Hot answers tagged

14

The cheapest reusable bags round here are made of the same plastic as disposable bags. In this case the number of uses required is simply the ratio of the weights. Without getting the scales out I think this is around 10-20 times. They're also bigger so that's not even 10-20 shopping trips unless you only ever buy a little. I know I've had a few hundred uses ...


13

Home compostable standards Published in 2010, the Australian AS 5810 is the first standard that guarantees composting at low temperatures. Heavy metals and plant toxicity requirements are similar to those for industrial compostability (AS 4736). Biodegradation and disintegration however need to be performed at ambient temperature instead of at elevated ...


12

I see two main aspects to the answer. First, for a disposable object it's better to use a biodegradable plastic than one that is effectively permanent so that after the disposable object is used it doesn't stick around. That's true even if the biodegradable plastic is made from equally unsustainable materials. Our seas are already full of disposable ...


12

Most non-biodegradable plastic bags are made of Polyethylene (PE) and often have a marking or logo like this: There may also be a marking that say 'PE', 'PE-HD', 'LDPE' or 'PE-LD' Bags that are biodegradable usually have a logo on it containing the words 'biodegradable' and/or 'compostable', e.g. something like this: Note that there is 1 controversial ...


10

Dangers Most of plastic materials when burning in a conventional fire decompose to toxic substances which have bad health effect on many living organisms including humans. Many of the substances are carcinogenic. The dangerous substances are mainly: dioxins furans styrenes some plastics can produce extremely and acutely toxic hydrogen cyanide carbon ...


10

Some countries have introduced a tax on plastic shopping bags. For example, in Ireland the tax is 0.15 EURO (about 12p in English money or $0.20 in American money). Within a short space of time, shops offered customers a choice between: (1) free paper bags, or (2) heavy-duty reusable bags (usually made of cloth, but sometimes made from thick plastic) for 1 ...


10

There is a difference between reuse and recycling. Reuse is using a container again without major modifications. Recycling is transforming a container into its core elements and using that to make an entirely new object. AFAIK industrial reuse of plastic food packaging isn't done anywhere because of the risk of bacterial contamination. Many plastics are ...


10

Yes, we should leave the larger part of all known fossil fuel reserves in the ground. Scientists have calculated that if we want to keep global temperature rise under 2 degrees C (which was agreed upon in the Paris climate agreement), then we cannot use more than 1/3 of all currently known reserves. ...globally, a third of oil reserves, half of gas ...


8

First of all, in many products BPA has not been replaced at all. It is still present in many types of food packaging, especially in canned foods. AFAIK the main exception is baby bottles which are required to be BPA free in the US, Canada and the EU. France is also an exception as it is the only EU-country where BPA is banned for all food packaging. Second,...


8

It depends on the plastic you're using. Plastics often come in the thermoplastic and thermosetting categories. If the plastic is a thermosetting plastic then it is not able to melted (Most, if not all thermosetting plastics burn rather than melt). However, a thermoplastic plastic can be melted and remoulded as much as you want (quality of plastic is likely ...


8

Unless the plastic bags are labelled with a recycling symbol, there is no easy way to know if the plastic is even recyclable. Good biodegradable plastic bags are made from decomposable materials, which contain no pollutants or toxins. The fact that your plastic bags have disintegrated doesn't mean they are biodegradable. The safest thing for the recycling ...


8

It doesn't appear that there are any specific studies comparing the environmental impact of dog waste disposed of in biodegradable vs non-biodegradable bags, however there's quite a bit of work that's been done to compare these two types of plastic, considering production, use, and disposal. Bio-based and petrol-based plastic production comparison One of ...


8

There are many ways how plastic waste ends up in the sea. A non-complete list would include the following: Micro-plastics from our washing processes, they are in almost everything like shampoo, peelings, cosmetics, etc., but also our clothes contain a lot of plastics which leaves the washing machines continuously. Next are ships, loosing load, leaving old ...


8

tl;dr: No, shipping plastic waste to China for recycling does not offset the benefits, as it reduces the net energy savings by 3% or less. Polyethylene, The most common plastic According to Wikipedia, polyethylene is the most common type of plastic. There are three main categories of polyethylene (also from Wikipedia): PET (polyethylene terephthalate), ...


7

You should not burn plastic. Besides the environmental impact, you're wasting resources. You should recycle plastic - here is how that's done: 1. The plastic is sorted Sorting and grouping plastic materials according to resin type is an important first step in the recycling process because contamination can render a batch of material un-reusable. The most ...


7

It's definitely possible to recycle plastic and create LEGO-like building blocks. In fact several houses have already been built this way! In 2010 a Colombian architect called Oscar Mendez had the same idea as you. He started an initiative called Conceptos Plasticos (website in Spanish) with the goal to reduce both waste and extreme poverty by providing ...


7

At present the plastic waste stream can be diverted into multi-color goo mixed with wood chips and be extruded into synthetic fence posts. Ugly as sin, but better than nothing, and I think that for sheet goods (bags) this is pretty good. Your idea would work well for styrofoam. You would work it like this: Styrofoam is separated from the waste stream by ...


6

Jumping into this late but I couldn't help it because this is what I do for a living (guide major corporations on recycling). The mark you have simply means that the bag is plastic (it's not identifying which type). As mentioned above, it's the same as SPI codes (the numbers in the chasing arrows). No fee is paid to any organization for use of this code....


6

Truly biodegradable plastics exist, where the actual plastic molecule or long chain is engineered to have weak spots which are broken so the plastic material ceases to exist in its original form. What it becomes depends on the design of the material. Many so-called biodegradable plastics, perhaps the majority, are essentially no more so longer term than are ...


6

I've had good success with the following system. All you need are two stronger plastic bags with handles: Bag one: non-handled bags 'roll and rip' style produce bags from the market bread bags ziploc bags anything else without a handle Bag two: handled bags plastic grocery bags mall shopping bags (think h&m or something — attached handles rather than ...


6

Summary: Nylon, acrylic and especially polyester clothing release lots of microplastics during laundry. For polyester a study found between 6 and 17,7 million microfibers per 5kg wash Microplastics are now ubiquitous; they are found in various foods and in 83% of drinking water samples around the world, including both tap and bottled water We don't know the ...


6

From what I've read the bacteria can completely degrade PET-film in 6 weeks via two enzymes that turn PET into terephthalic acid and ethylene glycol. Both substances are both environmentally benign. This means that we may be able to use these bacteria to clean up plastics in the environment. However this may not be very easy because a PET bottle for example ...


6

Conventional plastics All conventional plastics marked with the 1 to 6 resin identification codes are recyclable. Some types are more easy to recycle than others, for example recycling PVC is more difficult than PET. Also very little polystyrene (PS) is recycled simply because it is not cost-effective to do so. The majority of conventional plastics is ...


6

Carelessness, wind and rain. Humans are careless, so leave all manner of plastic outside in their yards. A gust of wind catches the plastic and blows it onto a nearby road. It rains, and the plastic is washed into the gutter and stormwater system, where it travels through drains, culverts, creeks, rivers and ultimately out to sea. That's why pollution at ...


6

Depends a lot on where you live, but if you have the possibility to refill your own glass bottle, then I would call that the most sustainable option. In this part of Europe (Hungary/Romania) there are machines like this one, locals call them "iron cows". The milk comes from local farmers, but it is collected and tested by a company. The price of a liter is ...


5

Reusable bags, mesh bags and a personal shopping cart! One can use the mesh bags for fresh produce and loose items that needs to be scanned and the reusable bags to group the rest. A shopping cart comes handy because it is much easier to roll the reusable bags. It also provides a second option if any of the items don't fit the reusable bags, one can always ...


5

Unless polyethylene has been pretreated during its manufacturing process it is a very obdurate material, being susceptible to degradation by oxidation and UV light. Degradation can occur with chlorine, particularly of polyethylene water pipe that convey chlorinated water. Concerning minute fragments of polyethylene results from degradation, these like the ...


5

I'm an energy consultant - I'm also aware of the environmental impacts of plastic - however; I still have to ask, what is the issue with plastic? The only thing more sustainable than plastic is SOME wood IF it is carefully cared for. The carbon embedded in the production of plastic is VERY low compared to say aluminium, stainless etc... Plastic is a great ...


5

The problem with burying plastic in landfills is that plastic takes ~500 years to decompose, and burying large amounts of waste leads to groundwater pollution in the surrounding areas, which is difficult to solve. Reducing or eliminating plastic will help landfills in the long run because we cannot keep dumping our waste plastic in landfills, it will reach ...


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