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Dear Reader,

This week scientists warned the world’s leaders that they must not forget about plastic pollution as they look to tackle climate change. A paper from the Zoological Society of London and Bangor University said the two issues are intertwined, with each making the other worse.

Additionally, the University of Leicester revealed new research which found macroplastic pollution can stay in river systems for much longer than previously thought.

In other news, a Belfast-based plastic-free beauty start-up secured new funding to expand its export capability into a global market in the US, Canada, Russia, Australia and the Middle East.

As always, we hope you enjoy reading.

John Higginson
Editor-in-Chief
Plastic Free Post

Don’t sideline plastic problem, nations urged

Scientists are warning politicians immersed in climate change policy not to forget that the world is also in the midst of a plastic waste crisis. They fear that so much energy is being expended on emissions policy that tackling plastic pollution will be sidelined. A paper from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and Bangor University says plastic pollution and climate change are not separate. It said the issues are actually intertwined – and each makes the other worse. Manufacturing plastic items adds to greenhouse gas emissions, while extreme weather such as floods and typhoons associated with a heating planet will disperse and worsen plastic pollution in the sea.

Read more here.

Plastic stays in rivers for longer than previously thought

Macroplastic pollution can stay in river systems for much longer than previously thought, according to a new study published by the University of Leicester. The researchers tracked 90 sample plastic bottle ‘tracers’ released into a tributary of the River Soar near Wistow, Leicester.  They found that these macroplastics – meaning plastic that is more than 5mm in size – travel at an average speed of less than 0.01km per hour, meaning they can remain in the same place for a significant period of time. The average travel distance was 231 metres in 24 hours, with the furthest distance recorded at just under 1.1km. If not removed, not only may this pollution emerge in the ocean, but it can also negatively impact marine wildlife and human uses of river systems. 

Read more here.

Washington’s plastic bag ban goes into effect today

A new ban on plastic bags goes into effect across all of Washington from today. Single-use plastics are the most littered in Washington, which prompted the new state law. The ban applies to food service businesses, restaurants, grocery and convenience stores. Vendors at festivals or farmers markets will also have to follow the ban. Stores can order different types of bags, such as paper and thicker reusable plastic bags. Using these will incur a minimum 8-cent charge on the customer for each bag, and stores can choose to charge more.

Read more here.

London start-up with tech to break down plastics secures near $100m deal

A London start-up which uses technology to break down plastic packaging waste such as takeaway containers, disposable cups and nappies, has secured a near $100 million agreement with Taiwan’s Formosa Plastics. Founded in 2015, and based at Imperial College, London, Polymateria has developed what it calls a “biotransformation technology” that can cause plastics to decompose into a wax-like substance that gets digested naturally by microbes. Unlike other processes, products developed with Polymateria’s solution leave no microplastics.

Read more here.

Belfast plastic-free beauty start-up to go global

Hair and body care brand We Are Paradoxx has secured new funding to expand its export capability into new markets in the US, Canada, Russia, Australia and the Middle East. The Northern Irish start-up was founded in 2018 by Yolanda Cooper and has also developed the patent pending Supernova, the world’s first 3-in-1 straightener, wand and tongs. This summer CEO Cooper joined the ranks of the industry heavy hitters, listed in fashion and beauty bible Glamour Magazine’s Beauty Power List 2021, for her leadership in sustainable beauty.

Read more here.

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