THE SCIENCE: “Experts” want use to wash clothes less, line-dry our laundry, and eat lab-grown meat.
Americans have been told for decades that recycling plastics and paper was essential to save the Planet Earth.
However, it turns out that plastic recycling has contributed to the new green hysteria over microplastics pollution.
A recent peer-reviewed study that focused on a recycling facility in the United Kingdom suggests that anywhere between 6 to 13 percent of the plastic processed could end up being released into water or the air as microplastics — ubiquitous tiny particles smaller than five millimeters that have been found everywhere from Antarctic snow to inside human bodies.
“This is such a big gap that nobody’s even considered, let alone actually really researched,” said Erina Brown, a plastics scientist who led the research while at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland.
The research adds to growing concerns that recycling isn’t as effective of a solution for the plastic pollution problem as many might think. Only a fraction of the plastic produced gets recycled: About 9 percent worldwide and about 5 to 6 percent in the United States, according to some recent estimates.
The study was conducted at a single plastic recycling facility, but experts say its findings shouldn’t be taken lightly.
“It’s a very credible study,” said Judith Enck, a former senior Environmental Protection Agency official under President Barack Obama who now heads the Beyond Plastics advocacy organization.
Erina Brown is the study’s lead researcher, which was conducted at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland. She noted how the microplastics are potentially problematic to the environment.
The study, published in the Journal of Hazardous Material Advances, suggests the recycling plant discharged up to 2,933 metric tonnes of microplastics a year before the filtration system was introduced, and up to 1,366 metric tonnes afterwards.
“More than 90% of the particles we found were under 10 microns and 80% were under 5 microns,” said Brown. “These are digestible by so many different organisms and found to be ingested by humans.”
“For me, it highlights how drastically we need to reduce our plastic consumption and production.”
Unfortunately, this new mania is likely to have regulatory consequences. For quite some time, drive-by bureaucrats in various environmental health agencies have targeted microfibers, which are shed from synthetic clothing during the wash cycle and contribute to much of the “microplastic pollution.”
A coalition of 16 states is now urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to address this issue.
In a letter, the states urge the EPA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to evaluate their authority under the Clean Water Act to regulate microfiber pollution.
“The United States needs to join other countries that are already helping prevent plastic microfibers from choking our environment and public health,” [Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown] said.
The Attorney General’s office said 640,000 to 1,500,000 plastic microfibers are shed from synthetic clothing during wash cycles, making them a main source of microplastic pollution in the world’s water.
The state also said microfibers are a harm to human health. “Microfibers can be associated with hormonal cancers, reproductive problems including infertility, metabolic disorders including diabetes and obesity, asthma, and neurodevelopmental disorders including autism,” the Attorney General’s office said.
Meanwhile, “experts” suggest we wash our clothes less and line-dry clothes.
Ask yourself if you really need to wash something after only wearing it once, said Elena Karpova, a professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro who studies textile sustainability.
And since microfibers are also released from dryers, try air drying your clothes more often.
The importance of plastics in modern life cannot be overstated. They are vital for an array of health, safety, and economic reasons.
Resistant, inert, and lightweight, plastic offers many benefits to companies, consumers, and other links in society. This is all because it is a low-cost, versatile, and easy-to-use alternative, ideal for replacing various materials that have a deep impact on the environment.
…All these factors have contributed to the popularization of consumer goods, since one of the results of the use of plastic in the production chain is the reduction of the final price, making the products more affordable and contributing to social development.
In medicine, plastic has led a revolution because it is a resistant, sterilizable, light, and cheap material, being present in safety equipment for professionals, in masks, gloves, syringes, blood bags, catheters, capsules, pills, and much more.
In the automotive industry, it has allowed a significant reduction in vehicle weight, reducing fuel consumption and, consequently, the environmental impact of automobiles.
I guess the “experts” want our meat to be lab-grown, but everything else must be “natural”…and we must return to doing laundry like it was a century ago. Progress! Science!DONATE
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