Just 10 rivers may be to blame for millions of tonnes of ocean plastic

Read the full story in Cosmos.

Just 10 rivers – eight of them in Asia – may be responsible for dumping almost four million tonnes of plastic into the seas every year.

Calculating with the precision the source and amount of plastic trash in the oceans is difficult; estimates tend to cover wide ranges. Previous research has found about one-fifth of total ocean plastic trash comes from marine activities – plastic tossed from fishing boats, ships, drilling platforms and so on – with four-fifths from land.

A paper published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, by scientists from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research and the Weihenstephan-Triesdorf University of Applied Science, both in Germany, calculates that rivers contribute between 410,000 and four million tonnes a year to oceanic plastic debris, with 88 to 95% coming from only 10.

California identifies ‘priority’ packaging for mandatory policy

Read the full story in Plastics Recycling Update.

Film, expanded polystyrene and pouches are among the materials and products California officials say could be subject to mandatory packaging management rules.

Plastic fibres found in tap water around the world, study reveals

Read the full story in The Guardian.

Microplastic contamination has been found in tap water in countries around the world, leading to calls from scientists for urgent research on the implications for health.

Scores of tap water samples from more than a dozen nations were analysed by scientists for an investigation by Orb Media, who shared the findings with the Guardian. Overall, 83% of the samples were contaminated with plastic fibres.

Revitalizing Plastics Recycling Symposium and Annual Meeting

September 12, 2017
I-Hotel & Conference Center, Champaign, IL
Register here.

Recycling experts will share their expertise and highlight the potential for making a difference in the future of the recycling industry.

Speakers include:

  • Brian Plotner, University of Illinois Student Majoring in Public Health
    Research Study on Plastics Recycling in Illinois
  • Max Babits, Project Analyst, RRS
    Materials Recovery for the Future
  • Ken Santowski, President, Chicago Logistic Service
    Recovering Polystyrene (Styrofoam)
  • Tanner Smith, Corporate Development Analyst, Delta Plastics
    Agricultural Plastics Recycling
  • BK Sharma, Senior Research Scientist, Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, division of Prairie Research Institute, University of Illinois at Champaign (UIUC).

Two Live Demonstrations

On-site pyrolysis tour

While some recycled plastics have a high value, others merely end up in a landfill.  However this can be avoided.  With plastics to oil technology even the most brittle, hard-to-recycle plastics could become a valued commodity.  Plastics to oil converts plastic back to the oil where it originated and can be sold to refineries to produce gasoline or diesel.  This demonstration with pyrolysis equipment on-site will show you how you can participate in making a difference in the future of plastics recycling.

Optional expanded polystyrene densifier tour

Recycling of expanded polystyrene is possible with a densifier.  See this technology in action.  Take a tour of Dart Container Urbana Plant’s expanded polystyrene recycling operation & densifier.  Facility has a 24/7 drop-off so bring your recyclable Styrofoam.

A variety of recycling gurus will share their expertise and highlight the potential for making a difference in the future of the recycling industry.

Study: Anaerobic digestion could reduce microplastics in sludge

Read the full story from Waste Dive.

  • A new study, published in Environmental Science & Technology, has found that anaerobic digestion may reduce the amount of microplastics left in in sewage sludge, as reported in Recycling Portal.
  • The study looked at seven wastewater treatment plants in Ireland, which used one of three treatment processes: anaerobic digestion (AD), thermal drying or lime stabilization. The study found that lime stabilization resulted in “significantly higher abundances” of microplastics in even smaller particle sizes, suggesting that lime treatment sheared the plastic. Samples treated with AD, however, had a lower abundance of microplastics, suggesting that AD could be useful in removing microplastics from wastewater sludge.
  • While the findings are compelling, it is worth noting that the scope of the study is limited, because of the small sample size and lack of pre-treatment testing.