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All posts tagged plastic pollution

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Heathrow plans to cut and recycle all single-use coffee cups collected from more 20 outlets and lounges as part of a longer-term ambition to phase out single-use plastics.

The airport estimates that its 78 million annual passengers use more than 13.5 million disposable coffee cups.

The London hub has set a target to standardise and recycle all single-use coffee cups by the end of the year and continue efforts to completely rid staff areas of these cups.

Read the full article here.

By Phil Davies

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Useless plastics provide a few minutes of convenience, little utility, and are disposed of in large quantities. / © WWF-Singapore

A supermarket plastic bag serves its real purpose for 30 minutes, the duration of a short commute. In a drink, a straw is utilised for just 5 minutes. The use of a plastic stirrer is even more short-lived: all of 10 seconds.

These items have fleeting lifespans, but they outlive us by a long shot — 400 years, to be exact.

Left in our environment, plastics affect ocean health and biodiversity. The problem does not simply end there.

Read the full article on ‘useless plastic’ and more here.

By Kim Stengert for Medium.

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Scientists accidentally create mutant enzyme that eats plastic bottles

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The breakthrough, spurred by the discovery of plastic-eating bugs at a Japanese dump, could help solve the global plastic pollution crisis

Scientists have created a mutant enzyme that breaks down plastic drinks bottles – by accident. The breakthrough could help solve the global plastic pollution crisis by enabling for the first time the full recycling of bottles.

The new research was spurred by the discovery in 2016 of the first bacterium that had naturally evolved to eat plastic, at a waste dump in Japan. Scientists have now revealed the detailed structure of the crucial enzyme produced by the bug.

The international team then tweaked the enzyme to see how it had evolved, but tests showed they had inadvertently made the molecule even better at breaking down the PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic used for soft drink bottles. “What actually turned out was we improved the enzyme, which was a bit of a shock,” said Prof John McGeehan, at the University of Portsmouth, UK, who led the research. “It’s great and a real finding.”

Read the full article here.

By  for The Guardian.

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Credit: Shutterstock

April 22 is Earth Day! Did you know that the environmental movement started close to 48 years ago in 1970, when millions of people took to the streets to protest the negative impacts of 150 years of industrial development?

This year’s Earth Day campaign will focus on ending plastic pollution – it is now your turn to stand up, join in, and take action!

It is important to remember the connection between plastics and climate change since the latter is one of the most pressing issues affecting our planet today. An estimated five ounces of carbon dioxide is emitted for every ounce of Polyethylene Terephthalate produced.  Polyethylene Terephthalate, also known as PET, is the plastic most commonly used to make water bottles.

Earth Day Network’s End Plastic Pollution campaign includes four major components. Educating people worldwide to take personal responsibility for plastic pollution by choosing to reject, reduce, reuse, and recycle plastics is one of them. Find out about the other three here.

With only four days left until Earth Day 2018, here are four things you can do to support #EndPlasticPollution

There are many simple and easy tips to help you go green, keep our earth safe, spend less, and make every day Earth Day. Remember that you can make a difference and be the change every single day of the year.

For more easy reading, check out our tips on how to reduce plastic waste on our beaches and in our waters and 3 easy ways to tackle plastic.

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Credit: Shutterstock

Fancy sipping a smoothie, long drink, coconut water or any other beverage using a straw? Make sure to make the sustainable choice when doing so. In short, refuse single-use plastic straws and choose a reusable alternative. These decisions are key to making our world a cleaner and better place.

Single-use plastic straws simply do not have a place in our society as they don’t get along with our environment. Although single-use plastic straws amount to only a tiny fraction of plastic pollution in our ocean, their small size and light weight makes them one of the most insidious polluters. Not making their way into the recycling bins, plastic straws cause beach pollution and threaten the life of many marine animals.

We therefore invite you to pick a reusable drinking straw of your preference, always keeping it with you and spreading the word to encourage others to join the movement in reducing and preventing plastic waste that harms our environment.

  • Bamboo: Go back to nature with a natural and reusable bamboo straw. They are not only durable but also beautiful. They often come with a handy cleaning brush to wash them out for years of use. You can find some more tips for cleaning and being nice to your straw here.
  • Silicone: Light and unbreakable, silicone is great for its practicality. Choose a silicone straw made from high quality food grade silicone that will help you save plastic straws from polluting our environment and protect your teeth.
  • Stainless-steel: Prefer a very durable and elegant option? Go with a stainless-steel drinking straw which is stain-free, rustproof, and scratch-proof. You won’t have to worry about metallic aftertaste. If you like fine cutlery, complete your silverware collection by purchasing a set of stainless steel straws. Read more about benefits of going stainless-steel here.
  • Glass: Looking for something classy? Go glassy with a clear lead-free glass straw alternative. The durable straws are shatterproof and are ideal for both hot and cold drinks. Both ends are smooth and round which makes the straw comfortable to use and safe. Choose the style and size that suits your lifestyle.
  • Acrylic: This option may be perfect to use in your tumblers. Go with an innovative, reusable, acrylic straw which can bend like normal straws. From birthday parties to holiday get-togethers, colorful reusable straws from food-safe plastic increase the fun at any gathering.

Apart from these, we invite you to chew on innovative ideas such as edible straws. Check out these Eatapple straws which are made from leftovers of Germany’s apple juice production.

Interested in fighting the war against straws? Be inspired by some examples here.

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France bans plastic cups, plates and cutlery

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Plastic glasses, knives, forks and food boxes are pictured in a takeaway restaurant in Paris AP. Credit: The Independent

Critics claim the new law violates European Union rules on free movement of goods

France has passed a new law to ensure all plastic cups, cutlery and plates can be composted and are made of biologically-sourced materials.

The law, which comes into effect in 2020, is part of the Energy Transition for Green Growth – an ambitious plan that aims to allow France to make a more effective contribution to tackling climate change.

Although some ecologists’ organisations are in favour of the ban, others argue that it has violated European Union rules on free movement of goods.

Read the full article here.

By Shehab Khan for The Independent.

 

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Waste plastic bottles and other types of plastic waste at the waste disposal site in Thilafushi, part of the Maldives. Credit: Shutterstock/ Mohamed Abdulraheem

 

There’s no love lost for plastic packaging. Whether it’s complicated recycling instructions on the products we buy, startling images of the impacts on wildlife or simply the economic value lost through waste, plastics have been climbing the international agenda for years. So how do 8 million tonnes of plastic still end up in the ocean each year?

Searching for the right solutions

The urgency of the issue has led to brands, governments, NGOs and celebrities promoting a host of solutions. Reusable packaging is part of the answer, and shopping bags, water bottles and coffee cups have become popular purchases for those trying to do their bit. This works to replace certain types of packaging, but think about all the other pieces of plastic we come into contact with every single day. Plastic film can keep food fresher for longer, and wrappers ensure medical equipment is safe for patients. In many cases, it wouldn’t be hygienic, convenient or feasible to go fully reusable.

Read the full article on innovations such as packaging inspired by nature, made from food waste and more here.

By Joe Iles for GreenBiz.

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Bamboo Straws Poolside at Anantara Golden Triangle (Credit: unknown via Mark Thomson)

Anantara and AVANI Hotels & Resorts are proud to announce the decision to end the use of plastic drinking straws at all hotels and resorts in Asia from 1 January 2018. The first major hotel brands to announce a companywide decision to eradicate plastic straws at every single property across the Asia region with a view to extend the roll out to properties in Australasia, Europe and the Middle East by the end of the year.

In the serene mountainous region of Northern Thailand, Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort is working with a local artist, Khamchan Yano, who was shown by the village elders a fast growing wild bamboo, indigenous to the surrounds. Together they have perfected a way to keep the bamboo strong whilst also ensuring it is hygienic and reusable.

Read the full article on the initiative here.

By Mark Thomson on LinkedIn.

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Credit: Singularity Hub

Every year, eight million metric tons of plastic enter the ocean, threatening just about every marine species and ecosystem. As the global population grows and countries develop, this is only going to increase, eventually threatening us as well—if it isn’t already.

Founded in 2013 by Boyan Slat, an 18-year-old from the Netherlands, The Ocean Cleanup has been dubbed “the largest cleanup in history.” With the help of a growing list of international partners as well as some advanced technology, Ocean Cleanup’s mission is to help remove the five trillion pieces of plastic currently in the ocean, with deployment scheduled for next year.

In August 2017, the project finalized the design for a u-shaped buoy made of high-density polyethylene nearly two kilometers in length, with a screen extending a few meters below. The system will be positioned based on a series of data points like ocean currents, weather, and location of the plastic and nets. These data points are fed into an algorithm to determine the buoy’s ideal point of deployment.

Read the full article on the massive project to clean up the ocean here.

By  for the Singularity Hub.

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