World's deepest waters becoming 'ultimate sink' for plastic waste Watch

Poll: Which single-use plastics are you going to cut down?
Coffee cups (139)
12.87%
Water bottles (302)
27.96%
Fruit and veg in plastic (126)
11.67%
Takeaway food (91)
8.43%
Plastic bags (277)
25.65%
Facewash with plastic beads (145)
13.43%
Plagioclase
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(Original post by Steve82)
The problem is everything comes in plastic packaging. The comsumer, us, can't really escape that. Instead of charging us for plastic bags, charge us for biodegradable bags. It's as simple as that.

As per usual the finger is being pointed at the people. Stop producing plastic products and replace them with environmentally friendly options. Simple. There are plenty of options out there but instead the only option we have is to continue to use plastic bags but now we pay for them?!?!?

This world is bent all out of shape if you ask me.
You're right in that corporations are "pointing the finger" at the people to escape responsibility themselves. Having said that, the economy is demand-driven. If it is recognised that unsustainable manufacturing practices are becoming socially unacceptable and socially unwanted, they will become economically unsustainable. Yes, it's difficult for consumers to completely escape the plastic scourge but there most certainly are actions that consumers can quite easily take. Biodegradable bags, for instance, are not a brilliant alternative to plastic bags because (1) they generally will end up in a landfill where they're oxygen-starved and won't biodegrade anyway and (2) they still require energy and materials to produce. Just take your own bag - what's so difficult about that?! Same thing goes for plastic bottles.
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Leviathan1741
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#22
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I bought a sturdy sports water bottle off Amazon and reuse that now rather than buying plastic bottles (which I reused for a while and recycled anyway)
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Steve82
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#23
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(Original post by Plagioclase)
Just take your own bag - what's so difficult about that?! Same thing goes for plastic bottles.
For starters I don't walk around with pockets full of plastic bags every time I leave the house. It's not realistic. Yes for a planned weekly shopping trip this works, but I generally do that online anyway. It's not a practical suggestion for everyday life.
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Plagioclase
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(Original post by Steve82)
For starters I don't walk around with pockets full of plastic bags every time I leave the house. It's not realistic. Yes for a planned weekly shopping trip this works, but I generally do that online anyway. It's not a practical suggestion for everyday life.
How often do you go on a spontaneous, completely unplanned shopping trip where you buy so much stuff that you need "pockets full of plastic bags"? I've not had to use a plastic bag in several years and it's not impacted my life in the slightest. I'm sorry but I really struggle to see what's so hard about keeping a fold-up shopping bag or two in your bag? That weighs about 100g at the absolute maximum and takes up perhaps 50ccm of space. That's hardly a major lifestyle shift, is it?
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yankeedog1953
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#25
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have health hazards from plastics, besides being entangled in netting, been researched and discovered. Fow example, reproductive harm?
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Captain Haddock
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(Original post by yankeedog1953)
have health hazards from plastics, besides being entangled in netting, been researched and discovered. Fow example, reproductive harm?
For humans? Too early to tell. For sea life? Yes. For example, animals mistake the plastic for food and die of starvation with their stomachs full of plastic.

This is a big problem for seabirds, too:
https://ocean.si.edu/ocean-life/seab...lastic-problem
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LostAccount
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The real myth is how people in the West have convinced themselves that they are the main contributors to pollution around the planet, be it CO2 or plastic, when this is absolutely not the case.

It is thus not hard to see why many people deny climate change -- after all this all appears to be one big exercise at stealing money from the middle classes and working classes of the developed nations to pay for everyone else. All these taxes are horsecrap. I don't use any plastic bags anyway, but I would be furious at any "plastic tax", especially on bottled water of which I buy so many. It is a tax identical to the sugar tax -- punishing the majority and the responsible for the mistakes of the idiot few.

The world's pollution, be it plastic or CO2 or greenhouse gases, almost universally come from the East and the southern hemisphere. The UK's carbon emissions have been falling since the 1960s per person, and since the early 1990s in totality. US carbon emissions have fallen since the crash in 2008, never recovered by 2014, and have started flatlining and due for a fall in the near future. The EU as a whole, with the exception of Germany which is a huge pollutant, has seen falling emissions since the 1980s.

The problem lies with the east, not with the west. Have you seen the pollution in River Ganges? Yellow River in China? It's not the West's problem, and it can't (and by god, it won't if they want my vote) be solved with my money.
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LostAccount
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Since 1990, UK emissions have been cut by 40%. In other words, it's as if you put a magical nitrooxide/carbon monoxide catcher on exhaust fumes so that for 4 of every 10 minutes you drive you produce zero pollution. In 2017, the UK produced the lowest density of carbon emissions since 1890s. That's 130 years ago.

Liberals would have you believe there's a crisis though, and that we have never been as wasteful and pollutive as we are today.

Fundamentally, cutting emissions and our footprint is good. Pretending that we are responsible for the problem of this world and/or expecting us to take the brunt of fixing it is ludicrous. Thankfully we already stopped seeing ourselves as World Police and stopped getting into pointless conflicts abroad -- the next step is to stop seeing ourselves as perpetually guilty World Problem, and stop paying for others' mistakes, be it foreign aid or making ourselves poorer because others are selfish.

https://assets.publishing.service.go...ge_summary.pdf
https://www.independent.co.uk/enviro...-a7614066.html

So empty your pockets, plebs, it's time to sort this mythical crisis.
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Bang Outta Order
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CoolCavy
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#30
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(Original post by Steve82)
As per usual the finger is being pointed at the people. Stop producing plastic products and replace them with environmentally friendly options. Simple.
It's not really simple often environmentally stuff isn't good enough of a material. Card gets water ingress, you can put a lining on it to protect it like in tetra apple juice packs but that means the card can't be recycled. If you used glass bottles rather than plastic fuel use would skyrocket. Machines are set up for certain pressures and temperatures that form plastics and biodegradable plastic has different properties.
The longevity of products is also affected by the material, some things have to have tough packaging to survive the journey . If people weren't so fussy and could deal with a bruised apple then maybe plastic packaging wouldn't be as nessecary but if it's damaged. Noone is going to buy it.
Its really not that simple at all. People seem to think that manufacturers are evil and just pumping out plastics for the bants but there is a whole host of design decisions that goes into choosing a material.
Yes there is a lot of pointless packaging that could be reduced but plastic is an excellent material and substitutes just aren't there yet. It is demonised when it is a fantastically useful resource. If it wasn't so useful we would t have so much of it literally floating about
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Plagioclase
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#31
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(Original post by CoolCavy)
It's not really simple often environmentally stuff isn't good enough of a material. Card gets water ingress, you can put a lining on it to protect it like in tetra apple juice packs but that means the card can't be recycled. If you used glass bottles rather than plastic fuel use would skyrocket. Machines are set up for certain pressures and temperatures that form plastics and biodegradable plastic has different properties.
The longevity of products is also affected by the material, some things have to have tough packaging to survive the journey . If people weren't so fussy and could deal with a bruised apple then maybe plastic packaging wouldn't be as nessecary but if it's damaged. Noone is going to buy it.
Its really not that simple at all. People seem to think that manufacturers are evil and just pumping out plastics for the bants but there is a whole host of design decisions that goes into choosing a material.
Yes there is a lot of pointless packaging that could be reduced but plastic is an excellent material and substitutes just aren't there yet. It is demonised when it is a fantastically useful resource. If it wasn't so useful we would t have so much of it literally floating about
It is absolutely inexcusable that practically indestructible and excessive materials are used for disposable products. You can complain all you want about how fantastically useful plastic is, the fact of the matter is that producing materials we are incapable of disposing of properly is unsustainable. The word "sustainable" is thrown around as if it's some kind of desirable property that would be rather nice to achieve but isn't actually of fundamental importance, but I'd like to remind you of the definition of the word "sustainable", namely something that can be sustained. An unsustainable process is... unsustainable, and no amount of lamenting the fact that alternatives have inferior properties or are more expensive changes that fact. We are at a point now where, due to the saturation of plastics in our society and our woeful inability to dispose of them responsibly, it is impossible to take a sediment sample anywhere in the ocean - from the Mariana Trench to Antarctica - without finding microplastics, and they are present at every stage in the food chain from zooplankton to human stools. With respect, I don't really think you understand the scale of the problem if you think plastic being "fantastically useful" is somehow a justification for that.

Finally, I strongly dispute your claim that plastic is as ubiquitous as it is simply because of "good design decisions". This is completely incorrect. It's because it's a necessary component of throw-away consumerism that was ruthlessly marketed throughout the second half of the 20th Century, and chemical companies realised that they could make a killing out of producing the packaging associated with that. There was a very good article in The Guardian a few months ago on the history of plastic production discussing this.

Choosing materials that make your product impossible to produce sustainably and to dispose of responsibly is poor design, something I thought you'd be more receptive towards...
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CoolCavy
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#32
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#32
(Original post by Plagioclase)
something I thought you'd be more receptive towards...

Please dont patronise me i study product design at uni so yes i am well aware of the problem
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BlueIndigoViolet
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#33
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know its ironic but i loathe humanity for this level of pollution now reaching the farthest reaches of the Earth - need action asap not some 10% reduction in 50 years
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Plagioclase
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#34
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(Original post by CoolCavy)

Please dont patronise me i study product design at uni so yes i am well aware of the problem
I'm sorry if you feel that way, I'm just very surprised that a design student is defending poor design practice.
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TPAULT
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You got video footage of the plastic ?
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CoolCavy
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#36
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(Original post by Plagioclase)
I'm sorry if you feel that way, I'm just very surprised that a design student is defending poor design practice.
Please tell me where i said isnt it great that useless plastic packaging gets used and then not recycled. No.
Do you actually know how many end of life regulations there are for manufacturers? You have to justify exactly why you are using said plastic in your design and quite often that is because most plastic can be recycled. Maybe take a bit of responsibility and recycle that coke bottle that just saved a tonne of fossil fuel to transport.
Im not defending poor design practise. Merely offering an alternative to the repetitive narrative of all plastics = evil. I hate the plastic wrapping on veg as i said in my OP because it's wasteful and only there because people want perfect shiny fruit, the person i was replying to made it sound so so easy to just switch from using plastics for years to biodegradable stuff and the like when it's not as i have literally already said. If you can find me the marvellous world saving substitutes that exist then go ahead, think you will find they aren't quite up to standard yet and need a few more years perfecting. Even when things 'biodegrade' it just means they get broken down into plastic particles quickly, they arent actually going anywhere. They still get ingested by fish etc as microplastic.
I dont know why you are citing the 20th century, there are far more regulations now then there was then, manufacturers are becoming increasingly responsible because it looks bad on them if they aren't and consumers vote with their feet.
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CoolCavy
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http://www.designinnovationplastics.org/competition.htm


"The marine pollution crisis has focussed attention on the ‘disposable’ nature of single-use plastics that has unfortunately encouraged littering across the world, particularly where there is no infrastructure for collecting waste and recyclable materials.
To redress the balance, this brief addresses the latest initiatives related to the Circular Economy with Zero Waste requirement, where everything is valued and nothing is wasted.
You are challenged to produce a design on the theme of improving health, well-being or encouraging exercise.
In doing so we ask you to focus on the longevity properties and effectiveness of plastics as a material and the benefits they bring to the modern world.
Your design can either be a completely original product or an innovative rethink of an existing single-use design which is due for disposal or recycling. In either case, it is important to consider how you can positively impact the public perception and value of plastics so that your product is welcomed and accepted."
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_Mia101
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(Original post by Molseh)
The entire western world could stop using plastics and it would make no difference, because no matter how many soy boys walk around with bags for life, eating out of 100% recycled cardboard containers, there will still be 100x that in Africa/Asia that do not give a hoot about recycling or banning single-use plastics.
I don't know about most of Asia, but I know that Bangladesh has had a plastic bag ban since 2002 and India (Mumbai) last year and other cities in India earlier. Also, Morocco has had a ban since 2016. In fact, it is ranked as one of the 'greenest countries' in the world as of 2016. Kenya also banned plastic bags in 2017 and has some of the strictest fines in the world (up to £31,000 worth of fines ' for anyone producing, selling – or even just carrying plastic bags' or up to four years' imprisonment).

My point is that although there are countries that haven't banned plastic bags in Africa & Asia, there are plenty that have. And it does all add up and make a difference.
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Plagioclase
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(Original post by CoolCavy)
Please tell me where i said isnt it great that useless plastic packaging gets used and then not recycled. No.
Do you actually know how many end of life regulations there are for manufacturers? You have to justify exactly why you are using said plastic in your design and quite often that is because most plastic can be recycled. Maybe take a bit of responsibility and recycle that coke bottle that just saved a tonne of fossil fuel to transport.
Im not defending poor design practise. Merely offering an alternative to the repetitive narrative of all plastics = evil. I hate the plastic wrapping on veg as i said in my OP because it's wasteful and only there because people want perfect shiny fruit, the person i was replying to made it sound so so easy to just switch from using plastics for years to biodegradable stuff and the like when it's not as i have literally already said. If you can find me the marvellous world saving substitutes that exist then go ahead, think you will find they aren't quite up to standard yet and need a few more years perfecting. Even when things 'biodegrade' it just means they get broken down into plastic particles quickly, they arent actually going anywhere. They still get ingested by fish etc as microplastic.
I dont know why you are citing the 20th century, there are far more regulations now then there was then, manufacturers are becoming increasingly responsible because it looks bad on them if they aren't and consumers vote with their feet.
You are aware that it's impossible to truly recycle plastic? If you put a plastic bottle in a recycling bin, even if it doesn't end up in a landfill (which, in the UK, is the most likely outcome), it isn't recycled but downcycled. You cannot produce clear plastic of the quality required in commercial plastic bottles from recycled plastic. It's used to make lower grade plastic products, which themselves are generally not recyclable. The simple solution to this is to not produce disposable plastic bottles in the first place. It is an absolutely ridiculous product if you think about it. Glass is more energetically expensive to produce, but contrary to plastic, it can be reused and genuinely recycled many, many times.

Biodegradable does not mean that it is broken down into plastic particles quickly. There are certainly a lot of problems with biodegradable plastics (and I was never suggesting that they're an acceptable universal replacement for conventional plastics because they most certainly are not) but it's incorrect to claim that they are simply rapidly converted into microplastics. A formal definition is the following:

"that which is capable of undergoing biological decomposition in a compost site such that the material is not visually distinguishable and breaks down into carbon dioxide, water, inorganic compounds and biomass at a rate consistent with known compostable materials."

i.e. not mechanical fragmentation as you're suggesting.

I'm citing the 20th Century because that's the origin of our disposable consumerist culture. "Far more regulations" doesn't change the fact that we're producing more plastics than ever before.
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CoolCavy
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(Original post by Plagioclase)
You are aware that it's impossible to truly recycle plastic? If you put a plastic bottle in a recycling bin, even if it doesn't end up in a landfill (which, in the UK, is the most likely outcome), it isn't recycled but downcycled. You cannot produce clear plastic of the quality required in commercial plastic bottles from recycled plastic. It's used to make lower grade plastic products, which themselves are generally not recyclable. The simple solution to this is to not produce disposable plastic bottles in the first place. It is an absolutely ridiculous product if you think about it. Glass is more energetically expensive to produce, but contrary to plastic, it can be reused and genuinely recycled many, many times.

Biodegradable does not mean that it is broken down into plastic particles quickly. There are certainly a lot of problems with biodegradable plastics (and I was never suggesting that they're an acceptable universal replacement for conventional plastics because they most certainly are not) but it's incorrect to claim that they are simply rapidly converted into microplastics. A formal definition is the following:

"that which is capable of undergoing biological decomposition in a compost site such that the material is not visually distinguishable and breaks down into carbon dioxide, water, inorganic compounds and biomass at a rate consistent with known compostable materials."

i.e. not mechanical fragmentation as you're suggesting.

I'm citing the 20th Century because that's the origin of our disposable consumerist culture. "Far more regulations" doesn't change the fact that we're producing more plastics than ever before.
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