After much thinking, the domestic solution to the problem is obviously this:

1) Build a power plant here that runs off of incinerating plastic,

2) Ship all plastic that would ordinarily be shipped overseas to this power plant

3) Burn it all for energy to displace coal and similar

and then later

4) dig up inert landfills, mining them for plastic to burn

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Sep 28, 2021Liked by Handwaving Freakoutery

I'm sold on landfilling plastic instead of "recycling" it, but why dismiss efforts to reduce plastic consumption in the first place?

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Sep 27, 2021Liked by Handwaving Freakoutery

I must protest: that image clearly depicts more than one straw.

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Apr 1Liked by Handwaving Freakoutery

All I know is, as supportive as I am of environmentalism and concerned about climate change, I'd rather watch the world burn than drink out of a paper straw.

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May 2, 2022Liked by Handwaving Freakoutery

Good article. This is why I don't recycle plastics.

> Please compare and contrast California to the Pacific Rim in this map

California is part of the Pacific Rim.

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Sep 26, 2021Liked by Handwaving Freakoutery

Brilliant. This has been my suspicion for a long time, so thanks for figuring it out so lucidly.

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Wow, that river of trash in Manila is a vision of Hell. Take THAT atheists!

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May 3, 2022Liked by Handwaving Freakoutery

Those straws are now no longer for sale in Europe, as all "single use plastics" are.

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Jan 2, 2022Liked by Handwaving Freakoutery

Sierra energy fast ox gasification.

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>There is no other reasonable option, mathematically speaking, given the realities on the ground.

Of course you would conclude that. You only looked at like, three countries. Do you see how e.g. Sweden has no river leak and also no landfills? Of course you didn't, because you only care about America. You have looked at and compared two different places - one of which has a GDP around 55 times higher than the other - and found that the richer one handles trash better. Golly, I could never have seen that coming.

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The low-hanging fruit of the Ocean Plastics problem is the fishing industry. Discarded fishing nets make up at least 40% of ocean plastic. We need to regulate the fishing industry.

The problem with plastic is that it is always-already waste; it doesn't become waste when you throw it away, it comes to you as waste from an oil refinery. You can't reduce consumption because you can't reduce production of precursor chemicals like ethylene and still manufacture fuel oils like gasoline.


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I'm confused: I thought plastic didn't breakdown for like, hundreds of years? And tiny microplastics leached into the soil from landfills?

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Banning *all* straws is indeed stupid. But banning plastic straws for single use is not that stupid https://sciencevibe.com/2015/08/17/no-to-straws-marine-biologists-pull-a-12-centimeter-straw-out-of-a-turtles-nose/

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Great article. i live in Bulgaria since five years and plastic is not bad. It only looks ugly. Everything, in the end, is disposable. Plastic is just made to last longer and so it decomposes... much slower. it nature will destroy any plastic with years of time. On the land (better) but in our oceans is not a real issue either. Algae and small animals love plastic as well nd make even islands from them where they multiply much faster and produce extra oxygen for our world. +je

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Very illuminating. Thanks.

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Thanks for this.

So this seems yet another instance of the Law of Unexpected Consequences, where local plastic recycling – however virtuously intended – results in shipping plastics overseas, overloading inadequately resourced infrastructure, and leading to plastic pollution in our oceans?

As for domestic solutions, perhaps there are more starting to become available than just landfills or incineration?


In addition to Arqlite and other companies developing technology to recycle mixed plastics, in the USA and elsewhere, there's a vast race among companies globally to develop alternatives to hydrocarbon-based polymers, such as plant-based substitutes for Styrofoam and plastic wrap.

Thinking that the solution may eventually be, as it often is with thorny, multifaceted problems, an "all of the above" approach?

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