PREVIEW: Plast-Chem: State-of-the-science of hazardous chemicals in plastic

A preview of the upcoming state-of-the-science of hazardous chemicals in plastics report, Plast-Chem, and its database. Key findings include more than 16,000 chemicals detected in plastics, with no plastic chemicals classifiable as safe.

The report is meant to deliver an up-to-date evidence base of plastic chemicals and polymers, that groups chemicals based on their structure, criteria and conceptual frameworks to address chemicals of concern, and policy needs.

Plastic credits are now being discussed as a strategy to address plastic pollution. But what is the reality of this approach?

Building on research published by SourceMaterial and Bloomberg with original research by Break Free From Plastic (BFFP) and the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA), this report uncovers serious flaws in plastic offsets, credits and plastic neutrality. The listed projects on two of the main proponents of plastic offsetting — Verra and Plastic Credit Exchange (PCX) — were analyzed to provide a snapshot of the current realities of plastic offsetting, beyond the promises and marketing.

While people tend to feel like bioplastics are a more environmentally responsible single-use choice than conventional plastics, experts find a lack of awareness among people about how to appropriately dispose of bioplastics. What’s more, facilities that can handle bioplastics are not widely available.

Technology, Policy, and Societal Dimensions

Addressing climate change by decarbonizing the U.S. energy system is essential and possible, with far-reaching benefits for public health and economic development. Recent legislation has put the nation on the path towards achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, but many challenges remain. A new National Academies’ report, Accelerating Decarbonization in the United States, gives sector-by-sector recommendations to help policymakers successfully implement an equitable energy transition over the next decade and beyond.

Scientists document for the first time microplastics in clouds sampled above Japan’s Mount Fuji and Mount Oyama. These microplastics appear to fall down on the Earth via “plastic rainfall.”

Abstract: Microplastic pollution is occurring in most ecosystem, yet their presence in high altitude clouds and their influence on cloud formation and climate change are poorly known. Here we analyzed microplastics in cloud water sampled at the summits of Japan mountains at 1300–3776 m altitude by attenuated total reflection imaging and micro-Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. We observed nine microplastics including polyethylene, polypropylene, polyethylene terephthalate, polymethyl methacrylate, polyamide 6, polycarbonate, ethylene–propylene copolymer or polyethylene–polypropylene alloy, polyurethane, and epoxy resin. Microplastic were fragmented, with mean concentrations ranging from 6.7 to 13.9 pieces per liter, and with Feret diameters ranging from 7.1 to 94.6 μm. Microplastics bearing hydrophilic groups such as carbonyl and/or hydroxyl groups were abundant, suggesting that they might have acted as condensation nuclei of cloud ice and water. Overall, our finding suggest that high-altitude microplastics cloud influence cloud formation and, in turn, might modify the climate.

This Upstream report was made to provide unbiased information and analysis to help venue managers, food concessionaires, and other industry leaders identify the most environmentally friendly options for beverages at music festivals, sports, and other forms of live entertainment. Learn why plastic-free reusable containers are the best option, and how reuse systems can be implemented to benefit people and the planet.