The good, the middling, and the horrifying: 8 things to know about our choices

Read, Watch - November 6, 2018

Some of my reading over the last few months.

THE GOOD

1. Lego wants to go plastic free
“Lego is trying to refashion the product it is best known for: It wants to eliminate its dependence on petroleum-based plastics, and build its toys entirely from plant-based or recycled materials by 2030.”

2. Electronic miners in Ghana
“In Agbogbloshie, a community in Accra, Ghana, people descend on a scrapyard to mine electronic waste for recyclable materials. Without formal training, these urban miners often teach themselves the workings of electronics by taking them apart and putting them together again. Designer and TED Fellow DK Osseo-Asare wondered: What would happen if we connected these self-taught techies with students and young professionals in STEAM fields? The result: a growing maker community where people engage in peer-to-peer, hands-on education, motivated by what they want to create.”

 

3. The world’s most drastic plastic bag ban
“Abattoirs used to find plastic in the guts of roughly three out of every 10 animals taken to slaughter. This has gone down to one. The government is now conducting a proper analysis to measure the overall effect of the measure.” Go Kenya.

THE MIDDLING

4. France is finally going to tax plastic
Currently, it’s cheaper to bury plastic than recycle it and France hopes to turn that around and get single-use plastic off the shelves. Why has it taken this long for Europe to act?

5. Teaching crows to clean up human trash
“In order to keep the area clean, the park wants to try out a low-tech option for cleaning up garbage: rooks, a member of the crow family closely related to carrion crows. Under this new system, if the park’s six rooks take a piece of trash to a special box, the device dispenses bird food.”

6. Scientists are trying to redesign plastic
“While not a silver bullet for the problem of plastic waste, self-destructing plastics could also enable new applications in drug delivery, self-healing materials and even some electronics. The starting point requires picking polymers that are inherently unstable, and often historically overlooked because of their fragility.”

THE HORRIFYING

7. All plastic bottle water has micro-plastics
“In one bottle of Nestlé Pure Life, concentrations were as high as 10,000 plastic pieces per litre of water. Of the 259 bottles tested, only 17 were free of plastics, according to the study.”

8. BPA free plastic is just as harmful as normal plastic
“We can almost never demonstrate a cause-and-effect in humans,” Hunt said, pointing out that even the well-established link between tobacco smoking and cancer relies largely on indirect evidence. “But how confident would you feel if I told you that we’ve seen this effect in mice, in nematodes, and in rhesus monkeys? I’d say it’s a pretty good bet that we would see it in humans, too, if we could run the same kind of experiments.”



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