We’ve made enough plastic trash to bury Manhattan under 2-miles of the stuff

July 21, 2017 by  
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Whether you get an iced latte to-go in the morning, your restaurant leftovers in a plastic takeaway container, or forget to take a reusable bags to the store, there are numerous ways  disposable plastic  adds up –   and that is a huge problem. According to the first global analysis of the production of plastics, humans now produce more plastic than anything else and, as a result, have created 8.3 billion tonnes of the stuff since the 1950s. If the trend continues, humans will eventually bury the planet in plastics, which require hundreds — if not thousands — of years to decompose. The study was published in Science Advances and unearthed some dizzying facts. For instance, around 79 percent of the plastic produced ends up in landfills, where it is simply buried and forgotten. Additionally, a large percentage of this waste goes into the oceans where it contaminates the environment , often times poisons or chokes wildlife, and breaks down into tiny pieces, which later collect in giant convergences such as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch . The study also found that only 9 percent of all plastics are recycled, and a further 12 percent are incinerated. “The only way to permanently eliminate plastic waste” is to burn or melt it down, the authors wrote . “Thus, near-permanent contamination of the natural environment with plastic waste is a growing concern.” For the study, the researchers looked at various kinds of plastics, from resin to fibers. They deduced that production has increased from around 2 million tonnes (2.2 m tons) a year in 1950 to an astonishing 400 million tonnes (440 m tons) in 2015. Plastic is now the most produced man-made material, with the exception of items such as steel and cement. However, unlike those two industrial materials which are put to use for decades, plastic is single-use, therefore, is most often discarded right away. The researchers make it clear that while it is not plausible to completely eliminate plastic from the modern world, production and use needs to decrease dramatically to benefit the ecosystem as a whole. “Most plastics don’t biodegrade in any meaningful sense, so the plastic waste humans have generated could be with us for hundreds or even thousands of years,” said Jenna Jambeck, who co-authored the study. “Our estimates underscore the need to think critically about the materials we use and our waste management practices.” The advice is spot-on, considering a recent paper found the micro plastics were present in every marine animal which was sampled in Australia — even those thought to be inaccessible. Related: Scotland bans plastic bags, spares landfill 650 million bags in just one year To reduce your dependence on plastic, you can buy whole, unprocessed foods and biodegradable soaps in bulk and keep them in mason jars at home, remember to take your reusable bags to the grocery store and farmer’s market and take advantage of thrift store offerings (or similar apps which connect you with second-hand goods) to reduce waste and needless packaging. Making this effort will help reduce the amount of plastic in the environment and, as a result, ensure a habitable environment exists for future generations. + Science Advances Via LA Times Images via Depositphotos and   Pixabay

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We’ve made enough plastic trash to bury Manhattan under 2-miles of the stuff

Japan’s experimental mission to clean up space junk ends in failure

February 7, 2017 by  
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An experimental effort to remove five decades worth of space junk orbiting Earth has met with failure due to technical problems. A Japanese team planned to use a 700-meter-long tether to coax floating debris to a lower orbit, where it would burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere. But something went amiss and the tether couldn’t be extended – despite the best efforts of technicians who tried to fix it. According to the Guardian , more than 100 million pieces waste of various sizes, including cast-off equipment from old satellites and bits of rockets, are currently floating around the Earth. Experts say this garbage could pose risks for future space exploration, or even provoke armed conflict one day. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) developed a giant electrodynamic “tether” which they hoped could slow space refuse and bring it into a lower orbit – where they hoped it could later enter the Earth’s atmosphere and burn up. The plan was to extend the 700-meter-long tether, made from steel and aluminum wires, from a cargo ship launched in December to bring astronauts and supplies to the International Space Station. However all did not go according to plan – “We believe the tether did not get released,” leading researcher Koichi Inoue told The Guardian. “It is certainly disappointing that we ended the mission without completing one of the main objectives.” Related: Japan successfully orbits giant space junk collector The Guardian notes that JAXA has had some other disappointing results lately, including aborting a mission to use a mini-rocket to send a satellite into orbit a few weeks ago, and last year’s abandoned launch of a satellite designed to search for X-rays emanating from black holes and galaxy clusters. Via The Guardian Images via Jaxa and Wikimedia Commons

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Japan’s experimental mission to clean up space junk ends in failure

Seabin Project Aims To Reduce Ocean Pollution

August 4, 2016 by  
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Have you heard of The Great Pacific Garbage Patch? It’s a huge pile of garbage that’s located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean – and it’s larger than the great state of Texas. Sadly, there are millions of tons of garbage that have collected into…

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Seabin Project Aims To Reduce Ocean Pollution

Plastic ‘tsunami’ trashes Hong Kong beaches

July 11, 2016 by  
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A deluge of garbage is overwhelming Hong Kong beaches. In what some refer to as a trash ‘ tsunami ,’ Hong Kong beaches have seen an estimated six to 10 times the usual amount of trash recently. And most of that garbage is plastic that won’t easily decompose. Trash washing up on beaches isn’t unheard of for Hong Kong, but this amount of trash is abnormal. Lantau Island’s Cheung Sha Beach and Hong Kong Island’s Stanley Beach have seen ” tens of thousands of tons ” of garbage washed ashore in areas where children typically play. Hong Kong’s Environmental Protection Department blames June flooding in China and monsoon winds. Councilor Paul Zimmerman said the trash washed in from illegal and legal dumps in Hong Kong and China. Related: How two amazing teenage girls convinced Bali to ban plastic bags Many think the trash is coming from China as well as Hong Kong because of the trash packaging and labels. Sea Shepherd Hong Kong , a conservation group, points to a dump on the island of Wai Ling Ding. Just south of Hong Kong, the island is administrated by China and home to a dump which Sea Shepherd director Gary Stokes described as a “glacier of trash” that could be flowing downhill into the ocean . An Environmental Protection Department April 2015 report claims Hong Kong ocean trash ” does not constitute a serious problem .” But Coastal Watch , a World Wildlife Fund project, said up to 15,000 metric tons of ocean trash are gathered yearly in Hong Kong. One local described the current issue as ” effectively a solidified ‘oil spill’ of trash/plastic .” One Green Planet writes, “8.8 million tons of plastic” end up in our oceans every year. That trash poses a threat to marine creatures and pollutes the environment, and likely won’t break down for about 1,000 years. Via One Green Planet and CNN Images via Ocean Recovery Alliance Facebook

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Plastic ‘tsunami’ trashes Hong Kong beaches

Microplastics are killing fish faster than they can reproduce

June 8, 2016 by  
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There are 5 trillion pieces of plastic floating around in the Earth’s oceans, many of which are microplastics no larger than 5 mm large. These tiny particles are being gobbled up by fish and killing them faster than they can reproduce . A new study found that consuming the plastic pieces also slows fish down and interferes with their natural abilities to sense oncoming predators. The study , published in Science , observed perch larvae and their eating habits. When in the presence of microplastics, such as microbeads , the little guys actually preferred eating these harmful morsels over their usual meals of plankton. Ingesting the plastics slowed down development and interfered with the chemical signals the fish rely upon to sense when deadly predators are near. When pike were introduced into habitats where perch had been munching on microplastics, the perch were four times more likely to be eaten than those in a more natural environment. Related: Sea turtles face growing danger due to plastic trash in Australian waters Not only does ingesting plastic impede digestive systems with the fish, as well as with seabirds and other creatures, it seems there are longer-lasting effects on how the fish behave. All of these effects combined lead to increased mortality rates. In fact, all of the fish exposed to microplastics in the study were dead within 48 hours. Oona Lönnstedt, one of the study’s authors, told The Guardian , “If early life-history stages of other species are similarly affected by microplastics, and this translates to increased mortality rates, the effects on aquatic ecosystems could be profound.” Via  The Guardian Images via Flickr ( 1 , 2 )

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Microplastics are killing fish faster than they can reproduce

White Arkitekter wins bid to design Swedens tallest timber building

June 8, 2016 by  
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Located just below the Arctic Circle, the city of Skellefteå is surrounded by dense forests and renowned for its wooden buildings and timber construction techniques that range from traditional methods to modern technology. The 76-meter-tall Kulturhus i Skellefteå celebrates that heritage and will be built of locally sourced wood treated to withstand the harsh elements. The building’s lower, publicly accessible levels will be home to “Västerbottensteatern,” the county theater of Västerbotten; the City Library; the Anna Nordlander Museum; and “Konsthall,” Skellefteå’s art gallery. A hotel will occupy the top sixteen floors. Related: Vienna set to build the world’s tallest wooden skyscraper “A cultural centre in Skellefteå just has to be built using wood!” Said Oskar Norelius, lead architect at White. “We’re paying homage to the region’s rich tradition and we’re hoping to collaborate with the local timber industry. Together we will create a beautiful venue, open for everyone, which will both have a contemporary expression and age with grace.” The tower will be built with prefabricated glue-laminated timber modules reinforced with concrete slabs and steel trusses. Glazing will wrap around the building to offer stunning views of the landscape. The building will also be topped with a green roof and integrated with bicycle and pedestrian pathways. The building is slated for completion by 2019. + White Arkitekter Via Dezeen Images via White Arkitekter

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White Arkitekter wins bid to design Swedens tallest timber building

A Roadmap To Reduce Food Waste? Try This App!

January 22, 2016 by  
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The United States is one wasteful country. Did you know that 40% of the food in this country ends up in the garbage can every year? Many people blame restaurants for all of the food waste when, in fact, 44% of all food waste comes from residential…

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A Roadmap To Reduce Food Waste? Try This App!

Plastic-eating worms may offer solution to our growing garbage problem

October 2, 2015 by  
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Every year, 6.4 million tons of plastic is dumped into the ocean . On land, plastic gathers in landfills, on beaches and in sensitive ecosystems all around the world. In America alone, we throw away 33 million tons of plastic per year and we show no signs of slowing down. Now, new research shows the tiny mealworm might just help us solve our massive plastic problem. Scientists at Stanford have discovered that the humble mealworm can live on a diet of Styrofoam and other polystyrene. Read the rest of Plastic-eating worms may offer solution to our growing garbage problem

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Plastic-eating worms may offer solution to our growing garbage problem

Japan will begin testing self-driving cabs next year

October 2, 2015 by  
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A company called – wait for it – Robot Taxi has announced it will begin trials on autonomous taxi cabs in Japan next year. Fifty lucky residents of Kanagawa prefecture, just south of Tokyo, will be the first to ride the taxis of the future on round-trip journeys from their homes to local stores. And don’t worry, there will still be a human riding along in the driver’s seat just in case the self-driving car gets into any trouble. Read the rest of Japan will begin testing self-driving cabs next year

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Japan will begin testing self-driving cabs next year

How To Make Garbage Great

July 23, 2015 by  
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When was the last time you heard garbage and great in the same sentence?  Yeah, that’s what we thought.  Rarely do the two appear together in the same stream of thought.   Is it even possible to make garage great? According to Make Garbage Great:…

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How To Make Garbage Great

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