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posted by hubie on Friday March 22, @02:02PM   Printer-friendly

More than 400 of the chemicals identified are in every major commonly used plastic product such as food packaging:

Scientists have compiled a list of over 16,000 chemicals present in plastic products and found that more than 4,000 of these were hazardous to human health and the environment.

The research review, known as the PlastChem report, was released on Thursday and comes ahead of the next round of negotiations for a UN treaty on global plastic pollution.

Researchers, who spent a year combing through research reports, sorted chemicals used in plastics based on their environmental and health effects – information the team hopes will inform governmental regulations and international negotiations to curb plastic use.

The review found that there are more plastic chemicals than previously known, and 4,200 (26 per cent) of these compounds, including those used as raw ingredients, stabilisers and colourants, are of concern due to their "persistent, bioaccumulative, mobile and/or toxic" nature.

[...] More than 400 of the chemicals identified in the report are in every major commonly used plastic product such as food packaging, and all the tested plastics leached hazardous chemicals into the environment, researchers noted.

[...] While about 1,000 plastic chemicals are regulated by global treaties such as the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, thousands more are not.

[...] "The PlastChem report is a wake-up call to policymakers and industry. We need more transparency and better management of chemicals of concern in plastic," Hans Peter Arp, a co-author of the report from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), said.

"The future of innovation in plastic should focus on safety, sustainability, and necessity, rather than just functionality," Dr Arp said.


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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by DannyB on Friday March 22, @03:02PM (30 children)

    by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 22, @03:02PM (#1349833) Journal

    In my city, they recently banned plastic grocery bags. So now you need to have cloth bags, or maybe bags in dead tree format, or something else.

    People who wok their dog aren't happy with not having plastic bags for when their dogs do their duty.

    But then those are the same people who still subscribe to newspapers, which pile up unread in their entry way, because of some nostalgia for printed news -- and because (yes really) they have bird cages that need to have their newspaper changed.

    --
    If we tell conservatives that the climate is transitioning, they will work to stop it.
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  • (Score: 5, Funny) by Rich on Friday March 22, @03:40PM

    by Rich (945) on Friday March 22, @03:40PM (#1349836) Journal

    People who wok their dog

    Koreans?

  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 22, @03:50PM (4 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 22, @03:50PM (#1349839)

    In my city, they recently banned plastic grocery bags. So now you need to have cloth bags, or maybe bags in dead tree format, or something else.

    In Canada the federal government banned "single-use" plastic grocery bags and so most supermarkets now sell much more substantial "reusable" plastic grocery bags at the cash (usually in the form of some sort of cloth made from plastic fibres). I have my doubts that this policy actually achieves any meaningful reduction in plastic usage whatsoever.

    And even better, now we're all fighting in the courts over whether the federal government even has the constitutional authority to enact such a ban (seems very possible they don't) which just feels like such a massive waste of everyone's time and energy when we should be trying to solve real problems like the fact that more and more of the country is literally on fire.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Gaaark on Friday March 22, @04:34PM (3 children)

      by Gaaark (41) on Friday March 22, @04:34PM (#1349851) Journal

      I've started using the reusable bags (the square ones with the fold down bottom); i don't miss plastic bags at all.

      Wendy's use to have paper cups: since the ban, they've switched to plastic cups with plastic tops. Not sure why... but ........why?

      I like A&W; real glass mugs (i bought one for use at home) if eating out ...and hot sauce for fries! And burgers wrapped in lettuce instead of a bun!

      I like paper straws. I like reusable bags. I use a big 'protein shake' shaker for drinking tap water (my wife grew up drinking well water, so she hates tap water...understandable...)

      I think less plastic is good.

      I think clowns aren't creepy at all. Except for Ronald McDonald... he pushes small, crappy, over-priced burgers with tons of waste.

      Boo, ...boo Ronald!

      Boo to you as well, Hamburgler... wherever you are, you big purple Barney wannabe....

      --
      --- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---
      • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Deep Blue on Friday March 22, @10:10PM

        by Deep Blue (24802) on Friday March 22, @10:10PM (#1349904)

        I've carried a reusable grocery bag (the same) for couple of decades. I won't buy plastic grocery bags. But i will not pay for bags for fruit and stuff, so if that is mandated here, i won't get fruits. We have these compostable bags for fruit in stores for free, which i use, although i hear they aren't that compostable. Hopefully they'll get better.

        Also paper straws suck. They taste strongly like paper and they get mushy fast. Not acceptable. If i want a paper tasting soft drink or a milkshake, i'll order a paper tasting soft drink or a milkshake.

        I do not like plastic all that much. Metal is what i like, as a material and music. Plastic has to be used more responsibly and it needs to be collected and recycled, not thrown on the ground. Unfortunately the cat is already out of the plastic bag (not a fan of cats either. Not all the fault is cats', it's the owners who do not act responsibly even with them) and less developed countries will continue to garbage the world even if more developed countries get their shit in order. That's just the way it is.

      • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Sunday March 24, @01:56PM (1 child)

        by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Sunday March 24, @01:56PM (#1350098) Homepage Journal

        When I bought my car last year, the dealer threw in a half dozen Hyundai-branded plastic bags. So I figure I got a free car but the bags cost $40,000.

        --
        mcgrewbooks.com mcgrew.info nooze.org
  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by JoeMerchant on Friday March 22, @04:13PM (12 children)

    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Friday March 22, @04:13PM (#1349845)

    >We need more transparency

    Yes, down with opaque plastics!

    >banned plastic grocery bags

    But did they, really? What are the replacement bags made of? I'll wager it's not 100% cotton.

    My problem with the thin plastic bag dilemma is: the alternative bags get dirty, need washing, eventually replacing, and when you look at a realistic total life cycle of one of these "reusable" bags, is the total environmental impact really any less?

    I would very much like for grocery bags (thin and disposable or thick and reusable) to start being made of much more quickly biodegradable material, like 7 days in the sun turns them to dust. 12 hours in ordinary rainwater dissolves them. And the residual material is bio-available for (safe) digestion by common fungi, insects, birds, whatever.

    Meanwhile: "Scientists have compiled a list of over 16,000 chemicals present in plastic products and found that more than 4,000 of these were hazardous" - well, you pump up millions of years old bio-waste material that has been isolated from the active biome all that time, process it with high energy / pressure / temperature, occasionally throwing in toxic elements for various desired effects, and you end up with: weird stuff that the biome didn't evolve to deal with... of course a significant amount of that is going to be toxic. Hell, a lot of what they process in Houston from crude left-overs after making various fuels gets turned into pesticides...

    --
    🌻🌻 [google.com]
    • (Score: 2) by Gaaark on Friday March 22, @04:57PM (3 children)

      by Gaaark (41) on Friday March 22, @04:57PM (#1349854) Journal

      The square reuseable bags i use are used often. According to 'below', i've used my bags enough to re-coupe(sp?) the plastic i used to use.

      Net profit? I think so... I'm STILL using them.

      We see less plastic bags floating around, or getting caught in bushes.
      I see this as a plus.

      "For a durable polypropylene bag to have the same climate impact as one thin, single-use plastic bag, it needs to be used an estimated 10 to 20 times, according to a 2020 report from the United Nations Environment Programme."
      --- https://canadianbusiness.com/design/reusable-grocery-bag-single-use-plastic-bag-ban-canada/ [canadianbusiness.com]

      I would very much like for grocery bags (thin and disposable or thick and reusable) to start being made of much more quickly biodegradable material, like 7 days in the sun turns them to dust. 12 hours in ordinary rainwater dissolves them. And the residual material is bio-available for (safe) digestion by common fungi, insects, birds, whatever.

      Yes. Yes, please.

      --
      --- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---
      • (Score: 3, Funny) by hendrikboom on Friday March 22, @05:51PM (1 child)

        by hendrikboom (1125) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 22, @05:51PM (#1349863) Homepage Journal

        grocery bag should not decompose before I get my groceries home.

        • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Friday March 22, @10:16PM

          by JoeMerchant (3937) on Friday March 22, @10:16PM (#1349908)

          >grocery bag should not decompose before I get my groceries home.

          Absolutely agree... do you walk 12 hours in the rain while carrying your groceries? Seven days in the sun?

          --
          🌻🌻 [google.com]
      • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Friday March 22, @10:10PM

        by JoeMerchant (3937) on Friday March 22, @10:10PM (#1349905)

        >We see less plastic bags floating around, or getting caught in bushes.

        I see this as the most significant plus.

        >For a durable polypropylene bag to have the same climate impact as one thin, single-use plastic bag, it needs to be used an estimated 10 to 20 times

        With, or without washing? What is the environmental impact of washing those bags? Labor cost? Associated costs when the bags aren't washed sufficiently?

        I'm not a fan of the thin baggies, but since COVID I have been a fan of home delivery of groceries, and there's argument to be made that having groceries delivered is much better for the environment overall - it's like carpooling for your food. Unfortunately Instacart drivers are more than a little random - some pack all your groceries in the (reused) spare cardboard, some buy (too many) paper bags, some buy premium plastic reusable bags for you... Maybe we'll get 'em trained, someday, but I expect this lack of control feeling is just like what the "bag overlords" feel when they try to convince shoppers to change their habits.

        --
        🌻🌻 [google.com]
    • (Score: 0, Flamebait) by mcgrew on Friday March 22, @05:59PM

      by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Friday March 22, @05:59PM (#1349866) Homepage Journal

      I'm pretty sure they're banning single-use plastic bags.

      Sheesh. Corollary to Poe's Law: Is it a troll, or a dumbass that really doesn't know any better? People like you make pedants necessary.

      --
      mcgrewbooks.com mcgrew.info nooze.org
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by VLM on Friday March 22, @06:32PM (3 children)

      by VLM (445) on Friday March 22, @06:32PM (#1349876)

      What are the replacement bags made of?

      Bring your old laundry basket and toss it in the cart, or the old Aldi standby of empty cardboard shipping boxes the food arrived in.

      I live in a deep red civilized area far from the coasts and we technically do have bags but its usually for the people buying a couple items. For weekly shopping its all about the laundry basket or box.

      I find it convenient to have one bucket for all my food. I suppose people who buy more than a basket-full at a time would be annoyed.

      • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Saturday March 23, @03:13AM (2 children)

        by Reziac (2489) on Saturday March 23, @03:13AM (#1349929) Homepage

        Walmart noted that in some area where "single-use" grocery bags were banned, they were suddenly selling a lot more of the small plastic garbage bags.

        --
        And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.
        • (Score: 2) by VLM on Sunday March 24, @04:33PM (1 child)

          by VLM (445) on Sunday March 24, @04:33PM (#1350108)

          Thats a good point I almost forgot about, there's a "Standard kitchen 13 gallon size" I've been using since I got married decades ago, but back in the bachelor pad era I had the smaller "supposedly bathroom size" trash can in my kitchen and I always used plastic grocery store bags for that smaller trash can. I suppose all apartment dwellers will have to spend more money on single use only trash bags when plastic grocery bags are banned...

          • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Sunday March 24, @04:54PM

            by Reziac (2489) on Sunday March 24, @04:54PM (#1350112) Homepage

            Sometimes a person wonders who's actually goosing the bans....

            --
            And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.
    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 22, @07:45PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 22, @07:45PM (#1349887)

      > the alternative bags get dirty, need washing, eventually replacing,

      The single-use plastic bag ban came here in 2020 but was encouraged long before that. For the first year or two we washed the reusable bags, but haven't bothered since. If some onion skin or other fluff collects I turn them inside out and shake outdoors. We're still using the same bags, most were free trade show swag. They are a mix of different materials, some approaching 10 years old, a big savings in plastic. They live in the car and it's now second nature to grab them when walking into the store.

      Oddly enough, relatives in another state with no ban accumulate a large number of single use plastic grocery bags. We take some off their hands when we visit (a few times/year) to use for our trash (we don't buy plastic trash bags). Our trash is approximately thirds - compost, recycling & landfill.

      • (Score: 4, Informative) by JoeMerchant on Friday March 22, @10:19PM

        by JoeMerchant (3937) on Friday March 22, @10:19PM (#1349910)

        Where I live, we already have cockroaches in the paper bags before you ever put food in them.

        Leaving bits of any kind of food in the bags invites ants, roaches, and other things to visit on a regular basis.

        If they happen to stay damp on an unfortunate evening when the mold spores are abundant, then you get nice black patches wherever spore-meets-water.

        --
        🌻🌻 [google.com]
    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 23, @03:47AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 23, @03:47AM (#1349933)

      Actually the degrading is often why I have to dispose of plastic stuff.

      I still have plastic stuff from the 1970s (which probably wasn't designed to degrade).

      I'm also still re-using a fair bit of those single-use plastic bags. But some of them depolymerize after some time and it becomes very annoyingly messy.

      The real problem with single use plastic is littering and improper waste disposal. If the plastic was landfilled or incinerated for energy how is it a problem? Also if biodegradable plastic is landfilled does it degrade that much? And do you really want it to degrade in a landfill? Remember if it's landfilled and not degrading it's locked up carbon (yes some of you will argue some of it eventually leaches out and gets into the oceans etc but in the big picture that's like complaining about a speck when you have a plank in your eye). And if you landfill stuff in a somewhat organized way, maybe future generations/species might be able to mine the stuff more easily (just like coal deposits are mined today).

      Also it's ironic that the ones trying to do all these mostly pointless stuff aren't the main sources of plastic bags/straws in the ocean. It's the other countries: https://www.visualcapitalist.com/cp/visualized-ocean-plastic-waste-pollution-by-country [visualcapitalist.com]
      https://www.reusethisbag.com/articles/countries-that-pollute-most-ocean-plastics [reusethisbag.com]

      So maybe if you really wanted to do something you could pressure those top countries to handle their plastic waste better.

      After all when Philippines is generating 36% of the ocean plastic trash, getting them to cut down to 10% or lower would do magnitudes more for the environment than say Sweden 100% switching from plastic straws to metal (Sweden incinerates plastic waste to generate electricity - so if they are not a nation full of litterbugs, few of those straws are ending up in the ocean).

      The other source of plastics are car tyres: https://phys.org/news/2017-02-tiny-plastic-particles-tyres-clogging.html [phys.org]
      https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jul/14/car-tyres-are-major-source-of-ocean-microplastics-study [theguardian.com]

      If you see the bars in the first link for North America and Europe the microplastic waste generated is similar if not more compared to the bigger stuff.

      But I doubt there's much of a solution for that, other than not driving as much and having the tyres last longer. There are many good reasons why tyres are using synthetic stuff instead of rubber. And why you don't want them to degrade fast in the environment. In fact it's very likely that the longer lasting tyres generate lower plastic waste per year than the ones that don't last long.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 22, @05:03PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 22, @05:03PM (#1349855)

    compostable poop bags

    • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Monday March 25, @03:41PM (1 child)

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 25, @03:41PM (#1350276) Journal

      But is the poop supposed to go into the compost?

      --
      If we tell conservatives that the climate is transitioning, they will work to stop it.
      • (Score: 3, Informative) by janrinok on Monday March 25, @06:43PM

        by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 25, @06:43PM (#1350307) Journal

        If the poop is from a carnivore and the compost is for garden use the the poop must NOT be composted. It introduces toxic microbes(?) into the soil which can be very dangerous for humans. But things such as horse or cow manure are very good for composting.

        --
        I am not interested in knowing who people are or where they live. My interest starts and stops at our servers.
  • (Score: 2) by Tork on Friday March 22, @05:10PM

    by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 22, @05:10PM (#1349856)
    I lived in a city a few years ago that had banned plastic bags, but it was just in grocery stores. They didn't ban dog poop bags or freezer bags or anything like that.
    --
    🏳️‍🌈 Proud Ally 🏳️‍🌈
  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Ingar on Friday March 22, @05:57PM

    by Ingar (801) on Friday March 22, @05:57PM (#1349865) Homepage Journal

    Plastic grocery bags have been outlawed here for a while now. I don't care much because I ride the bike,
    and I usually have my backpack with me. I've put a few spare cloth bags in it and I'm good.

    You can get specials bags for your dog's droppings and I assume they're bio-degradable. I'd add a joke about how
    our cat buries his things, but he's almost 20, has a serious hernia and is no longer capable of getting into the litter box.

    If you wok your dog, you need to stir it regularly.

  • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Friday March 22, @06:03PM (3 children)

    by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Friday March 22, @06:03PM (#1349867) Homepage Journal

    What's wrong with paper bags? They used them back to almost the invention of paper to a few decades ago. Paper is stored carbon, even better if it's hemp paper.

    --
    mcgrewbooks.com mcgrew.info nooze.org
    • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Friday March 22, @10:40PM (2 children)

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Friday March 22, @10:40PM (#1349912)

      >A 15–20 year old tree can produce around 700 paper bags.

      So, go sit beside that solar power collector that requires regular rainfall to grow. Get comfy, it will be 9 days before that tree grows enough to produce one paper bag for you.

      The problem is resource availability. How much of our available tree-growing land are we going to devote to grocery bags? Especially when that paper can be used for more important things:

      >According to WorldAtlas and The Independent, an average-sized single pine tree can make around 1,500 rolls of toilet paper

      --
      🌻🌻 [google.com]
      • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Sunday March 24, @02:03PM (1 child)

        by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Sunday March 24, @02:03PM (#1350099) Homepage Journal

        Hemp is a FAR better source of paper than trees, and in fact had a hand in the outlawing of cannabis, which the federal bureaucrat Harry Anslinger, head of the narcotics bureau, wanted outlawed to get more money from congress he could divert into fighting heroin.

        Hearst helped in Anslinger's evil plan by publishing anti "marijuana" propaganda in his newspapers. He had bought a forest and a paper mill, and its competition was the better quality, far cheaper paper made from hemp.

        --
        mcgrewbooks.com mcgrew.info nooze.org
        • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Sunday March 24, @03:12PM

          by JoeMerchant (3937) on Sunday March 24, @03:12PM (#1350102)

          No argument against hemp for paper.

          Find me a grocery store on the planet who asks: paper, plastic, or cannibags?

          --
          🌻🌻 [google.com]
  • (Score: 2) by nostyle on Friday March 22, @07:57PM

    by nostyle (11497) on Friday March 22, @07:57PM (#1349889) Journal

    In a pinch you can tie your furoshiki into a bag...see here [reusablenation.com].

    This will also work with your shemagh [amazon.com].

    Then you will have complete control over the fabric composition of your bag.

    --
    "any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is, is clearly a man to be reckoned with" -The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by sigterm on Friday March 22, @09:58PM

    by sigterm (849) on Friday March 22, @09:58PM (#1349902)

    In my area, grocery stores have hiked the price of plastic grocery bags to an insane level, to great fanfare from environmentalists and the press.

    At the same time, almost every item in the store is still wrapped in plastic, often multiple layers.

    Also, they're now marketing and selling rolls of mid-sized plastic bin liners, as that's what the grocery bags were typically used for.

    Would have been nice to see something other than cynical virtue-signalling for a change.