Posts tagged ‘Plastic’

Plastic, pants and even a golf ball were found in dead whale

OLYMPIA, Wash. – A gray whale that died after getting stranded on a West Seattle beach had a large amount of garbage in its stomach — ranging from plastic bags to a pair of sweat pants and even a golf ball.

Most of the whale’s stomach contents was algae — typical of the bottom-feeding mammals. But Cascadia Research Collective, whose experts were among those who performed the necropsy, said “a surprising amount of human debris” was found, including “more than 20 plastic bags, small towels, surgical gloves, sweat pants, plastic pieces, duct tape, and a golf ball.”

On top of all that, the whale “also had cuts on the head possibly from a boat propeller,” the group said in a statement. It added, though, that “these did not appear fresh or deep enough to have been involved in the death of the animal.”

Cascadia emphasized that no evidence suggested the trash was responsible for the whale’s death, but added: “It did clearly indicate that the whale had been attempting to feed in industrial waters and therefore exposed to debris and contaminants present on the bottom in these areas.”

“Gray whales are filter feeders that typically feed on the bottom and suck in sediment in shallow waters and filter the contents to strain out the small organisms that live there,” Cascadia said. “They have been known to accumulate material including rocks and other debris from the bottom ingested in this process. While debris has been found in the stomachs of some previous gray whales found dead in Puget Sound, this appeared to be a larger quantity than had ever been found previously.”

Cascadia co-founder John Calambokidis, a biologist, said the debris was a reminder of human impacts below the water.

“Even with all our awareness and attempts to improve the Sound, there is still quite a legacy of our past behavior and current behavior that still exists down there on the bottom,” NBC affiliate KING TV reported him as saying.

Testing of samples collected from the whale could shed light on the cause of death but results will not be know for several weeks.

A local community college hopes to preserve the skeleton.

The 37-foot-long male beached itself last Wednesday. It was the fifth gray whale to have died this year in Washington state and the fourth in Puget Sound in April.

click HERE for source

April 21, 2010 at 9:38 AM Leave a comment

Coca-Cola introduces innovative bottle made from renewable, recyclable, plant-based plastic

The Coca-Cola Company unveiled today a new plastic bottle made partially from plants.  The “PlantBottle™” is fully recyclable, has a lower reliance on a non-renewable resource, and reduces carbon emissions, compared with petroleum-based PET plastic bottles.”
The ‘PlantBottle™’ is a significant development in sustainable packaging innovation,” said Muhtar Kent, Chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company.  “It builds on our legacy of environmental ingenuity and sets the course for us to realize our vision to eventually introduce bottles made with materials that are 100 percent recyclable and renewable.”

 

Traditional PET bottles are made from petroleum, a non-renewable resource.  The new bottle is made from a blend of petroleum-based materials and up to 30 percent plant-based materials.

“The Coca-Cola Company is a company with the power to transform the marketplace, and the introduction of the “PlantBottle™” is yet another great example of their leadership on environmental issues,” said Carter Roberts, President and CEO of World Wildlife Fund, U.S.  “We are pleased to be working with Coke to tackle sustainability issues and drive innovations like this through their supply chain, the broader industry and the world.”

The “PlantBottle™” is currently made through an innovative process that turns sugar cane and molasses, a by-product of sugar production, into a key component for PET plastic.  Coca-Cola is also exploring the use of other plant materials for future generations of the “PlantBottle™.”

Manufacturing the new plastic bottle is more environmentally efficient as well.  A life-cycle analysis conducted by Imperial College London indicates the “PlantBottle™” with 30 percent plant-base material reduces carbon emissions by up to 25 percent, compared with petroleum-based PET.

Another advantage to the “PlantBottle™” is that, unlike other plant-based plastics, it can be processed through existing manufacturing and recycling facilities without contaminating traditional PET.  So, the material in the “PlantBottle™” can be used, recycled and reused again and again.

Coca-Cola North America will pilot the “PlantBottle™” with Dasani and sparkling brands in select markets later this year and with vitaminwater in 2010.   The innovative bottles will be identified through on-package messages and in-store point of sale displays.  Web-based communications will also highlight the bottles’ environmental benefits.

“The ‘PlantBottle™’ represents the next step in evolving our system toward the bottle of the future,” said Scott Vitters, Director of Sustainable Packaging of The Coca-Cola Company.  “This innovation is a real win because it moves us closer to our vision of zero waste with a material that lessens our carbon footprint and is also recyclable.”

The Coca-Cola Company — the first company to introduce a beverage bottle made with recycled plastic — has been focused on ensuring the sustainability of its packaging for decades.  It has put resources behind creating packaging that is recyclable and investing in recycling infrastructure to ensure that its packages are collected, recycled and re-used.  Earlier this year, the Company opened the world’s largest plastic bottle-to-bottle recycling plant in Spartanburg, S.C.  The plant will produce approximately 100 million pounds of recycled PET plastic for reuse each year — the equivalent of nearly 2 billion 20-ounce Coca-Cola bottles.  These efforts are all focused on helping “close the loop” on packaging use and produce truly sustainable packages for consumers.

November 19, 2009 at 12:13 PM Leave a comment

The Plastic Waste Problem

Plastics Have Revolutionized Our World


Today, plastic touches every aspect of our daily lives in some way. It keeps the foods we eat fresh, the medicines we take secure, and the homes we live in safe. As a result of our dependence on plastic, consumption is increasing at a rapid pace. In fact, the global culture of consumerism relies upon plastic for its very existence. The overall plastic market is growing at a rate of more than 7% per year. In 2005, over 230 million metric tons (over 500 billion pounds) of plastic was produced  globally.

What Do We Do With All This Plastic Afgter Its Useful Life?

There are currently four major options for the disposal of waste plastic:
recycling, landfill, incineration, and dumping. We have come to the sobering realization that all four methods are fraught with severe drawbacks and limitations. Current disposal methods no longer fit our needs. Incineration, landfill, and dumping present harmful environmental impacts and recycling has proven to be both expensive and inefficient. We are running out of options and the world needs a new solution.

Extracting Oil for Plastics


In 2008, more than 85 million barrels of crude oil were extracted daily worldwide. After extraction, refineries process crude oil into different refined petroleum products including liquefied petroleum gas, gasoline, diesel fuel, kerosene, distillate fuel oil, jet fuel, lubricants, petrochemical feedstock, petroleum coke, and asphalt. Plastic production uses 8% of the world’s oil production, with 4% used as feedstock and 4% providing the energy required for plastic production.

Since plastic is a derivative of petroleum, plastic possesses a commensurately high level of stored energy content. The energy density of polyethylene (PE), polystyrene (PS), and polypropylene (PP) is comparable to that of gasoline and is approximately 51% higher than that of coal. Unfortunately, this high level of energy literally “goes to waste” when plastic waste products are discarded. In 2007 the United States produced 58 million tons of plastic, from which 48 million tons of plastic waste entered the nation’s waste stream.

November 18, 2009 at 12:52 PM Leave a comment

The Next Generation for Recycled Plastics

It has always been hoped that as more products were developed using recycled plastics, more demand would be created for recycled plastic material thus increasing its value and, in the end, increasing collection and recycling efforts.

So far plastic appears to be one of the least recycled materials. Perhaps that’s ready to change.

One example of a new use of recycled plastic comes from Axion International Holdings of New Providence, New Jersey. That company has won a $957,000 contract from the U.S. Army for the construction of two railroad bridges designed from nearly 100 percent recycled plastics. The main structural components of the bridges to be built at Fort Eustis, Virginia,home of the US Army Transportation Corps, will be made from recycled consumer and industrial plastics using Axion’s proprietary immiscible blending. Axion calls its products Recycled Structural Composites (RSC).

With load rating capacities of 130 tons, these bridges will reach a new milestone in thermoplastic load bearing capacity, surpassing the current record held by Axion’s bridges at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Those bridges are able to support loads more than 73 tons for tracked vehicles and 88 tons for wheeled vehicles. The new short span bridges at Fort Eustis will extend approximately 40 feet and 80 feet respectively and will use two of the company’s core infrastructure products – bridges and railroad cross ties.

axionbridge

Axion’s tank and truck carrying recycled plastic bridge.

Lots of infrastructure projects using high volume of maintenance-free recycled plastic would certainly create more demand for ready-for-manufacture recycled material. Another possibility is for the process of plastic recycling to become more technically sophisticated to the point where raw recycled plastic material can compete with virgin plastics: that is become a new material in itself.

Full Story Click HERE

November 17, 2009 at 12:46 PM Leave a comment


University of San Francisco: unplugged

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