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Plastic society

Discussion in 'Personal' started by lanokia, Feb 1, 2019.

  1. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    I know lots is made [rightly] of the impact of plastic on the environment, on sea life and the long term burden on future generations as the stuff isn't biodegradable.

    But what about the impact on us?


    We're eating the stuff...



    A 50% drop over 40 years with a year on year drop of 1.4%...

    Source: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/jul/29/infertility-crisis-sperm-counts-halved

    And some of the stuff can cause cancer in us ... https://www.breastcancer.org/risk/factors/plastic


    Anyway... that's it...

    We can now all go back to carrying out the 6th great mass extinction...


  2. Jude Fawley

    Jude Fawley Star commenter

    All sea salt has plastic in it.
    lanokia likes this.
  3. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    Sounds believable.
  4. mothorchid

    mothorchid Star commenter

    Some of the food in our school canteen was made of plastic. That was the tastier stuff.
    towncryer likes this.
  5. sadscientist

    sadscientist Senior commenter

    Err...the residue from evaporation of the H2O from "sea water" may contain "plastic" along with the minerals.
  6. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    Scientists discover plastic in faeces.

    Stone me. That is one hell of a dump!!
    MustaphaMondeo likes this.
  7. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    This is where Brexit is pretty handy for the big corporate plastic mongers, as new directives have been phased in over the last year to rigidly limit the percentage of BPA based plastic in food packaging. It was already long banned in baby bottles, but more stringent restrictions on BPA content have now been formally (legally) passed by the EU commission. Sadly not a complete ban, but a strict limit....I forget how much...which is only a good move.
    However, a post Brexit Britain sees us no longer subject to those regulations so one could sensibly predict a huge rise in BPA content in the packaging of consumer goods. Why? Because...surprise surprise...it's a lot cheaper.
    Sorry to sully a thread with the B word, but I feel very strongly about plastics.

    Say no to sh*te BPA products-all plastic cookware labelled as microwaveable is a sneaky culprit, or many bottled waters-you can tell some of them straight away-eg that cheap bottled water that has a crinkly collapsing feel as the bottle empties. Not great for anybody. And one step removed through the system (literally), really not great for the planet.

    cissy3 likes this.
  8. Aquamarina1234

    Aquamarina1234 Star commenter

    Is there somewhere I could take a 3 Yr old to understand why I'm not being a cow when I won't buy a one-drink plastic unit?
  9. sadscientist

    sadscientist Senior commenter

    I think we have more to fear from trans fats and corn syrup....
  10. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    I don't think we do at all. That's a completely different thing altogether. (unless you mean the ethical or environmental price paid for synthesising these products)
    Consuming produce which has been in contact with BPAs will make our body both absorb and excrete trace elements of it. Spreading the footprint of plastic around, much as birds will carry and then deposit seed.
    It's not a dietary choice or a fad, it is phenomenally hard to avoid doing, it's a large proportion of what we consume from retail outlets. Taking away trans fats and corn syrup, sure, that's looking after our bodies maybe, but taking away BPAs is also absolving ourselves as dispersal units of micro particles of plastic across all ecological systems..
    Some see this as bunkum, but I don't. I see it as evidenced, as frightening, and as played down hugely. For obvious reasons of convenience and profit.
    The opening post is just the tip of the iceberg in evidencing this-similar research has been extensively conducted for decades, and at one point (60s, 70s?)was brought to the attention of the wider general public by David Attenborough in fact, but then....suddenly no longer a thing.
    Bugs me.
    cissy3 and lanokia like this.
  11. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    Agreed...a lot.

    We introduced a handy new product (plastic) which was super convenient.... without any health impact testing.

    Now we know the impact. The stuff is a danger to us and the environment.
    cissy3 likes this.
  12. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

  13. border_walker

    border_walker Lead commenter

    None of this is new. i talked about the danger of plastics years ago. I guess it was convenient to ignore the warnings.
  14. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    I don't think it harms anyone to remind people.
  15. border_walker

    border_walker Lead commenter

    No, but i doubt that it will change anything.
  16. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    Sadly I suspect you are right.
  17. sadscientist

    sadscientist Senior commenter

    We need to take it out of the Science curriculum, I reckon, cos everything you have to learn in school is just for the exams.innit?

    Just saying, I also feel strongly about plastic use and pollution, and I respect the fact that other posters do. But conflating the issues into one big scary spectre doesn't help.

    So, are we looking at -

    A risk to individual human health
    B risk to human health at population level
    C risk to environment and ecosystems (in which humans of course have their place)

    and are these -

    1 due to degradation of plastic waste into microplastics
    2 associated with chemicals such as bisphenol A used in the production of plastics

    I'm not going to write you an essay, but -

    AB1 – no evidence of risk

    AB2 – some evidence of risk, but low in comparison to premature death from conditions related to eg obesity, inactivity, drug use.
    (hence my still from WALL-E in post #9 above)

    C2 – BPA has a half-life of about 4.5 days in soil and water – it doesn't accumulate in the environment.

    C1 – this is the big one. The chemical inertness of plastics makes them useful, but it means they don't decompose. They hang about and abrade into smaller and smaller particles (microplastics) which persist in the environment and are ingested by organisms throughout food chains. From strangling marine mammals, to choking seabirds, to disrupting the gut and starving invertebrates (probably the worst in terms of ecosystems, but hey they're not cute are they?) this is really nasty. And there will be more and more and more of the bloody stuff until we rethink it and vote with our purchasing power.
    border_walker likes this.
  18. Duke of York

    Duke of York Star commenter

    It seems to me that one of the reasons we have so much plastic waste is because it's cheaper than alternative methods of packaging. For example, plastic lemonade bottles are cheaper than the glass ones we had when I was a kid. The cost of fizzy drinks included a deposit which would be refunded when you took them back, so the incentive was there to recycle them.

    But then again, it wasn't often we had lemonade. Generally as kids, if we found empty bottles in the park or wherever, they were prized, because we could earn pocket money by returning them to the off licence.

    We'd still be doing that if the retail model hadn't been changed to suit big business, so I think the problem of plastic waste needs to be placed back at the door of those who flog it.

    A lot of plastic can be recycled, but it needs to be sorted into the various plastic types. That's time consuming and tedious, so how about a bit of lateral thinking, to demand that each plastic is colour-coded to make the sorting simpler? I note we have some water in clear bottles and green bottles. They might well be made from the same plastic, but just supposing they weren't. How simple would it be to differentiate them? Then just suppose they were in fact the same plastic. Would it be the end of the world if legislation insisted they were both the same colour?

    Some years ago, I saw a machine at the D&T Show, intended to be sold to schools, which shredded plastic bottles and the like, so the plastic could be used to make material that kids could fashion into projects. It didn't seem to catch on, because I only saw it there once.

    I suspect the biggest problem the product had, was that schools weren't geared up with all the extra equipment they'd need to be able to use recycled plastic, i.e. injection moulding machines or extruders. How about we apply some lateral thinking to that? W hat would prevent a school from having a plastic shredding machine and flog their shredded plastic to companies that had the equipment to make use of it?

    The kids could sort it and enjoy shredding it, then the school could earn the money to purchase the materials they are geared up to use. I realise this would be a drop in the ocean, but it would be a start in educating people back into the mindset of recycling stuff.

    In my day, all manner of junk was recycled, rather than just being thrown away. Much of my education in technology as a kid, came from home projects using repurposed parts.

    Anyway, have a look at this video to see what's involved in making a plastic shredder and use your imagination to think of stuff that plastic waste could be turned into, if the will existed.

    For any kid that had an education in metalwork similar to that we had back in the 60s, it would have been a piece of pi$$ to make. I'd like to hear from current teachers of technology, whether they have the physical resources to do anything like this now.
    border_walker likes this.

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