The Effects Of Plastic On The Environment

Discussion in 'Science & Nature' started by Don Alaska, Mar 17, 2018.

  1. Don Alaska

    Don Alaska Very Well-Known Member
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    It seems a bit ironic that many of the places that switched to plastic to save trees are now upset that the plastic is not very biodegradable and are now switching back to paper or reusable bags--that need to be washed to avoid cross-contamination.
     
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  2. Don Alaska

    Don Alaska Very Well-Known Member
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    Most bottled water is simply tap water--sometimes filtered and standardized in mineral content--and the plastic could come from the molding process of the plastic bottles.
     
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  3. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Veteran Member
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    @Don Alaska
    Few remarks have been heard lately about the downside affects of plastic being prevalent everywhere. The fact that while trees may have been "saved", petroleum was not, the precursor of many plastics. Or the 6-pack ring "keepers" which encircled beverage cans on their top rims, 6 to the group, enormous numbers of which (the rings) having been found floating on the oceans, unknown numbers of birds having succumbed to the presence of rings caught about their necks.

    But, nowadays we have an entirely new and unprecedented use for plastics: it's being fed to us in various packaged foods! It, along with "Microcrystalline Cellulose", (basically cellulose or paper-based material), may be found listed on many labels of common food products. Plastics?

    "China has been producing fake rice for at least four years, and it is still on the market. Singapore media reported that this “rice” is produced with potatoes, sweet potatoes and – believe it or not – poisonous plastic. It is shaped like regular rice grains but remains hard after cooking and can cause serious health issues.

    The rice in question China’s Wuchang rice. The rice is very popular because the real Wuchang rice is famous for its smell, and it costs more for its quality (almost double the price), according to Blue Ocean Network (BON) TV report, a popular English Channel in China."

    But many consumers still don’t know what they’re getting. See: https://althealthworks.com/7761/pla...d-it-can-cause-serious-health-problemsyelena/
     
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  4. Von Jones

    Von Jones Veteran Member
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    I love rice but this has changed my desire for ordering Chinese stir fried rice and rice in general.
     
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  5. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Greeter
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    I got into an argument a few years ago, of all places, within the comments of a review that I had done on some supposedly biodegradable doggie bags. I was living up north, near our camp then, and was using these bags for the cat stuff that I scooped our of their litter boxes, and was depositing them in some of the low spots, which would ordinarily accumulate water, on our 100 acres of woods.

    Someone argued, perhaps accurately, that they were not actually biodegradable, and that the plastic in these bags simply broke down into smaller pieces than regular plastic. That was fine. I didn't know if it was true, but I could have accepted that.

    But then he went on to rant about the plastic from my doggie bags finding its way into the oceans, where it would clog up the systems of fish and ocean birds.

    I pointed out that I was depositing these bags in a woods that was more than a hundred miles from the ocean, and that it would be unlikely to find its way to the ocean. That was preposterous, of course, at least in my opinion, and he wasn't able to tell me just how these bags were going to find their way to the ocean from the hole that I dumped them into in the middle of my woods.

    Others joined in, some supporting me, others arguing that the tiny pieces of plastic that would remain after it degraded would be ingested by animals and insect life, but were unable to tell me why these critters would eat plastic if it wasn't good for them. I think I mentioned that a squirrel could probably chew on the plastic bits on their car but that there was no good reason for them to do so.

    Finally, I lost interest, and probably everyone else did too. However, I think that soil contains all sorts of things that could be dangerous if ingested. Wouldn't microscopic bits of plastic be just another component of the soil that would be neither good nor bad?
     
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  6. Don Alaska

    Don Alaska Very Well-Known Member
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    You would have to find out what the bags were made from. There is truly biodegradable plastic and if they were made from that, there would be no fragments to travel anywhere; the plastic would just be digested by soil bacteria and melt away. Your critics may not have realized that the bacterial profile of the soil is much different from that of the ocean. Soil bacteria break down a lot of stuff-see compost piles.
     
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  7. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Greeter
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    It was advertised as biodegradable.
     
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  8. Von Jones

    Von Jones Veteran Member
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    I think that we as consumers are no longer asked if we want paper or plastic in a lot of places and are to assume that the companies are doing their part with respect to the environment. I just can't see every company having 'Biodegradeable' printed on every single plastic bag.
     
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  9. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Greeter
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    When I shred a credit card, the little bits of plastic end up in the compost, which later ends up in the garden or spread across the yard. I suppose I could be wrong, but I don't think this is anything to be concerned about. The little bits of plastic may add nothing to the soil except bulk, much like the little stones that help to keep the soil from compacting too tightly. Eventually, the petroleum and whatever else the plastic is made of will be absorbed by one thing or another - or not but, either way, I don't think there's a downside.
     
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  10. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Veteran Member
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    @Ken Anderson
    The more plastic credit cards disposed of, the better, IMO. But, like everything else, disposal must be carried out safely. Your suggestion that their remains might aid in preventing compaction of soil is a good one! Those folks who confronted you ought to witness a big landfill in operation, near some city, usually out beyond "civilization", and see what-all those big Packmaster Trucks dump there.........
    Frank
     
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  11. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Greeter
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    What they need to witness is what a dumpsite looks like a mere twenty years after it has been abandoned, and far less if it has been maintained appropriately. Grass, flowers, and trees will all grow over the site, and you wouldn't know that it was once a garbage dump. My brother built his house alongside what had once been a town dump. Although it was still a dump when I was a child, it is now grown up in evergreen trees, and his cameras regularly capture images of deer, bear, fox, and other wildlife in what is now an evergreen forest.
     
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  12. Gloria Mitchell

    Gloria Mitchell Very Well-Known Member
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    Y'all know I hate plastic-don't even get me started on this subject :mad:
     
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  13. Shirley Martin

    Shirley Martin Veteran Member
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    I once had a dove at my bird feeder that had some kind of plastic ring caught around his neck. He was starving and kept eating. Finally, his neck busted and the seeds would fall back out onto the ground. That was one of the saddest things I ever saw. He kept eating and the seeds kept falling out. The last time I saw him, he was nearly dead. If I could outlaw one plastic thing, it would be those plastic rings around cans.
     
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  14. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Greeter
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    According to the Daily Mail, 95% of the plastic in the oceans comes from ten rivers, eight of which are in Asia, and the other two are in Africa.
     
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  15. Patsy Faye

    Patsy Faye Veteran Member
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    That may be true Ken - but we have 'our' duty too not to be as neglectful
     
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  16. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Greeter
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    I do that. I try to remember not to throw my shopping bags in the ocean.
     
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  17. Patsy Faye

    Patsy Faye Veteran Member
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    Very decent of you
     
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  18. Patsy Faye

    Patsy Faye Veteran Member
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    By 2025 manufacturers here will produce bio degradable plastic - took their time :rolleyes:
     
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  19. Don Alaska

    Don Alaska Very Well-Known Member
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    #19
  20. Patsy Faye

    Patsy Faye Veteran Member
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    I see the problem was discovered in the early 1990s - shame on countries for not moving faster
    and thank God for Boyan Slat - he's a hero
     
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  21. Neville Telen

    Neville Telen Well-Known Member
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    I find the Nannyites and their OCD-like fixation to replace biodegradable plastic (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biodegradable_plastic) bags with paper to be laughable. Yeah, let's slaughter some forests to make paper bags because:
    1. Biodegradable plastic bags take a hunderd years or so to breakdown.
    2. Despite all the hoopla, nobody wants to use recycled paper to make bags (or it seems, much else).
     
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  22. Patsy Faye

    Patsy Faye Veteran Member
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    Don't quite get yer post but - the 'paper bags' I get free from a store are strong and sturdy and definitely made from recycled paper
     
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  23. Beatrice Taylor

    Beatrice Taylor Very Well-Known Member
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    The paper vs plastic debate is raging in my area with some counties considering a ban on plastic bags.

    The thing that I find strange is that if the plastic bags are banned then I will have to begin buying plastic garbage bags for my trash instead of using the free bags given to me by the stores. IMO the main benefit in the short term at least is for the retailers with lower costs and higher sales.

    I do believe that each of us should limit the use of all types of packaging where practical. It makes no sense to me to put a pepper or a tomato on a plastic tray, wrap it in plastic cling film and then put it into a plastic bag to carry it home or to buy a tin can with 4.5 ounces of chicken in it.

    I also believe that it would also make a huge impact on the world if people were simply taught not to litter.

    [​IMG]
     
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  24. Patsy Faye

    Patsy Faye Veteran Member
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    The problem is Beatrice, your bags end up in trees and scattered across the countryside
    I buy bin liners very cheaply at certain stores, they hold a lot more of course and degrade much quicker

    @Beatrice Taylor
     
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  25. Beatrice Taylor

    Beatrice Taylor Very Well-Known Member
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    I'm going to start writing my name and telephone number on my plastic bags to see if I can validate your theory.
     
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