Plastic marine debris makes its way into the Arctic, and analysts predict how China’s proposed import ban could lead to a greater reliance on virgin plastics in Chinese manufacturing.
New territory: As the ocean is expanding, so is the scope of the marine plastic pollution problem. The Telegraph reports researchers have recently found blocks of polystyrene in remote sections of the Arctic, areas that were historically protected by ice barriers that have now melted.
Pushing prime: Domestic demand for plastic feedstock in China could soar as recycled plastic imports dry up with new restrictions, and Chinese importers may drive an increased demand for virgin resins. Reuters writes that petrochemical producers and exporters from the Middle East, South Korea, Thailand and Singapore are likely to receive more orders from Chinese buyers for prime polyethylene and other resins.
Factual findings?: A caterpillar that feeds on polyethylene drew international headlines earlier this year, with some observers pointing to the critter as a solution to plastic litter problems. But according to Plastics News, researchers are debating over whether the original results on the larvae actually hold water. The opposing sides can agree on one issue, though: more research is needed for conclusive results.
Grinding to a halt: European plastic collectors may be forced to stop sorting the materials they collect without China as a buyer, as they won’t be able to cover the cost of the sortation. So writes Surendra Borad Patawari, chairman of the Bureau of International Recycling’s plastics division, in a plastics analysis for Recycling International.
Millennials’ minds: The good news, according to a survey by The Shelton Group: A company’s environmental practices strongly play whether millennials buy that company’s products. The bad news: The millennial generation is less likely to recycle than other generations.
Bags to benches: Students at Minnesota State University in Moorhead have launched an ambitious project to collect more than 40,000 plastic bags to reduce campus litter. Local ABC affiliate WDAY reports the student-led effort will culminate in a bench made from the recycled bags if the goal is met.
Tyvek recycling: DuPont, now known as DowDuPont after a recent merger, has launched a recycling program for its Tyvek line of protective cover products. In a press release, the company says the program will provide several recycling options for the Tyvek covers, which include an external layer of 100 percent HDPE.
Tackling a stream: Roughly 80 fishing nets weighing between 5,000 and 20,000 pounds are being shipped from the Aleutian Islands to Denmark to be processed into recycled plastic pellets. The Associated Press writes that the project is coming about through collaboration between a Denmark recycling company, fishermen and a seafood operation.