plastic

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Every human on Earth is ingesting nearly 2,000 particles of plastic a week. These tiny pieces enter our unwitting bodies from tap water, food, and even the air, according to an alarming academic study sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature, dosing us with five grams of plastics, many cut with chemicals linked to cancers, hormone disruption, and developmental delays. Since the paper’s publication last year, Sen. Tom Udall, a plain-spoken New Mexico Democrat with a fondness for white cowboy hats and turquoise bolo ties, has been trumpeting the risk: “We are consuming a credit card’s worth of plastic each week,” Udall says. At events with constituents, he will brandish a Visa from his wallet and declare, “You’re eating this, folks!”

With new legislation, the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act of 2020, Udall is attempting to marshal Washington into a confrontation with the plastics industry, and to force companies that profit from plastics to take accountability for the waste they create. Unveiled in February, the bill would ban many single-use plastics and force corporations to finance “end of life” programs to keep plastic out of the environment. “We’re going back to that principle,” the senator tells Rolling Stone. “The polluter pays.”

More than half the plastic now on Earth has been created since 2002, and plastic pollution is on pace to double by 2030. At its root, the global plastics crisis is a product of our addiction to fossil fuels.

This pollution is planetwide, impossible to fully remediate, and threatens to disrupt natural systems — including those that allow the oceans to remove carbon from the atmosphere. “Humans are conducting a singular uncontrolled experiment on a global scale,” write the researchers in Science Advances, “in which billions of metric tons of material will accumulate across all major terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems on the planet.”

We are all guinea pigs in this experiment, as plastics accumulate in the food web, appearing in seafood, table salt, and ironically even in bottled water. Many plastics are mixed with a toxic brew of colorants, flame retardants, and plasticizers. Joe Vaillancourt is the CEO of a company that refines waste plastic into fuel — a process that requires removing such contaminants from curbside recycling. “In one little 10-pound batch,” he says, “we found a thousand different chemicals.” Some of these additives are linked to cancer and severe health problems. As plastics break down over time, they can also absorb toxins from the environment, including PCBs.

"I love L.A. I love Hollywood. They're beautiful. Everybody's plastic -- but I love plastic. I want to be plastic."

Much of the world is waking up to the plastics crisis. As China has shut its doors to the global plastic-waste trade, the European Union, Canada, and India are stepping up bans on single-use plastics like cutlery, plates, straws, and ear swabs. “How do you explain dead whales washing up on beaches across the world, their stomachs jam packed with plastic bags?” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asked, introducing his country’s initiative. “As a dad, it is tough trying to explain this stuff to my kids.”

As the global plastics crisis grows — and photos of albatross chicks decomposing around the indigestible plastic waste that killed them go viral — the industry is quietly agonizing over backlash from the metal-straw and Hydroflask-toting members of Generation Z. “The [plastic] water bottle has, in some way, become the mink coat or the pack of cigarettes,” a senior sustainability manager for Nestlé Waters confessed at a conference last year. “It’s socially not very acceptable to the young folks, and that scares me.”

In contrast to climate change, the plastics crisis has not been met with corporate denial. The companies of Big Plastic are instead seeking to convince consumers and regulators that — despite having unleashed this torrent of pollution on the planet — they can be trusted to pioneer solutions that will make plastic use sustainable. They’re touting a “circular economy,” in which used plastic doesn’t become waste but, instead, a feedstock for new products. A cynic might translate the concept into: Recycling, but for real this time. “There are a lot of different corporate commitments,” says Shilpi Chhotray, a leader of the Break Free From Plastics movement. While some show promise, others “are just greenwashing,” she insists, with the intent of giving the industry cover for its true aim: “growth.”


 
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Wow, trying to negotiate one's way around this GRAPES minefield, are you trying to get banned? :p

Anyhoo, I had briefly joined WASHPIRG when I was in school back in the early 90s, even back then it was a real struggle trying to maintain a grassroots campaign against the big plastics companies. They have so much money and influence, why would anybody listen to a bunch of hippies going door to door when all they need to do is see is a TV commercial that tells them how great plastic is? For this reason I'm extremely leery of what the plastics companies say nowadays - their message might be different, but their goal is ultimately the same.

On a sidenote - here in very green Eugene the recycling programs have been drastically reduced because China doesn't want our trash anymore, the local trash collection companies currently basically only take glass, aluminum cans, and cardboard, All the other stuff (a lot of it plastic) goes back into our own landfills now. Serves us right, I guess. But it shouldn't be impossible to wean people off of single-use plastic items that are merely a convenience - it may not be much in the grand scheme of things, but it is something that we do still have some control over.
 
It seems that anyone who watches even one PBS show about plastic pollution would never use a plastic bag at the grocery store or buy bottled water (EDIT: or soda or juice...) at the very least. Even though eliminating those won't solve the problem, it could make a dent.

IMO, this isn't a violation of GRAPES. Some peoples' responses may go there, but there are a lot of things in life that can't be separated from some of the GRAPES.
 
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IMO, this isn't a violation of GRAPES. Some peoples' responses may go there, but there are a lot of things in life that can't be separated from some of the GRAPES.
Aphronesis explicitly claimed that China is doing more than Trump to curb the problem. If that isn't political, I don't know what is.
 
Aphronesis explicitly claimed that China is doing more than Trump to curb the problem. If that isn't political, I don't know what is.
Tim Dickinson wrote it not Aphro. My point is that there is no way to separate politics from many life topics, but IMO we can discuss the problem(s) on this forum as long as we are careful of GRAPES. I encourage people not to buy single use plastic bottles or use plastic bags, that's not (directly) political, its just common sense and very easy to do.

As to the part that you pointed out, you are correct, its political, its also a fact that most of the world is doing more than the USA (that's both P & E). We can't discuss that part because any more and its blatantly political, but there is a lot more in the article to discuss than that part (I encourage you to read the article or something similar if you haven't already).
 
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Tim Dickinson wrote it not Aphro. My point is that there is no way to separate politics from many life topics, but IMO we can discuss the problem(s) on this forum as long as we are careful of GRAPES. I encourage people not to buy single use plastic bottles or use plastic bags, that's not (directly) political, its just common sense and very easy to do.

As to the part that you pointed out, you are correct, its political, its also a fact that most of the world is doing more than the USA (that's both P & E). We can't discuss that part because any more and its blatantly political, but there is a lot more in the article to discuss than that part (I encourage you to read the article or something similar if you haven't already).
I live in a town that banned plastic bags and has taxed most plastic for the last five years. I had avoided plastic as much as possible for at least five years before that. My point has nothing to do with the topic, of which I agree.

Edit:. Boulder banned plastic bags in 2013. Time flies. Hasn't affected anyone I know either. It's not too hard to avoid most single use items.
 
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I live in a town that banned plastic bags and has taxed most plastic for the last five years. I had avoided plastic as much as possible for at least five years before that. My point has nothing to do with the topic, of which I agree.
If I understand correctly, your point is that Apho was being political, but my counter is that posting an article that has political facts in it isn't being (directly) political. We can discuss other parts of it and mostly leave that alone. I even think that we can discuss "E" parts of it if we are referring to incentives to help ease the problem. All IMO...the mods might tell me I'm wrong.

EDIT: I even think that saying something like "I wish the USA would do more..." isn't off limits even though that is dancing with politics. Again IMO.
 
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If I understand correctly, your point is that Apho was being political, but my counter is that posting an article that has political facts in it isn't being (directly) political. We can discuss other parts of it and mostly leave that alone. I even think that we can discuss "E" parts of it if we are referring to incentives to help ease the problem. All IMO...the mods might tell me I'm wrong.

EDIT: I even think that saying something like "I wish the USA would do more..." isn't off limits even though that is dancing with politics. Again IMO.
I don't disagree with you. My point is that the mods explicitly said that threads that could potentially turn political, had to be started by one of them.

Not sure if you saw my above edit. Been 7 years since plastic bags were banned here. Very easy to avoid many items that are damaging to the environment.
 
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I live in a town that banned plastic bags and has taxed most plastic for the last five years. I had avoided plastic as much as possible for at least five years before that. My point has nothing to do with the topic, of which I agree.

Edit:. Boulder banned plastic bags in 2013. Time flies. Hasn't affected anyone I know either. It's not too hard to avoid most single use items.
Same thing here in Eugene, single-use plastic grocery bags had been banned here since 2013, but neighboring Springfield had only just started this year. So, they are 7 years behind, and you can still get the bags for a 5cent fee there. But it's a step in the right direction, every little bit helps.
 
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I don't disagree with you. My point is that the mods explicitly said that threads that could potentially turn political, had to be started by one of them.

Not sure if you saw my above edit. Been 7 years since plastic bags were banned here. Very easy to avoid many items that are damaging to the environment.
Hopefully we can keep this one from being political and then they won't care. There really isn't much to discuss among like minded people, because we have already had these conversations and are doing at least small things. The next step though is to talk to (and keep talking to) the people who can make bigger changes...and that would definitely become a political discussion!
 
The subject of plastic use is fine, but some of the policies mentioned in the OP are now out of bounds, and I’ve edited them out.

We are happy for the thread to continue as long as the line isn’t crossed.
Just for clarification and future reference: if Aphro would have just linked the article instead of copy/pasting some of it, would it have been in bounds?
 
Plastic pollution has increased tenfold since 1980, 300-400 million tons of heavy metals, solvents, toxic sludge and other wastes from industrial facilities are dumped annually into the world’s waters, and fertilizers entering coastal ecosystems have produced more than 400 ocean ‘dead zones’, totalling more than 245,000 km2 (591-595) - a combined area greater than that of the United Kingdom.
 
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