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Plastic everywhere

The motivation for this topic is an article on toothbrushes. Existing topics concentrate on packaging, but the problem is far broader.


That piece is part of a larger project:

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I suppose it comes down to - plastics have been around in one form or other since the late 1920’s when Bakelite was invented, so there is no way we as a planet will ever remove the production of plastics. What we can do modify plastics so that they breakdown at an acceptable rate to reduce environmental impacts.

There’s plastic and then there’s plastic. Celluloid was invented in the 19th century. It’s biodegradable (and highly flammable), which is a problem, since it was used in the manufacture of photographic film. Bakelite is an early 20th century invention. It’s a phenol formaldehyde resin. I’ve seen bakelite that seemed to be decaying, but I’m not sure whether it’s actually biodegradable.

The problem is plastics based on petroleum (or petroleum products). They’re practically indestructible. Of all the petroleum-based plastics ever produced, any that hasn’t been burned probably still exists in some form.

In keeping with the spirit of this thread, another form of plastic that just about everywhere:

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An article at phys.org about plastic in drinking water and not the bottled ones but from tap supply. Uni of Toronto researchers were asked to check the water supply by some major water authorities of Southern Ontario. They found microplastics in the water supply. They couldn’t test for nanoplastics as there is currently no test for them. There are no guidelines about safe limits of these microplastics yet and this is partly because the effect they have on us has not yet been determined enough to start producing guidelines on what might be safe levels. Nanoplastics are even less well understood than microplastics.

To read more about the research see:

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There’s even plastic in the air we breathe. Indoors could well be worst. Will nanoplastics prove to be the next asbestos? We don’t know. Yet.

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Plastics in Babyland:

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An article regarding research by the University of Adelaide into destroying microplastic waste.

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We’re ingesting greater amounts of microplastic, but there are steps we can take to reduce our exposure:

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https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/08/plastic-bottles/

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It really is everywhere:

The media and business has also something to do with this. Natural body cycles are often seen as ‘unnatural’ or impost on a particular group and there are many products available to try and cover/hide these natural processes…such as this one.

We have also become a disposal generation where one thinks it is easier to throw away a problem rather that look at the most ethical or environmentally sensible options.

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Simple, perhaps. Likely to succeed? Probably not.

Capitalism is founded on self-interest. Voluntarily incurring costs is the antithesis of that fundamental.

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And now we’re adding plastics to the road surface itself.

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Great article…

Should any one be surprised. :scream:

Our roads form a large part of the urban drainage network. They typically feed into the local storm water systems along with household rooftop water. Our highways and main roads are built with direct drainage connections to local water ways.

It is just not rubberised materials from vehicle tyres in the run off. Oils, detergents, greases, brake pad dust, and anything else that can wear off a car, spill or leak from the fuel and engine, or exits the exhaust and is heavier than air. Even the hydrocarbons and synthetic chemical binders used in the bitumen or seal coats on the roadway as they wear take the same watery path.

Where goes worn tyre plastics, so goes all else.

How tough are our freshwater and estuarine fish?
Probably not as resilient as we might think. In which instance ‘Go Sharkies’ might take on a totally different meaning? :wink:

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Progress. Reducing what goes in might be more effective though.

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Agree…and while their efforts are admirable, the volume of new plastic entering will be significantly more than what they are recovering. It is a pushing water uphill exercise.

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How footwear became part of the problem - and possible solutions.
Ultimately:

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2019/10/shoes-sneakers-plastic-problem/
Links to associated articles at the end.

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Another article regarding the problems with both plastics and any suitable replacements.

I think it is well recognised that plastic is a very useful and terrific product…the problem is when plastic is handled/disposed inappropriately and allowed to enter the wider environment as a fugitive waste.

If plastic didn’t enter the wider environment, we possibly wouldn’t be having the discussion about plastic which is currently occurring.

It may also be impossible to prevent plastic entering the environment…such as from the washing of synthetic clothes which results in microfibres of plastic entering the waste water system and hence the natural water systems (creeks, rivers, seas and oceans).

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