plastic

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Smell of Plastic Makes Seabirds Think It's a Meal

Turns out, the scent is similar to krill

(Newser) - Scientists think they've figured out why so many seabirds feast on plastic floating in the ocean, often with deadly consequences. It turns out that the plastic smells an awful lot like the small crustaceans known as krill that are a staple of the birds' diet, reports New Scientist . The... More »

France Is World's First Nation to Ban Plasticware

No more plastic plates, cups, utensils unless they're biodegradable

(Newser) - Visit Paris and you'll spot people picnicking near the Eiffel Tower—but don't be surprised if they're soon scarfing down their jambon croissants off of napkins or real dishware. That's because a measure passed last month has made France the first country to ban single-use plastic... More »

Eating Plastic Is Making Young Fish Stupid

Microplastics linked to smaller, slower perch

(Newser) - Fish are getting hooked on plastic that's making them "smaller, slower, and more stupid," say researchers behind a new study at Science . Scientists have long suspected that microplastics are dangerous , but "that has been very hard to determine until now, and that's why this is... More »

Scientists: This Bacteria Can Eat Plastic Trash

It may have evolved ability in response to our pollution: study

(Newser) - We produce 311 million tons of plastic each year, yet just a tenth of that will be sent to a recycling plant. This could help: Japanese scientists say they've discovered the first known bacteria able to break the molecular bonds of polyethylene terephthalate, or PET, one of the world'... More »

Plankton Poop Could Now Do Harm Instead of Good

Plastic is moving around ocean waters via feces

(Newser) - The amount of plastic in our oceans is now popping up as gigantic islands and set to outpace the global fish population by 2050. But it's also settling ever so slowly on the ocean floor in the form of plankton poop. And because plastic-laden poop is lighter and falls... More »

Our Discarded Plastic May Doom Oysters

Ingested particles quickly damage their ability to produce, says study

(Newser) - Oysters may have a new No. 1 menace in the sea: plastic. A troubling new study finds that oysters feeding on microplastics quickly develop serious reproduction problems, scientists report at Phys.org . In their study, researchers grew Pacific oysters in a lab and exposed them to the type of microplastic... More »

By 2050, Our Oceans Will Hold More Plastic Than Fish

Plastic production set to double in next 20 years

(Newser) - Use of plastic has increased 20-fold in the past half-century; production of the ubiquitous material is expected to double again in the next 20 years (and nearly quadruple over the next 50). And, CNN Money reports, nearly a third of all plastic packaging "escapes collection systems." As for... More »

Use Products With Microbeads? Stop Now

They're harming ocean species, yet alternatives exist

(Newser) - If you brushed your teeth today—and we hope you did—you may have harmed our oceans and the species swimming in them. A new study out of Oregon State University lays out the microplastic problem in our oceans, freshwater lakes, and rivers, which it partly blames on tiny microbeads... More »

20-Year-Old Thinks He Can Clean Gobs of Ocean Plastic

Boyan Slat has simple, hugely ambitious plan in 'the Ocean Cleanup'

(Newser) - It started with a question: "I wondered, 'Why can’t we clean this up?'" Only rather than the dinner dishes or scattered toys, "this" was referring to the world's oceans and the vast quantities of plastic with which humanity has filled them . As al-Jazeera reports,... More »

Sinking Oil Prices Are Hurting Recyclers

And so is a strong US dollar

(Newser) - A pound of new plastic for soda bottles cost 83 cents at the beginning of this year, whereas the recycled stuff comes to about 72 cents. But plastic is frequently made from oil, and as oil prices have dropped, so has the cost of new polyethylene terephthalate. Oil prices have... More »

BPA Alternative Might Be Even Worse

Study suggests it affects brain development

(Newser) - A new study is lending more support to the idea that BPA-free products aren't necessarily safe products. Bisphenol S, or BPS, an alternative to BPA, appears to cause problems in the brain growth of animal embryos, researchers say. After studying zebra fish, whose brain development is seen as similar... More »

Amount of Plastic in Ocean: 700 Pieces per Human

Estimate taken from 24 ocean expeditions from 2007 to 2013

(Newser) - Mother Earth has reached a milestone, but not the kind anyone will want to celebrate: The plastic floating in the oceans has been estimated to the tune of 5 trillion pieces in a new study. That's 250,000 tons, or some 700 pieces per person, the Washington Post reports.... More »

99% of Ocean Plastic Is AWOL

Bad news: It's probably entering our food chain

(Newser) - Millions of tons of plastic thought to be floating around the world’s oceans have gone missing. But that's not the good news one might think. According to a new study , marine animals could be ingesting our garbage, reports the Verge . Up to 99% of the most microscopic plastic... More »

'Plastic Rocks' Found in Hawaii

'Plastiglomerates' likely form when people melt plastic in fires while camping

(Newser) - Since the mid-1950s, humans have produced more than 6 billion tons of plastic—and at least in Hawaii, geologists are finding that some of it is now fusing to volcanic rocks, seashells, sand, and coral to form an entirely new type of rock. Calling them plastiglomerates, the geologists say they... More »

Mystery of 'Missing Plastics' Solved in Arctic Ice

Melting will release 1T plastic pieces into oceans: study

(Newser) - So about the hundreds of millions of tons of plastics we've been releasing into the oceans—it went where, exactly? According to a new study , much of it was trapped in Arctic ice and will be released as the ice melts, USA Today reports. At current melting rates, more... More »

NY Lawmakers Going After ... Facial Scrubs

And other beauty products with microbeads that make it into water supply

(Newser) - New York state lawmakers have set their sights on an unlikely target: facial scrubs. More specifically, the washes, soaps, and toothpastes that contain smaller-than-a-salt-grain plastic beads, which are touted for their exfoliation abilities and derided for what scientists say they're doing to our ecosystem. As the New York Times ... More »

Even Barnacles Eating Our Plastic Trash

33% of barnacles in study had ingested a microplastic

(Newser) - Today's most unfortunate number: 267. That's the number of marine species that have been found to have eaten plastic, and a new study zeroes in on one such species— barnacles. Researchers traveled to the North Pacific Gyre (better known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch ) with a... More »

New Find on Moon of Saturn: Plastic

Or at least a molecule used to make it

(Newser) - Earth and Saturn now have something in common: plastic. NASA's Cassini spacecraft detected the molecule propylene on Saturn's moon Titan, and propylene is one of the basic ingredients of modern plastic here on Earth, reports the BBC . It's the first extraterrestrial plastic ingredient ever found, reports NASA'... More »

LA OKs Nation's Biggest Bag Ban

Plastic grocery bags to go next year

(Newser) - Environmental activists have scored a huge victory in Los Angeles, where the city council has voted 11-1 to make the city the biggest in the US to ban plastic grocery bags. Stores that sell perishable foods—including supermarkets, mini-marts, and retailers like Target that have grocery sections—will be barred... More »

$10M Question: Twist Tie or Plastic Clip?

Businessweek looks at obscure but high-stakes fight

(Newser) - It's the $10 million question you've never cared to ask: What's the best way to secure a bag of bread? In one corner, the humble twist-tie—simple but more labor-intensive. In the other, plastic clips—less work but more room for error. You may not even notice... More »

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