Plastic and the E.U.

Gosh in 2013 the E.U.  realised that

“Dozens of millions of tonnes of plastic debris end up floating in world oceans broken into microplastic, the so-called plastic soup. Microplastics are found in the most remote parts of our oceans. Entanglement of turtles by floating plastic bags, sea mammals and birds that die from eating plastic debris and ghost fishing through derelict fishing gear produce shocking pictures. Moreover, plastic is not inert and chemical additives, some of them endocrine disruptors, can migrate into body tissue and enter the food chain.

The massive pollution of world oceans with plastic debris is therefore emerging as a global challenge that requires a global response. The European Union should be a showcase for how to build a coherent strategy to optimize plastic waste policy.

A second challenge is linked to resources conservation. Nearly 50% of plastic waste in the EU is still landfilled. Therefore, much energy and processed raw material is lost instead of being recycled into new products.

Until now there is no comprehensive policy response to such challenges.” Eye roll!

“Specific aspects are addressed in various pieces of legislation, like the Waste Framework Directive with its 2015 separate plastic waste collection target or its 50% household waste collection target by 2020. The Packaging and Packaging waste Directive also has a specific plastic waste target.

Since there is an obvious and urgent need to take a focused and strategic approach towards plastic waste management as well as plastic product management, we are launching the consultation on the “Green Paper on a European Strategy on Plastic Waste in the Environment”. This should be the start of a broad public reflection on possible responses to all public policy challenges posed by plastic waste and which are presently not specifically or not effectively addressed in European waste legislation.”

Rather late to the party guys but at least you showed up…. lets see what you got. You can read their report here.

Burning plastic in the home

Some feel my worrying about plastic in the home is taking it too far?  Disposables? Yes, they can see I might have a point. But nylon carpet, foam-filled pillows and  polyester drapes…. what could possibly go wrong?

Well good taste aside…. you know how we were talking about hydrocarbons containing a lot of energy? Well all that energy means they burn hot. And that plastic is made from hydrocarbons. You got it. Plastic is a fuel too. So much so  that it actually has a higher BTU than coal. Great for waste to energy incinerators not so good for house fires.

For generations, firefighters’ had, “on average, 17 minutes to get anyone inside out of the building before they succumbed to smoke inhalation.” Because of modern fast burning synthetic furnishings that time is down to 4 minutes. Natural fibres and fillings do not burn as fast.

You can find lots more scary stats here plus a spooky burning chair that shows just how quickly you can be overcome.

Please people make sure your smoke alarm is working and maybe pay a bit more for cotton curtains and a wool rug.

Found this very interesting table on fumes released by burning. Hers an example…

Upholstery • Nylon Polybrominated diphenyl ethers Hydrogen chloride Hydrochloric acid Hydrogen cyanide Dioxins Possible carcinogen; poison by ingestion. Highly corrosive irritant to eyes, skin and mucous membranes; mildly toxic by inhalation. Corrosive; mildly toxic by inhalation; when heated to decomposition emits toxic fumes of chlorides. Asphyxiant; deadly human and experimental poison by all routes. Carcinogen; a deadly experimental poison by ingestion, skin contact and intraperitoneal routes. Immobile in contaminated soil and may be retained for years. No Yes Yes Yes Yes

And this

Burning a small sample of a synthetic fibre yarn is a handy way of identifying the material. Hold the specimen in a clean flame. While the specimen is in the flame, observe its reaction and the nature of the smoke. Remove the specimen from the flame and observe its reaction and smoke. Then extinguish the flame by blowing. After the specimen has cooled, observe the residue.

And this on toxic fibres and fabrics


Plastic Costs A Lot

According to some “the environmental cost, including carbon pollution released during production [of plastic], is staggering. At $40 billion a year, …. it’s more than the annual profits of the plastics industry.”

Acoording to the UNEP Report 2014

It finds that the overall natural capital cost of plastic use in the consumer goods sector each year is US$75 billion – financial impacts resulting from issues such as pollution of the marine environment or air pollution caused by incinerating plastic.

The report says that over 30 per cent of the natural capital costs of plastic are due to greenhouse gas emissions from raw material extraction and processing. However, it notes that marine pollution is the largest downstream cost, and that the figure of US$13 billion is likely a significant underestimate.

Concern is growing over the threat that widespread plastic waste poses to marine life, with conservative estimates of the overall financial damage of plastics to marine ecosystems standing at US$13 billion each year, according to two reports released on the opening day of the first United Nations Environment Assembly.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation claims, in their report on plastic,  that

“Assessing global plastic packaging flows comprehensively for the first time, the report finds that most plastic packaging is used only once; 95% of the value of plastic packaging material, worth $80-120 billion annually, is lost to the economy. Additionally, plastic packaging generates negative externalities, valued conservatively by UNEP at $40 billion.[1] Given projected growth in consumption, in a business-as-usual scenario, by 2050 oceans are expected to contain more plastics than fish (by weight), and the entire plastics industry will consume 20% of total oil production, and 15% of the annual carbon budget.[2]

New economic study shows marine debris costs California residents millions of dollars

Thanks to Fabiano of for keeping us well informed ….

AUGUST 12, 2014 — Marine debris has many impacts on the ocean, wildlife, and coastal communities. A NOAA Marine Debris Program economic study released today shows that it can also have considerable economic costs to residents who use their local beaches.

The study found that Orange County, California residents lose millions of dollars each year avoiding littered, local beaches in favor of choosing cleaner beaches that are farther away and may cost more to reach. Reducing marine debris even by 25 percent at beaches in and near Orange County could save residents roughly $32 million during three months in the summer.

In order to better understand the economic cost of marine debris on coastal communities, the NOAA Marine Debris Program and Industrial Economics, Inc. (IEc) designed a study that examines how marine debris influences people’s decisions to go to the beach and what it may cost them. We selected Orange County as a study location because beach recreation is an important part of the local culture and residents have a wide variety of beaches from which to choose, some of which are likely to have high levels of marine debris.

The World Bank

estimates the yearly global cost of dealing with waste is more than $200 billion and predicts annual waste will exceed 11 million tons per day by 2100 if current trends continue. From the true cost of our waste

Local authorities, industry and coastal communities spend approximately £14 million a year to clean up beach litter in England and Wales alone (Environment Agency, 2004).
Annually the UK and maritime leisure industry is worth up to £11 billion.

Harbour authorities also have to pay to keep navigation channels free of litter – a survey of 42 harbour authorities reported that £26,100 is spent per year in some ports to clear fouled propellers and remove debris from the water

Some estimates put the cost of marine litter to the fishing industry at over £23 million a year (Environment Agency, 2002).

How much energy?

“Our previous work had suggested that bottled water production was an energy-intensive process, but we were surprised to see that the energy equivalent of nearly 17 million barrels of oil are required to produce the PET bottles alone,” Cooley told

Read more at:

Act Now

Let’s stop using plastic to make everlasting litter. And rather then wait for governments to act or the clean up bill get even bigger I invite you to join me in a plastic boycott. You can find loads of plastic free alternatives listed here on my blog.



Fork in turtles nose…

…seems like those dumb turtles just cant stop damaging themselves on our everlasting litter. This one has a plastic fork stuck in its nose. It was only last month I reported on a turtle with a straw in its snout.  And here are some more stupid animals killing themselves with plastic.

Now watch the video….



So easy to take your own cutlery – or at least use biodegradable.


Straws Suck – just say no…

11181182_10153607820929653_743831970936423610_nThink refusing plastic straws is a pointless gesture? Saying no a ridiculous over reaction by the plastic free killjoys. Have a look at this gruesome video of a plastic straw being removed from a turtles snout and think again.

It is pretty distressing and some adult language is used to express the shock and shame
Please reconsider. Do you really need a plastic straw? They don’t all end up in the bin. Some end up in the sea. Because plastic doesn’t biodegrade they last for ever. They  will be there for a very long time and they can do real damage to wild life.

If you do need a straw why not get a reusable one. There are lots of options here.

If you really need a disposable straw, get a biodegradable one – they do exist – try this link..

Its not just straws and turtles, plastic trash is implicated in the maiming and death of hundreds of animals, birds and marine life. Check out the reports here.


Clothing Stats and Micro Fibres

Clothes consumption has gone crazy. The introduction of cheap, synthetic fibres has meant that the price of new duds is dropping. This has had all kinds of consequences. here are some reports on the subject….

Cambridge University report issued 2006 titled Well Dressed? The Present and Future Sustainability of Clothing and Textiles in the United Kingdom
The followed statistics have been culled from the above report and have been lightly edited.
In 2000 the world’s consumers spent around US$1 trillion worldwide buying clothes. Around one third of sales were in Western Europe, one third in North America and one quarter in Asia.
Output from the sector is growing in volume, but prices are dropping, as is employment, as new technology and vertically integrated structures support improved productivity.
Growth in volumes is almost entirely associated with polyester – volumes of natural fibre production and use having remained approximately constant for several years.
3.25 million tonnes of clothing and textiles flow through the UK each year – approximately 55kg per person.
Approximately two thirds of the imports of fibres, yarns and fabrics to the UK are man-made.
Consumers in the UK spend about £780 per head per year, purchasing around 2.15 million tonnes (35kg per person) of which one eighth is sent for re-use through charities and the rest is discarded.
UK consumption of clothing and textile products Total consumption: 2,156 thousand tonnes About 50% clothing and 50% textiles
The major products consumed were: 420 thousand tonnes of trousers, T-shirts and pullovers 530 thousand tonnes of carpets
From 2001 to 2005 spending on women’s clothing grew by 21% and that on men’s by 14%. During the same time – as the end of the quota arrangement approached in 2005 – prices actually dropped by 14%
Consumers in the UK spend about £780 per head per year, purchasing around 2.15 million tonnes (35kg per person) of which one eighth is sent for re-use through charities and the rest is discarded.

You can download a copy for free here

WRAP have also been researching.
WRAP’s ground breaking report provides the first big picture look at the financial and environmental impacts of clothing.
Key findings include:
the average UK household owns around £4,000 worth of clothes – and around 30% of clothing in wardrobes has not been worn for at least a year;
the cost of this unused clothing is around £30 billion;
extending the average life of clothes by just three months of active use would lead to a 5-10% reduction in each of the carbon, water and waste footprints; and
an estimated £140 million worth (around 350,000 tonnes) of used clothing goes to landfill in the UK every year.

You can download valuing clothes report here

The Telegraph has something to say on the subject…
While every other waste streams going to landfill is reducing, the amount of textiles being buried in the ground has shot up by a third in recent years as people buy more cheap clothing than ever before as a result of the so-callled ‘Primark effect’.
Around 60 per cent of clothing sent for recycling is sold to other countries for re-use, mostly Africa and Eastern Europe, another 35 per cent is re-used as mattress stuffing or insulation and under five per cent is such low quality it is sent to landfill. Telegraph

O Ecotextiles

The estimated energy and water needed to produce that amount of fabric boggles the mind:

  • 1,074 billion kWh of electricity  or 132 million metric tons of coal and
  • between 6 – 9 trillion liters of water[3]

A study done by the Stockholm Environment Institute on behalf of the BioRegional Development Group  concludes that the energy used (and therefore the CO2 emitted) to create 1 ton of spun fiber is much higher for synthetics than for hemp or cotton:

KG of CO2 emissions per ton of spun fiber:
crop cultivation fiber production TOTAL
polyester USA 0.00 9.52 9.52
cotton, conventional, USA 4.20 1.70 5.90
hemp, conventional 1.90 2.15 4.05
cotton, organic, India 2.00 1.80 3.80
cotton, organic, USA 0.90 1.45 2.35

The table above only gives results for polyester; other synthetics have more of an impact:  acrylic is 30% more energy intensive in its production than polyester [7] and nylon is even higher than that.

Estimating the Carbon Footprint of Fabrics

today’s textile industry is one of the biggest sources of greenhouse gasses on Earth, due to the huge size and scope of the industry as well as the many processes and products that go into the making of textiles and finished textile products. (See Vivek Dev, “Carbon Footprint of Textiles”, April 3, 2009,

Ethical Fashion Forum

The largest climate change impact from clothing is the energy wasted in washing, tumble-drying and ironing. In the lifespan of an average T-shirt 50% of the global climate change impact comes from the washing process after it has ben purchased. This impact can be reduced simply by lowering the washing temperature and eliminating tumble drying and ironing. (Allwood et al. 2006)

According to Procter & Gamble Co., the average American family does about 300 loads of laundry per year, or about six loads per week. That suggests a per-family carbon footprint from doing laundry of about 480 pounds per year, or about 10 pounds per week. And that doesn’t include running the dryer.

Key findings include:

  • the average UK household owns around £4,000 worth of clothes – and around 30% of clothing in wardrobes has not been worn for at least a year;
  • the cost of this unused clothing is around £30 billion;
  • extending the average life of clothes by just three months of active use would lead to a 5-10% reduction in each of the carbon, water and waste footprints; and
  • an estimated £100 million worth (based on 2015 prices) or around 350,000 tonnes of used clothing goes to landfill in the UK every year.


Micro pollution

Traditional plastics degrade rather than biodegrade, which means they simply break up and fall apart into smaller pieces. The plastic has not changed its structure as such – merely fragmented. And it seems the process can continue indefinitely. Particles of plastic of 20 microns in diameter (a width thinner than a human hair) have been identified.

Sources of micro plastics are
Synthetic clothing that release thousands of plastic fibres every wash.
Read more here

Do call back as we will be adding more outrageous statistics as we, slack- jawed, find them 

You can see all our posts on clothing, fabrics and the plastic-free wardrobe here.



Fibres, Yarn & Fabric

Fibres are short fine hairs.
Fibres can be can be natural, synthetic or chemically produced hybrid called regenerated fibres.
Fibres can be twisted or spun into longer thread or yarn.
Threads can be woven or knitted into fabric.
The fabric often takes the name of the fibre such as cotton or wool.
It can also go under a trade name such as nylon.

Know Your Fibres

Fibres (and then yarns and ultimately fabrics) can be can be natural, synthetic or chemically produced hybrid called regenerated fibres.

Natural fibres

Cotton – the world’s most widely used plant fibre. You can read more about cotton production here.
Flax is used to make linen. It is one of the strongest vegetable fibres.
Wools include
Sheep’s wool in a range of weights and qualities
Alpaca wool used to make high-end luxury fabrics.
Angora wool -The silky white wool of the Angora rabbit is very fine and soft, and used in high quality knitwear
Mohair is also from the Angora goat.
Cashmere wool comes from cashmere goats and has great insulation properties without being bulky
Silk strong and light weight but involves some cruelty.

 Read more….

Synthetic fibres are man-made from chemicals many of which are petroleum derived.
Acrylic, nylon and polyester come from oil and coal.
Acrylic fibre resembles wool and so is used to replace that natural fibre.
Nylon is used as a silk substitute. It is a very fine and strong fibre so can be used to make ladies tights.
Polyester is one of the most popular man-made fibres. It is the same  Polyethylene terephthalat, (frequently shortened to PET or PETE and was formerly called PETP or PET-P), that is used to make bottles and a lot of other plastic stuff. Read more

Do read this fantastic guide 

Regenerated Fibres

The base material is cellulose that can be obtained from a range of sources including wood, paper, cotton fiber, or  bamboo. It is then converted through a chemical process into a fiber.

  • Rayon
  • Bamboo Rayon-
  • Viscose,
  • Modal
  • Tencel (lyocell)
  • Read more…

Blended Fabrics
Mixing synthetic and natural fibres such as poly cotton a mix of natural cotton and synthetic polyester.

Kinds Of fabric – my ongoing experiences with natural fabrics.

Fibre Production

fibre pie chart

2013 figures

Global 2013 fibre production estimated at 85.5 million tons

• Global 2013 synthetic fibre production estimated at 55.8 million tons (i.e. excluding cotton, cellulosics and wool)

Natural Fibres
Cotton 25 million tons
wool production is around 2.1 million tonnes.
Silk 150 000 tonnes in 2006
Linen 147 000 tonnes of flax fibre 2007,
Alpaca 6 500 tonnes
Cashmere” after scouring and dehairing 6 500 tonnes
Mohair is estimated at around 5 000 tonnes a year, down from a high of 25 000 tonnes in the 1990s,
Angora is estimated at 2 500 to 3 000 tonnes
2009 figures  only – google let me down!

Carbon footprint

A study done by the Stockholm Environment Institute on behalf of the BioRegional Development Group  concludes that the energy used (and therefore the CO2 emitted) to create 1 ton of spun fiber is much higher for synthetics than for hemp or cotton:
KG of CO2 emissions per ton of spun fiber:

KG of CO2 emissions per ton of spun fiber:

crop cultivation

fiber production


polyester USA




cotton, conventional, USA




hemp, conventional




cotton, organic, India




cotton, organic, USA




Lots more great info on the carbon footprint of fabrics can be found here on this great blog.

on line suppliers
Local fabric shops.
British made Fabric

Synthetic versus natural fabric
Regenerated Fibres & fabrics  a very basic introduction

You can see all our posts on clothing, fabrics and the plastic-free wardrobe here.


Corals & Micro Plastics

Corals such as those found on the Great Barrier Reef are at risk from the estimated 5tn pieces of plastic in the world’s oceans because researchers have discovered they digest tiny fragments of plastic at a significant rate.

A study led by the ARC centre of excellence for coral reef studies at James Cook University found that corals consumed “microplastics” – plastics measuring under 5mm – about the same rate as their normal food.

From the Guardian

Read more about micro plastic pollution here


Bad Hangers

We have talked about plastic coat hangers before and I try to buy unhung clothes whenever possible. However that is not always an option.  This company are promoting a solution; a fibre board biodegradable hanger and a campaign against the plastic hanger . Here is their promotional material

Plastic hanger facts
Approximately 85% of plastic retail hangers no reused or recycled
90% of America’s clothes now imported
30-40 billion clothes come into the United States on plastic hangers
85% of 30-40 billion is 25. > 34 billion hangers into landfills every year.
34 billion landfilled hangers would fill almost 20 Empire State Buildings
40 billion hangers end to end would stretch 8 million miles, far beyond the orbit of the moon—every year.
Polystyrene hangers off-gas benzene in clothing and leaches benzene into the ground water.
Polycarbonate hangers leach bisphenol-a into ground water.
Plastic hangers take over 1,000 years to break down in an anerobic landfill. All for a one-time use.
Why so many hangers?
Growing industry trend of one-use plastic hangers
Garments on Hangers (GOH) – hangers are put on clothing overseas by clothing manufacturer and shipped to store already on hanger
Each hanger is one-use and garment replacing sold product has it’s own hanger.
Hanger is now outsourced to clothing manufacturer who includes the price of the hanger into their Cost of Goods (COG)
Its cheaper for the clothing retailer to use one-use hangers but plastic is a poor material to make any product that is one-use, especially one with so much plastic in it.
Companies who use Garment on Hangers are Wal-Mart, Old Navy, C&A, Target, Kmart, Coles and most department stores.
Aren’t plastic hangers recyclable?
Cheaper to landfill than to recycle
Cheaper to make new plastic hangers than recycle
Multiple materials (metal hook and clips, rubber or vinyl no-slip pads, 7 different types of plastic) make recycling impractical if not impossible.
Where do plastic hangers go if I don’t take them after I buy clothing? Answer: in a box under the counter then out to the back.
How much waste per store?
One clothing company’s flagship store in San Francisco that uses the GOH system said
They throw away approximately 95% of their plastic hangers every day.
They replace from 8,000 to 28,000 garments everyday
That means they throw away from 7,600 to 26,600 hangers every day.
Why do companies that say they are green use such a wasteful system where up to 19.5 Empire State Buildings of plastic hangers landfilled?
Because hangers are invisible to the consumer
The wire hanger was patented in 1890
The plastic retail hanger was invented in the 60’s
There’s been no innovation, so the hangers have become invisible
They are so prevalent that no one sees them anymore
Hanger companies and retail clothing companies are very quiet about this extreme waste stream
Hanger companies stay in business
Retailers save by using one-use GOH plastic hangers

What’s the solution?
Tell your local retailer that you do not like plastic hangers in stores that you buy at.
that up to 34 billion of those plastic retail hangers go into your municipal landfill.
that they are not green if they use plastic hangers – even recycled plastic hangers.
Tell them that 85% of all plastic hangers end up in landfills.
Tell them to use a sustainable material such as paper fiberboard hangers that can be recycled at the store or at consumer curbside pickups
Join the Anti Plastic Hanger Movement and stop the 36 billion plastic hangers that get thrown into local landfills everyyear to save retail companies money!

You can see all our posts on clothing, fabrics and the plastic-free wardrobe here.


Charity Shop Issues

A reason not to buy in charity shops can be found on the Woven website about the second hand clothing trade in AFRICA

The following has been taken from the website

Africa is the fastest growing population center in the world. It currently has 1.1 billion people. That numbers nearly quadruples to 4.1billion by 2100.
The continent has the highest unemployment rates in the world in spite of having six of the worlds fastest growing economies.

“Probably 90% of the clothing people are buying in the whole country are second-hand clothes.” Sylvia Owori, Ugandan fashion designer.

Everyday before sunrise vendors line up to get first dibs on the huge pallets of compressed clothes as they come off trucks. They have absolutely no idea what’s inside.

How much do you think someone living in Africa (the poorest continent on Earth) pays for a pair of second-hand jeans?
Places where over 80% of people make less than $2 a day (the UN global poverty benchmark). $1? $2? $3, more than a days wage? Guess again:
$5 to $7. Over two or three times what they earn in a day. But wait, there’s more.
All but a fraction of that money leaves the continent. Why? Because vendors purchase these bundles from international “clothing recyclers” that buy 97% the clothes you and I donate to charities like Goodwill, The Salvation Army and The Cancer Society. Vendors in the developing world pay up to a 1,000% markup for bundled clothes, lining these international companies pockets with huge profits–$3 billion a year huge–and none of that money supports the causes we thought we were.

This isn’t to blame the charities we donated to. In all honesty they do their best and if they could sell more donated clothes locally they would–they’d make more money that way. The truth is people don’t want to buy second-hand clothes in the developed world and charities that accept clothes have no other choice but to sell clothes they can’t sell locally to clothing recyclers.]


The impact is devastating:  50% loss in jobs and a 40% decline in industry over two decades.
Textile and clothing employment along with other support work offer valuable entry level jobs in fledgling economies. Ghana and Nigeria are among the hardest hit losing 80% and over 95% of their textile employment respectively.


Most people understand what’s happening on the production side of the textile industry (i.e. sweatshops, etc) but few realize what’s happens to their clothes at the end of life when they donate them and they think they are doing some good.
Before I started looking into this I thought that clothes I donated were helping people in my local community by providing affordable clothes to less fortunate families. I was shocked to learn that only 3% of the clothes donated are ever resold locally. That’s three items for every 100 donated.
I was even more shocked to hear that the nonprofit I donate my clothes to only earns between $0.10 and $0.25 per pound. That’s about $0.20 to $0.50 for a pair of jeans.

More posts on this subject here 



Plastic in the Sea – Studies

Latest reports and news stories about plastic in the sea can be found here, (reports and statistics about other plastic related issues can be found here)

Thanks to Fabiano of for keeping us well informed.

Try schnews for the nasty nurdles

billions of tiny plastic pellets, called nurdles – the raw materials for the plastic industry – are lost or spilled every year, many ending up in the sea. These act like chemical sponges, soaking up other toxic man-made chemicals, all artificial pollutants (for toxicity think DDT pesticide etc), concentrating them up to a million times more than in normal sea water.

Chris Wilcox, Nicholas J. Mallos, George H. Leonard, Alba Rodriguez, Britta Denise Hardesty, Using expert elicitation to estimate the impacts of plastic pollution on marine wildlife, Marine Policy, Volume 65, March 2016, Pages 107-114, ISSN 0308-597X,
Abstract: Marine litter is a growing environmental concern. With the rapid increase in global plastics production and the resulting large volume of litter that enters the marine environment, determining the consequences of this debris on marine fauna and ocean health has now become a critical environmental priority, particularly for threatened and endangered species. However, there are limited data about the impacts of debris on marine species from which to draw conclusions about the population consequences of anthropogenic debris. To address this knowledge gap, information was elicited from experts on the ecological threat (both severity and specificity) of entanglement, ingestion and chemical contamination for three major marine taxa: seabirds, sea turtles and marine mammals. The threat assessment focused on the most common types of litter that are found along the world’s coastlines, based on data gathered during three decades of international coastal clean-up efforts. Fishing related gear, balloons and plastic bags were estimated to pose the greatest entanglement risk to marine fauna. In contrast, experts identified a broader suite of items of concern for ingestion, with plastic bags and plastic utensils ranked as the greatest threats. Entanglement and ingestion affected a similar range of taxa, although entanglement was rated as slightly worse because it is more likely to be lethal. Contamination was scored the lowest in terms of impact, affecting a smaller portion of the taxa and being rated as having solely non-lethal impacts. This work points towards a number of opportunities both for policy-based and consumer-driven changes in plastics use that could have demonstrable affects for a range of ecologically important taxa that serve as indicators of marine ecosystem health.
Keywords: Chemical contamination; Elicitation survey; Entanglement; Ingestion; Marine debris; Marine mammal; Plastic pollution; Seabird; Turtle

Jan Zalasiewicz, Colin N. Waters, Juliana Ivar do Sul, Patricia L. Corcoran, Anthony D. Barnosky, Alejandro Cearreta, Matt Edgeworth, Agnieszka Gałuszka, Catherine Jeandel, Reinhold Leinfelder, J.R. McNeill, Will Steffen, Colin Summerhayes, Michael Wagreich, Mark Williams, Alexander P. Wolfe, Yasmin Yonan, The geological cycle of plastics and their use as a stratigraphic indicator of the Anthropocene, Anthropocene, Available online 18 January 2016, ISSN 2213-3054,
Abstract: The rise of plastics since the mid-20th century, both as a material element of modern life and as a growing environmental pollutant, has been widely described. Their distribution in both the terrestrial and marine realms suggests that they are a key geological indicator of the Anthropocene, as a distinctive stratal component. Most immediately evident in terrestrial deposits, they are clearly becoming widespread in marine sedimentary deposits in both shallow- and deep-water settings. They are abundant and widespread as macroscopic fragments and virtually ubiquitous as microplastic particles; these are dispersed by both physical and biological processes, not least via the food chain and the ‘faecal express’ route from surface to sea floor. Plastics are already widely dispersed in sedimentary deposits, and their amount seems likely to grow several-fold over the next few decades. They will continue to be input into the sedimentary cycle over coming millennia as temporary stores – landfill sites – are eroded. Plastics already enable fine time resolution within Anthropocene deposits via the development of their different types and via the artefacts (‘technofossils’) they are moulded into, and many of these may have long-term preservation potential when buried in strata.
Keywords: Anthropocene; Plastics; Stratigraphy

Note to users:
Accepted manuscripts are Articles in Press that have been peer reviewed and accepted for publication by the Editorial Board of this publication. They have not yet been copy edited and/or formatted in the publication house style, and may not yet have the full ScienceDirect functionality, e.g., supplementary files may still need to be added, links to references may not resolve yet etc. The text could still change before final publication.

Although accepted manuscripts do not have all bibliographic details available yet, they can already be cited using the year of online publication and the DOI, as follows: author(s), article title, Publication (year), DOI. Please consult the journal’s reference style for the exact appearance of these elements, abbreviation of journal names and use of punctuation.

When the final article is assigned to volumes/issues of the Publication, the Article in Press version will be removed and the final version will appear in the associated published volumes/issues of the Publication. The date the article was first made available online will be carried over.

Jongmyoung Lee, Sunwook Hong, Young Kyung Song, Sang Hee Hong, Yong

Chang Jang, Mi Jang, Nak Won Heo, Gi Myung Han, Mi Jeong Lee, Daeseok
Kang, Won Joon Shim, Relationships among the abundances of plastic
debris in different size classes on beaches in South Korea, Marine
Pollution Bulletin, Volume 77, Issues 1–2, 15 December 2013, Pages
349-354, ISSN 0025-326X,
Abstract: Plastic debris on six beaches near the Nakdong River Estuary, South Korea, was sampled in May and September 2012 and classified into three size classes, large microplastics (1–5 mm), mesoplastics (5–25mm), and macroplastics (>25 mm). The relationships among the abundances of the size classes were then examined. The abundances of each size category in May (before rainy season) and in September (after rainy season) were 8205 and 27,606 particles/m2 for large microplastics, 238 and 237 particles/m2 for mesoplastics, and 0.97 and 1.03 particles/m2 for macroplastics, respectively. Styrofoam was the most abundant item both in microplastic and mesoplastic debris, while intact plastics were most common in macroplastic debris. The abundances of meso- and micro-plastics were the most strongly correlated. There was a higher correlation between the abundances of macro- and meso-plastics than between macro- and micro-plastics.


Rui P. Vieira, Isabel P. Raposo, Paula Sobral, Jorge M.S. Gonçalves, Katherine L.C. Bell, Marina R. Cunha, Lost fishing gear and litter at Gorringe Bank (NE Atlantic), Journal of Sea Research, Available online 13 October 2014, ISSN 1385-1101,
Abstract: Studies concerning marine litter have received great attention over the last several years by the scientific community mainly due to their ecological and economic impacts in marine ecosystems, from coastal waters to the deep ocean seafloor. The distribution, type and abundance of marine litter in Ormonde and Gettysburg, the two seamounts of Gorringe Bank, were analyzed from photo and video imagery obtained during ROV-based surveys carried out at 60–3015 m depths during the E/V Nautilus cruise NA017. Located approximately 125 nm southwest of Portugal, Gorringe Bank lays at the crossroad between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean and is therefore characterized by an intense maritime traffic and fishing activities. The high frequency of lost or discarded fishing gear, such as cables, longlines and nets, observed on Gorringe Bank suggests an origin mostly from fishing activities, with a clear turnover in the type of litter (mostly metal, glass and to a much lesser extent, plastic) with increasing depth. Litter was more abundant at the summit of Gorringe Bank (ca. 4 items·km− 1), decreasing to less than 1 item·km− 1 at the flanks and to ca. 2 items·km− 1 at greater depths. Nevertheless, litter abundance appeared to be lower than in continental margin areas. The results presented herein are a contribution to support further actions for the conservation of vulnerable habitats on Gorringe Bank so that they can continue contributing to fishery productivity in the surrounding region.
Keywords: Marine Litter; Fisheries; Impacts; Gorringe Bank; NE Atlantic; Seamounts

Note to users: Corrected proofs are Articles in Press that contain the authors’ corrections. Final citation details, e.g., volume and/or issue number, publication year and page numbers, still need to be added and the text might change before final publication.

Although corrected proofs do not have all bibliographic details available yet, they can already be cited using the year of online publication and the DOI , as follows: author(s), article title, Publication (year), DOI. Please consult the journal’s reference style for the exact appearance of these elements, abbreviation of journal names and use of punctuation.

When the final article is assigned to an volumes/issues of the Publication, the Article in Press version will be removed and the final version will appear in the associated published volumes/issues of the Publication. The date the article was first made available online will be carried over.

Review of Microplastics in Cosmetics
Scientific background on a potential source of plastic particulate marine litter to support decision-making
H.A. Leslie, PhD

World’s Plastics Associations Promote Sustainability and Resource Recovery, and Renew Commitments to Marine Litter Solutions

ACC Contact: Jennifer Killinger (202) 249-6619

PlasticsEurope Contact: Hanane Taidi, 32 2 676 17 40

PPIA Contact: Peter T. Quintana

“World’s Plastics Associations Renew Commitments to Improve Sustainability”

Manila (December 12, 2014) – At the 25th annual Global Meeting on Plastics and Sustainability, held in Manila, Philippines (Dec. 8 – 10), executives from the world’s leading plastics associations met to discuss and advance sustainability, and to promote solutions to plastic waste management and marine debris. At the meeting, delegates noted strong progress and growth in activities undertaken as part of the Declaration of the Global Plastics Associations for Solutions on Marine Litter. Under that program, 60 associations from more than 30 countries have launched 185 separate projects to combat plastic marine debris.

At the meeting, participants also discussed strategies to address sustainability by improving the collection, recycling and recovery of energy from used plastics. Delegates heard from Doug Woodring of the NGO Ocean Recovery Alliance, who challenged the industry to work with other stakeholders and to deploy new technologies to better understand where litter is entering our rivers and waterways.

In addition to leading Philippine companies, meeting participants included plastics associations from the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Japan, Brazil, the Gulf, Europe, South Africa, and the United States, who analyzed current projects to prevent litter and increase recycling of plastic.

Plastic-Free Summer Festival (16&17 Jan 2015)

Friday 12th of December 2014

Did you know over five trillion pieces of plastic are floating in our oceans according to the most comprehensive study to date on plastic pollution around the world? It’s not just a problem overseas but also around Australia’s coastlines, and the sources are alarming.

Marine biologist Dr Jennifer Lavers has studied seabirds around the world, in particular looking at the impact of ingesting this plastic. As seen on the ABC Catalyst program Dr Lavers is a lead scientist looking at the impacts plastic pollution is having on wildlife in our oceans. Find out more about the problem, discuss solutions and be part of the change needed.

Organised by the WMRC Earth Carers, the City of Fremantle, Fremantle BID and the Town of Cottesloe this free 2 day community festival offers events for all ages.

MARLISCO e-course about Marine Litter – second edition

2014-12-11 20:21
The second edition of the MARLISCO electronic course about marine litter, “Know, feel, act! to stop Marine Litter”, has been launched. It will run from the 09/01/2015 to the 20/01/2015.
The course is based on the educational material “Know, feel, act! to stop Marine Litter”, a MARLISCO product to be translated and applied in 15 countries by 2015. It contains 17 educational activities examining the characteristics, sources, effects and possible ways to tackle the problem, addressing it from an environmental, societal, cultural and economic point of view. It has been designed to primarily serve middle school level, but can be used also by educators outside the formal schooling system. The e-course serves as a substitute for a 1.5 day face-to-face seminar aiming to train participants on effective ways of teaching about marine litter issues.

Scientists warn nearly 270,000 tonnes of plastic may be floating in world’s oceans

Stephanie Smail reported this story on Thursday, December 11, 2014 18:36:00

MARK COLVIN: It’s floating on the surface, bobbing just under the waves, strangling seabirds and killing fish. It’s plastic in the ocean, and a new study says there’s nearly 270,000 tonnes of it.

International scientists have counted and weighed tiny pieces of plastic, and bigger pieces like plastic bottles and six-pack holders, for the past six years.

Their research has found plastic pollution isn’t just a problem in the well-known garbage patches in remote areas. It’s also lurking close to coastlines, as Stephanie Smail reports.

No part of the ocean untouched by plastic rubbish


ABC Environment 11 DEC 2014

A new study has found that plastic rubbish reaches into almost every corner of the ocean.

VIRTUALLY NO PART of the ocean surface remains untouched by plastic debris, a team of international scientists has found.

Nearly 269,000 tonnes of plastic debris is floating on the surface of the world’s oceans, with some of it occurring in some of the most remote regions of the planet, the scientists report today in the open-access journal PLoS One.

“There are areas of the ocean that have very little plastic, but I don’t think you will find plastic-free seas anywhere in the world today,” said Dr Marcus Eriksen, lead author of the study and Director of Research for the 5 Gyres Institute.

America’s Plastics Makers Support Calls to Address Litter in World’s Oceans

Contact: Jennifer Killinger (202) 249-6619

WASHINGTON (December 10, 2014) – The Five Gyres Institute today released a study that estimates the quantities of plastics in the world’s oceans (“Plastic Pollution in the World’s Oceans: More than 5 Trillion Plastic Pieces Weighing over 250,000 Tons Afloat at Sea”).

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) issued the following statement:

“America’s plastics makers wholeheartedly agree that littered plastics of any kind do not belong in the marine environment. Every day, plastics contribute to sustainability by enabling us to reduce, reuse, recycle, and recover more of the resources that we rely on—and by helping to lower energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. Even after plastics have fulfilled their initial purpose, these materials should be treated as valuable resources and recycled whenever possible or recovered for their energy value when they cannot.

“Recent multi-stakeholder efforts to develop solutions for marine litter—including a brochure (2014) produced by the Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP, an advisory group to the United Nations) and the Honolulu Strategy (2011)—have highlighted the importance of using modern, integrated waste management infrastructure and practices to combat marine litter throughout the globe. This includes recycling and energy recovery, and the American Chemistry Council’s Plastics Division and its member companies support these recommendations.

Good job, humans: The oceans now contain 5 trillion pieces of floating plastic

By Chris Mooney December 10

A major new study of the world’s oceans has reached a shocking conclusion: Thanks to humans, there are now over 5 trillion pieces of plastic, weighing more than 250,000 tons, floating in water around the world.

With a global population of about 7.2 billion, that’s nearly 700 pieces per person.

The study, published in the journal PLOS One by Marcus Eriksen of the Five Gyres Institute in Los Angeles and a large group of colleagues, is based on data from 24 separate ocean expeditions, conducted between 2007 and 2013, to sample plastic pollution. Plastic was either observed from boats, or hauled up from the ocean by nets, in 1,571 locations. The data were then used to run an ocean model to simulate the amount and distribution of plastic debris.

The result not only yielded the estimate of over 5 trillion pieces of plastic in the global ocean — it also cast light on how plastic changes within the ocean (breaking down into smaller pieces) and circulates around the globe. Pieces between 1 millimeter and 4.75 millimeters in size were by far the most prevalent class of plastic in the ocean. However, by weight, really large pieces of plastic, greater than 200 millimeters in size, were the most significant.

Study Gauges Plastic Levels in Oceans


It is no secret that the world’s oceans are swimming with plastic debris — the first floating masses of trash were discovered in the 1990s. But researchers are starting to get a better sense of the size and scope of the problem.

A study published Wednesday in the journal PLOS One estimated that 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic, large and small, weighing 269,000 tons, could be found throughout the world’s oceans, even in the most remote reaches.

The ships conducting the research traveled the seas collecting small bits of plastic with nets and estimated worldwide figures from their samples using computer models. The largest source of plastic by weight comes from discarded fishing nets and buoys, said Marcus Eriksen, the leader of the effort and co-founder of the 5 Gyres Institute, a nonprofit group that combines scientific research with antipollution activism.

Full scale of plastic in the world’s oceans revealed for first time

Over five trillion pieces of plastic are floating in our oceans says most comprehensive study to date on plastic pollution around the world

Oliver Milman
Wednesday 10 December 2014 19.00 GMT

More than five trillion pieces of plastic, collectively weighing nearly 269,000 tonnes, are floating in the world’s oceans, causing damage throughout the food chain, new research has found.

Data collected by scientists from the US, France, Chile, Australia and New Zealand suggests a minimum of 5.25tn plastic particles in the oceans, most of them “micro plastics” measuring less than 5mm.

The volume of plastic pieces, largely deriving from products such as food and drink packaging and clothing, was calculated from data taken from 24 expeditions over a six-year period to 2013. The research, published in the journal PLOS One, is the first study to look at plastics of all sizes in the world’s oceans.

Large pieces of plastic can strangle animals such as seals, while smaller pieces are ingested by fish and then fed up the food chain, all the way to humans.

Environmentalists Go to Battle Over Face Wash

Katy Steinmetz @katysteinmetz
Dec. 10, 2014

Environmentalists are hoping a landmark report about how much plastic is in the world’s oceans will help get bans on small plastics passed

Face washes claiming to be “blackhead erasers” or “superfruit scrubs” may seem appealing for scrubbing your way to a fresh new face, but some of them also contain an ingredient that environmental advocates and lawmakers are trying to ban. Tiny, round bits of plastic known as microbeads, no bigger than a grain of couscous, may pose hazards in the natural world.

These little orbs, introduced to replace harsher exfoliants like pumice, are so small that after they’re washed down the sink or tub, they sneak through sifters at water treatment plants and end up in the ocean and other bodies of water. Once in the ocean, researchers have found, these plastics act like sponges for toxins, and can be accidentally ingested by fish, thus ending up in the food chain.

Several states considered bills to ban microbeads last session, but only Illinois passed a law, becoming the first state to do so. Now lawmakers in at least three states are gearing up for another go in 2015.

Autopsy finds plastic bag in dolphin’s stomach after failed rescue

By Nonee Walsh
Posted 28 Nov 2014, 7:34am

A dolphin rescued off Sydney’s northern beaches earlier this week has been euthanased after becoming stranded for a second time.

It took six men to refloat the three-metre Risso’s dolphin after they found it in trouble on Curl Curl Beach on Monday.

The mature female dolphin went back out to sea but became stranded again at Kurnell, in Sydney’s south, on Tuesday evening.

An autopsy performed at Taronga Zoo revealed a plastic bag was blocking its stomach, Organisation for the Rescue and Research of Cetaceans in Australia (ORRCA) president Ronnie Ling said.




We met him earlier in November picking up plastic micro fibers on the beach. Now he reveals more about himself and his projects here….

Benign By Design’s unique data-driven process propels the textile industry toward cost effective fabrics that emit fewer and less toxic fibers.


Clothing fibers are the most abundant form of waste material that we find in habitats worldwide, and the problem is worsening. Ingested and inhaled fibers carry toxic materials and a third of the food we eat is contaminated with this material. In the textile industry, fabrics are generally selected based upon aesthetics, durability, cost, green chemistry and carbon footprints. Still, critical information on their environmental and health impacts is not considered because until now much of the scientific research is unavailable. This has led to the use of unsustainable and hazardous fibers in apparel.


Benign by Design disrupts the current unsustainable pattern by showing companies exactly how textile wear leads to fiber pollution and ways to control their emissions. They developed a trade-off analysis system that rigorously and scientifically selects the most cost effective material with the smallest impact; fabrics that emit fewer fibers and less toxic fibers. The interdisciplinary team of leaders in ecology, Life Cycle Assessment, toxicology, engineering, chemistry, forensics, and ecosystem management provides cutting-edge research to reduce environmental and health impacts of fabrics, including a novel method of fiber quantification (³ 1 µm) in wastewater and animal tissues.

 “Our program will lead to cost-effective fabrics that emit fewer and less toxic fibers via novel research on how fabrics compare throughout their life cycle.” – Dr. Mark Anthony Browne, National Center for Ecological Analysis & Synthesis (NCEAS), University of California Santa Barbara

Stage of Innovation: Concept


Tracing emissions and impacts of fibers over their life cycle will guide sustainable design that builds upon established indices and tools (e.g. Nike’s Apparel Environmental Design tool) currently lacking such data. NCEAS pioneered open-data ecosystems (e.g. DataOne) to enable sharing, collaboration, contribution and unlimited accessibility to environmental data. Using this platform, and connections within the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and the American Association of Textile Chemists & Colorists, they will find early adopters, and then leverage a case study to achieve certification through the EPA’s Design for Environment Program.

“Our product empowers consumers to make informed choices, enabling them, for the first time, to purchase less hazardous fabrics that shed fewer potentially toxic fibers and chemicals throughout their life cycle.” – Dr. Mark Anthony Browne, National Center for Ecological Analysis & Synthesis (NCEAS), University of California Santa Barbara

Download the Benign by Design forum presentation

go to the website