plastic

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Plastic Straws on Their Way Out at McDonald's

UK, Ireland locations will switch to paper straws; other countries like US to do test runs

(Newser) - "A move on straws" is afoot across the pond, and McDonald's is driving the push. The fast-food chain is nixing plastic straws and moving to paper in all of its Ireland and United Kingdom restaurants in what the UK's environment secretary calls a "significant contribution" to... More »

Ban Proposed on Plastics You Use Every Day

The EU proposed a ban that would include plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds

(Newser) - The European Union has proposed banning plastic products like cotton buds, straws, stirs and balloon sticks when alternatives are easily available in an attempt to reduce litter spoiling beaches and ocean beds, per the AP . The European Commission said its proposal would seek to cut marine litter in half for... More »

Solution to Plastic Pollution Isn't a 'Sexy' One

'We need to just collect the trash,' says one resource economist

(Newser) - You want big picture? National Geographic provides it on the issue of plastic choking the world's waterways. Invented in the late 19th century, plastic didn't truly take off in terms of production until around 1950, when scientists began making it out of petroleum in earnest. Now, we have... More »

Plastic Bag Found in Truly Depressing Spot

Not even the bottom of the Mariana Trench is safe from our trash

(Newser) - "Single-use plastic reached the world's deepest ocean trench at 10,898 m," states the study plainly, referring to that great scourge: the plastic bag. National Geographic reports that a review of the Deep-Sea Debris Database, an assemblage of photos and videos taken during roughly 5,000 dives... More »

Mutant Enzyme Munches Plastic

This could massively reduce waste, scientists say

(Newser) - Some rare good news in the fight against plastic pollution: Scientists working with a plastic-eating microbe discovered in Japan two years ago accidentally created a mutant enzyme that sounds like an environmentalist's dream, the Guardian reports. The enzyme breaks down the PET—polyethylene terephthalate—used in plastic bottles even... More »

Study Shows Depressing Scope of Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Mass of floating garbage is 'increasing exponentially'

(Newser) - Already the largest floating trash island in the world, researchers have found the mass of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is "increasing exponentially," the Washington Post reports. “I’ve been doing this research for a while, but it was depressing to see,” the Guardian quotes... More »

Microplastics Found in More Than 90% of Bottled Water

WHO says it is investigating risks

(Newser) - Bottled water isn't just surrounded by plastic, it's permeated with it, according to a new study. Researchers at the State University of New York tested 259 bottles of water bought in nine countries, including the US, and found that 93% of them were contaminated with tiny plastic particles,... More »

Calif. Bill Would Punish Straw-Happy Servers

But harsh penalties for 'Straws Upon Request' bill will be amended, lawmaker insists

(Newser) - Restaurant servers who give customers plastic drinking straws they haven't asked for will have to suck up a maximum penalty of a $1,000 fine or six months in prison under a controversial bill in California. The bill was introduced in the State Assembly by Majority Leader Ian Calderon... More »

China Is No Longer Accepting the World's Recycling

Move is causing buildup of paper, plastic overseas

(Newser) - China has declared that it's no longer accepting "foreign garbage"—which has left a lot of countries, including the US, wondering what to do with it. As part of a drive to reduce pollution, the country stopped accepting 24 kinds of waste on Jan. 1, including mixed... More »

Now With Your Tap Water, a Side of Plastic

Researchers warn that we're ingesting microparticles

(Newser) - Perhaps we'd best hope we are what we eat, because if we are what we drink then we are getting pretty plastic. Researchers who tested samples of tap water from around the world say there are microplastics in much of it, with the highest contamination rate in the US,... More »

Scientists Offer First Analysis of How Much Plastic We've Made

Researchers estimate 9B tons have been produced

(Newser) - A new study puts a number on the amount of plastic the planet has manufactured in the roughly 65 years we've been cranking it out: 9 billion tons. If you're struggling to visualize that weight, the BBC helps out: That's as heavy as 25,000 Empire State... More »

Plastic Bottles Could Rival Threat of Climate Change

Report finds world buys 1M plastic bottles every minute

(Newser) - Approximately 1 million plastic bottles are purchased every minute worldwide—and that number is expected to increase by 20% in the next four years, according to an exclusive report from the Guardian . It gets worse. Less than half of the 580 billion plastic bottles purchased in 2016 were recycled and... More »

The Island Is Uninhabited. It Still Looks Like This

Henderson Island has highest density of trash in nature: study

(Newser) - Henderson Island, a South Pacific island that has never been inhabited, is what a researcher calls "one of the most pristine islands left in the world," per Popular Science . It's also one of the most polluted, home to an estimated 37.7 million pieces of plastic waste... More »

Beekeeper's Surprise Find May Help Our Plastic Problem

Possible solution: hungry caterpillars

(Newser) - Many scientific discoveries can be attributed to a happy accident—the discovery of penicillin thanks to moldy petri dishes, for instance. Might our mounting plastic crisis be solved similarly? One scientist and amateur beekeper in Spain has discovered that the larvae of wax moths, which live on beeswax and thus... More »

What Makes Up New Plastic Bottles? Not Old Ones, It Seems

Only small percentage of plastic from recyclable bottles is used in new ones

(Newser) - That Coke bottle you were proud to throw in the recycling bin so it could be repurposed into another Coke bottle may actually be … part of a carpet sample in Mumbai. It turns out that a very small percentage of the world's plastic beverage bottles are made out... More »

'Hotspot' of Plastic Trash Found in the Arctic

Scientists fear effects on animals already under threat

(Newser) - In a further sign that plastic is not-so-slowly taking over our oceans , scientists say they've found a "hotspot" of plastic pollution from bags, bottles, and toys in Arctic waters. And the amount of plastic amassing on the ocean surface, in sea ice, and possibly even on the ocean... More »

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 »

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