Arctic sea ice is filled with record levels of microplastics

April 25, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Even the Arctic can’t escape plastic pollution . Scientists gathered ice samples from five distinct regions in the Arctic Ocean , and some of those samples contained over 12,000 microplastic particles per liter of ice – a record-breaking amount. All told, they uncovered 17 different kinds of plastic , including paints and packaging. A team of 9 scientists at Alfred Wegener Institute recorded record levels of microplastics, or plastic fragments between a few micrometers to under five millimeters big, in sea ice collected in the Arctic. They gathered these samples aboard the research icebreaker Polarstern in 2014 and 2015. They utilized a Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometer to scrutinize the ice samples layer by layer to light up microparticles; particles reflect varying wavelengths depending on their ingredients so the scientists could determine their substances. Related: New study reveals plastic pollution in the Antarctic is 5x worse than expected Their methods helped them discover minuscule particles. Scientist Gunnar Gerdts, who runs the laboratory where the researchers carried out measurements, said in a statement , “In this way, we also discovered plastic particles that are tiny 11 microns in size. This is roughly a sixth of the diameter of human hair and was also the key reason why, with more than 12,000 particles per liter of sea ice, we were able to detect two to three times higher plastic concentrations than was the case in a previous study.” 67 percent of the particles in the ice samples fell in the 50 micrometers and below category: the smallest one. Biologist Ilka Peeken said, “We found out in our study that more than half of the microplastic particles trapped in the ice were smaller than one-twentieth of a millimeter and thus easily eaten by Arctic microorganisms such as crayfish, but also copepods.” This is concerning, she said, because “so far no one can say to what extent these tiny plastic particles harm the sea dwellers or end up even endangering humans.” The journal Nature Communications published the research this week. + Alfred Wegener Institute + Nature Communications Images via Tristan Vankaan , Mar Fernandez , and Stefan Hendricks

See original here:
Arctic sea ice is filled with record levels of microplastics

9 Alternatives to Single-Use Plastic Straws

April 24, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco

Single-use plastic straws are an environmental problem that few people think … The post 9 Alternatives to Single-Use Plastic Straws appeared first on Earth911.com.

View post:
9 Alternatives to Single-Use Plastic Straws

How Dow Chemical and Boise are taking aim at plastics

April 23, 2018 by  
Filed under Business, Green

Many U.S. cities are struggling with how to keep items like juice pouches, candy wrappers and plastic dinnerware out of landfills.

View post:
How Dow Chemical and Boise are taking aim at plastics

The Ocean Cleanup is about to send a giant plastic collector to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

April 20, 2018 by  
Filed under Green, Recycle

The  Great Pacific Garbage Patch is growing at an alarming rate — and it’s already three times the size of France . Fortunately, help is on the way: new images show that The Ocean Cleanup  is building an innovative  plastic -scooping system in Alameda, CA, and they’re planning to launch it as early as this summer. There are around 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic junk in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and The Ocean Cleanup , started by now-23-year-old Boyan Slat , is much closer to deploying its technology to tackle the dilemma. The group’s  Road to the Cleanup timeline reveals that, earlier this month, the crew finished “the first weld of two floater sections” — the official start of the assembly process. Days later, the organization shared another image of what they called great progress. Related: The Ocean Cleanup launches San Francisco base in Pacific trash-busting bid Fast Company reported  that a massive floating tube, around 2,000 feet long, will serve as a U-shaped barrier to help trap plastic. It’s flexible enough to bend with ocean waves and is made of HDPE plastic — the same material that the system aims to collect, according to ABC7 News . A nylon screen attached to the tube will catch plastic beneath the waves — but not fish, as it isn’t a net. Big anchors, a concept unveiled by Slat in a presentation last year , will essentially tether the system not to the seabed, but to a deep water layer. When might we be able to see the system in action? The Road to the Cleanup timeline estimates launch will happen in the middle of this year. The first piece of the system, which is about as long as a football field, will be towed out into the ocean for tests in a few weeks. The piece will be connected to the larger system following the local tow test, and a final test 200 miles offshore will occur after assembly is finished. It will take three weeks for the system to reach the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and The Ocean Cleanup could get there in August if everything goes as planned. Plastic they gather could be transformed into various  products — clothing, for example — and the Ocean Cleanup could have a shipment of plastic in late fall. + The Ocean Cleanup + Road to the Cleanup Via Fast Company and ABC7 News Images via The Ocean Cleanup

Go here to read the rest: 
The Ocean Cleanup is about to send a giant plastic collector to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

This new 3D-printed house was built by a portable robot in just 48 hours

April 20, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

There are a lot of 3D-printed houses popping up these days, but this is the first time an architect with the renown of Massimiliano Locatelli of CLS Architetti and Arup has tackled one. Built out of a special quick-drying mortar, the 1,076-square-foot house was constructed in just 48 hours. Locatelli envisions 3D printing as the housing of the future – and that his house could be constructed anywhere,”even the moon.” The project, 3D Housing 05 , was built on-site by a portable robot as a way of showing how 3D-printing can reduce construction waste but still create a beautiful space. The house is the first of its kind, because it is 3D-printed, but can be deconstructed and reassembled somewhere else. Like you’d expect from such respected names in architecture, the house is quite stylish. A one-story home with curved walls and four separate spaces built out of 35 modules, the house embraces its 3D-printed roots, with the printing texture adding warmth to the concrete space. The architects used a  Cybe mobile 3D concrete printer and a specific mortar called CyBe MORTAR. The material sets in five minutes, with a dehydration time of 24 hours – compared to the 28 days for traditional concrete. Related: New 3D-printed house can be built in less than a day for just $4,000 “My vision was to integrate new, more organic shapes in the surrounding landscapes or urban architecture…. The challenges are the project’s five key values: creativity, sustainability, flexibility, affordability and rapidity. The opportunity is to be a protagonist of a new revolution in architecture,” Locatelli told Wallpaper* . Arup and CLS Architetti revealed the design at the Salone del Mobile festival in the grand Piazza Cesare Beccaria. + 3D Printed Housing 05 + Arup + CLS Architetti via Treehugger

Originally posted here:
This new 3D-printed house was built by a portable robot in just 48 hours

Earth Day 2018: Preventing Plastic-Filled Oceans

April 17, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco

“End Plastic Pollution” is this year’s Earth Day theme, and … The post Earth Day 2018: Preventing Plastic-Filled Oceans appeared first on Earth911.com.

Read more:
Earth Day 2018: Preventing Plastic-Filled Oceans

Unilever unwraps plan for closed loop plastic food-grade packaging

April 5, 2018 by  
Filed under Business, Green

Comments Off on Unilever unwraps plan for closed loop plastic food-grade packaging

The consumer goods giant announces a partnership to pioneer new technology capable of turning PET plastic waste into transparent virgin grade material.

Read the original:
Unilever unwraps plan for closed loop plastic food-grade packaging

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is growing at an exponential rate

March 22, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is growing at an exponential rate

Scientists recently found that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch – now three times the size of France – is showing signs of exponential growth. In a new study published in the journal Nature , researchers provide a detailed analysis of the garbage patch after a monumental effort that required two planes and 18 boats to complete. “We wanted to have a clear, precise picture of what the patch looked like,” Laurent Lebreton, study lead author and lead oceanographer for the Ocean Cleanup Foundation , told the Washington Post . The study estimates that the mass of the garbage patch is four to sixteen times bigger than previously thought, highlighting the urgency of confronting global plastic pollution. The Ocean Cleanup Foundation worked in collaboration with scientists from New Zealand , the United States, Britain, France, Germany and Denmark . The study provides an in-depth account of the mass concentration within the Garbage Patch. Although the mass of the Garbage Patch appears to be growing, the study concludes that the area of the patch has remained relatively stable. This means that the Garbage Patch is simply becoming more dense. Related: The Ocean Cleanup launches San Francisco base in Pacific trash-busting bid The study also found that 46% of the Pacific Garbage Patch’s mass is composed of disposed fishing nets. “This suggests we might be underestimating how much fishing debris is floating in the oceans,” Chelsea Rochman, an assistant professor at the University of Toronto who studies marine plastic but was not associated with the study, told the Washington Post . “Entanglement and smothering from nets is one of the most detrimental observed effects we see in nature.” For all of the garbage floating in the Patch, scientists expect that much of the world’s plastic pollution is sinking, with much of that damage happening out of sight. + Nature Via the Washington Post Images via Depositphotos (1) and the Ocean Cleanup Foundation

Read the original post:
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is growing at an exponential rate

Scientists have a plan to cool the Earth with a sprinkle of salt

March 22, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Scientists have a plan to cool the Earth with a sprinkle of salt

Could salt help soothe our climate woes? Senior scientist Robert Nelson of the Planetary Science Institute seems to think so. At a recent Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Texas, Nelson suggested that sprinkling salt above clouds could hold off sunlight and cool our planet, according to Science Magazine . But as with many geoengineering ideas, this one isn’t without controversy. Finely powdered salt injected into the upper troposphere might help humanity stave off some of the impacts of climate change, according to Nelson. His suggestion isn’t too far off those of other scientists who want to introduce microscopic particles into the stratosphere to reflect sunshine into space , imitating the impact of volcanic eruptions that have served to temporarily cool Earth. But his might be more benign than others, Science Magazine said. The senior scientist tossed out alumina or sulfur dioxide: the first could lead to chronic disease, embedding in our lungs if we inhaled it; the second could lead to acid rain or erode the ozone layer. Related: Trump administration could open door to geoengineering Instead, he turned to salt: it’s more reflective than alumina, according to Science Magazine, and harmless for people. Nelson also thinks if salt were crushed into tiny particles in the correct shape and diffused randomly, the mineral wouldn’t block infrared heat the Earth releases. Volcanologist Matthew Watson of the University of Bristol is one scientist who has called out potential problems with Nelson’s approach. He led an ultimately canceled geoengineering experiment, in which his team considered injecting salt in the stratosphere. But the substance contains a lot of chlorine , which he said could help destroy ozone. With limited amounts of water in the stratosphere, and salt so attracted to it, even a small amount could impact the formation of wispy clouds; we have know idea what consequences this would trigger. Nelson might be able to address issues by injecting salt into the upper troposphere instead of the stratosphere — at least, that’s what he hopes. But he said we should still work to curb carbon emissions , saying, “This would be a palliative, not a [long-term] solution.” Via Science Magazine Images via Depositphotos and Wikimedia Commons

Read the original:
Scientists have a plan to cool the Earth with a sprinkle of salt

Congress rejects Trump’s renewable energy budget cuts

March 22, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Congress rejects Trump’s renewable energy budget cuts

Congress has reached a deal on the $1.3 trillion budget for fiscal year 2018, an agreement that does not include the cuts to clean energy demanded by the Trump Administration. President Trump’s budget proposal would have cut funding from carbon capture and storage technology while increasing funding for new coal technologies. In this instance, Congress pushed back. For example, the omnibus spending bill increases funding for the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy by $2.3 billion rather than agreeing to the 66 percent funding cut for the office proposed by the Trump Administration. In what may be the last major legislation passed this year, Congress must pass the budget deal by midnight on Friday to avoid a third government shutdown in 2018. If the budget deal is enacted, the United States would likely achieve the 2015 goal set by President Obama of doubling research and development for clean energy within a decade. The bill also protects the EPA from Trump ‘s proposed 23 percent cut, maintaining funding for the agency at $8.1 billion. While funding for renewable energy is protected, Trump did manage to achieve a significant policy victory through the bill’s increased funding for DOE’s fossil energy arm to $727 million. This money will fund the development of low-carbon coal technologies. Related: USDA withdraws Obama-era animal welfare standards for organic meat, eggs and dairy The omnibus spending bill also includes a $868 million increase for DOE’s Office of Science , ignoring the Trump Administration’s proposed 15 percent cut. While those who support renewable energy and environmental protection have reason to celebrate, the current government is nonetheless limiting the potential of the clean energy industry. A large increase in funding for clean energy research and development is unlikely in the near future. However, Congress has found an agreeable equilibrium that ensures the quiet work of transforming the energy economy of the United States can continue, even though Donald Trump sits in the White House. Via Axios and the Washington Post Images via Depositphotos (1)

View original post here:
Congress rejects Trump’s renewable energy budget cuts

Next Page »

Bad Behavior has blocked 610 access attempts in the last 7 days.