Discarded face masks now threatening wildlife habitats

March 16, 2020 by  
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The worldwide outbreak of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) prompted many to purchase face masks for protection. Unfortunately, these protective masks have been harming the environment. Why is that? The masks are made of the plastic polypropylene, which is not easily biodegradable. No surprise then that the accumulation of discarded face masks litters the environment and poses serious risks to the equilibrium of  habitats  and the health of wildlife, especially marine organisms. Environmental groups are now sounding the alarm on how cast-off coronavirus masks are escalating the  litter  and plastic pollution predicaments. Related:  The Ocean Cleanup has first success collecting plastic from Great Pacific Garbage Patch “We only have had masks for the last six to eight weeks, in a massive volume…we are now seeing the effect on the environment,” explained Gary Stokes, founder of Oceans Asia, a marine  conservation  organization. Stokes elaborated with the example of the Soko Islands off Hong Kong. On one 100-meter stretch of beach, Stokes discovered 70 masks, then an additional 30 the following week.  Hong Kong’s dense population means that its citizens have struggled with plastic waste.  Single-use plastic  makes matters more challenging. What’s more, Hong Kong does not effectively  recycle  all its waste. Instead, roughly 70% of its garbage ends up in landfills. That 70% is equivalent to approximately 6 million tons of refuse. Conservationists have been attempting to remove these masks from the environment through beach clean-ups. “Nobody wants to go to the forest and find masks littered everywhere or used masks on the beaches . It is unhygienic and dangerous,” added Laurence McCook, head of Oceans Conservation at the World Wildlife Fund in Hong Kong. Jerome Adams, the United States Surgeon General, has also  advised people to stop purchasing medical face masks , as they are ineffective at preventing COVID-19. Scaling back public purchasing of the masks would not only keep more masks available for medical professionals, but could also reduce the amount being discarded and its impact on the environment. Via Reuters Images via Pixabay

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Discarded face masks now threatening wildlife habitats

Hundreds of companies crack down on plastic from fast fashion to supermarkets and beyond

March 6, 2020 by  
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The initial headline-grabbing pledges to phase out single use plastic may have become old news, but the new normal is seeing hundreds of companies quietly advance their plastic reduction strategies.

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Hundreds of companies crack down on plastic from fast fashion to supermarkets and beyond

We Earthlings: 91% of All Plastic Is Still Unrecycled

March 3, 2020 by  
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Ninety-one percent of all plastic ever manufactured is still unrecycled. … The post We Earthlings: 91% of All Plastic Is Still Unrecycled appeared first on Earth911.com.

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We Earthlings: 91% of All Plastic Is Still Unrecycled

Dow’s Julie Zaniewski on its partnership with recycling leader Avangard Innovative

March 3, 2020 by  
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Julie Zaniewski, North America sustainability director at Dow, says that the company’s plans for 2020 include living out its sustainability strategy. That includes keeping plastic out of the environment and bringing circular economy solutions to life.

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Dow’s Julie Zaniewski on its partnership with recycling leader Avangard Innovative

We Earthlings: Recycling Plastic #1

February 25, 2020 by  
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Did you know that recycling just one pound of plastic … The post We Earthlings: Recycling Plastic #1 appeared first on Earth911.com.

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We Earthlings: Recycling Plastic #1

Earth911 Podcast: The Plastic Crisis Is Here and We Have Answers

February 24, 2020 by  
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Plastic recycling in the U.S. has declined so much since … The post Earth911 Podcast: The Plastic Crisis Is Here and We Have Answers appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Earth911 Podcast: The Plastic Crisis Is Here and We Have Answers

Earth911 Podcast: The Plastic Crisis Is Here and We Have Answers

February 24, 2020 by  
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Plastic recycling in the U.S. has declined so much since … The post Earth911 Podcast: The Plastic Crisis Is Here and We Have Answers appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Earth911 Podcast: The Plastic Crisis Is Here and We Have Answers

Plastic to-go containers are bad, but the alternatives might not be much better

February 5, 2020 by  
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Single-use plastic bans are showing up across the nation. But compostable plates and forks may not solve the plastic crisis.

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Plastic to-go containers are bad, but the alternatives might not be much better

Plastic choices and their carbon impacts: Setting a strategy and sticking to it

January 31, 2020 by  
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Companies and the public sector are coming under considerable scrutiny on management of their ocean plastic impact with significant media and public attention focused on the amount of single-use plastic packaging, drinking straws and other plastic items in circulation across supply chains.These same organizations are faced with expectations to align their climate change mitigation ambitions with the latest science that emphasizes the drastic reduction measures that are needed.

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Plastic choices and their carbon impacts: Setting a strategy and sticking to it

Down plastic, up morale: How a sustainability graduate school is reducing single-use plastic

January 24, 2020 by  
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Our finance department measured the “before” of our office’s single-use plastic, and implemented improvements right away.

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Down plastic, up morale: How a sustainability graduate school is reducing single-use plastic

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