Recycling and Waste news and discussions

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wjfox
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Recycling and Waste news and discussions

Post by wjfox »

"Take it easy, nothing matters in the end."
– William Shatner
caltrek
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Re: Recycling and Waste news and discussions

Post by caltrek »

This is a good idea for a thread. In a local paper, there was also a story about plastic recycling. Turns out that there are actually "seven types of plastic" that "are technically recyclable, whether they are recycled depends on market demand for the plastic and the economic feasibility of the recycling process." In our local area, only the PET (disposable food and beverage containers), HDPE (milk jugs, detergent containers, shampoo bottles, juice cartons, rope, plastic chairs, and toys) and PP (yogurt containers, liner in cereal boxes, disposable plates, cups and utensils) types of plastic are recycled. PVC (music vinyls, PVC pipe, window frames, flooring , and shrink wrap) LDPE (plastic shopping bags, newspaper bags, food wrapping, and packaging foam) and Styrofoam are not recycled but typically still end up in the landfill. So the challenge for the latter is to either stop using them or create a market for the recycling of such items.

Another problem is that much of the plastic that consumers and users might think is recyclable is actually too dirty for such a use. People dump such plastic into recycling bins not realizing that such items will simply be diverted from the plastic recycling waste stream into the local landfill.

Industry folks also have an interesting term: "wishcycling." "Consumers think they're doing the right thing. they see something like a coat hanger and think, "Oh, this is plastic, I'm not putting that in my trash.' but that's not a recyclable product." At least not recyclable in our area. I myself am constantly getting the different types of plastic confused with each other.

As is often the case, what is technologically feasible may not matter if the economics cannot be made to work. Policies such as additional taxes or outright banning may help. In California, a problem has been the seemingly arbitrary nature of banning. "The plastic legislation we are seeing are these one-off bans. People get tired of it, they feel like we're trying to take things away from them because first we ban this then we ban that. The ban language is problematic." Economics can also vary from region to region. Some regions do find relatively local markets for plastics that are not recycled in other regions. So, this further confuses the situation for consumers and for communicating this issue to consumers.
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Re: Recycling and Waste news and discussions

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Call for global treaty to end production of ‘virgin’ plastic by 2040

Thu 1 Jul 2021 19.00 BST

A binding global treaty is needed to phase out the production of “virgin” or new plastic by 2040, scientists have said.

The solution to the blight of plastic pollution in the oceans and on land would be a worldwide agreement on limits and controls, they say in a special report in the journal Science.

[...]

The scandals of plastic waste exports to developing countries were one example of the failure of mechanical recycling as an answer to the plastic pollution problem, said Kakadellis and Rosetto.

“Technology alone will not and cannot solve the plastic pollution crisis,” said the authors. “No silver-bullet solution exists for the multifaceted nature of plastic pollution. The answer instead lies in a blend of approaches … from a strong regulatory framework and the investment in effective waste collection and management infrastructure to the development of polymer chemistries, life-cycle design, and consumer behaviour.”

https://www.theguardian.com/environment ... ic-by-2040
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caltrek
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Re: Recycling and Waste news and discussions

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Cow Stomach Enzymes Found to Break Down Common Plastics
by Jason Sandefur
July 1, 2021

https://www.courthousenews.com/cow-stom ... -plastics/

Introduction:
(CN) — Plastics touch every aspect of our modern lives, containing and comprising many of the products we depend on every day. Because they’re hard to break down, plastics also poison the planet we depend on for life.

Hoping to solve this dilemma, researchers in Austria have discovered that bacteria from a cow’s stomach can digest certain types of plastics — a breakthrough that could save the planet by reducing plastic waste.

The bacteria in question is found in a cow’s rumen, one of four compartments in its stomach. Since a cow’s diet contains natural plant polyesters, researchers suspected the bacteria a cow uses to break down this diet might have wider uses.

“We suspected that some biological activities could also be used for polyester hydrolysis,” said Dr. Doris Ribitsch of the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna.

Hydrolysis is a type of chemical reaction that causes decomposition. Because microorganisms in this natural process already break down similar materials, scientists suspected they might be able to break down plastics as well.
One wonders whether the digesting of plastic by cows affects the quality of their milk?
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Re: Recycling and Waste news and discussions

Post by raklian »

wjfox wrote: Thu Jul 01, 2021 8:02 pm Call for global treaty to end production of ‘virgin’ plastic by 2040
That's wayyyy too late.
To know is essentially the same as to not to know. The only thing that occurs is entropy.
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