Tuesday, 25 June 2019

40-yr-old KFC plastic bag found

Elliot Peters May 17
30-40 year old plastic bag found intact under 8m of ocean off Bulcock Beach

A local underwater clean up group, SCCUD - Sunshine Coast Clean Up Divers, has found a mostly intact plastic bag under 8m of ocean water in the pumicestone passage off Bulcock Beach. While it doesn't look too intact in the image, it was almost fully intact when it was discovered underwater, half full of silt and tangled in rocks.

The volunteer community group conducts monthly underwater clean up's. These focus on the Northern Pumicestone Passage and the Mooloolah River estuary. Group founder and organiser, Elliot Peters, reached out to KFC Australia to ascertain the age of the bag. A spokesperson from KFC Australia stated "...judging by the logo it would be [from the] 70s -80s."

This startling discovery further proves the longevity of plastics, even in harsh environments. The unfunded group is committed to monthly surveys in both areas, systematically sorting and reporting all findings to the Australian Marine Debris Initiative and Project Aware. "We take the time to carefully remove debris, sort it, reuse or repurpose what we can through local artists, recycle or dispose of responsibly whatever is left over", said Elliot. "In the 18 months we've been operating, we have collected over 500kg of debris, including almost 20km of fishing line. Sadly we are barely able to cover even 1000 square metres before we need to start again in the same spot, there are areas with dozens of tyres and cobwebs of fishing line that we would love to clean up but we just don't have the time", he continued.

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40-year-old KFC plastic bag found in Sunshine Coast waterway
Sunshine Coast Clean Up Divers found debris and a 40-year-old plastic KFC bag in the ocean.Credit:Sunshine Coast Clean Up Divers

Sunshine Coast diver Elliot Peters has been picking up rubbish in waterways for a while but nothing could've surprised him more than finding a 40-year-old plastic KFC bag under water.

Mr Peters, who is the founder of Sunshine Coast Clean Up Divers, has been clearing waterways for almost one year and record their findings for a charity called Project Aware. "We decided to focus on that spot just near Bulcock Beach where we dive once a month," he said.

"We get a lot of rubbish at the mouths of the river and we do our best to collect it and do our part for the environment. We do our bit while enjoying the dive as a social thing." Mr Peters said their work was critical in protecting the environment to prevent entanglement, choking and death of animals.

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'Pretty mind-blowing': KFC plastic bag from the 1970s is found during a clean-up of the ocean floor
The plastic bag displays the distinctive face of the fast food chain's founder, Colonel Sanders

A KFC plastic bag from 40 years ago has been found full of silt and tangled in rocks eight metres underwater. The bag was retrieved by Sunshine Coast Clean Up Divers as they scoured the waters off Bulcock Beach in Queensland last month.

The volunteer group, who cleaned up each month, said the bag was 'almost fully intact'.

Elliot Peters, the group's founder, said a KFC spokesman believed the bag was from the 1970s, judging by the logo.

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Plastic bag found in Sunshine Coast waterway could be up to 40 years old and it's just the tip of the iceberg

This plastic bag found under 8m of water on the Sunshine Coast is thought to be 30–40 years old. Covered in silt and tangled among rocks, a single-use plastic bag found under eight metres of water on Queensland's Sunshine Coast could be up to 40 years old — and the find is just the tip of the rubbish iceberg.

Key points:
  • Plastic film is the third most common type of litter in Australian waters
  • Volunteer divers on the Sunshine Coast have pulled almost 550kg of rubbish from two waterways in just eight months
  • Sunshine Coast items retrieved include 25km of discarded fishing line and more than 7,000 individual items
  • Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.
  • AUDIO: 'Mind-blowing' branded plastic bag discovery in Sunshine Coast waters (ABC News)
  • The KFC bag was discovered by a volunteer group called Sunshine Coast Clean Up Divers (SCCUD) in the Pumicestone Passage at Bulcock Beach, Caloundra, an area known for its sandy beaches and crystal clear waters.
The group's organiser Elliot Peters said he sent a photograph of the bag to the fast food chain, which estimated it was 30 to 40 years old, based on the logo. "It's hard to say [how long the bag had been there], but obviously you don't keep a KFC bag lying around and then drop it into the water 40 years later, so it's obviously been around in the environment somewhere, whether underwater or not," Mr Peters said.

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Alleged 40-year-old KFC plastic bag found mostly intact during ocean cleanup in Australia

According an ABC News article on June 13, Peters then sent a photo of the bag to the fast food chain.  Shockingly, KFC revealed that from the logo and design, the bag was estimated to be around 30 to 40 years old.

Despite plastic bags being flimsy and paper thin, the fact that it could have survived in such a “harsh environment”, with minimal wear and tear, is a testament to the durability and longevity of the material.

Till now, it is uncertain how long the lifespan of a plastic bag is before it degrades. Estimates have ranged between 10 and 1,000 years.

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related:
40-yr-old KFC plastic bag found
We're Eating a Whole Lot of Plastic
Microplastics in Your Bottled Water
Is this the end of recycling?
Plastic waste to return to Sender
Plastic waste is a threat to wildlife
Why is plastic a problem?

Monday, 24 June 2019

Is this the end of recycling?


Americans are consuming more and more stuff. Now that other countries won’t take our papers and plastics, they’re ending up in the trash.

After decades of earnest public-information campaigns, Americans are finally recycling. Airports, malls, schools, and office buildings across the country have bins for plastic bottles and aluminum cans and newspapers. In some cities, you can be fined if inspectors discover that you haven’t recycled appropriately. But now much of that carefully sorted recycling is ending up in the trash.

For decades, we were sending the bulk of our recycling to China — tons and tons of it, sent over on ships to be made into goods such as shoes and bags and new plastic products. But last year, the country restricted imports of certain recyclables, including mixed paper — magazines, office paper, junk mail — and most plastics. Waste-management companies across the country are telling towns, cities, and counties that there is no longer a market for their recycling. These municipalities have two choices: pay much higher rates to get rid of recycling, or throw it all away.

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China’s import ban on solid waste queried at import licensing meeting

Five WTO members questioned China’s import ban on solid waste, particularly for certain scrap materials, at the 3 October meeting of the WTO Committee on Import Licensing. The United States, the European Union, Australia, Canada and Korea sought more information on which types of materials would be affected, with some noting that this issue was of great interest to their business sectors.

The United States said it had significant concerns with the changes to import licensing surrounding China's implementation of an existing import ban on plastic and paper scrap. The US asked whether China was planning to extend the measure to cover ferrous and non-ferrous scrap, and if so, when this would be implemented and under what procedures. The US requested China to adhere to notification obligations, particularly for ferrous and non-ferrous scrap, noting that this constituted a multi-billion market for US stakeholders.

Earlier, on 18 July 2017, China had notified to the WTO that it would be imposing a ban on imports of certain kinds of solid waste by the end of 2017. Canada said it shares the concern of the United States as the recently announced restrictions were already creating issues for its traders. Canada said it wanted to know the specific products China intended to ban as part of the catalogue of solid waste that will fall nchunder new restrictions. Australia said it had similarly raised concerns over this issue both in Geneva and in Beijing. The EU also asked for more details on the policy. Korea said it will closely monitor the measures and that it will further cooperate with China as necessary. China's delegation responded that it will forward these concerns to its capital for consideration.

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Plastic waste to return to Sender
Malaysia says it will send back non-recyclable plastic waste to countries including the US, UK, Canada and Australia in a move to avoid becoming a dumping ground for rich nations. (AP Photo /Vincent Thian, File)

Ottawa has no plans to pick up plastic waste that originated in Canada and is currently parked in Malaysia, a spokesman for Canada's environment ministry said on Thursday (Jun 13).

In late May, the Malaysian government said it would send back 3,000 tonnes of plastic waste back to 14 countries of origin, including Canada, the United States, Japan, France, Australia and Britain.

In an email statement to Reuters, Environment and Climate Change Canada spokesman Gabrielle Lamontagne said: "There are no plans for the Canadian government to pick up waste in Malaysia."

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‘Trash plastic waste trade’
Greenpeace activists dump garbage and hold placards calling for a halt to international waste dumping, in front of the Foreign Ministry in Bangkok yesterday. EPA-EFE PHOTO

ENVIRONMENTAL campaigners have called on Asean member states to go beyond a narrow focus in solving the problem of marine plastic pollution to also address the plastic waste trade, as the region continues to be inundated with imported trash.

With Bangkok set to host the 34th Asean Summit over the weekend, the meeting is scheduled to hold talks on the marine debris problem. Asean member states have pledged to endorse a new regional collaborative framework – The Bangkok Declaration – to tackle marine plastic pollution. However, Greenpeace Southeast Asia and other prominent environmental groups in the region faulted the agenda for not including the huge related problem of plastic waste trade.

They called on Asean governments to entirely ban all import of plastic waste, establish a holistic regional policy governing production of single-use plastics, and advance the framework for a sustainable and ethical circular economy in order to protect public health and the environment from plastic pollution. Thailand, as Asean chair, will host the summit under the theme “Advancing Partnership for Sustainability”.

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Curbing marine debris in Asia

Thai zero-waste advocate Thanaboon Somboon never leaves his home without what he calls a full “weaponry” of reusable shopping bags, coffee tumblers and stainless steel straws for his daily battle against single-use plastic.

“I saw news of trash overflowing the world ... sea animals dying from eating plastic ... I felt I must do something,” said the 48-year-old entrepreneur, who leads an online community of over 20,000 people seeking to practise a waste-free lifestyle.But individual efforts alone can’t fully stop the eight million tonnes of plastic that make their way to the ocean each year, and with four of the five worst ocean polluters in South-East Asia, the region’s governments must take action, he said. “Policymaking to address the issue must be treated with urgency as well,” added Thanaboon.

A summit for leaders of the 10-member Association of South-East Asian Nations (Asean) being hosted by Thailand this weekend is expected to adopt the Bangkok Declaration on Combating Marine Debris in the Asean Region.

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The ‘top-5’ countries throwing plastic waste in the Oceans
Thailand, the current chair of the group, has lauded the declaration as a “big step” for the region, whose coasts have seen whales and sea turtles wash up dead in recent years with large amounts of plastic rubbish in their stomachs. (Representative Image)


Thai zero-waste advocate Thanaboon Somboon never leaves his home without what he calls a full “weaponry” of reusable shopping bags, coffee tumblers and stainless steel straws for his daily battle against single-use plastic.

“I saw news of trash overflowing the world...sea animals dying from eating plastic...I felt I must do something,” says the 48-year-old entrepreneur, who leads an online community of more than 20,000 people seeking to practise a waste-free lifestyle.

But individual efforts alone can’t fully stop the 8 million tonnes of plastic that make their way to the ocean each year, and with four of the five worst ocean polluters in Southeast Asia, the region’s governments must take action, he says. “Policymaking to address the issue must be treated with urgency as well,” said Thanaboon.

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Among world's worst polluters, ASEAN vows to tackle ocean waste
Low rates of rubbish collection in many parts of Asia is one of the main reasons why so much plastic waste ends up in the sea (Photo: AFP/Noel CELIS)

With Southeast Asia awash in rubbish, from plastic-choked whales to trash-clogged canals, leaders are planning to push through a deal to fight maritime debris at a regional meeting this weekend.

Just five Asian countries - China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand - dump more than half of the eight million tonnes of plastic waste that end up in oceans every year, according to a 2017 Ocean Conservancy report.

The region has come under fire for not doing enough to tackle its mounting trash troubles, with single-use plastic and sub-par waste management adding to the problem.

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Southeast Asian nations vow to combat plastic debris in oceans

Southeast Asian nations vowed on Saturday to fight against plastic pollution in the ocean, as their leaders adopted a joint declaration during a summit in Bangkok.

The Bangkok Declaration on Combating Marine Debris in ASEAN Region was adopted by leaders of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which includes four of the world’s top polluters.

ASEAN members Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand, along with worst offender China, throw the most plastic waste into oceans, according to a 2015 report co-authored by environmental campaigner Ocean Conservancy.

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South-east Asian nations, among worst ocean polluters, aim to curb plastic debris

Plastic bottle washed up by the sea is seen at the Ao Phrao Beach, on the island of Ko Samet


Thai zero-waste advocate Thanaboon Somboon never leaves his home without what he calls a full "weaponry" of reusable shopping bags, coffee tumblers and stainless steel straws for his daily battle against single-use plastic.

"I saw news of trash overflowing the world...sea animals dying from eating plastic...I felt I must do something," says the 48-year-old entrepreneur, who leads an online community of more than 20,000 people seeking to practice a waste-free lifestyle.

But individual efforts alone can't fully stop the 8 million tonnes of plastic that make their way to the ocean each year, and with four of the five worst ocean polluters in South-east Asia, the region's governments must take action, he says.

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Singapore welcomes ASEAN declaration on tackling marine waste

Singapore welcomes a declaration by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to combat marine debris, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Saturday (Jun 22) as he urged the regional grouping to also reduce the waste it produces.

At the 34th ASEAN Summit in Bangkok on Saturday, leaders adopted the Bangkok Declaration on combating Marine Debris, reaffirming the bloc's commitment to conserve the marine environment and strengthen regional cooperation in addressing marine debris issues.

Four of the world’s top marine plastic polluters are in Southeast Asia - Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand - trailing only China.

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Southeast Asia should ban foreign trash imports: Environmentalists
A doll hangs at a rubbish dumps in Jakarta, Indonesia. (Photo: REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan/Files)

Environmental groups called on Tuesday (Jun 18) for Southeast Asian countries to ban waste imports from developed countries to help tackle a plastic pollution crisis, as regional leaders prepare to meet this week in Bangkok.

Southeast Asia has seen a staggering spike in imports of plastic and electronic waste from developed countries after the world's top recycler, China, banned imports, causing millions of tonnes of trash to be diverted to less-regulated countries.

Thailand will from Thursday host four days of meetings for leaders of the 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) to discuss the region's most pressing issues, including plastic debris in the ocean.

read more

related:
40-yr-old KFC plastic bag found
We're Eating a Whole Lot of Plastic
Microplastics in Your Bottled Water
Is this the end of recycling?
Plastic waste to return to Sender
Plastic waste is a threat to wildlife
Why is plastic a problem?