An Ocean of Plastic —  Fishing Gear

Guest Essay by Kip Hansen – 10 September 2022

A couple of new studies have come out that challenge the Jenna Jambeck widely accepted consensus view on Pelagic (Oceanic) Plastic.  Jambeck has for many years produced study after study blaming the escaped plastic found in the world’s oceans on the discharge of plastics via the rivers of the world which then lead to the ill-named and mostly-nonexistent  ocean gyre plastic-filled Garbage Patches.    

[ Readers can background this essay by reading my several essays on this topic which have appeared here at WUWT ]

There have been two far less hysterical studies on floating plastics in the world’s oceans.  The first one is a couple of years old now.  The research was carried out by a group of South African and Canadian scientists.  They studied floating plastic debris that washed ashore on a small island,  Inaccessible Island, an uninhabited island in the Tristan da Cunha archipelago in the central South Atlantic Ocean:

The island is so tiny that it does not even show at that scale, nor does the group of islands it belongs to.   The Wiki article has a photograph of the little beach researched by the study, on which they counted debris washed ashore and identified it by country of origin, and when possible, by manufacture date.  The results:

Significance: Many oceanic islands suffer high levels of stranded debris, particularly those near subtropical gyres where floating debris accumulates. During the last 3 decades, plastic drink bottles have shown the fastest growth rate of all debris types on remote Inaccessible Island. During the 1980s, most bottles drifted to the island from South America, carried 3,000 km by the west wind drift. Currently, 75% of bottles are from Asia, with most from China. The recent manufacture dates indicate that few bottles could have drifted from Asia, and presumably are dumped from ships, in contravention of International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships regulations. Our results question the widely held assumption that most plastic debris at sea comes from land-based sources.

[ source:  “Rapid increase in Asian bottles in the South Atlantic Ocean indicates major debris inputs from ships”]

[Note:  To drift from China, the bottles would have had to fight their way against prevailing currents around SE Asia, across the Indian Ocean, and around South Africa.  — kh]

Note that there are a number of islands that serendipitously act as collection points for wind and current driven floating objects.  Inaccessible Island is one, and in the Caribbean, Big Sand Key is another with its eastern-facing shore being famous among Caribbean cruisers for its beach combing opportunities.  [ Our best finds were two 8-inch diameter antique metal fishing net floats all the way from Portugal and a small plastic brontosaurus. ]

The second and most recent paper is:  “Industrialised fishing nations largely contribute to floating plastic pollution in the North Pacific subtropical gyre” by Lebreton et al.   Lebreton is with The Ocean Cleanup, the NGO involved with an effort to rid the oceans of plastic.

The Ocean Cleanup website says;  “Our new study published today in Scientific Reports reveals 75% to 86% of plastic debris in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP) originates from fishing activities at sea.”

This study also found that a great deal of the rest of the debris in the North Pacific Gyre seems to have originated from the tsunami resulting from the 2011 Tohoku earthquake which also caused  the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.  That tsunami is believed to have washed as much as 5 million tonnes of waste into the sea, primarily plastics and styrofoam.

Their new study contradicts their long-standing belief that plastics found floating in the oceans comes from escaped plastic trash washing down rivers, though they still also stick to the claim: “Plastic emissions from rivers remain the main source of plastic pollution from a global ocean perspective.”  The newest overall view is that riverine plastics end up back on the shores of the region of their origin or, if of higher density, sink in the local coastal area. 

The study is well worth a read for those interested in the plastic pollution issue.

However, the evidence for the origins of pelagic plastic — plastic floating on the surface of the oceans — is shifting from “emissions from rivers” to a source far more likely – “originates from fishing activities at sea”.  It is not only that the vast majority of the mass-by-weight of plastic debris found is as tangled masses of lost or abandoned fishing nets and ropes obviously is from fishing vessels, but the South Atlantic study finds that the other trash, floating drink bottles and other plastic containers also originate on ships and boats – either discarded intentionally as trash or thrown of washed overboard. 

In my years in the merchant marine (Panamanian seaman’s papers, as a junior ship’s officer) in the 1970s, ship’s trash was stuffed into empty gunnysacks, weighted when possible with discarded ship’s engine and plumbing parts, and thrown overboard when we were on the open sea.  Garbage from the galley and dining rooms, on the other hand, was simply dumped over the taffrail anywhere when out of sight of land, much to the delight of the sea birds, which would feast on the garbage itself or on the fish attracted by the food. Glass bottles and jars were often saved to be thrown overboard off the bow when we were underway and used by officers lined up along the prom deck railing for target practice with various firearms as the items floated by. 

Since the late-1970s, all ships are required to post signage clearly laying out the requirements for disposal of trash and garbage at sea under international MARPOL treaties.  Captains and owners are required to enforce these rules and can be held personally responsible for violations of them by their ship’s crew.  Since 1988, MARPOL Annex V  completely bans the dumping plastic into the ocean. 

Bottom Lines:

1.  Human trash, and especially all types of plastics, should be properly contained, collected and disposed of in a responsible manner and not allowed to escape into the greater natural environment, including our rivers, lakes and  oceans.    Plastics should be recycled when possible.  It is my opinion that non-recyclable plastics should be used as fuel in waste-to-energy plants, a concept with which some people disagree.

2.  Plastics are possibly the most important, or at least the most useful, invention of materials science of the modern era, allowing the manufacture of “nearly everything”.  Thus, while disposal of products made from plastics can be problematic, the present-day demonization of plastics is entirely wrongheaded.   

3.  There is no Great Pacific Garbage Patch.    Even NOAA says so. (many times…)

4.  The vast majority of pelagic plastic — plastic items floating at sea —comes from the fishing fleets of the world.  This new emerging understanding simplifies the problem and allows development of new solutions. Even plastics washed ashore on remote islands apparently originates on fishing vessels.

5.  The huge impact of the ubiquitous disposable PET drinking water bottle could be alleviated by a minor reworking the composition of the PET bottles so that they more rapidly breakdown under UV radiation (sunlight) or, even better, to be more easily broken down  through consumption by already ubiquitous soil- or water-based bacteria.  Most floating plastics in the sea are already being consumed by micro-organisms and once they have broken down into very small pieces, are entirely consumed.

6.  Nature makes use of every possible resource.  Those ugly masses of tangled floating fishing nets and lines become floating reefs supporting creatures and fishes of all sorts.  It is only humans that think they are bad. 

But before the lost and abandoned nets become tangled by the motion of the seas they can kill fish and marine mammals.  Fishing fleets should be required to place now-inexpensive tracking devices on deployed nets and be held responsible for any failure to retrieve lost nets. 

# # # # #

Author’s Comment:

I have written on this issue many times, but the crazies keep re-creating the false narrative that plastics themselves are bad and that all production of plastics should be stopped.  That idea is misanthropic and anti-advancement. 

Our societies do need to do a better job of dealing with our waste and trash.  The developed nations should be tackling this problem internally and supplying foreign aid to nations still struggling with even the basic concepts of waste collection and proper land-filling.  With land-filling being problematic for many nations that still need dependable electric supplies, new cleaner waste-to-energy plants might be a solution to both problems.

The Inaccessible Island study seems to implicate Asian nation’s fishing fleets for much of the floating debris at sea.  Perhaps the Greenpeace-types and SeaKeepers could be effective in this regard.

If you live on or near the sea, you can do your part encouraging fellow boaters to be more careful with plastics onboard and volunteering to participate in riverside and beach cleanups. 

Thanks for reading.

# # # # #

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Bob
September 10, 2022 10:52 pm

Helpful article.

MARTIN BRUMBY
September 11, 2022 12:33 am

Great article.

Worth pointing out that easily the most sensible treatment of non recyclable plastic is, as you keep pointing out, energy from waste.

Also worth pointing out that the reason there are few effective energy from waste plants (although now surreptitiously increasing in the UK), is that as well as hating all plastic, the GangGreen loonies hate burning anything.

Obviously, as pointed out many times, export of waste from developed countries to the third world must stop.

Allen Stoner
Reply to  MARTIN BRUMBY
September 11, 2022 8:43 am

They love burning food and trees.

Last edited 22 days ago by Allen Stoner
Loren C. Wilson
Reply to  MARTIN BRUMBY
September 11, 2022 10:05 am

Japan burns most of its waste and generates power and heat from it. This is a viable solution when you don’t have enough land for land fills. Most developing countries have little infrastructure for water supply, water treatment, sewage treatment, or solid-waster landfills. the only way they will achieve the same level of safety and ease that I enjoy is to have inexpensive electricity and fossil fuels. It takes diesel and electricity to do all of this.

Steve Case
September 11, 2022 1:07 am

Was there a statistic of so much plastic of this size and that size per square meter in this area and that area? Did I miss that? Has there even been such an evaluation assembled?

Steve Case
Reply to  Kip Hansen
September 12, 2022 5:55 am

Thanks for the reply, I’ll have to find the links.

Phil Rae
September 11, 2022 1:32 am

Great article, Kit! I have long championed the idea of burning waste plastic in appropriately-equipped waste-to-power plants. With the exception of halogenated-plastics like PVC (which require special attention) the vast majority of plastics are simply reconfigured hydrocarbons and are thus an excellent source of energy.

The vast effort that goes into collecting and recycling a fraction of this plastic is inefficient & ineffective and, at best, yields an inferior recycled product with limited uses and involves a significant outlay of energy.

It would be far better to treat plastic “waste” as a valuable fuel commodity that could be collected and incinerated in appropriate facilities to produce electricity. The calorific values of plastics is enormous and they are a safe, reliable source of energy. The recognition of plastic as a valuable resource, rather than a waste item, would help ensure its capture and collection and eliminate much of its casual disposal. Consider how throwaway aluminium cans became valuable items because of the intrinsic value of their metal and imagine the combustible calorific value of a ton of plastic waste and the electricity it could produce.

It is far easier and more efficient to produce new plastic from hydrocarbon stock and the product is far superior to any recycled plastic. Burning waste plastic in proper waste-to-power incinerators makes much more sense creating, as it does, a market incentive to capture plastic waste and reduce its disposal.

Matthew Bergin
Reply to  Phil Rae
September 11, 2022 3:34 am

I always liked the idea of burning the waste plastic. Burning the plastic for power generation would qualify as re-use in my book. I hate the lie of recycling I much prefer the use of the first two “R’s” and ignoring the third.🤷‍♂️😉

Stephen
Reply to  Phil Rae
September 12, 2022 9:01 am

“With the exception of halogenated-plastics like PVC (which require special attention)”

Not really. I went round an electricity from waste plant
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SELCHP
which burns mixed domestic waste, including all sorts of plastic.

The combustion is self-sustaining and reaches 800°C so that dioxins are not produced.

From the ashes various metals (ferrous, aluminium, bronze/brass) are extracted for reuse.

MrGrimNasty
September 11, 2022 1:45 am

I live on the south coast of England in an area of high population. I regularly walk many miles along the beach at low tide mostly.
The remarkable thing is how little rubbish there is most of the time, miles at a time with none sighted.

The most common in order is:
Nets and shore fishing tackle.
Dog poo bags – empty, they blow out of the hand when people try to use them.
Other plastic bags, supermarket etc.
Fast/junk food packaging.

After hot days and holidays there is beach gear; sun glasses, buckets and spades, goggles, swim costumes, flipflops and trainers, assorted toys.

What happens to large pieces that aren’t recovered? They quickly get buried. On a beach or in shallow water there is the risk storms will uncover them again, but in the deep ocean plastic waste that sinks will be buried in deposited mulm and never seen again.

I once saw someone tied a pair of plastic trainers by their laces to the base of a buoy. Several years later you would never know they were still there, under the 2 large concretions of muscles etc.

MrGrimNasty
Reply to  MrGrimNasty
September 11, 2022 1:48 am

Mussels LOL

Old Man Winter
September 11, 2022 2:13 am

The new theory that trash stays close to its source sounds very plausible. I
also agree that there are several different ways to deal with plastics & other
pollution than we are currently using. It’s ignorant to cling to idealistic
ideas that may be both wrong & useless/ineffective, especially if they
stand in the way of the real solution.

Last edited 22 days ago by Old Man Winter
Barnes Moore
Reply to  Old Man Winter
September 11, 2022 4:12 am

 It’s ignorant to cling to idealistic ideas that may be both wrong & useless/ineffective, especially if they stand in the way of the real solution”. That sentence can effectively be applied to virtually all “solutions” to fighting the non-existent problem of human caused climate change, except that in the case of wind turbines and solar panels, they are worse than useless/ineffective given that they consume enormous resources that could be used far more effectively in other areas – like nuclear development.

Peta of Newark
September 11, 2022 3:15 am

Here’s one to go searching for, please do because it’s only in that way does the message sink in (haha when we’re talking ‘ocean)

It appears that The World is now being overtaken by ‘Forever Plastics’ or some similar hysterical imagining

One of those being everyone’s favourite, both in the kitchen and as a justification for NASA (I think)
i.e. Teflon
Seemingly, Teflon is a ‘forever plastic’ and thus – you know how it goes…..

But no.
Would you beleive that after decades of trying, folks have found a way to dissolve/dismantle/consume/recycle Teflon (and other PFA chemicals)

Simply by treating them with alkali
Ther story I saw talked about Potassium Hydroxide which, let’s face, is ‘fairly energetic stuff’ but the principle in the story I saw was that it was simply its property of being = Alkaline in aqueaous solution

Geddit?
Tell you anyway:
Despite best efforts of both Climate Science and of course the much dreaded Ocean Acidation, The Oceans of this World are all = (Quelle Horreure) Alkaline

If it works for Teflon, what chance have a few poxy bits of Polythene got?

Go on, fug off down the pub and have a celebratory coffee or two.
I know I will. CU there.

edit to PS
We all already know the process: Saponification.

What is a molecule of plastic if not one epic oversized molecule of Fat?
And how you make soap, = water-soluble fat, is simply by adding, classically, Sodium Hydroxide to it
Arty Crafty people do in their own homes then throw it into their own bathwater same time as they get in.
Morbid Types bring home the product of their own Liposuction surgeries and do the same…

Plastic ‘seems’ to last so long because the molecules are sooooo long.
The saponification process operate at the ends of the molecules – so unless any molecule of plastic has infinite length, it will always be subject to Saponification

Last edited 22 days ago by Peta of Newark
Steve Case
Reply to  Peta of Newark
September 11, 2022 5:52 am

Morbid Types bring home the product of their own Liposuction surgeries and do the same…
___________________________

Was it really necessary to share that mental image?

Steve Beck
September 11, 2022 4:01 am

The biggest problem I have noticed is that schoolkids are being brainwashed into believing the “Great Ocean Plastic Garbage Patch” Trying to convince these kids otherwise is like trying to climb a high smooth wall with your bare hands.

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  Steve Beck
September 11, 2022 1:49 pm

Had a discussion with my grandson about the Great Garbage Patch. He was convinced that it was real and a disaster. I have more ammunition next time we talk about it.

Dean
September 11, 2022 4:02 am

In my time in the Royal Australian Navy (late 80s), rubbish (Gash) was put into large black plastic bags, tossed over the side and 5 or 6 of us would be on the stern shooting 9mm Brownings and SLR L1A1s at them.

Yooper
Reply to  Dean
September 11, 2022 5:03 am

OMG!!!! The Royal Aussie Navy is polluting the ocean with lead.

michael hart
September 11, 2022 4:44 am

Superb. Thank you very much.

As I’ve often said, plastics are not a pollution problem. Not even Greenpeace appear to noticed the gorgeous amounts of micro-particles vulcanized rubber from car tyres we have been spewing into the environment for over a century. They cause no detectable harm.

Plastics are a littering problem, offending human sensibilities (in the West) but also offering adventitious micro-climates for many living species. Yet what we are mostly presented with is a seagull that got its head stuck in a bottle.

Such problems as do exist could be ameliorated with some minor adjustments to plastics manufacture.

michael hart
Reply to  Kip Hansen
September 11, 2022 2:13 pm

I don’t doubt it for a second, KIp. It’s not something to be solved by Western nations fretting about plastic micro particles in shampoo products.

MARTIN BRUMBY
Reply to  michael hart
September 11, 2022 2:32 pm

“Yet what we are mostly presented with is a seagull that got its head stuck in a bottle.”

My guess: – mostly a seagull that some kind fan of GangGreen, had shoved its head into a bottle.

Like the turtles with a plastic straw stuck into its nose.

Or the various dirty tricks played on Polar bears.

Or all those wild fires that strangely ignited within a hundred yards of a road.

Anything justified in the cause of introducing a “Worker’s Paradise”.

Last edited 22 days ago by MARTIN BRUMBY
Mark Whitney
September 11, 2022 5:43 am

Point #6 was illustrated for me several years ago when I almost picked up a discarded beer can to throw it away. I left it in place however when I discovered a desert mouse had adopted it to raise her young brood. Indeed, what more perfect house could a mouse hope for?

Matt Kiro
September 11, 2022 6:19 am

I think we need a copy all of your ocean plastic articles, bond in a book, and shipped to every plastic straw manufacturer and school in the world. There is nothing worse than a paper straw , in my opinion, when a perfectly good plastic straw has already been invented and used. Not that I use straws more than a handful of times a year, but when I do , I don’t want paper

Reply to  Kip Hansen
September 11, 2022 11:47 am

Many paper straws are wrapped in plastic packaging

Rob Thomson
Reply to  Matt Kiro
September 11, 2022 2:52 pm

Plastic straws and Ocean plastic are discussed by Michael Shellenberger in Apocalypse Never, Chap.3 : Enough with the Plastic Straws.

H. D. Hoese
September 11, 2022 7:35 am

The central Texas coast has long been known for collections, including wood and sargassum. Because of winds, sunlight, quantity of sand and other degradation, there has always been wonder as to where it went. Now there is a nurdle patrol. https://nurdlepatrol.org/

“…… a study of surface drifters found that unlike the eastern Gulf, …western [without México] areas received drifters from everywhere.” Lugo-Fernández, etal., 2001. Gulf of Mexico historic (1955-1987) surface drifter data analysis. Journal of Coastal Research. 17(1):1-16.

John
September 11, 2022 8:06 am

This article reminds me of my snorkeling travels around the world. The poorly developed countries have poor trash collection and poor training in handling trash. Hence I observed and experienced high levels of plastic floating near the shorelines in these countries with the worst offenders being Ghana and Malaysia.

In Ghana they use plastic bags for drinking water which are tossed on the ground and wash out to the ocean in rivers and streams. A normally beautiful white sand beach was rendered unusable by the floating plastic and the use of the shorelines as latrines.

In Malaysia, the boat we were on, had to stop numerous times to clear plastic from it’s intakes. The snorkeling wonderland there was spoiled by all of the floating plastic amongst the reefs.

The US, Australian, locations were nearly free of debris attesting to the level of concern against this type of pollution.

stinkerp
September 11, 2022 8:42 am

Excellent commentary. These studies affirmed what was already known about plastic waste in the oceans and rivers but ignored by the environmentalism-besotted media and policymakers. Hopefully it will open some eyes but it will bounce off the heads of the zealots in media and government who are beyond persuasion by facts and logic. Their devotion is fanatical and unlikely to be dissuaded.

Pflashgordon
September 11, 2022 11:07 am

Kip,
In the U.S., about 1.5-2% of crude oil throughput is eventually converted to various forms of plastic. So by far, most crude oil is refined into some grade of fuel, with proportionately much smaller quantities used for such things as paving material or lubricants. Thus, even if all plastics were burned or decomposed, released into the air as CO2, plastics would represent a tiny, insignificant emissions source. Certainly, sensible measures to control plastics release into the environment at large are important, but plastics from U.S. sources neither contribute significantly to GHG emissions (as if we really care) or ocean pollution.

Approximately 37 million tons of plastic is used each year in the U.S. All but about 1 million tons of that ends up in the municipal solid waste (MSW) stream. While a very small fraction of that 1 million tons is released uncontrolled into the environment, most is retained in durable products (e.g., pipe, wiring/cable, building materials, vehicles, computer-related equipment) that will eventually be disposed as construction/demolition debris or recycled after a substantial lag time (years to decades). The ultimate fate of waste plastic in the U.S. falls into several categories (see table below). While plastic use and disposal rapidly grew from 1960 through about 2005, annual use and disposal has practically leveled off in recent years. From the table, direct burning in waste-to-energy plants accounts for about 16% of disposal. About 9% is recycled, and about 75% is landfilled. 

Most plastics are eventually degradable by natural processes, although those containing halogens (e.g., PVC) are by design resistant and would take many decades to decompose. That durability and resistance to decay is a major reason why PVC has come to be widely used in piping applications in place of traditional steel or copper. Because many medical applications of plastics also include PVC, climate and sustainability activists are now training their sights on the practice of medicine, even though the environmental contribution is insignificantly small (they even worry about emissions from the use of anesthetics).

So what happens to all of that landfilled plastic? Within a well-designed modern MSW landfill, conditions are maintained that allow for the slow decomposition of organic material, including plastic. Thus, contrary to popular environmentalists’ notions, plastics in landfills are not “forever.” (Early landfill “archeology” research famously found edible hot dogs after 30 years in the ground, but those were largely in early landfill designs located in semi-desert regions – no water, no degradation.) In a moist landfill environment, most will eventually anaerobically decay into methane (landfill gas) over a period of several decades. Landfill gas is largely captured rather than emitted directly to the atmosphere. In fact, many American landfills are on contract to use the captured landfill gas rather than simply flare it off. After dehydration and clean-up, the captured gas is either burned to generate electricity or pressurized and sold into the natural gas supply system. Notably, among venture capitalists, landfill gas has been found to be one of the very few environmental technologies, especially in the world of alternative energy, that truly offers a reliable return on investment, albeit rather small compared to societal energy demand. Most other alternative energy technologies, including wind and solar, are profitable only because of governmental intervention, subsidies and tax breaks, as has been repeatedly highlighted in WUWT.

So what about waste-to-energy combustion of plastics, and why is it not used more? First off, much U.S. plastic waste is entrained in mixed MSW, which requires costly preprocessing (source separation, dewatering, and shredding/blending) to yield a suitable plastic fuel that burns uniformly. This preprocessing is a dirty process, invariably creating issues with nuisance odors and treatment/discharge of contaminated water. Those issues alone drive the economics toward landfilling rather than waste-to-energy for most municipalities. If waste-to-energy is selected, fuel properties (e.g., Btus/ton; water content; other contaminants) must be tightly controlled to minimize problems with air emissions control systems. Incinerator ash disposal adds to the back-end operating cost. Finally, there is the concern for other combustion products that may be emitted from plastics incineration, most notably environmentally persistent compounds such as dioxins and furans.

As for Kip’s recommendation about developed nations, they already are focusing on lifecycle management of plastics. If they were to follow the decades-old practice of international agricultural research and extension, environmental outreach to developing nations would be a natural expansion of assistance. Unfortunately, environmental activists and NGOs only see or highlight what they choose to see in order to drive their fundraising. It is likely that developed nations are in fact providing substantial assistance, but that does not fit the doomsday narrative. Moreover, as has been stated here at WUWT many times, impoverished nations must first “major on the majors” before they can turn enough attention to emissions controls and waste management. Food, shelter, sanitation, healthcare and affordable, reliable energy are far more important to them, and fossil fuels will be a vital part of their development for many decades to come, and plastics will also play an important role.

FEE42DEB-6423-4B70-A7C1-5508EC16C81B.jpeg
Ben Vorlich
Reply to  Pflashgordon
September 11, 2022 2:02 pm
KcTaza
September 11, 2022 9:59 pm

“Our societies do need to do a better job of dealing with our waste and trash. The developed nations should be tackling this problem internally and supplying foreign aid to nations still struggling with even the basic concepts of waste collection and proper land-filling.”

The developed nations such as the US recycle. However, there are many items they collect that are not recyclable, or the expense of recycling is too high, or no one wants the recycled product. So we then send it on ships to Asian nations for a price and the recyclables they can’t use get dumped into their rivers and proceed out to the oceans.
This enables developed nations to feel virtuous for recycling while greatly contributing to ocean plastic. The oceans would be far better off if we just buried or incinerated the stuff too difficult to recycle, or too expensive, or for which there is no market but common sense goes out the window when dealing with anything climate/good for earth related.

KcTaza
September 11, 2022 10:09 pm

i have read the engineers (I love engineers, btw) are working on and have developed biodegradable plastics. If adopted as much as possible, it would end the plastics disposal problems.

KcTaza
September 11, 2022 10:38 pm

For those interested in the plastic problem, here are some links about plastics, including two from WUWT that is very interesting and several more about advances in making plastics biodegradable. Plastic is no longer “forever.”

The Floating Life – A Tale of the Vortex
https://bit.ly/3wzYrOs
22 May 2022
https://wattsupwiththat.com/2022/05/21/the-floating-life-a-tale-of-the-vortex/

Are we really “choking the ocean with plastic”? Tracing the creation of an eco-myth
https://bit.ly/2w8dNyz
 2015
https://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/12/24/are-we-really-choking-the-ocean-with-plastic-tracing-the-creation-of-an-eco-myth/

New process makes ‘biodegradable’ plastics truly compostable
https://news.berkeley.edu/2021/04/21/new-process-makes-biodegradable-plastics-truly-compostable/

https://www.sciencedaily.com › releases › 2011 › 03 › 110331142204.htm
Advance toward making biodegradable plastics from waste chicken …
One major goal is to use agricultural waste and other renewable resources to make bioplastics that have an additional advantage of being biodegradable once discarded into the environment.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov › pmc › articles › PMC7821290
Biodegradable Plastics: Standards, Policies, and Impacts – PMC
Most of today’s bio‐based and biodegradable plastics are made from food crops. This creates concerns on the water‐land nexus of bio‐based chemicals. Yet according to European Bioplastics, the proportion of land required for bio‐materials is 2 % of the overall land use. This includes materials other than plastics.

Review of recent advances in the biodegradability of …
https://pubs.rsc.org › en › content › articlelanding › 2020 › GC › D0GC01647K#!divAbstract
Review of recent advances in the biodegradability of …
leading plastic packaging producers are moving towards a goal of 100% recycled, biodegradable or re-useable plastics in their products by 2025. 3 this shift towards a sustainable economy has occurred in the recent decade, such that, between 2010 and 2017, bio-based poly (ethylene) (bio-pe), bio-based poly (ethylene terephthalate) (bio-pet), poly …

https://phys.org › news › 2022-02-natural-additives-biodegradable-plastics.html
Natural additives improve biodegradable plastics
The times in which we live have often been described as “The Plastic Age” for obvious reasons. The invention and widespread adoption of synthetic polymers in the 20th Century as alternatives to…

Nik
September 12, 2022 4:40 am

Jenna Jambeck. The new/next Rachel Carson?

Barry James
September 12, 2022 5:18 am

You know you are being lied to when you are told that most of the ocean’s floating plastic is PET drink bottles. The only way they can float is for them to be deliberately capped so that air can’t escape. Even then, UV degradation will ensure that their buoyancy is soon lost. PET is 1.25 times denser than sea water. It cannot float. They invariably end up on the ocean floor where they provide excellent habitat for small crustaceans, molluscs and similar creatures until such time as nature’s biological forces provide their final disposal.

I would challenge these “researchers” to find any such dated plastic articles that are more than 3 years old with an average age of more than 2 years. Even polyolefins, which are the only plastics that float without needing a “blowing” agent, break down very quickly under the action of UV and biological processes.

Once again we see ignorant “environmental” activists creating and promoting their solution to an environmental problem where there isn’t one. Their dedication is to the elimination of all of the benefits provided by petroleum products.

Who else remembers the drive by environmental activists to have paper bags replaced by plastic “to save the forests”?

eyesonu
September 12, 2022 12:20 pm

Excellent essay.

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