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Randito
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PostFri Aug 28, 2020 10:24 am 
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Anne Elk wrote:
I only wonder why plastic carry-out bags are singled out when there is so much more that's packaged in plastic that is just as polluting.  Soda and water bottles, plastic packaging for everything you can imagine (Trader Joes, as much as I love them, is big on this).  How about a return to glass? (weight issue aside)

Single use plastic bags have been identified as problematic to sea turtles and other marine life.   Sea turtles confuse plastic bags with jellyfish and eat them -- with fatal results.  Whales have also been found dead with large volumes of plastic waste in their stomachs.

https://phys.org/news/2017-02-norway-zoologists-plastic-bags-stranded.html

If plastic waste is disposed of in landfills they can't get into the ocean -- however one big problem in past years has been that plastic waste has been sent to China for recycling and with some frequency loads of recycling are rejected as being too contaminated for recycling and the rejected loads are dumped at sea.

I think this is less of a problem currently as the vast majority of plastic waste in the USA now heads for disposal within the USA rather than for recycling.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jun/21/us-plastic-recycling-landfills
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Slugman
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PostFri Aug 28, 2020 11:01 am 
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Local and state governments can only control what happens here. How is WA going to ban packaging from a national company?

Also, I question the “equally polluting” assumption. Plastic bags more easily blow away, end up in water, and resemble food for some animals like sea turtles.

Also, we should do what we can, and not refrain from that because other things aren’t being done.

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Anne Elk
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PostFri Aug 28, 2020 1:19 pm 
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Randito wrote:
Single use plastic bags have been identified as problematic to sea turtles and other marine life.  Sea turtles confuse plastic bags with jellyfish and eat them -- with fatal results.  Whales have also been found dead with large volumes of plastic waste in their stomachs.

I don't dispute this, but I believe the main source of plastic pollution in the ocean comes from ships and fishing boats, which are allowed to dump trash overboard when outside of territorial waters.  Anyone who works on commercial ships knows this.  It was done on NOAA ships I worked on. No cost and no storage problem vs. port dump fees.  In a different thread earlier this year someone posted a PR video from a cruise line showing their hi-tech waste disposal/recycle systems, but they are exceptions to the rule.

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Randito
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PostFri Aug 28, 2020 1:33 pm 
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Anne Elk wrote:
I don't dispute this, but I believe the main source of plastic pollution in the ocean comes from ships and fishing boats, which are allowed to dump trash overboard when outside of territorial waters.  Anyone who works on commercial ships knows this.  It was done on NOAA ships I worked on. No cost and no storage problem vs. port dump fees.  In a different thread earlier this year someone posted a PR video from a cruise line showing their hi-tech waste disposal/recycle systems, but they are exceptions to the rule.

I'm sure that garbage dumping by ships of of various sorts (other than garbage barges) contribute to the problem.

I'm not seeing data to support the idea that it is the major source, rather this is what I found:

Quote:
The main sources of marine plastic are land-based, from urban and storm runoff, sewer overflows, beach visitors, inadequate waste disposal and management, industrial activities, construction and illegal dumping. Ocean-based plastic originates mainly from the fishing industry, nautical activities and aquaculture.

https://www.iucn.org/resources/issues-briefs/marine-plastics
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Cyclopath
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PostFri Aug 28, 2020 1:54 pm 
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I don't think the plastic shopping bags choking whales and sea turtles could have come from anywhere but land.  They don't have Safeways and QFCs on ships.
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JonnyQuest
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PostFri Aug 28, 2020 2:25 pm 
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And yet another study shows that a vast majority of  (broader definition) "micro plastics" in the ocean is vulcanized rubber particles from vehicle tires.  It's never easy to know what to believe.
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Cyclopath
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PostTue Sep 01, 2020 8:54 am 
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Here's an article about microplastic filaments in the soil and winding up in plants.  Mostly this is a problem we hear about in the ocean, which is strange because most plastic pollution comes from land.  Plastic doesn't biodegrade, but big pieces break down into little ones, and then wind up in our food and water.

https://www.ehn.org/plastic-in-farm-soil-and-food-2647384684.html?rebelltitem=2#rebelltitem2
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neek
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PostTue Sep 01, 2020 7:57 pm 
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One word: biodepolymerization

Or just stop producing and consuming crap that doesn't actually enhance our lives.
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Kim Brown
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PostThu Sep 03, 2020 4:42 pm 
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Anne Elk wrote:
don't dispute this, but I believe the main source of plastic pollution in the ocean comes from ships and fishing boats, which are allowed to dump trash overboard when outside of territorial waters.  Anyone who works on commercial ships knows this. 

Sure; but Washington state can only regulate what it can regulate. I'm happy with the plastic bag ban. Low hanging fruit. Change what we can now, while also working on more difficult regulations and laws and habits that will take years to change.

Is there something happening federally or internationally that is advocating new federal or  international laws on dumping? I don't know, but if you do, spill it (no pun intended; really, but it is sorta clever)

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coldrain108
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PostFri Sep 04, 2020 3:13 pm 
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neek wrote:
One word: biodepolymerization

Or just stop producing and consuming crap that doesn't actually enhance our lives.

but our economy is based on producing useless garbage.  How many busy work jobs are out there where the person's "pride of work" is more important than what they actually produce?

Is it better to give a man a living wage to not produce garbage or is it better to have him work at the Mylar balloon factory to "earn" that living wage while creating garbage that is of no use to anyone? Actually it is a net detriment to the quality of life for all on the planet. (I say Mylar balloon as an example because I just collected a bag of balloon garbage from the MRNP back country  rant.gif )

Idle hands may be the devils playground, but mindlessly busy hands are his workshop.

If what is created is not of a net benefit - why?

Drastic change in societal attitude needed.

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Randito
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PostFri Sep 04, 2020 7:24 pm 
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neek wrote:
One word: biodepolymerization

H'mmm. Two things:

1) The compostable plastic bags we use for our food waste collection are far too flimsy for me to trust putting a bunch of expensive food into.  My experience with compostable tableware at a corporate cafeteria also left much room for improvement.

2) If compostable items sturdiness is improved enough to address durability issues.... will it still be biodegradable enough to address the issue marine life choking on plastic bags?
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neek
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PostFri Sep 04, 2020 8:03 pm 
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Randito wrote:
2) If compostable items sturdiness is improved enough to address durability issues.... will it still be biodegradable enough to address the issue marine life choking on plastic bags?

Probably not; I wasn't aware that was even the point of it.  I was more referring to the idea that we're going to bioengineer some microorganism to consume normal plastic waste.  More technology to solve the problems technology created.  (Sometimes a fine and necessary thing; sometimes you just shouldn't have done the harmful thing in the first place.)  But I read somewhere that compostable plastic releases a lot of methane when thrown in a landfill--which is where most of it probably ends up.  So, questionable whether it's an overall good thing.  My preference would still be to reduce excess plastic, particularly that which only serves marketing purposes.
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