Global movement will call out consumer brands most responsible for plastic pollution

September 13, 2018 by  
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The Story of Stuff Project is launching a global call to action in combating plastic pollution . The ambitious initiative plans to identify the most pervasive polluting companies while simultaneously cleaning up coastal and inland communities around the world. The plastic waste brand audit is the first of its kind and intends to underline responsibility and accountability at the very source of our world’s growing trash crisis. “Every year, thousands of people get together to clean up the waste that washes onto beaches around the world — but more plastic always reappears,” said Stiv Wilson, campaigns director for The Story Stuff Project. “To break the cycle of plastic pollution, we need to do things differently.” Related: Indonesia mobilizes 20,000 citizens to clean up plastic pollution Members and volunteers all over the world will join forces for a week-long series of events that will help clean our cities, towns, beaches , riverfronts and parks of invasive pollution. Wilson said, “This year, we’re not just cleaning up trash — we’re collecting data that will illuminate the most problematic brands in the environment and help us bring accountability to the companies that bear ultimate responsibility for the plastic pollution crisis.” The data collected from the 75 global locations where the clean-up audits are taking place will be compiled at local and global levels in order to identify which companies are polluting the most overall. The data will also show what areas face more challenges in reducing plastic consumption, information that will help with efficient disposal and recycling initiatives. “Corporations cannot greenwash their role out of the plastic pollution crisis and put the blame on people all the time,” said Von Hernandez, global coordinator of the environmental movement. “Our brand audits make it clear which companies are primarily responsible for the proliferation of throwaway plastic waste that’s defiling nature and killing our oceans . These events provide undeniable evidence of this truth.” Those who wish to lend a helping hand can learn more and join  here . The global results are set to be released in early October. + The Story of Stuff Project Image via Vaidehi Shah

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Global movement will call out consumer brands most responsible for plastic pollution

Indonesia mobilizes 20,000 citizens to clean up plastic pollution

September 5, 2018 by  
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Indonesia wastes upward of 10 billion plastic bags every year, making it the second highest polluter of plastic in the entire world. To address the growing plastic pollution problem, thousands of volunteers gathered around the country last month and participated in one of the largest plastic cleanups to date. The goal of the event was to educate citizens about the dangers of pollution and promote better recycling practices among young people. More than 20,000 people from 76 different areas of the country participated in the event, which organizers dubbed “Face the Sea.” The volunteers scoured beaches in Indonesia for plastic trash in order to raise awareness about ocean pollution. The country only trails China in the amount of plastic it wastes every year. In total, Indonesia produces some 3.2 million tons of plastic trash annually, a quarter of which gets dumped in the ocean. Once the plastic gets into the ocean, currents gather it up and create huge areas of floating garbage. The biggest patch, located in the Pacific Ocean, is twice as large as the state of Texas. Marine life , including fish, whales and birds, often mistake the plastic for food and eat it. The plastic stays in the digestion system of the animal for life and frequently leads to death. If the world continues to waste plastic at this rate, the amount of waste in the ocean will outweigh sea animals by the year 2050. Fortunately, countries like Indonesia are starting to turn things around by understanding the importance of preserving the ocean. Apart from the recent event, the Southeast Asian country has also promised to decrease its plastic waste by 70 percent over the next seven years. The government initiated an extra tax on plastic bags two years ago, which cut the country’s plastic bag use in half over the course of just three months. The program is no longer in existence, however, because local businesses claimed it decreased overall sales. Many activists say the low number of successful policies to fight plastic pollution is because of a lack of awareness, which is what the ocean cleanup organizers are hoping to address. Via Mongabay Image via Fabio Achilli

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Indonesia mobilizes 20,000 citizens to clean up plastic pollution

UK bag tariff halves plastic bag marine litter, reduces sales of plastic bags by 86%

August 2, 2018 by  
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Following a 5p charge per bag, the sale of plastic bags in the U.K. has fallen by 86 percent, according to reports from the “big seven” supermarkets in the country. Scientists at the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) have also found that approximately 50 percent of plastic bag marine litter has been eliminated from the Earth’s waters since the tax was put into effect. Statistics on individual consumption show a decline from 140 bags per person to 19 as a result of the bag fees — a total elimination of 300 million bags. The 5p (roughly 0.07 USD) tariff introduced in 2015 seems to be working in the favor of marine ecosystems, which receive nearly all of the plastic waste after human handling. “Every plastic bag not purchased is one which will not end up in our sea, damaging habitats or harming marine life,” said Thomas Maes, a marine litter scientist who has been working on the 25-year study at CEFAS . Government scientist-contributed data has estimated that in the next 10 years, nearly one million birds and more than 100,000 marine mammals  will die each year as a result of consuming or getting caught in plastic litter. Realted: Former businessman bicycles down the Thames River to stop plastic pollution “Since efforts from across Europe came into effect, including the U.K.’s 5p charge, we have observed a sharp decline in the percentage of plastic bags captured by fishing nets on our trawl surveys of the seafloor around the U.K. as compared to 2010,” Maes said. While the reduction in plastic bags found in the ocean was significant, the CEFAS study revealed that the dumping was only replaced by other plastic items and fishing debris, maintaining the amount of litter at an equilibrium, at least for now. Government projections report that levels in marine plastics will triple in the next 10 years, making efforts on every level that much more important. +CEFAS Via SkyNews ,  Sky Ocean Rescue  and  Mirpuri Foundation

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UK bag tariff halves plastic bag marine litter, reduces sales of plastic bags by 86%

Australia takes stand on single-use plastic bags

July 2, 2018 by  
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Single-use plastic bags are going out of style in Australia, but shoppers aren’t thrilled by the reduction. Two major retailers, Big W and Coles, have officially ended the use of plastic shopping bags from their stores. The move effectively outlaws their use in nearly every Australian state. After Tasmania and South Australia started by installing a plastic bag ban, national retailers voluntarily began relying on them in stores. On June 20, 2018, Woolworths stopped offering single-use bags, instead charging shoppers 11 cents for reusable plastic totes starting July 9. After sharp customer backlash, the totes will be free until July 8. Related: Billions of pieces of plastic trash are sickening the world’s coral reefs The other two retail chains pulled the plastic shopping bags off their shelves July 1. To quell community outrage, Coles brought on more staff to ensure check-out lines moved quickly as a result of the shift. As a nation, Australia is reducing its reliance on one-use plastic products to combat ocean pollution . According to the United Nations’ Environment Program , the world produces over 300 million tons of plastic annually. Approximately 2.6 percent – eight million tons and as many as 5 trillion plastic bags – end up in the ocean, where they can poison marine life. Without reducing single-use plastic production, the UN estimates plastics could outnumber ocean fish in just over 30 years. While the move is environmentally conscious , it isn’t popular with shoppers. According to Australian labor union SDA, around 43 percent of retail workers said they suffered “abuse” from shoppers because of the change. At least one was reportedly assaulted, leading the union to start a public service announcement campaign to educate the public about plastic pollution. In the United States, the National Conference of State Legislatures shows only two states have instituted single-use plastic bag bans for shoppers: California and Hawaii . Six major cities, including Austin, Boston, Chicago and Seattle, have all banned single-use bags, while four states and at least six cities charge fees to shoppers who opt for plastic bags. Via NPR and Reuters

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Australia takes stand on single-use plastic bags

American Express to offer credit card created with upcycled ocean plastic

June 14, 2018 by  
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Plastic is part of so many products in our day-to-day lives, from obvious ones like plastic bags to ones you may not often think about, like your plastic credit card. American Express plans to offer the first credit card ever made with ocean plastic in a collaboration with Parley for the Oceans . The company is also committing to reduce single-use plastics in its operations worldwide. We’re collaborating w/ @parleyxxx to combat marine plastic pollution. Learn abt our plans to introduce an Amex Card made primarily from plastics recovered from the ocean & our journey to reduce single-use plastic globally https://t.co/tAWsHPjWES #AmexLife #KeepItBlue #AmexParley pic.twitter.com/7WdNeGBz3H — American Express (@AmericanExpress) June 7, 2018 American Express’s ocean plastic card will be manufactured primarily with recovered plastic from coasts and the oceans and is intended to raise awareness of ocean plastic pollution . In a press release , the company said the card is a prototype at the moment, but could be ready for the public in around 12 months. Related: Adidas unveils a Manchester United jersey created with ocean plastic Parley’s Avoid, Intercept, Redesign (AIR) philosophy is also inspiring an American Express corporate pledge to “limit single-use plastics, intercept plastic waste and redesign existing materials and plastic products.” American Express provided six steps it will take, including phasing out single-use plastic straws and stirrers for Centurion airport lounges and major offices in about a month, and phasing out single-use plastics for the airport lounges by the end of 2018. It will also undertake annual company-run river and coastal clean-ups. American Express aims to lower virgin plastic in card products, and create what it described as a comprehensive waste reduction strategy to up recycling rates and cut single-use plastic in its operations by the end of 2018. Finally, the company will pursue a zero waste certification by 2025 for its New York City headquarters. “Every second breath we take is created by the oceans ,” Parley for the Oceans founder Cyrill Gutsch said in a statement . “Without them, we can’t exist. American Express is creating a symbol of change and inviting their network to shape a blue future, one based on creativity, collaboration and eco-innovation.” + American Express + Parley for the Oceans Image courtesy of American Express

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American Express to offer credit card created with upcycled ocean plastic

American Express to offer credit card created with upcycled ocean plastic

June 14, 2018 by  
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Plastic is part of so many products in our day-to-day lives, from obvious ones like plastic bags to ones you may not often think about, like your plastic credit card. American Express plans to offer the first credit card ever made with ocean plastic in a collaboration with Parley for the Oceans . The company is also committing to reduce single-use plastics in its operations worldwide. We’re collaborating w/ @parleyxxx to combat marine plastic pollution. Learn abt our plans to introduce an Amex Card made primarily from plastics recovered from the ocean & our journey to reduce single-use plastic globally https://t.co/tAWsHPjWES #AmexLife #KeepItBlue #AmexParley pic.twitter.com/7WdNeGBz3H — American Express (@AmericanExpress) June 7, 2018 American Express’s ocean plastic card will be manufactured primarily with recovered plastic from coasts and the oceans and is intended to raise awareness of ocean plastic pollution . In a press release , the company said the card is a prototype at the moment, but could be ready for the public in around 12 months. Related: Adidas unveils a Manchester United jersey created with ocean plastic Parley’s Avoid, Intercept, Redesign (AIR) philosophy is also inspiring an American Express corporate pledge to “limit single-use plastics, intercept plastic waste and redesign existing materials and plastic products.” American Express provided six steps it will take, including phasing out single-use plastic straws and stirrers for Centurion airport lounges and major offices in about a month, and phasing out single-use plastics for the airport lounges by the end of 2018. It will also undertake annual company-run river and coastal clean-ups. American Express aims to lower virgin plastic in card products, and create what it described as a comprehensive waste reduction strategy to up recycling rates and cut single-use plastic in its operations by the end of 2018. Finally, the company will pursue a zero waste certification by 2025 for its New York City headquarters. “Every second breath we take is created by the oceans ,” Parley for the Oceans founder Cyrill Gutsch said in a statement . “Without them, we can’t exist. American Express is creating a symbol of change and inviting their network to shape a blue future, one based on creativity, collaboration and eco-innovation.” + American Express + Parley for the Oceans Image courtesy of American Express

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American Express to offer credit card created with upcycled ocean plastic

American Express to offer credit card created with upcycled ocean plastic

June 14, 2018 by  
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Plastic is part of so many products in our day-to-day lives, from obvious ones like plastic bags to ones you may not often think about, like your plastic credit card. American Express plans to offer the first credit card ever made with ocean plastic in a collaboration with Parley for the Oceans . The company is also committing to reduce single-use plastics in its operations worldwide. We’re collaborating w/ @parleyxxx to combat marine plastic pollution. Learn abt our plans to introduce an Amex Card made primarily from plastics recovered from the ocean & our journey to reduce single-use plastic globally https://t.co/tAWsHPjWES #AmexLife #KeepItBlue #AmexParley pic.twitter.com/7WdNeGBz3H — American Express (@AmericanExpress) June 7, 2018 American Express’s ocean plastic card will be manufactured primarily with recovered plastic from coasts and the oceans and is intended to raise awareness of ocean plastic pollution . In a press release , the company said the card is a prototype at the moment, but could be ready for the public in around 12 months. Related: Adidas unveils a Manchester United jersey created with ocean plastic Parley’s Avoid, Intercept, Redesign (AIR) philosophy is also inspiring an American Express corporate pledge to “limit single-use plastics, intercept plastic waste and redesign existing materials and plastic products.” American Express provided six steps it will take, including phasing out single-use plastic straws and stirrers for Centurion airport lounges and major offices in about a month, and phasing out single-use plastics for the airport lounges by the end of 2018. It will also undertake annual company-run river and coastal clean-ups. American Express aims to lower virgin plastic in card products, and create what it described as a comprehensive waste reduction strategy to up recycling rates and cut single-use plastic in its operations by the end of 2018. Finally, the company will pursue a zero waste certification by 2025 for its New York City headquarters. “Every second breath we take is created by the oceans ,” Parley for the Oceans founder Cyrill Gutsch said in a statement . “Without them, we can’t exist. American Express is creating a symbol of change and inviting their network to shape a blue future, one based on creativity, collaboration and eco-innovation.” + American Express + Parley for the Oceans Image courtesy of American Express

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American Express to offer credit card created with upcycled ocean plastic

New study suggests that plastic waste may be transformed into usable energy

June 12, 2018 by  
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A new study from the Earth Engineering Center (EEC|CCNY) at the Grove School of Engineering of the City College of New York suggests that plastic waste can effectively be converted into usable fuel and energy rather than being dumped in a landfill or polluting the ocean. Researchers found that the addition of non-recycled plastics (NRPs) to a chemical recycling process known as gasification results in the production of crude oil -based fuel. It also reduces pollution, both plastic and emissions, in contrast to traditional methods of disposing of plastic waste, such as incineration or dumping. Plastic is a product derived from crude oil and, as such, contains significant latent energy that can be harnessed using the right technology and technique. “This study demonstrates that because carbon- and hydrogen -rich plastics have high energy content, there is tremendous potential to use technologies like gasification to convert these materials into fuels, chemicals and other products,” study co-author Marco J. Castaldi told Phys.org . As concerns rise over plastic pollution, scientists are looking to reframe plastic as a resource rather than waste . “Plastics have an end-of-life use that will be turning waste into energy, which is something we all need and use,” study co-author Demetra Tsiamis told Phys.org. Related: UN releases first “state of plastics” report on World Environment Day Gasification uses air or steam to heat plastic waste. This results in the creation of industrial gas mixtures called synthesis gas, or syngas. This syngas can either be converted into diesel and petrol or burned directly to generate electricity . This process is preferable to incineration of plastic waste because it allows for the storage of potentially usable energy that otherwise would be wasted through incineration. Gasification is also better for air quality, producing much lower levels of sulfur and nitrogen oxide emissions. + Earth Engineering Center Via Phys.org Images via Depositphotos (1, 2)

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New study suggests that plastic waste may be transformed into usable energy

India plans to eliminate single-use plastic by 2022

June 6, 2018 by  
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Big news from India : the country aims to abolish single-use plastic in about four years. Prime minister Narendra Modi announced the goal on World Environment Day , and The Guardian said it’s the most ambitious commitment out of the actions to combat plastic pollution happening in 60 nations. The move could dramatically reduce the flow of plastic from 1.3 billion people. India is resisting plastic pollution with what United Nations Environment head Erik Solheim called a phenomenal commitment. The country’s Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Harsh Vardhan said single-use plastics will be banned in all of the country’s states by 2022. Solheim said the move would inspire the planet and “ignite real change.” Related: Kenya introduces world’s harshest law on plastic bags “It is the duty of each one of us to ensure that the quest for material prosperity does not compromise our environment ,” Modi said. “The choices that we make today will define our collective future. The choices may not be easy. But through awareness, technology and a genuine global partnership, I am sure we can make the right choices. Let us all join together to beat plastic pollution and make this planet a better place to live.” UN Environment released  a report providing “the first comprehensive global assessment of government action against plastic pollution,” including case studies from over 60 countries. The report included a list of states and cities in India that have banned plastic bags or disposable plastic products, and the selected case study in the country highlighted beach cleanup efforts in Mumbai; Inhabitat covered the initiative started by local lawyer Afroz Shah earlier this year. Volunteers have cleaned up around 13,000 tons of trash, largely plastics , according to the case study, and this year people spotted Olive Ridley turtle hatchlings on the beach for the first time in more than 20 years. + United Nations Environment Via The Guardian Images via Depositphotos and Juggadery/Flickr

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India plans to eliminate single-use plastic by 2022

Flawed recycling results in dangerous chemicals in black plastic

May 31, 2018 by  
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Unsafe recycling of electronic waste has resulted in the distribution of dangerous chemicals into new products made out of black plastic . Published in Environment International , a new study documents the presence of bromide and lead in 600 consumer products made out of black plastic and clarifies its potential negative impact on human and ecological health. “There are environmental and health impacts arising from the production and use of plastics in general, but black plastics pose greater risks and hazards,” explained study lead author Andrew Turner in a statement . “This is due to the technical and economic constraints imposed on the efficient sorting and separation of black waste for recycling, coupled with the presence of harmful additives required for production or applications in the electronic and electrical equipment and food packaging sectors.” Although black plastics compose fifteen percent of domestic plastic waste in the United States , they are particularly difficult to recycle. As a result, hazardous chemicals that were originally used as flame retardants or for color are being processed back into new products. “Black plastic may be aesthetically pleasing, but this study confirms that the recycling of plastic from electronic waste is introducing harmful chemicals into consumer products,” explained Turner. “That is something the public would obviously not expect, or wish, to see and there has previously been very little research exploring this.” Related: Biotech company Nanollose could offer plant-free alternatives for the textile industry Of particular concern is black plastic’s wide usage in food service, with the majority of black plastic being used in food trays or packaging. The black plastic also risks poisoning marine life as its dangerous chemicals seep into the ocean through microplastics. However, the presence of dangerous chemicals, such as the potentially cancer-causing bromine, is not limited to food products; it is also found in plastic jewelry, garden hoses, Christmas decorations, coat hangers and tool handles at high, and possibly even illegal, levels. Given the health risks, the industry must reform. “[T]here is also a need for increased innovation within the recycling industry to ensure harmful substances are eliminated from recycled waste and to increase the recycling of black plastic consumer products,” said Turner. Via Ecowatch Image via Depositphotos

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