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Engineering Materials

Good News & Bad News About Ocean Plastics

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Elizabeth M
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Sobering stats
Elizabeth M   7/28/2014 7:30:16 AM
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Ann, thanks for the in-depth article about this incredibly worrisome problem. As a surfer and ocean lover, this is an issue that is near to my heart. The statistics are sobering but at least people are trying to do something about it. I just fear it's too late.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Sobering stats
Ann R. Thryft   7/28/2014 2:12:16 PM
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Liz, I think our views on this subject are very similar. Prevention would be the best solution, but that's a work in progress. Meanwhile, the cleanup efforts must get accelerated. We need a lot more than awareness campaigns to make a large-scale difference.



GTOlover
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Re: Sobering stats
GTOlover   7/28/2014 4:23:25 PM
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Prevention is something that a great many people in the plastics industry is really taking seriously. Primarily for resaons of economics. With a lot of bans and future legislation at all levels of government, it behoves the industry to get serious about the use and disposal of plastics. If they continue to ignore it, many could find that their product is banned and they go out of business.

Having worked in the plastics industry for many years, I always found it painful to see a lot of plastic (both in product and raw material) placed in the dumpster. It was cheaper for management to dispose of the plastic in this manner than to recycle or re-use. But what is even more painful to see, is a fence line or beach front full of plastic bags and bottles. This is not industry tossing this waste out, this is individuals carelessly tossing their garbage out the window.

NadineJ
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Re: Sobering stats
NadineJ   7/28/2014 4:37:58 PM
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Very sobering and informative article.  Thank you.  Years I'd heard about a P2O (plastic to oil) company called JBI, Inc in Canada.  It seemed like a possible solution for our dependency on plastics and gasoline.  Converting post consumer plastic into fuel.  Wow!  I haven't heard much lately though.  I fear the technology hasn't met the expectations or needs.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Sobering stats
Ann R. Thryft   7/28/2014 4:39:48 PM
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Thanks for those thoughtful comments, GTOlover. You're certainly right about changing legislation and increased controls for makers of plastics and their products. What plastics makers are also beginning to realize is that they can recoup some costs by reusing and recycling their own, or others', materials.
Consumers treating the environment as a dumpsite is a different set of problems to solve. I just don't understand littering. I regularly pick up others' trash along the roadside in the forest area where I live and I resent every minute of it. Of course, the alternative is worse, but best would be if everyone was adult enough to pick up after themselves.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Sobering stats
Ann R. Thryft   7/28/2014 4:42:57 PM
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Thanks, Nadine. I wrote about JBI a couple years ago, and have covered plastics-to-oil technology and trends from time to time. Try searching on that term, or on pyrolysis, in our site's search box.



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