Amazing amounts of plastic pollution and electronic waste are poisoning the environment. Plastic can be found in different places, such as distant islands and our own bodies. Plastics made from residual fuels are directly related to the climate crisis. Big Oil’s approach to fossil capitalism is to shift the responsibility for plastic products from companies to customers and put the responsibility for environmental damage on consumers. Big Oil, meanwhile, is stepping up plastics production to offset future scenarios where residual fuels are being turned into closed assets. The problem of technology with plastics overlaps with other industries, but technology can also be part of the solution.
Josh Lepavsky, a professor at the University of Newfoundland Memorial, who mapped the international movement of e-waste, think of plastic pollution as a flooded tub in your bathroom. The Verge.
“If you got into it, your first job would probably be to turn off the tap – if you don’t take the bucket and the plumbing, you think the bucket and plumbing are recyclable,” Lepawsky said. Closing the tap is equivalent to shutting down the production of plastic products. Trying to clear up the confusion will not solve the problem. “It doesn’t mean don’t use a bucket and a mop. That doesn’t turn off the tap. “
Possible solutions for plastic poisoning
Plastic waste management technologies around the world are traditionally divided into 4 general categories: mechanical recycling, raw material recycling, energy recovery and landfill.
What can be done to make already produced plastics more valuable?
Technology companies make environmental claims about the inclusion of recycled materials. Is recycled plastic really an environmentally friendly investment?
- Microsoft is proud of its Ocean Plastic Mouse, which is made from recycled elements. However, his partner in this case is Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC), a subsidiary of Saudi Aramco. The mouse shell is made of 20% recycled plastic, and if the company sells 20% more mice, any environmental benefits could be potentially erased, a trap environmental environmentalists describe as a “return effect” or “Cevon’s paradox.”
- Logitech pushes products with recycled plastic after consumption.
- Samsung boasts watch straps made of recyclable and environmentally friendly materials like apple peel.
Non-technological industries are also trying to reduce plastics in production: food packaging, fashion and toys. We hear about the tendency of plastic glass to turn into thin fibers used in carpets and fleeces.
The quality of plastic deteriorates with each use, so the goal of producing new plastic from the old – low turnover – is very difficult. It may not have the strength or durability to convert from 1 to 1, so fresh plastic should make up the difference for new plastic products. Often, degraded plastic falls into a recycling center or landfill or is burned.
GAO emphasizes the possibility of chemical recycling as an alternative or complementary technology to the current mechanical recycling processes of sorting and shredding. Chemical recycling technologies use heat, chemical reactions, or both to convert used plastics into new plastics, fuels, or other chemicals – creating a vicious cycle in which plastics can be recycled indefinitely to reduce dependence on landfills. GAO acknowledges that chemical recycling technologies face obstacles such as high start-up costs and little incentive to invest in innovation.
Dow Chemical offers a strategic impact mitigation strategy that it has tested on plastic road construction. The idea is to pave roads with polymer-modified asphalt (PMA) using recycled plastic after consumption. For example, waste such as plastic bags, disposable cups and PET bottles are collected from landfills as an important component of construction material. The plastics are then finely ground before being mixed into Dow’s Elvaloy Ret asphalt modification technology. The problem with this approach – and I’m not a scientist – is that Dow’s asphalt modification technology is filled with chemicals, many of which are made from residual fuels. Indeed, how far is this plastic asphalt road from petrochemical-based plastics?
What can be done to produce a product that does not require high-quality plastic or chemically modified recycled plastic? A broad view of the problem of plastics focuses not only on waste, but also on plastics and their longevity.
Bioplastics such as PLA, PHA, PHB, PHV, PHH and starch polymers are more commonly referred to as plastic alternatives.
For developing countries, the goal of sustainable plastic waste management may be to turn plastic waste into a resource. Experts claim that a circular economy with a legislative approach and standards for plastic waste management can help reduce environmental impacts. It can also provide secondary resources such as energy and materials through urban mining, where waste plastics become potential anthropogenic resources. Both help achieve sustainable development goals.
Duke University has established an Inventory Search for Plastic Pollution Prevention and Collection Technology. The inventory was created to help local governments, non-governmental organizations and other stakeholders identify technologies that can help eliminate hotspots of marine plastic pollution. It consists of 52 technologies developed by July 20, 2020 to 1) prevent the entry of plastic pollution into the environment or 2) to collect existing marine plastic pollution. Inventory technologies can be sought based on remediation strategy (i.e., prevention or collection), type of plastic (i.e., macroplastics, microplastics or both macroplastics, and microplastics), or inventory category (e.g., laundry balls; boats and wheels).
Propaganda to stop technical companies with plastic
Consumers are calling for Big Tech to harm the environment. Their production contributes to air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, waste and water use. Employees of Microsoft, Amazon, Google and other technology giants have published letters urging companies to stop polluting and stop working with residual fuel companies.
Have you tried contacting Amazon to request that your order be shipped in paper or cardboard, not plastic shipping envelopes? This is a terrible nightmare of customer service of supposed help messages, which leads to frustration without any results. Aaarrgghh! You are not alone.
Since 2019, the Alliance to End Plastic Waste has brought together more than 90 member companies, project partners, allies and supporters committed to ending plastic waste in the environment.
5 Gyres has completed 19 expeditions since 2009, bringing more than 300 citizen scientists, corporate executives, brands and celebrities to curves, lakes and rivers to conduct direct research on plastic pollution.
The Plastic Pollution Coalition is a growing global alliance of more than 1,200 organizations, business and thought leaders working for a fairer, fairer world free of plastic pollution and its toxic effects on people, animals, waterways, oceans and seas in 75 countries. environment.
2050: I Quit Plastic raises awareness of individual plastic pollution by asking participants to sign an oath of allegiance to plastic water bottles, dishes, plastic bags and straws.
Max Liboiron, an associate professor of geography at Memorial University who studies plastic pollution, said, “We can’t recycle the problem – drastically reducing recycled or unprocessed plastic products is the solution.” The Verge. “Even the production of new plastics that use some of these ocean plastics as raw materials will result in a net increase in such plastic pollution.”
Perhaps joining a group like one or the other can have an impact. Word summer: it’s time to impose a moratorium on plastic production!
Do you appreciate the authenticity of CleanTechnica? Consider being a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician or Ambassador or Patron.