View Full Version : tPF 22 facts about plastic pollution

08-31-2015, 08:08 PM
22 Facts about Plastic Pollution.

In the Los Angeles area alone, 10 metric tons of plastic fragments (http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/campaigns/ocean_plastics/)—like grocery bags, straws and soda bottles—are carried into the Pacific Ocean every day.
Over the last ten years we have produced more plastic than during the whole of the last century.
50 percent of the plastic we use, we use just once and throw away.
Enough plastic is thrown away each year to circle the earth four times (http://www.reusethisbag.com/reusable-bag-infographics/the-truth-about-plastic.php).
We currently recover only five percent (http://5gyres.org/what_is_the_issue/the_problem/) of the plastics we produce.
The average American throws away approximately 185 pounds of plastic (http://www.algalita.org/pdf/AMRFWhitePaper.pdf) per year.
Plastic accounts for around 10 percent of the total waste we generate.
The production of plastic uses around eight percent of the world’s oil production (bioplastics (http://www.nrdc.org/oceans/plastic-ocean/faq.asp)are not a good solution as they require food source crops).
Americans throw away 35 billion plastic water bottles every year (source: Brita)
Plastic in the ocean breaks down into such small segments that pieces of plastic from a one liter bottle (http://www.greenpeace.org/international/campaigns/oceans/pollution/trash-vortex) could end up on every mile of beach throughout the world.
Annually approximately 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide. More than one million bags are used every minute.
46 percent of plastics float (EPA 2006) and it can drift for years before eventually concentrating in the ocean gyres.
It takes 500-1,000 years for plastic to degrade.
Billions of pounds of plastic (http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/campaigns/ocean_plastics/)can be found in swirling convergences in the oceans making up about 40 percent of the world’s ocean surfaces. 80 percent of pollution enters the ocean from the land.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is located in the North Pacific Gyre off the coast of California and is the largest ocean garbage site in the world. This floating mass of plastic is twice the size of Texas, with plastic pieces outnumbering sea life six to one.
Plastic constitutes approximately 90 percent of all trash floating on the ocean’s surface, with 46,000 pieces of plastic per square mile.
One million sea birds (http://ecowatch.com/2012/07/09/marine-litter-birds/) and 100,000 marine mammals are killed annually from plastic in our oceans.
44 percent of all seabird species, 22 percent of cetaceans, all sea turtle species and a growing list of fish species have been documented with plastic in or around their bodies.
In samples collected in Lake Erie (http://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/pressroom/newsreleases/2013/april/polluting-plastic-particles-invade-the-great-lakes.html), 85 percent of the plastic particles were smaller than two-tenths of an inch, and much of that was microscopic. Researchers found 1,500 and 1.7 million of these particles per square mile.
Virtually every piece of plastic that was ever made still exists in some shape or form (with the exception of the small amount that has been incinerated).
Plastic chemicals can be absorbed by the body—93 percent of Americans age six or older test positive for BPA (http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/geopedia/Bisphenol_A) (a plastic chemical).
Some of these compounds found in plastic have been found to alter hormones or have other potential human health effects.
Ten Ways To Rise Above Plastics

Here are ten easy things you can do to reduce your 'plastic footprint' and help keep plastics out of the marine environment:
Choose to reuse when it comes to shopping bags and bottled water. Cloth bags and metal or glass reusable bottles are available locally at great prices.
Refuse single-serving packaging, excess packaging, straws and other 'disposable' plastics. Carry reusable utensils in your purse, backpack or car to use at bbq's, potlucks or take-out restaurants.
Reduce everyday plastics such as sandwich bags and juice cartons by replacing them with a reusable lunch bag/box that includes a thermos.
Bring your to-go mug with you to the coffee shop, smoothie shop or restaurants that let you use them. A great way to reduce lids, plastic cups and/or plastic-lined cups.
Go digital! No need for plastic cds, dvds and jewel cases when you can buy your music and videos online.
Seek out alternatives to the plastic items that you rely on.
Recycle. If you must use plastic, try to choose #1 (PETE) or #2 (HDPE), which are the most commonly recycled plastics. Avoid plastic bags and polystyrene foam as both typically have very low recycling rates.
Volunteer at a beach cleanup. Surfrider Foundation Chapters (http://www.surfrider.org/chapters) often hold cleanups monthly or more frequently.
Support plastic bag bans, polystyrene foam bans and bottle recycling bills.
Spread the word. Talk to your family and friends about why it is important to Rise Above Plastics
Rise Above Plastics | Surfrider Foundation (http://www.surfrider.org/programs/entry/rise-above-plastics)


08-31-2015, 08:14 PM
Many of you know that I am not the biggest fan of plastic, especially disposable one time use plastic, but nonetheless I think it's good to remind people every now and then of the destructive power of such a simple creation. We have the power to do so much good for the Earth, and this is one of those things we can all help with in my opinion.

08-31-2015, 08:28 PM
I would gladly pay more for foods and beverages in glass. Many here are too young to have had things like Gatorade come in glass bottles. Way better taste than the plastic stuff. Then BPA. Take the last swig off of the last of a gallon of bottled water from a plastic jug like the ones milk usually comes in. You can literally taste the chemicals.

I would pay more for foods that came in glass like the old days.

Captain Obvious
08-31-2015, 08:52 PM
I agree, wholly with this concept.

Our materialistic society dictates that it's cheaper to create more plastic and fill more landfills with it than recycle it.

And human nature is that we won't change shit until we choke on it first.

Not sure how we evolved past the dinosaurs.

08-31-2015, 08:59 PM
I've got a Berkey filter set-up at the house so I don't have to drink contaminated water in plastic from the store. I highly recommend it. Saves tons and my four filter model is good for 50,000 gallons right from the tap. Or swimming pool. Or muddy rain puddle/stream.


06-20-2016, 01:30 AM
New Way to Recycle Plastic...
Scientists Discover Novel Way to Recycle Plastic
June 19, 2016 - Here's a riddle for science-savvy readers: What is one thing you will almost always see, no matter where you look? It's in your home, at work, by the side of the road, at the beach, even in the sky.

Give up? Polyethylene (or PE), the most common form of plastic, is everywhere in the modern world: the containers we store things in, the bottles we drink water out of, the plastic bags that we choose over paper ... it's all polyethylene. It's convenient, cheap, light and strong, but it's also stubborn stuff, and can stick around from 500 to 1,000 years, and that's why you see it everywhere.

The problem with plastic

And that's the problem, David Constable from the American Chemical Society, told VOA. "Most is not recycled and its ultimate fate depends on where you are in the world," Constable says. For instance, "there is an enormous swirl of plastic refuse in the Pacific Ocean. There are plastic microbeads distributed throughout the marine environment." A stunning 8 trillion microbeads a day, according to research from Oregon State University. And while the beads themselves aren't dangerous, they soak up toxic waste and contaminants that end up in marine wildlife and fish, and from there they move right up the foodchain to us. The other problem is that it's hard to recycle plastic, much harder than it is to recycle paper or glass or metals such as aluminum. Here's why: Before any plastic can be recycled, it has to go through a complicated and in some cases costly sorting process. That's because there are different kinds of plastics.

A novel chemical process converts post-consumer polyethylene plastic bottles, bags, and films into liquid fuels and waxes.

Take a look at the little triangle and number imprinted somewhere on your plastic bottle, bag or container. That number tells you what kind of plastic it is, and there are seven different numbers. Before any recycling can begin, plastics must be separated by number. Constable calls it a "robust sorting process" requiring "relatively pure plastic." What is pure plastic? According to Constable, it's plastic that is "not contaminated with food wastes, not blends of plastic, etc." In modern food packaging, for example, he explains there are somewhere around 20 layers between the air and the food. "These complex plastic laminates are very difficult to recycle or break down into their component parts." And in many cases, even recycled plastic ends up in landfills because of "chemical contamination."

Break it down

But now the good news: researchers may have found a way to get rid of all this waste cheaply and easily, and break it down into liquid fuel and wax. The new research was reported Friday in Science Advances and is part of a four-year research project by scientists from the University of Shanghai and the University of California, Irvine. One of the project leaders, Zheng Huang, says they took a known process, called catalytic cross alkane metathesis (CAM), that uses carbon and hydrogen-based molecules called alkanes to scramble the hydrocarbons that make up polyethylene and ultimately break it down. "After many cycles of CAM with light alkanes," Zheng says, "PE will be eventually converted to short hydrocarbons suitable for transportation oils."

MORE (http://www.voanews.com/content/scientists-degrading-plastic/3381017.html)

06-20-2016, 01:51 AM
If we're the shepherds of the Earth, as the Bible says, we're doing a horrible job.

05-16-2017, 11:23 AM
Granny say she glad she ain't the one to have to clean it up...
http://www.politicalwrinkles.com/images/smilies/eek.gif Remote island has 'world's worst' plastic rubbish density
Tue, 16 May 2017 - The uninhabited Pacific island is littered with 37.7 million pieces of plastic debris, scientists say.

An uninhabited island in the South Pacific is littered with the highest density of plastic waste anywhere in the world, according to a study. Henderson Island, part of the UK's Pitcairn Islands group, has an estimated 37.7 million pieces of debris on its beaches. The island is near the centre of an ocean current, meaning it collects much rubbish from boats and South America. Researchers hope people will "rethink their relationship with plastic". The joint Australian and British study said the rubbish amounted to 671 items per square metre and a total of 17 tonnes. "A lot of the items on Henderson Island are what we wrongly refer to as disposable or single-use," said Dr Jennifer Lavers from the University of Tasmania.

Henderson Island is part of the UK's Pitcairn Islands group

The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, described how remote islands act as a "sink" for the world's rubbish. In addition to fishing items, Henderson Island was strewn with everyday things including toothbrushes, cigarette lighters and razors. "Land crabs are making their homes inside bottle caps, containers and jars," Dr Lavers told the BBC. "At first it looks a little bit cute, but it's not. This plastic is old, it's sharp, it's brittle and toxic." A large number of hard hats of "every shape, colour and size" were also discovered, the marine scientist said.

Scale of waste

Henderson Island is listed by Unesco as a coral atoll with a relatively unique ecology, notable for 10 plant and four bird species. It is 190km (120 miles) from Pitcairn Island, about 5,000km from Chile, and sits near the centre of the South Pacific Gyre - a massive rotating current. The condition of the island highlighted how plastic debris has affected the environment on a global scale, Dr Lavers said. "Almost every island in the world and almost every species in the ocean is now being shown to be impacted one way or another by our waste," she said. "There's not really any one person or any one country that gets a free pass on this."


She said plastic was devastating to oceans because it was buoyant and durable. The research was conducted by the University of Tasmania's Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, and the Centre for Conservation Science at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.


07-30-2017, 04:50 PM
While i'm at it. Keep in mind that every single piece of plastic ever made is still somewhere on this planet. Something to think about.

01-25-2018, 09:13 PM
4 year Study says Plastic Pollution Is Killing Coral Reefs...
Plastic Pollution Is Killing Coral Reefs, 4-Year Study Finds
January 25, 2018 - Millions of tons of plastic waste end up in the ocean every year. And the trash stays there: Whether it's grocery bags or water bottles or kids' toys, plastic is practically indestructible.

Now marine scientists have discovered that it's killing coral reefs. A new study based on four years of diving on 159 reefs in the Pacific shows that reefs in four countries — Australia, Thailand, Indonesia and Myanmar — are heavily contaminated with plastic. It clings to the coral, especially branching coral. And where it clings, it sickens or kills. "The likelihood of disease increases from 4 percent to 89 percent when corals are in contact with plastic," researchers report in the journal Science. Senior author Drew Harvell at Cornell University says the plastic could be harming coral in at least two ways. First, bacteria and other harmful microorganisms are abundant in the water and on corals; when the coral is abraded, that might invite pathogens into the coral. "It's certainly well known that plastics abrade corals, create new openings," she says. "They basically tear open the skin of the coral and that can allow an infection from anywhere to start." In addition, Harvell says, plastic can block sunlight from reaching coral.

Diapers, cotton swabs, bottles and wrappers are littering reefs. A new study finds they're causing widespread damage.

Her group found increased risk of four diseases in coral in contact with plastic. "This is a huge survey," says Harvell. It was the idea of Joleah Lamb, who was at the time, a graduate student. "There are really great studies showing how much plastic is going into the oceans and how much is floating on the surface," says Lamb, who's now a fellow at Cornell University. "But we really didn't have an idea about what's underneath the surface of the ocean." The more they looked, especially in Asian waters, the more they found: bottles, diapers, cotton swabs, food wrappers. They noticed that coral that had plastic didn't look healthy. Based on how much plastic the researchers found while diving, they estimate that over 11 billion plastic items could be entangled in coral reefs in the Asia-Pacific region, home to over half the world's coral reefs. And their survey did not include China, one of the biggest sources of plastic pollution.

Australian reefs had the least amount of plastic observed on reefs, which the researchers attribute to a more comprehensive system for waste control. Other countries in the Pacific don't have much control over what ends up in the waste stream. "Massive amounts of plastic are being thrown into the oceans from land," Harvell says, in countries that don't have much recycling and with dumps that are often adjacent to the ocean or waterways that run into the ocean. Coral reefs already are susceptible to bleaching due to unusually warm water, either from seasonal shifts in water temperature or from human-caused global warming. "Bleached coral is more susceptible to disease," Harvell says. "The bleached coral is stressed. Plastic would make things that much worse."

A survey of 150 reefs found plastic was a common pollutant.

Matthew Savoca, a marine scientist at the the University of California, Davis, who studies the effects of plastic in the ocean, suggests that ocean waters with lots of plastic waste might also carry other pollutants that could also be contributing to higher rates of coral disease. But Lamb says they found that corals within yards of each other showed a noticeable difference: Those with plastic were much more likely to be diseased. "It seems to be something associated with the plastic itself," says Lamb. Exactly how the plastic is causing disease is still unclear. What is clear from numerous studies is that the amount of plastic getting into the oceans is on the rise.


08-01-2018, 10:59 PM
Plastics Contribute to Global Warming...
Plastics Contribute to Global Warming, Scientists SayAugust 01, 2018 - Add plastics to the list of causes for global warming.


Scientists writing in the journal PLOS One said Wednesday that plastics emit the greenhouse gases methane and ethylene when they are exposed to sunlight and degrade. The researchers carried out tests on such common plastic products as water bottles, shopping bags and food containers. "Plastic represents a source of climate-relevant trace gases that is expected to increase as more plastic is produced and accumulated in the environment," said senior researcher David Karl of the University of Hawaii.


A man collects plastic and other recyclable material from the shores of the Arabian Sea, littered with plastic bags and other garbage, in Mumbai, India

Methane gas, both man-made and naturally occurring, is said to be a major cause of climate change. The manufacturing and use of plastics have come under scrutiny in recent years after environmentalists discovered a massive island of garbage floating in the Pacific Ocean — threatening sea life and the food supply.

Plastic drinking straws are the latest target of activists, who say they are used once and discarded because most cannot be recycled. A graphic video of doctors pulling a plastic straw out of the bloody nose of a large sea turtle has prompted some U.S. cities and companies to phase out the straws.


08-01-2018, 11:30 PM
Many of you know that I am not the biggest fan of plastic, especially disposable one time use plastic, but nonetheless I think it's good to remind people every now and then of the destructive power of such a simple creation. We have the power to do so much good for the Earth, and this is one of those things we can all help with in my opinion.
The local eatery where I live has recently voluntarily replaced all plastic straws with paper straws. Contrary to popular belief they hold up pretty well.

08-02-2018, 03:20 PM
The banning of plastic straws and such in American cities is a symbolic gesture simply designed to make people feel good about doing basically nothing.

Here's another fact American environmentalists won't address. 90% of the plastic in the oceans comes from China and other parts of Asia where they have a garbage collection problem.

The problem is relevively nonexistent in the USA. If you want to solve a problem you need to go solve it where it exists. Implementing these measures in the US is akin to bailing out a sinking battleship with a teaspoon.