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The sea of plastic...

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Fishing boats have an allowed quota for a certain tonnes of captures each season on certain areas/countries.

Would it be feasible, to allow additional tonneage to fishing vessels that bring to shore the sea of plastic ?   For a ton of plastic removed, an extra ton of fish allowed to capture. 

Just imagine these nets doing  cleanup when the vessels are done for the season.  It has to help, hasn't ?    The planet wins, the fishermen win, rewarded right away or for the next season with more quota than their competitors.  And a cleaner sea has at some point to benefit the fishermen too, right ?

image.png.bee9680297747ed6981df26618007c96.png

How to implement details ?  Acceptance expectations ?  Whom  to propose or am aiming too high ? 

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I agree with the idea that fishermen can help in terms of cleaning plastics from sea water,

but how about the diminishing numbers of fish? i think certain places has a regulations on catching fishes on a given season to help them to reproduce and maintain the balance on the ecosystem for future consumption.

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Why do you think significant plastic and fish are similarly located or that nets designed for harvesting subsurface fish would be useful for floating garbage?    What would be the fate of plastic harvested?

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4 minutes ago, PhilGeis said:

  What would be the fate of plastic harvested?

I was thinking the same. Melt into tar mac or asphalt for road surface maybe?  I read recently that the addition of junk plastic in road surfaces helped get rid of the plastic and improved the quality of the surface. Not sure how practical it would be to put into process.  https://news.sky.com/story/plastic-bottles-and-bags-recycled-to-build-roads-11101612 

Edited by DrP

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Roads now are repositories to all sorts of waste - from fly ash to commercial mixtures.   "Plastic" into roads is a recent idea that has gotten press but little critical evaluation.    

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4 minutes ago, PhilGeis said:

Roads now are repositories to all sorts of waste - from fly ash to commercial mixtures.   "Plastic" into roads is a recent idea that has gotten press but little critical evaluation.    

I do know someone who formulates asphalt mixes for roads...  I know they use polymer additives to get better properties out of the surface...  I would assume that these plastics would impart similar desired properties to the surfaces they are added to - it would depend on the formulation.

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Unfortunately such assumptions too often drive regulation.    I'd assume nothing without appropriate data.

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18 minutes ago, PhilGeis said:

Unfortunately such assumptions too often drive regulation.    I'd assume nothing without appropriate data.

It says in the article that it leads to stronger and longer lasting road surfaces. That is why they put polymer in the mix when they formulate the stuff.  The article I read a while back also suggested improved properties of the mix with plastic in it. My friend who formulates the stuff works for a company that makes road surfaces who definitely put polymers/plastics in the mix to improve the performance of the road surface. I went for 2 interviews at the same company looking to work in their research department back in the 90's.  Maybe I shouldn't have used the word assumed, maybe I used it because I am going by what I have read rather than what I have tested.... therefore 'assume' that polymer/plastic in the asphalt mix increases desirable properties like strength, flexibility, wear resistance and so on....  because they do put it in for this reason.

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I'd not put too much trust in an article.    What I did find was considerable technical literature on pure polymer HDPE, LDPE, PET  amendment of asphalt with good effect - tho some compromise in hardness (e.g. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0167577X03004580).    Did not see general waste plastic mentioned nor effect in long term use.

You've tested?  Can you describe your research and share your data?

Edited by PhilGeis

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23 hours ago, DrP said:

I do know someone who formulates asphalt mixes for roads...

If that plastic was considered toxic for the sea it has the potential to also be toxic to our air if used on roads. Researchers are starting to look into this; plastics in the air might be more of an insidious health problem than we currently realise.

But i accept it can't be left in the sea either. The only way i can see this working is if plastic quotas are competitive with fish quotas for the fishermen. This way fishermen would be financially supported while we try to curb their industry so we  don't deplete fish populations anymore.

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I wonder if the increasing use of renewable energy will eventually have an effect on the scrap value of plastics? Plastic raw materials are got from refining oil and producing gas. The laws of supply and demand should cause the price to rise, so maybe in the future, it will be worth collecting waste plastic wherever it's found. 

Or maybe it will work the other way, and the demand for plastic will depress the economic viability of renewables by keeping prices down. If you have a rising price of plastic, that would support oil and gas extraction.

 

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23 minutes ago, mistermack said:

I wonder if the increasing use of renewable energy will eventually have an effect on the scrap value of plastics? Plastic raw materials are got from refining oil and producing gas. The laws of supply and demand should cause the price to rise, so maybe in the future, it will be worth collecting waste plastic wherever it's found. 

Or maybe it will work the other way, and the demand for plastic will depress the economic viability of renewables by keeping prices down. If you have a rising price of plastic, that would support oil and gas extraction.

If you are using less oil for fuel, one might expect the price to go down. But it also depends on what happens to the supply in the interim. There are supplies that are not economically viable to recover unless oil is above a certain price. That will tend to limit a drop in price, since supply goes down when prices drop below those thresholds.

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16 hours ago, PhilGeis said:

You've tested? 

No - thus the assumption rather than ascertation as I said.

20 hours ago, DrP said:

Maybe I shouldn't have used the word assumed, maybe I used it because I am going by what I have read rather than what I have tested.... therefore 'assume' that polymer/plastic in the asphalt mix increases desirable properties like strength, flexibility, wear resistance and so on....  because they do put it in for this reason.

 

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Looking at the subject from an engineering point of view, as posts comment on the use of waste plastic as road construction material additive...

Any plastics expert that can confirm if this is possible ?  :

Melting mixed types of thermoplastic as collected, at a temperature that all become fluid in a cotton sugar type of machine to create fractional mm fibers to mix with concrete, asphalt, even soil ?  (No need to painfully classify types of plastic )

(Do not know if such is the process to make pillow fillings and alike)  Would provide a 'rebar' type of reinforcing.

-If this post should be moved to engineering, please let me know to open a proper thread-

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15 minutes ago, Externet said:

Any plastics expert that can confirm if this is possible ?  :

Of course it is possible - we already add plastics to mixes to improve material performance.  Phil linked to an article, I put up a news article and I stated my friend, who works in the industry, has been using polymers in the road surface mixes for years.  I have seen articles (over the last 6 months) discussing the adding of recycled plastics to mixes for the same purpose. What difference does it make if the polymer is new or recycled?

 

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I remember reading a few years ago that there were trials for motorway surfaces that reduced spray by incorporating drainage channels in the actual tarmac. 

I first came across it in a downpour heading into London on the M40 somewhere near Beaconsfield. It was a stretch of about two miles, and it was like suddenly coming out of fog into daylight, it was so amazingly effective. I don't know how it was done, or if they used plastic, but it was the most striking effect, absolutely amazing. Has anyone else seen anything like it? What made me think of it was watching the Formula 1 practise session a few minutes ago, and noticing the fog of spray that they kick up.

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A great problem with plastic in the watercourses is micro-plastic. Tiny particles which may be up-taken by small creatures in the environment.

Roads wear. This wear (if plastics are added to pavement) is washed into drains and outfalls as micro-plastic pollution, which at the end of the day doesn't resolve the problem.

To be even marginally effective, plastic would have to be melted and mixed with bitumen, which would undoubtedly be more toxic than the tar itself and it's likely to contribute to other problems. Interestingly enough, although I'm speaking of separate toxins, petroleum products are more readily consumed by marine organisms than plastics via naturally occurring enzymes. Sure, there is uptake in lipid cells, but that better than blocked digestive tracts, which will almost certainly give rise to mass moralities.

 

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13 hours ago, rangerx said:

A great problem with plastic in the watercourses is micro-plastic. Tiny particles which may be up-taken by small creatures in the environment.

Roads wear. This wear (if plastics are added to pavement) is washed into drains and outfalls as micro-plastic pollution, which at the end of the day doesn't resolve the problem.

To be even marginally effective, plastic would have to be melted and mixed with bitumen, which would undoubtedly be more toxic than the tar itself and it's likely to contribute to other problems. Interestingly enough, although I'm speaking of separate toxins, petroleum products are more readily consumed by marine organisms than plastics via naturally occurring enzymes. Sure, there is uptake in lipid cells, but that better than blocked digestive tracts, which will almost certainly give rise to mass moralities.

 

As rangerx pointed out - there is a concern for microplastics and think stability has to be addressed in content of plasticizers degrading/being washed out leaving plastics more brittle over time.

Can you say more about toxicity?  What toxins ?

As Dr. P said, there is plenty of data saying pure plastic amendments (e.g. HDPE) are effective in concept.

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2 hours ago, John Cuthber said:

Drift nets especially. They are indiscriminate fishers and lost/abandoned pieces continue to kill long after the fact. That practice has been greatly curbed in recent years and fewer pieces are found on our local beaches.

Fishing gear in general generates a lot of pollution. Likewise does their trash. Floats, monofilament, hooked plugs, troll pigs for gear, soap bottles, oil jugs and plastic bags for trash.

We've done extensive cleanups in our area during the past few years and the single most plastic trash collected are water bottles. Soft drink bottles are about half that amount. Straws, not so much.

Styrofoam is also persistent and very difficult to remove from above the high water mark because of it's tiny size.

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May I ask your opinions on this article? https://www.int-res.com/articles/esr_oa/n025p225.pdf Do you guys have any suggestions for any other resources?

Are there viable alternatives to plastic products? I am curious because I have heard of hemp being produced into a form of plastic. Just wondering if this would be a better option, or if you guys know of alternatives I haven't heard of that do not have adverse effects on wildlife? 

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On 10/20/2018 at 6:55 PM, John Cuthber said:

Yes.

Fishing Nets Account for 46 Percent of All Ocean Plastic.

From my knowledge:

1. Plastic pollution of the seas come principally from those 10 rivers. None is in Europe or the U.S.rivers_and_plastic_map.jpg.45f2d4b30e7ddaeec551f2b1c1e97b7d.jpg

2. Plastic is recyclable. In theory, it is a fantastic product, you can use it again & again & again. Throwing it away is pure madness: it is throwing money away.

3. The main problem is about single use plastics. At this moment if you want to erase totally plastic from our civilisation you must erase almost everything (cars, mobile phones, computers, tv's, clothes, shoes,  building insulations, table tops, a.s.o.).

4. Replacement products for plastics are the ones we used in the 19th century: wood, leather, stone, ceramics, fur, etc.

I expect you don't want a world like that back.

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Thank you.

In the efforts to combat the issue of one-time-use plastics, the following countries, which include “Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the European Union” have all signed the “Oceans Plastics Charter”, which 
 

Quote

“commit to tak[ing] action toward a resource-efficient lifecycle management approach to plastics in the economy by [creating programs for:] 1) sustainable design, production and after-use markets; 2) collection, management and other systems and infrastructure; 3) [modelling] sustainable lifestyles and education; 4)[conducting] research, innovation and new technologies; [and] 5) [taking] coastal and shoreline action.” (G7, 2018, pp. 2-4)

 This is all in hopes of working towards a “Greening Government Strategy” (Treasury Board of Canada, 2018), but other sites suggest the biggest threat is the excess of abandoned fishing nets, which you mentioned above. 
The answer to your question is no, I do not want to revert back to those times; however, three types of plastics that are not recyclable and are being broken down into micro-plastics that are cancerous, because of UV radiation. This is a huge threat to all of us and the marine environment, birds, etcetera. It might not be a bad idea to put bans on plastic until people can learn to reduce, reuse and recycle plastic. Arguably there is enough in the oceans and waterways already that we likely do not need more, if they did use the pre-existing stuff that we have floating around in waterways, oceans and landfills. Also if companies were not allowed to use planned obsolescence and released new versions after multiple years of selling the more recent models, then there may be less waste. There are many countries that have fixing stations for products that are not easy for the everyday consumer to fix themselves. Additionally if the ban was implemented, they might put more effort into reusing what exists already. Does this seem like reasonable solutions? Do we really need to replace what we have with the latest and greatest technology, or should we be holding companies accountable for not making these products compatible with newer programming? Should governments make corporations implement recycling programs? Just curious what you think about these suggestions? Thank you again for commenting, I appreciate the information you have provided. 

Resources: 


Bollinger, T. (2014-2018). How to Avoid Cancer Causing Plastics [Digital image]. Retrieved November 25, 2018, from https://thetruthaboutcancer.com/cancer-causing-plastics/ 
G7 2018 Charlevoix: Ocean Plastics Charter. (2018). Retrieved November 24, 2018, from https://g7.gc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/OceanPlasticsCharter.pdf
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat. (2018, January 11). Greening Government Strategy. Retrieved November 24, 2018, from 
https://www.canada.ca/en/treasury-board-secretariat/services/innovation/greening-government/government-canada-actions-plastic-waste-federal-operations.html
Vegter, A. C., Barletta, M., et. al. (2014, October 17). Global research priorities to mitigate plastic pollution impacts on marine wildlife. Retrieved November 24, 2018, from https://www.int-res.com/articles/esr_oa/n025p225.pdf\


 

With regards to your comment and photo you included is it from the link that you provided? I am just curious so I can look at it for research purposes. I am curious what happens with the waste from the US and UK, if they are not contributors to the plastic that enters the ocean? Do you know of any reputable resources that I can look at to see what happens with the waste from those two countries?  

Quote

1. Plastic pollution of the seas come principally from those 10 rivers. None is in Europe or the U.S.

 

Edited by just_wondering
line through it

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If ocean plastic cleanup can be made substantially $$$$ profitable it will be done.  Until then it's a no-brainer to just let it destroy the oceans.

4 hours ago, michel123456 said:

Yes.

Fishing Nets Account for 46 Percent of All Ocean Plastic.

From my knowledge:

1. Plastic pollution of the seas come principally from those 10 rivers. None is in Europe or the U.S.rivers_and_plastic_map.jpg.45f2d4b30e7ddaeec551f2b1c1e97b7d.jpg

2. Plastic is recyclable. In theory, it is a fantastic product, you can use it again & again & again. Throwing it away is pure madness: it is throwing money away.

3. The main problem is about single use plastics. At this moment if you want to erase totally plastic from our civilisation you must erase almost everything (cars, mobile phones, computers, tv's, clothes, shoes,  building insulations, table tops, a.s.o.).

4. Replacement products for plastics are the ones we used in the 19th century: wood, leather, stone, ceramics, fur, etc.

I expect you don't want a world like that back.

Interesting map.  It wouldn't have a White Supremacist as author, would it?

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