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Newfangled Form of Plastic Recycling Called a 'Delusion'

A ProPublica investigation calls process of pyrolysis an industry-hyped bust

(Newser) - If the plastics industry is to be believed, a new type of chemical recycling called pyrolysis is poised to solve many of the well-documented —and alarming —problems with plastic. The only hitch? Pyrolysis is a "delusion," declares a ProPublica investigation. As journalist Lisa Song explains, pyrolysis...

Microplastics in Testicles May Be Affecting Sperm
There Are Likely
Microplastics in
Your Testicles

There Are Likely Microplastics in Your Testicles

Discovery suggests microplastics can breach special blood barrier, impact sperm counts

(Newser) - Tiny plastic particles have reached parts of our bodies once thought impossible, including placentas and breast milk and, as researchers show in a new study, every human testicle analyzed. The discovery, researchers say, could help explain why sperm counts are declining around the world. Microplastics were discovered in all the...

'Worrying' Find Made in Pacific Plastic Research
'Worrying' Find Made in
Pacific Plastic Research

'Worrying' Find Made in Pacific Plastic Research

Researchers discover high concentration of microplastics in an unexpected area

(Newser) - The plastic problem in the world's oceans is a lot bigger than the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, researchers say. In a study published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology , researchers say they used a catamaran to measure plastic waste and microplastics in nine spots in the open ocean...

How Much Plastic Packaging Ends Up in Our Bodies?

In Canadian grocery stores, 71% of the food available was bound in plastic

(Newser) - When you're out shopping, finding food not encased in some kind of plastic is no easy task. In fact, per Modern Farmer , a recent study of Canadian grocery stores found 71% of products on their shelves were packaged in plastic; for baby food, it was even higher, at 76%....

2 Simple Steps Can Remove 90% of Plastic From Tap Water

Researchers suggest boiling and filtering

(Newser) - We can't seem to avoid microplastics in drinking water, at least without pricey filtration systems, but we can eliminate the vast majority with two simple steps, according to a new study. Microplastics and even smaller nanoplastics have been found in tap water around the world. The effects aren't...

'Tide' of Plastic Pellets Washes Up in Spain
Spain Faces 'Tide' of Nurdles

Spain Faces 'Tide' of Nurdles

The tiny plastic pellets spilled off of Portugal prompts environmental emergency

(Newser) - Volunteers on the northern coast of Spain are painstakingly picking up what could amount to hundreds of thousands of tiny plastic pellets after millions spilled from a cargo ship, raising concerns of an environmental disaster. Up to six containers carrying tires, tomato sauce, plastic wrap, and some 55,000 pounds...

Bottled Water Has Way More Plastic Than Thought
Bottled Water Has Much
More Plastic Than Thought

Bottled Water Has Much More Plastic Than Thought

With the water comes hundreds of thousands of nanoplastics, considered more dangerous than microplastics

(Newser) - Your goal is hydration, but in gulping down a liter of bottled water, you're also consuming hundreds of thousands of microscopic pieces of plastic, according to new research. Previous studies have found traces of plastic in bottled water . But in a new study, researchers found that plastic accumulates in...

Germans Are Snapping Up Glitter Before Ban Kicks In

First phase of EU microplastics ban takes effect next week

(Newser) - The European Union is about to become a less glittery place. Loose glitter and microbeads are being banned starting next Tuesday, when the first phase of an EU ban on microplastic kicks in. The Guardian reports that glitter has been flying off store shelves in Germany, where reality TV star...

Researchers Warn About Microwaving Plastic
Researchers Warn About
Microwaving Plastic
in case you missed it

Researchers Warn About Microwaving Plastic

Just three minutes in a microwave can unleash billions of nanoparticles, says study

(Newser) - A new study may give you pause before putting anything plastic in the microwave. University of Nebraska-Lincoln researchers found that microwaving plastic baby food containers released both micro- and smaller nanoplastics, reports Wired . The study in Environmental Science & Technology was conducted by Kazi Albab Hussain and UN-L colleagues after...

Mussels Excreting Microplastics May Help Clean the Ocean

The way some bivalves excrete substances could make it easier to clear them out

(Newser) - In fighting one of the most elusive pollutants in our oceans, scientists have found an unexpected ally: the blue mussel (Mytilus edulis). Science reports that this hungry little filter-feeding mollusk isn't just impervious to the trillions of microplastics littering the Earth's oceans; it may hold a solution to...

Researchers Find Unhappy Surprise in Plastic Recycling
Researchers Find Unhappy
Surprise in Plastic Recycling

Researchers Find Unhappy Surprise in Plastic Recycling

The process of breaking down the material releases microplastics into the air, says study

(Newser) - A new study on the recycling of plastic offers a disturbing surprise: In one way, the process may make the environmental problem worse. In the peer-reviewed study at ScienceDirect , UK researchers suggest that recycling plants create and release a troubling amount of microplastic pollution as they break down and wash...

Finding Could Shrink Mounds of Plastic

Discovery could be a recycling breakthrough

(Newser) - Scientists have been aware of microorganisms that can digest plastic, but they're of limited help. They mostly need temperatures over 86 degrees Fahrenheit to function; heating the environment for them is impractical and not carbon neutral. But now microbes have been isolated that can do the work at a...

This Whale Sucks In an Astounding Amount of Microplastics

Blue whales, as well as other baleens, are ingesting millions of the tiny particles daily

(Newser) - Baleen whales —which include blue whales and humpbacks—are a type of whale that uses special filters instead of teeth to collect and eat small prey like krill and fish. Now, in a research first, scientists examining the consumption habits of these marine mammals have found they're...

Caterpillar Saliva Could Be Potent Weapon in Plastic Fight

Researchers envision at-home degradation kits using enzymes found in wax worm drool

(Newser) - Five years after wax worms were found to consume the world's most commonly produced plastic, scientists have lost none of their optimism in touting the caterpillar larvae of wax moths as a potential solution to our growing problem of plastic waste. Indeed, new research finds the larvae's saliva...

A Grim First in Newest Discovery of Microplastics
An 'Incredibly Sad' Find
Buried in Antarctic Snow
in case you missed it

An 'Incredibly Sad' Find Buried in Antarctic Snow

Scientists have discovered first reported microplastics there

(Newser) - Microplastics have turned up in some of the most remote places of the globe: in the skies above the Pyrenees , in the deepest parts of the ocean , even in Antarctic surface water and sea ice . Now, however, scientists have found particles for the first time in another part of the...

Some Elephants Are Pooping Out Plastic Forks
Some Elephants Are
Turning Into Plastic Polluters
new study

Some Elephants Are Turning Into Plastic Polluters

Some consume plastic in dumps then excrete it in forests, study finds

(Newser) - Much has been written about humans' consumption of microplastics . Ditto on the impacts of plastic waste on our oceans . Now comes a report on the plastics—items a heck of a lot bigger than microplastics—that elephants eat and how deep into otherwise unspoiled forests they end up depositing it....

Plastic Recycling Is a Hoax
Plastic Recycling Is a Hoax

Plastic Recycling Is a Hoax

Environmental groups say the plastics industry has been lying all along

(Newser) - Last year, Americans recycled at most 6% of their plastic waste, according to a report released Wednesday by a pair of environmental groups. It's a number that's even worse than it used to be. Every American produced an average 218 pounds of plastic waste in 2018, per Reuters,...

Plastic in Landfill Is Killing Elephants

Post-mortems showed no signs of a normal diet

(Newser) - Conservationists and veterinarians are warning that plastic waste in an open landfill in eastern Sri Lanka is killing elephants in the region, after two more were found dead over the weekend. Around 20 elephants have died in the past eight years after consuming plastic trash in the dump in Pallakkadu...

Blame for World's Plastic 'Deluge' Lands Squarely on US

We're the biggest contributor to the waste problem, per new NAS analysis commissioned by Congress

(Newser) - There's a "deluge" of plastic mucking up the Earth's oceans, with the United States serving as the biggest contributor to it. That's according to a new National Academy of Sciences report ordered by Congress that's imploring the US to come up with a plan to...

Garbage Falls in Italy, but There's All That PPE

UN, environmental groups warn of danger to seas from microplastics

(Newser) - Italy produced 10% less garbage during its coronavirus lockdown, but environmentalists warn that increased reliance on disposable masks and packaging is imperiling efforts to curb single-use plastics that end up in oceans and seas. Researchers estimate that during the peak months of Italy's lockdown in March and April, the...

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