B. Environment News

A fish named Faithful highlights Plastic-Free July

A 4.5m-long by 2.5m-high wire and plastic sculpture of ‘A Fish Named Faithful’ has been unveiled at the V&A Waterfront to highlight the impact of plastic waste on marine life. Comissioned by online eco lifestyle and health retailer Faithful to Nature as one of the organisation’s Plastic Free July initiatives, A Fish Named Faithful was… Read more »

‘Waste Shark’ aquadrone tested for harbour clean-ups, and more

RANMARINE Technology, a drone technology company from the Netherlands, specialises in remote controlled and autonomous drones called ‘Sharks’ that operate on water, extracting unwanted material and gathering data about the marine environment. RanMarine’s WasteShark™, modelled on Earth’s biggest fish, the whale shark, will ‘eat’ plastics and other floating litter; extract alien and pest vegetation; and… Read more »

Scientists create new plastic that could be fully recyclable

A team of researchers working at the US Department of Energy says it has created a kind of plastic that could lead to products that are 100% recyclable. The team works at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California. It recently reported the discovery in a study in the journal Nature Chemistry…. Read more »

‘Tuneable’ plastics could offer viable solution

GENERALLY, all biodegradable plastics are bioplastics, and that is why naturally occurring microorganisms can consume them, unlike fossil-fuel derived plastics. However, not all bioplastics are necessarily biodegradable to industry standards. This is because, while bioplastics are defined as being based on natural components, they don’t necessarily need to be entirely derived from them. Theoretically, developing… Read more »

Breakthrough in chemical recycling of polystyrene

INEOS Styrolution, a global leader in styrenics, has completed the first successful test runs producing virgin polystyrene from previously depolymerized material. These experiments, completed at the company’s Antwerp site in Belgium, can be seen as the practical proof of the recyclability of polystyrene. A lab-scale quantity of general purpose polystyrene produced from 100% recycled styrene… Read more »

Operation #CleanupDurban a huge success!

THE South African plastics industry has once again proved that it does not merely pay lip service when it comes to looking after the environment – it acts on its promises! Under the guidance of Plastics|SA’s Sustainability Director, Douw Steyn, supported by the KZN Marine Waste Network and various other organisations and institutions, more than… Read more »

First plastic road in SA!

KOUGA municipality in the Eastern Cape is gearing up to build the first plastic road in SA. Kouga municipality mayor Horatio Hendricks said at a media launch in Jeffreys Bay that local civil engineering and construction companies SP Excel and Scribante Construction would partner with Scottish firm MacRebur to build a one kilometrem stretch in… Read more »

Chem-i-Plast, Afritrade introduce ground-breaking biodegradable additive

CHEM-I-PLAST, the Johannesburg-based materials and additive supplier, in conjunction with Afritrade, the machinery supplier, are the sole distributors of BioSphere, a biodegradable additive that accelerates the natural biodegradation of plastics at a rate which is faster than any other product available in the market. BioSphere, which can be added to a vast array of raw… Read more »

Biodegradable vs compostable vs oxo-degradable plastics

AS CONSUMER demand for sustainable products grows, bioplastics – which can reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and decrease greenhouse emissions – will become more prevalent. Production of bioplastics is expected to grow by as much as 20% by 2022, and as it does, consumer understanding of bioplastics will need to grow with it. A… Read more »

2018 a good year for bio-based polymers

THE new market and trend report ‘Bio-based Building Blocks and Polymers – Global Capacities, Production and Trends 2018-2023’ from the German nova-Institute, shows capacities and production data for all bio-based polymers. In 2018 the total production volume reached 7.5 million tons – already 2% of the production volume of petrochemical polymers. The potential is much… Read more »

Results of 2018 International Coastal Clean-Up released

Increase in the amount of disposable diapers found illegally dumped THE results of the 2018 International Coastal Clean-up have just been released. During the 2018 event, 19 563 volunteers collected 241 425 items nationally in audited clean-ups that took place along the country’s 2 500km coastline. Although this is the official figure, many more volunteers… Read more »

Fraunhofer paper on recycling bioplastics

By Grace Nolan, British Plastics & Rubber EXPERTS at Fraunhofer UMSICHT are discussing bioplastics and its compatibility with recycling. The new German packaging law took effect on 1 January, which allows for more food packaging, such as fruit and vegetables, to be made from sustainable plastics. The new law creates incentives for using products made… Read more »

Global alliance to end plastic waste

Nearly 30 plastics companies commit over $1.0-billion to help end plastic waste in the environment AROUND 30 companies who have co-founded a global alliance to advance solutions that reduce and eliminate plastic waste in the environment, especially in the ocean. The Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW) has committed over $1.0 billion with the goal… Read more »

Volunteers assist with historic landmark’s waste clean-up

More than 130 assist in largest clean-up to date ONE of South Africa’s most famous landmarks, Robben Island, was freed from some of its waste burden as more than 130 volunteers, guided by the national PET Recycling Company (PETCO) and Plastics SA, embarked on the island’s biggest ever waste collection drive. The tourist attraction and… Read more »

Ocean Cleanup system returns to port for repair

THE Ocean Cleanup Workers on The Ocean Cleanup project deployed the high density polyethylene pipe and plastic skirt system in the Pacific Ocean late last year. The plastic pipe-and-skirt system placed in the Pacific Ocean to corral marine litter needs repair for “structural malfunctioning” about two-and-a-half months after being deployed to the garbage patch halfway… Read more »

Volvo race data revealed at expert conference

Scientists find 93% of samples analysed contained levels of microplastics UNIQUE information on the global concentration of microplastics pollution in our oceans has been presented at an international science conference in Lanzarote. The information was collected from seawater samples taken during the Volvo Ocean Race, which, for the first time, combined a global sporting event… Read more »

‘Sun shield’ could protect coral reefs from bleaching

A biodegradable film 50,000 times thinner than human hair AS global sea temperatures rise with climate change, some of the most fragile biomes, like coral reefs are being threatened. The rising temperatures can cause coral bleaching, when corals expel the colourful algae living in their tissues, turning them white. While bleached corals aren’t dead, they… Read more »

Ocean Cleanup system returns to port for repair

THE Ocean Cleanup Workers on The Ocean Cleanup project deployed the high density polyethylene pipe and plastic skirt system in the Pacific Ocean late last year. The plastic pipe-and-skirt system placed in the Pacific Ocean to corral marine litter needs repair for “structural malfunctioning” about two-and-a-half months after being deployed to the garbage patch halfway… Read more »

Biodegradable polymer market value to grow to $1.7bn by 2023

AS plastic regulations and bans on plastic bags and other single-use plastic items such as drinking straws increase globally, the demand and market value of biodegradable polymers exceeds $1-billion (about R15-billion) and will rise sharply to $1.7-billion (about R20-billion) by 2023, says global information provider IHS Markit. Biodegradable or compostable polymers are bio-based or fossil-fuel-based… Read more »

Turning waste into recreation islands

Plastic pollution is a huge problem worldwide, and cities around the world are now implementing various initiatives to stem the tide of disposable, single-use plastics before it gets out into the environment or into the oceans. In the Netherlands, Recycled Island Foundation has been working for the last five years to create Recycled Park, a… Read more »

G7 plastics charter details some specific goals

Marks sharp change in plastics use and role of government in the industry OCEAN litter, recycling and more environmentally sustainable uses of plastics in general got significant attention in the Ocean Plastics Charter adopted on 9 June by five of the G7 member nations. The non-binding charter, signed by Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the United… Read more »

How much money do retailers stand to lose by eradicating plastic bags

Latest tax statistics for 2016/17 show government collected R232-million in levies from bag sales SOUTH African retailers have started making a concerted effort to do away with wasteful plastics which is being used in their products, with both Woolworths and Pick n Pay announcing plans to remove various practices. Woolworths has announced that it aims… Read more »

Turning the tide on ocean pollution

Single use plastic shouldn’t be used just once THE idyllic coastline of Kenya on the east coast of Africa is known for its beautiful beaches and azure blue shores. Situated just off the mainland of Kenya is the island of Lamu, a piece of paradise recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site and is home… Read more »