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4 posts from April 2009

April 22, 2009

An Earth Day Post Plastics-Haters MUST READ!

I like to blog about way out there plastics, like plastics from algae, and I like to write about industry trends but my favorite topic is addressing poor misguided folks who think we need to eliminate plastics from our lives.

With that in mind, today's blog is dedicated to EARTH DAY!


Fat people cause global warming

I knew it! Now I'm not against fat people, but according to the UK Sun they are selfishly causing global warming problems. They equate being fat with driving a gas guzzling SUV.  The study by Dr Edwards and colleague Ian Roberts is published in the International Journal of Epidemiology.

"The scientists say providing extra grub for them to guzzle adds to carbon emissions that heat up the world, melting polar ice caps, raising sea levels and killing rain forests."

Should we round them all up? Unless Global Warming isn't even real, then we can leave them alone.

UPDATE:Nalgene no longer sells water bottles made with Bisphenol A. Number 7 as a plastic type means any plastic that is not in the first six, so having number 7 on the bottom does not necessarily mean that it contains BPA.

Stainless Steel vs. Plastic Water Bottles

Great blog by Doug Smock on this issue. According to the NY Times factual, scientific (cough,cough) report, Stainless is better environmentally than plastic. But they use such shoddy math and faulty logic that someone should be arrested. This is why all these poor people are confused out there. Well meaning but dumb people slant reports to say what they want, thereby causing a panic.

Even they admit:
"One stainless steel bottle is obviously much worse than one plastic bottle."

But they are only comparing a reusable steel bottle to a one use throw away plastic bottle. Even by their own logic, a solid plastic reusable PLASTIC bottle will be better than STAINLESS!!!  Oh, and just get a BPA free bottle to avoid that whole topic.

UPDATE: Nalgene no longer sells water bottles made with Bisphenol A. Number 7 as a plastic type means any plastic that is not in the first six, so having number 7 on the bottom does not necessarily mean that it contains BPA.


Eliminate Plastic in clothing, Use Pet Fur

You know plastics in clothes HAS to be a bad thing right? Even aside from all the dicso polyester clothes jokes, right? We should all be wearing leather shoes and cotton clothes to save the world? WRONG! If everyone did that the deforestation to grow additional crops and grazing land, not to mention all of the extra animal flatulence would be FAR WORSE for the environment than some plastic in our clothes.

But! Don't worry, now their is a solution: make your clothes from pet fur! Hmm, but they look really warm, maybe we won't need clothes at all, what with the global warming and all.

Or we could start a black market in kidnapped dogs for their fur. No more waking up in a bathtub to find your kidney gone. Now your DOG wakes up in a hotel bathtub...naked... shaven clean!  We must do something to protect our pets.  Hmmm, cat fur might make good ear warmers. Here kitty...

Cork tree

Use a Plastic Cork, save a tree, save the globe!

You think a plastic cork MUST be bad for the environment, right? Well tree huggers, what about the tree? Did you know cork is the bark of a Quercus Suber tree and that it is stripped off the living tree painfully, worse than waterboarding! And a tree's bark is its outter-wear, its protection from the elements. And worse, as soon as the bark grows back they strip it off again!  Where is the compassion for these poor tortured trees? Wouldn't a little recyclable plastic be more humane than this!  This tragedy is one of those points that splits the liberal crowd wide open! Which is worse, tree torture or use of a plastic? Maybe we should ask the NY TImes, they'll straighten us out.


From little acorns grow mighty environmentally sound ideas

Now here is a plastic alternative I love. Replacement of Styrofoam with an plant waste based organic alternative! Yes folks, there are plastics alternatives I prefer and here's one. In every possible way this is SOO much better than Styrofoam EPS plastic. Comes from a waste source; ice hulls, corn husks, etc.  Totally biodegradable. Moldable. Not Plastic!  Oh look, now I've done it. I find myself in agreement with the NY Times on an issue! Ugh.


The problem is not your dog lady, the problem is YOU!!!

Now granted this is probably my favorite topic, plastic bags. I'm the first to be anti-litter, I hate it. I loved the Keep America Beautiful ads as a kid that featured the litter surrounded crying indian...errr...native american (sorry).

As Cesar Milan, the dog whisper inevitably says, "the problem is not the dog lady, the problem is you" and so it goes with litter. All of this misguided folks blaming the plastic bag as the evil daemon without so much as a mention to the fact that PEOPLE littered those bags individually or corporately.  The problem is YOU, not the bag.

I'm not FOR the bag, I just strongly dislike the blame being put on the bag instead of on ourselves. Reusable bags? Way to go, all the way, nothing is better. But paper versus plastic bags? A whole essay can be written on how plastic may be environmental better than plastic. That said, you've GOT to see this anti-plastic bag video on you-tube.  It's very well done and persuasive and likely the best tool the plastics haters have ever made. Check it out, for better or worse.


The Great Big Pacific Plastics Garbage Patch

Again, I don't like litter, but the answer is to be anti-litter, not anti-any particular material. One of the largest misconceptions is the alleged giant plastic trash island floating in the pacific. It's a bad thing, no question. My problem is the false impression that is repeatedly made.

Environmentalists have made it sound like it is a giant Sargasso Sea of plastics, so big and thick that you could build on it.  Other than occasional small patches that make for good photography, this plastics patch is actually widely dispersed and not an island or even a contiguous mass of plastic the size of a continent, according to what I've read.  I don't like it, but I dislike the distortion and exaggeration of the story even more, and it makes me doubt everything.  This image, this blog source, accompanies an article titled Garbage Island, but I'd bet anything that the photo is from a landfill, not the ocean.  But the public reads it and imagines this horrific continent of plastic crap, it simply isn't accurate. And again, people are anti-plastic instead of anti-litter, not a peep about that!

Note: I don't like the 'real' ocean plastic garbage patches and I'm even more disappointed by the plastics industry lack of a response to it, but hey, lets tell the truth, not lie about it to scare you.


Good News! Torture no longer needed to make plastics!

I reported earlier that plastic an now be made by physiologically stressing (torture) plump bacteria, turning it into a cool biodegradable plastic.  But the torture thing ate at my karma. Now I'm glad to announce, thanks to Al Fin's blog, that gentle nano-milkers can safely take the oil from algae without algae-pain! Thank God! Now our future is safe and guilt free. Algae to Oil to Plastics. I like it. Will anyone say 'Save the Algae?'


For Earth Day, A Public Service Announcement, Corn Based Plastics For Kids!

Here you go folks, guilt free plastics made from corn. Includes kids eating plates and utensils as well as pacifiers and toys!  Oh, there is one problem. Making plastics from food crops has big issues down the road as plastics would compete with hungry people for the source material. Better still to make it out of tortured bacteria or gently nano-milked algae so we can have our cake and eat it too!

Blest Plastics, use less or use it better?

Plastic can now be easily turned back into oil rather than landfill it. Recently, I've seen two announcements on it, one from a Japanese technology developer, and one from a recycler in Washington state using a US based technology.

The morale of the story

Happy Earth Day everyone. My suggestions and conclusions to help us all...

  • Don't pollute, give a hoot (Ok so I stole that)
  • Don't lie
  • Don't exaggerate just to scare people to your side
  • Don't slant the facts
  • Don't believe everything you hear and read
  • Get BOTH sides of the issue
  • Don't litter
  • Be an anti-litter activist

and for my friends in the plastics industry..

  • Don't pollute
  • Don't lie
  • Don't exaggerate
  • Don't slant the facts
  • Don't be silent to the critics
  • Find and spend the money to tell the truth
  • Admit when a bad plastics choice is a bad plastics choice
  • Err on the side of people, regarding health issues

April 10, 2009

Plastics in turtles, tin in goats, what to do, what to do...

Yet another plastic is evil story...

Leatherback-turtle-photo Plastic Found in 1/3 of Leatherback Turtles, According to Study

The article talks about plastics (mainly from bags) ending up in oceans, ending up in turtles as they look like jellyfish!

What about the jellyfish? The fake plastic jellyfish are SAVING the jellyfish! Go plastics!

But seriously, it touches on my major pet peeve of anti-plastics rhetoric. They are mostly nattering nabobs of negativism that lack clear and better alternatives and solutions.  In this case their simplistic solution? Less bags. Now I'm all for reusable bags as superior to any throw away bag. But the problem is not the bag, the problem is you!

They don't touch on the core issue.  HOW did that bag get there in the first place and what can be done to prevent it?

Keep America Beautiful Many of you will remember Keep America Beautiful's great Crying Indian Ad, where he is sad at the littering.  Ocean trash gets there from litter and tossed trash.  If people had better control of themselves we wouldn't live in a trash filled world. 

So many activists just want to shoot the messenger... throw out the baby with the bathwater... Oh I could go on.  Do ANY of them rail against the litter? Virtually none. They spend ALL of their time villianizing the material.

The true solution reminds me of the Caesar, the dog whisperer, when he says, "Lady, the problem is not your DOG. The problem is YOU!"  If goats really ate tin cans, these folks would all be against the evil tin! Rid the world of tin! Save the Goats!

If every one of the anti-plastics used that energy in a more productive, practical solution mindset and be against littering and simply pro bio-degradable instead of silly plastics is evil routine, we'd just get so much more done!

April 05, 2009

Bacteria Tortured, Plastics the result!

Click to see the molecular structure of PHB Warning! The descriptive imagery of this post may be disturbing to anti-torture greenpeace type activists.

This is not a new story, but it is getting recent press as researchers continue to look for ways to commercialize this thermoplastic polyester produced by bacterial fermentation, PHB, aka Poly-3-hydroxy-butyrate. Another alias is simply polyhydroxybutyrate, but its friends know it as PHB.

The torture? Ah, well wiki explains that this plastic is made "in response to conditions of physiological stress." Aha! See? Torture!  Who cares about the poor bacteria being stressed to produce plastics for greedy capitalist?  Where are the protesters? Bacteria is organic! It's alive! I'm sure it has feelings!

Treadmills3 It seems that bacteria, much like most of us, stores extra energy as fat, bacterial fat. Who knew? And this process makes the bacteria work so hard that they sweat off the fat which solidifies into PHB. I have visions of billions of tiny bacteria strapped to tiny nano treadmills working for the man!

From FirstScience.com:

To make PHB on a big scale you just fatten up bacteria with glucose in giant fermenters and effectively 'brew' the plastic.

One of the more interesting points is in its biodegradability. The reason it is biodegradable? The bacteria wants its fat BACK! Bacteria will eat this plastic to return it to its original form of bacterial fat. Until the man sweats it off them again.

This IS a fascinating plastic though, and one most environmentalist will love.

  • Made from bacteria
  • Limitless supply of cheap bacteria slaves
  • Truly biodegradable (not just smaller pieces)
  • Similar in strength to polypropylene
  • Transparency
  • No nasty toxic residues
  • Currently expensive to make (bacteria must be unionized)
  • Worked on by ICI, Monsanto and Metabolix
  • Biodegradable and medical applications
  • PHB is a type of polyester
  • Ocean breakdown in months
  • Sewage breakdown in weeks

April 04, 2009

Hyundai's Plug-in Hybrid made with Recycled Plastics!

Blue-will-580x403 This is one cool looking car... I think. Someone said it looks like a smiling whale, does sorta, but I still like it... I think.

But what I love is that it features recycled plastics from bottle scrap and plastics derived from plant feedstocks! My kind of car :)

See through solar cells on the roof, It is named the Blue-Will.



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