Ellen MacArthur Foundation Announces $2 Million Plastics Innovation Prize

Read the full story from Triple Pundit.

To help spur what it calls the “New Plastic Economy,” the Ellen MacArthur Foundation plans to launch a $2 million innovation prize in partnership with the Prince of Wales’s International Sustainability Unit.

Millions Of Pieces Of Plastic Are Piling Up On An Otherwise Pristine Pacific Island

Read the full story from NPR.

More than 37 million pieces of plastic debris have accumulated on a remote island in the South Pacific, thousands of miles from the nearest city, according to estimates from researchers who documented the accumulating trash.

Turtles get tangled in fishing line, and hermit crabs make their homes in plastic containers. The high-tide line is demarcated by litter. Small scraps of plastic are buried inches deep into the sandy beaches.

It’s the highest density of debris reported anywhere in the world, scientists say. Their research on trash accumulated at Henderson Island, largest of the the Pitcairn Islands, was published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Caterpillar found to eat shopping bags, suggesting biodegradable solution to plastic pollution

Read the full story from the University of Cambridge.

A common insect larva that eats beeswax has been found to break down chemical bonds in the plastic used for packaging and shopping bags at uniquely high speeds. Scientists say the discovery could lead to a biotechnological approach to the polyethylene waste that chokes oceans and landfills.

Capturing Plastics with a Purpose

Read the full post at the ACS Green Chemistry blog.

You probably have noticed that nearly everything we purchase or ship is in packaging, and often plastic packaging. But do you ever wonder what happens to packaging after you place it in the bin? At the New Materials Institute at the University of Georgia, research and business partners have come together to challenge the conventional idea that plastic products are manufactured to be used, then thrown away. The institute is a “melting pot” for ideas on materials research, manufacturing and management.

London sculpture spotlights the deadly relationship between seabirds and plastic

Read the full story at Mother Nature Network.

The last time environmental activist and underwater sculptor par excellence Jason deCaires Taylor worked in London, it was on “Rising Tides,” a hauntingly ephemeral installation positioned in the River Thames that served as commentary on rising sea levels and our unquenchable thirst for fossil fuels.

Taking the form of four prophetic horsemen — two children, two bureaucratic-looking gents in suits and ties — straddling oil pumpjack-headed equines, “Rising Tides” was as provocative as urban statuary gets. Centered around plastic-barfing seabirds, Taylor’s latest work — a somewhat rare terrestrial piece that’s not fully or partially submerged underwater — is no different, perhaps even a bit more startling than its predecessor. As it should be.

Yoga pants, fleece jackets and the microplastics dilemma

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

No clothing brand intended for their synthetic products to be discharged into the environment in the former of tiny bits of plastic. Now that they know, they must step up and tackle the problem.

ISTC Sustainability Seminar: Microplastics in the Aquatic Environment

March 16, 2017 , noon-1pm CST
In person at the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (1 E. Hazelwood Dr., Champaign) or online at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5431323938809870850

Presented by Sarah A. Zack – Pollution Prevention Extension Specialist, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant (IISG) and University of Illinois Extension.

The ecosystem impact of microplastics, a type of land-based marine debris that includes particles less than 5 millimeters in size, is of growing interest in the Great Lakes and other inland waters. Microplastic pollution in freshwater systems is still an emerging science and researchers have just begun to describe its scope, abundance, and distribution. There is still much to be learned about its long-term effects, including impacts to aquatic food webs. Since 2012, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant (IISG) has been working to conduct and fund research and educate the public about microplastic pollution. IISG is dedicated to supporting continued research on emerging contaminants such as microplastics, and recognizes that there is a need for more information to determine the long-term effects of this pollution on Midwestern lakes and rivers. This seminar will discuss freshwater microplastic sources and types, relevant chemical and physical properties, and potential impacts, as well as provide an overview of the work done by IISG to address this emerging contaminant.