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Is Recycling plastic bottles realistic?


Is Recycling plastic bottles realistic?20-02-2020 15:04
sceptic777
☆☆☆☆☆
(24)
The recycling of plastic bottles is a much discussed subject now that everyone is aware of the plastic pollution problem. But, will it in any real way solve this problem?
If, say, a whole lot of plastic bottles are gathered up and recycled into new plastic bottles and redistributed. And, for instance, only 50% of these are captured and disposed/recycled then the remaining 50% are lost to the environment. (Ocean and land). If this is then repeated and repeated, it only perpetuates the ocean and land litter problem.
The only viable solutions to this problem is to recycle the bottles into products that are not readily discarded such as garden stakes, fence posts etc. and get every one to take their own water with them in a flask so the problem of single use bottle litter would be greatly diminished. Ban them like my country has done with plastic shopping bags. What do other people on this forum think of this problem?
20-02-2020 18:55
Into the NightProfile picture★★★★★
(11753)
What plastic pollution problem? Define 'pollution'.

Plastic is not a pollution. People leaving junk like empty bottles, paper, cans an their pull tabs, and even feces on the beach is a problem.

Plastic can only be recycled to a very limited degree. Plastics are materials engineered for a specific purpose, and recycled plastics are unknown materials.

ALL plastics break down in UV light. Most plastics are food for bacteria living in the sea.

We have a litter problem, not a plastics problem.
21-02-2020 11:34
sceptic777
☆☆☆☆☆
(24)
I stand corrected on semantics (pollution vs litter). Plastics that are exposed to UV rays do break down but they become micro-plastics and end up in the food chain where they are an unknown danger. Before that they ensnare birds and turtles and whales and cause untold suffering and in some cases early death! There are some organisations that are starting a clean up but it is only a tiny proportion of the increasing amount that is being discarded and ends up in the ocean. My main point is that recycling is only a band aid patch despite what the public may think!
21-02-2020 23:44
Into the NightProfile picture★★★★★
(11753)
sceptic777 wrote:
I stand corrected on semantics (pollution vs litter).

To an extent. 'Pollution' has not yet been defined, so there is no semantics for it.
sceptic777 wrote:
Plastics that are exposed to UV rays do break down but they become micro-plastics

Nope. Plastics that break down are no longer plastics.
sceptic777 wrote:
and end up in the food chain

There is no single 'food chain'. Also, be aware that whatever eats anything is chemically broken down into simple sugars for the organism eating it.

Example:
* Bass, being fish, shit in the water.
* Tilapia. being another kind of fish, eat the bass shit. It contains nourishing bacteria to them.
* We eat the tilapia, to no ill effect.
* What we shit is put into the wastewater sewage system. That winds up a treatment plant.
* A digester in the plant uses bacteria in our own shit to break down any other sewage in that plant.
* The effluent enters the sea.
* Salmon and perch eat the effluent.
* We catch them both and eat the fish to no ill effect.

Plastics are plastics because they are polymerizations of simple molecules. Breaking down the plastic breaks down these chains into their components, forming simple salts. The sea is made up of lots of water and simple salts.

Polyethylene terephthalate, the plastic most commonly used for packaging (it's cheap and tough), is insert in the body. If you cut it up into bite sized pieces and consume it, it won't hurt you. It just passes right through (unless the pieces are too big). The very reason it's used on food packaging is because it's food safe. It's actually a polymerized carbohydrate.
sceptic777 wrote:
where they are an unknown danger.

The effects of consuming most any plastic is known.
sceptic777 wrote:
Before that they ensnare birds

Actually, there are only a few bird species that head out that far in the ocean. There are so many individual birds, however, that the occasional one that manages to wear a soda ring on it's neck won't make a significant dent on the bird population. Birds like this get killed by storms at sea, passing ships (sometimes they get caught in the rigging), or some other critter like a shark that eats them.

Don't worry about the birds.
sceptic777 wrote:
and turtles

Turtles don't have a significant problem with the stuff either. They spend much of their time munching on algae on the shoreline rocks. The biggest danger to a turtle is predators, or getting somehow flipped over on their back while on land.

Don't worry about the turtles.
sceptic777 wrote:
and whales

You can't fit a soda collar around a whale. Plankton eating whales don't have an opening large enough to inject the things. Now that whales have been saved by Big Oil, they are recovering quite nicely.

Don't worry about the whales.
sceptic777 wrote:
and cause untold suffering and in some cases early death!

So does flying between power lines as a bird approaches it's nest. So does hitting a window. So does the effects of nearby predators. So does storm activity. So does getting snagged up in something like ship rigging. So does starvation.

Death. Accept it. No one gets out of this life alive.
sceptic777 wrote:
There are some organisations that are starting a clean up

None. All they do is whine about a non-issue and fabricate photographs to show 'how bad it is'.
sceptic777 wrote:
but it is only a tiny proportion of the increasing amount that is being discarded and ends up in the ocean.

Now you're just making up numbers. This fallacy is known as an argument from randU fallacy.
sceptic777 wrote:
My main point is that recycling is only a band aid patch despite what the public may think!

It is expensive and produces an inferior plastic that is only suitable for light engineering uses (such as door mats, temporary packaging, etc. It is plastic, however, and may eventually wind up in the ocean anyway. Recycled plastic cannot effectively be recycled again.

It's a big ocean. We simply can't manufacture enough plastic to do anything significant to it, or to the life within it, even if we threw ALL of it in the ocean.

Don't worry about the plastic.


The Parrot Killer
Edited on 21-02-2020 23:46
22-02-2020 03:46
sceptic777
☆☆☆☆☆
(24)
Thanks Parriot Killer, I stand corrected on some issues but there were some that were understated and over simplified.
1) Some of the plastic in the ocean comes ashore, not all of it stays in the open ocean.
2) Seabirds have been found to have had larger pieces of plastic in their gut which possibly lead to their death.
3) Whales and Dolphins are not bothered so much with small pieces of plastic but the discarded ropes and fishing nets in which they get entangled.
4) Turtles often mistake a floating plastic bag for jelly fish. Ingesting this can be a big problem for their intestines.
5) Some plastics may break down but others can take many years to do so. I have been involved in the manufacturing of items out of plastic and the best ones resist acids and harsh chemicals so these will be with us for a long time.
I neglected to state the obvious....I don't like this planet looking like a rubbish dump.
22-02-2020 22:12
Into the NightProfile picture★★★★★
(11753)
sceptic777 wrote:
Thanks Parriot Killer, I stand corrected on some issues but there were some that were understated and over simplified.

Then ask away.
sceptic777 wrote:
1) Some of the plastic in the ocean comes ashore, not all of it stays in the open ocean.

Not a question.
sceptic777 wrote:
2) Seabirds have been found to have had larger pieces of plastic in their gut which possibly lead to their death.

I would go so far as to say this is contrived 'evidence', similar to the contrived 'evidence' used to ban DDT. Seabirds dive for fish. They have excellent eyesight when hunting for schools of fish at sea. They are not so blind as to mistake any plastic for a fish.
sceptic777 wrote:
3) Whales and Dolphins are not bothered so much with small pieces of plastic but the discarded ropes and fishing nets in which they get entangled.

They are
a) not discarded. Nets sometimes break off when poorly maintained. They are already quite degraded.
b) not plastic.
c) degrade quickly
d) are a pretty rare event. Lost nets mean lost money.
sceptic777 wrote:
4) Turtles often mistake a floating plastic bag for jelly fish. Ingesting this can be a big problem for their intestines.

Turtles don't eat jellyfish. Jellyfish are toxic.
sceptic777 wrote:
5) Some plastics may break down but others can take many years to do so.

ALL plastics break down. ALL plastics are food to bacteria and also break down in UV. None take more than a few months to do so.
sceptic777 wrote:
I have been involved in the manufacturing of items out of plastic and the best ones resist acids and harsh chemicals so these will be with us for a long time.

The ocean is alkaline, not acid. UV light and bacteria break down plastics, not chemicals in the sea.
sceptic777 wrote:
I neglected to state the obvious....I don't like this planet looking like a rubbish dump.

Neither do I. Indeed, my business is making instrumentation for industrial purposes so less waste is produced. I am also a chemist. I know what goes into the plastic pellets you use in your forming equipment. I also know what breaks it down. I live in Seattle. I am quite familiar with the sea.


The Parrot Killer
23-02-2020 00:16
HarveyH55
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(1743)
Animals aren't too bright, if it looks like food, they eat it. Doesn't matter if it's man made or not, they often eat things that aren't particularly healthy for them. Lot of animals eat bones, which can be rough on the digestive track, cause internal bleeding, infections.

There are plenty of animals in every species. A few examples by alarmist, aren't really representative of how the species is doing.

There was a recent climate change polar bear tragedy story. They were showing a starving polar bear digging threw a garbage dump. Turned out the bear had been crippled, hip injury that didn't heal well. Could hunt, or get around too good. They eventual euthanized the bear, and made the discovery, but that was after the camera crew was gone, the story edited, and aired.
24-02-2020 14:58
sceptic777
☆☆☆☆☆
(24)
Into The Night, After a short check of the facts I found out the following corrections:
Some plastics take long enough to break down to cause a lot of harm to marine animals. E.G. Stomach contents of dead sea birds showing many pieces of plastic ingested.

One plastic that doesn't break down is Expanded polystyrene. It persists in the environment for 100 to 1 million years. If ingested by marine animals it ultimately kills them. It can leak toxins Styrene and Benzene. (both suspected carcinogens & known neurotoxins)

Many species of turtles eat jellyfish.
Leatherback (almost exclusively jellyfish)
Flatback
Kemps Ridley
Loggerhead.

Plastics are a bigger problem than you say!
24-02-2020 23:17
Into the NightProfile picture★★★★★
(11753)
HarveyH55 wrote:
Animals aren't too bright, if it looks like food, they eat it. Doesn't matter if it's man made or not, they often eat things that aren't particularly healthy for them. Lot of animals eat bones, which can be rough on the digestive track, cause internal bleeding, infections.

There are plenty of animals in every species. A few examples by alarmist, aren't really representative of how the species is doing.

There was a recent climate change polar bear tragedy story. They were showing a starving polar bear digging threw a garbage dump. Turned out the bear had been crippled, hip injury that didn't heal well. Could hunt, or get around too good. They eventual euthanized the bear, and made the discovery, but that was after the camera crew was gone, the story edited, and aired.


Yup. They don't show the hawks that survive, just the few that flew into a wind turbine blade.
They don't show the polar bears that are doing well, just the starving one.
Yup. Cherry picking is quite common in stories like this.


The Parrot Killer
24-02-2020 23:35
Into the NightProfile picture★★★★★
(11753)
sceptic777 wrote:
Into The Night, After a short check of the facts

Redefinition fallacy (fact<->universal Truth). Learn what 'fact' means.
sceptic777 wrote:
I found out the following corrections:

No, you found the following propaganda.
sceptic777 wrote:
Some plastics take long enough to break down to cause a lot of harm to marine animals. E.G. Stomach contents of dead sea birds showing many pieces of plastic ingested.

Nope. Bacteria eat plastic and UV breaks it down as well.
sceptic777 wrote:
One plastic that doesn't break down is Expanded polystyrene.

It breaks down as well.
sceptic777 wrote:
It persists in the environment for 100 to 1 million years.

Argument from randU fallacy. polystyrene hasn't existed for 1 million years.
sceptic777 wrote:
If ingested by marine animals it ultimately kills them.

Nope. Harmless.
sceptic777 wrote:
It can leak toxins Styrene and Benzene.

Nope. It's plastic. Polymerization binds these molecules quite strongly.
sceptic777 wrote:
(both suspected carcinogens & known neurotoxins)

Neither can cause cancer. Cancer is not caused by any substance. Learn what cancer is.

Again, you are considering part of a molecule as the characteristics of that molecule. That is WRONG.
sceptic777 wrote:
Many species of turtles eat jellyfish.

The only species of turtle that even bothers with the things is the green turtle. Turtles generally eat algae.
sceptic777 wrote:
Leatherback (almost exclusively jellyfish)

Nope. They eat mollusks.
sceptic777 wrote:
Flatback
Kemps Ridley
Loggerhead.

I'm not going to go through and correct you on every turtle species.
sceptic777 wrote:
Plastics are a bigger problem than you say!

Nope. You are taking things WAY out of proportion.


The Parrot Killer




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