead of her time!
Good for her. My wife has always done that.
 

Jan Pijpelink

Minister of Fire
Jan 2, 2015
1,918
South Jersey
If these places were really serious about cleaning up the mess they would pay a bounty per pound of waste plactic same as they do for invasive species, or deposit on bottles and cans. Those kids on the beach would be more than happy to clean up that beach so they could buy lunch. The producers or importers of these products would have to pick up the tab for that. Everyone must be responsible for their own garbage disposal. "Free" disposal in streams and rivers is not working out so well.
Indonesia is one of the most plastic polluted countries. The current president has vowed to make changes for the better. There are now true plastic recycling plants all over the country and in the big cities, people can now pay public transportation tickets with plastic bottles, so they will be collected and recycled. It is not much, but you have to start somewhere.
In India, they are now using shredded plastic bottles to pave roads. Not sure if that is a good idea.
 
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Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
15,715
Philadelphia
In India, they are now using shredded plastic bottles to pave roads. Not sure if that is a good idea.
I hope that’s not in their more snowy regions. I can’t imagine the sheer volume of microplastic particles generated from plowing snow off roads paved with shredded plastic, after a few years of them baking in the sun. Heck, our plows here routinely wear thru asphalt, or peel up large swaths of it when the road is lumpy.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
87,146
South Puget Sound, WA
I hope that’s not in their more snowy regions. I can’t imagine the sheer volume of microplastic particles generated from plowing snow off roads paved with shredded plastic, after a few years of them baking in the sun. Heck, our plows here routinely wear thru asphalt, or peel up large swaths of it when the road is lumpy.
It's a bad idea. Roads wear. Rains washes off the wear into streams, then rivers. Plastics should either be recycled into new plastics, downcycled into other products, or burned cleanly for fuel and energy.
 
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SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
5,656
Downeast Maine
It's a bad idea. Roads wear. Rains washes off the wear into streams, then rivers. Plastics should either be recycled into new plastics, downcycled into other products, or burned cleanly for fuel and energy.
I feel like bituminous tar and rubber being washed off the roads is also a bad idea.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
87,146
South Puget Sound, WA
I feel like bituminous tar and rubber being washed off the roads is also a bad idea.
It is, but it tends to stabilize. This change won't happen in my lifetime, the Jetson's being portrayed in the year 2062, but what transportation needs is anti-gravity which would eliminate the need for most roads and tires.
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
15,715
Philadelphia
...what transportation needs is anti-gravity which would eliminate the need for most roads and tires.
Well, if we’re going to follow that tangent, I had always thought we’d be flying around in mag-lev tubes, like large modernized and computer-managed 1950’s tube mail systems, in my lifetime. People argue about infrastructure, but I suspect it’s a heck of a lot less impact than roads and bridges capable of carrying tri-axle dump trucks and our current traffic volume.

 

WiscWoody

Minister of Fire
Dec 24, 2011
1,977
Winter WI
"The amount of plastic produced in a year is roughly the same as the entire weight of humanity."
This is a must fix situation. The plastic bottle blitz started in the 1990's. Now CocaCola alone produces 100 BILLION bottles a year!! They won't use recycled plastics because they think their customers won't like it. Time to make these bottlers assume cradle to grave responsibility for this blight on the planet. In the time it takes to read this thread about a million single-use plastic bottles have been produced. It's time we required these manufacturers to assume cradle to grave responsibility for their products.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jun/28/a-million-a-minute-worlds-plastic-bottle-binge-as-dangerous-as-climate-change
I think the plastic bottle blitz started more like in 1984 or so when they first perfected a cheap clear plastic bottle mainly for pop (or soda if that’s what you call it). I worked at a Brockway Glass Co. bottle plant at the time and we knew it wasn’t good for the strugglimg glass bottle industry at the time and it wasn’t a year later and our plant was shut down and 500 of us high paid workers were on the street looking for work in a depressed economy.