Recycling sector grapples with plastic realities

Should some types of single-use plastic be banned? Or is infrastructure improvement a better answer to current plastic waste concerns? A varied group of industry leaders tackled those questions last week. A panel on Aug. 28 at the Resource Recycling Conference and Trade Show in New Orleans explored the intersection of municipal recycling and wider plastics management. As marine debris problems have grabbed the attention of…

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Men less likely to recycle because they are worried people will think they’re gay, study claims

Scientists say measures to save the environment are often seen as typically ‘feminine’ things to do Some men may choose not to recycle or buy reusable cotton bags because they are worried people will think they are gay, a new study claims. Scientists suggested looking after the planet was seen as a typically “feminine” thing to do which fits in with a woman’s traditional role of…

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Reusable coffee cups aren’t entirely eco-friendly

It can take between 20 and 100 uses for a reusable cup to offset its higher greenhouse gas emissions compared to a disposable Is any item more symbolic of our modern, disposable culture than the single-use coffee cup? In March 2016, they were vilified in celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s “War on Waste” campaign, when he drove a bus through London covered in 10,000 coffee cups: the…

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Germany planning plastic bag ban to tackle waste

Germany is planning to introduce a law to ban the use of plastic bags as voluntary agreements with retailers to curb usage failed to yield “good enough” results, according to environment minister Svenja Schulze. “My ministry will get a plastic bag ban on its way,” Reuters quoted Schulze as saying 11 Aug, without giving further details. The move, according to Schulze, is part of a…

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Opinion: Creating a sustainable future for plastics with a circular economy

Today we produce almost 400 million tonnes of plastics every year. Global population growth and a growing middle class means that, in just a few decades, the demand for goods and packaging made from plastics is set to rise three-fold. Plastics are everywhere and yet we take them for granted. They keep us safe through medical devices, they keep food fresh and hygienic through packaging,…

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Zero Waste Europe sees future in chemical recycling

Zero Waste Europe (ZWE) can see chemical recycling processes as the new “plastics El Dorado” that offer a complementary solution to mechanical recycling. A study published by the Brussels-based organisation last week noted that plastic “cannot be endlessly mechanically recycled” without reducing its properties and quality, and that not all plastic types can be mechanically recycled. “These limits set challenges for plastics recycling and show the…

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Opinion: Can technology address plastic pollution crisis

Today, grass roots campaigners like Extinction Rebellion, Greta Thunberg, and British national treasure – David Attenborough – are collectively raising the profile of environmental sustainability, making us more passionate than ever. However, one of the worst hit natural resources remains our oceans.  Earlier this year, American explorer Victor Vescovo dived the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean at a depth of almost seven miles. Along…

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How is the deep sea so diverse? The struggle is real for late 1900s ecologists

The year is 1967.  A paper is published that causes pandemonium in the scientific community.  The discovery causes a fundamental shift in thinking divergent from long-held beliefs.  And like the discovery that the Earth does indeed revolve around the sun and not the other way around, the discovery of exceptional diversity of life on the deep-sea floor radically changed the way we view the natural…

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How many species are in the deep sea?

In the beginning, people mused the expansive oceans contained but a handful of organisms.  This idea started with Pliny the Elder, who lived in the first century AD. He wrote that there were only 176 species in the entirety of the ocean.  This was four less than Aristotle had already found, counted, and documented in just the Aegean Sea. Apparently, Pliny wasn’t a big fan of Aristotle’s work. One…

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