Elsevier, TrAC - Trends in Analytical Chemistry, Volume 114, May 2019
The presence of small plastic particles in the environment, reported for the first time in the 1970's, has only recently been recognized as a global issue. Although environmental awareness continues to grow, so does its consumption and associated risks. The number of studies reporting the presence of microplastics, has grown exponentially as did the concern over plastic degradation into smaller particles like nanoplastics, a potentially more pernicious form of plastic pollution.
PET is a ubiquitous material because of its robust properties. Today, less than 30% of PET bottles and few carpets are recycled in the United States, leading to the majority of PET being landfilled. The low PET reclamation rate is due to the fact that PET bottle recycling today is mechanical, resulting in a devalued product. Here, reclaimed PET (rPET) bottles are converted to fiberglass-reinforced plastics (FRPs), which sell for more than twice that of rPET. When monomers derivable from biomass are incorporated, rPET-FRPs with superior properties are achieved.
Elsevier, TrAC - Trends in Analytical Chemistry, Volume 112, March 2019
Plastics are an integral but largely inconspicuous part of human daily routines. Associated with a high production and single use nature of several products, small plastic particles became ubiquitous. Due to processes like water currents and winds, plastics may occur far from their place of origin and affect biota at different environmental compartments. In the environment plastics can degrade into increasingly smaller particles, reaching a nanometer size which increases their potential to be incorporated by organisms.
Elsevier, TrAC - Trends in Analytical Chemistry, Volume 111, February 2019
Following a decade of research on the environmental impacts of microplastics, a knowledge gap remains on the processes by which micro and nanoplastics pass across biological barriers, enter cells and are subject to biological mechanisms. Here we summarize available literature on the accumulation of microplastics and their associated contaminants in a variety of organisms including humans. Most data on the accumulation of microplastics in both field and lab studies are for marine invertebrates.
Plastics entering the environment will persist and continue to degrade and fragment to smaller particles under the action of various environmental factors. These microplastics (MP) and nanoplastics (NP) are likely to pose a higher environmental impact, as well as they are more prone to adsorb organic contaminants and pathogens from the surrounding media, due to their higher surface area to volume ratio. Little known on their characteristics, fragmentation, distribution and impact on freshwater ecosystems.
Marine plastic pollution has been a growing concern for decades. Single-use plastics (plastic bags and microbeads) are a significant source of this pollution. Although research outlining environmental, social, and economic impacts of marine plastic pollution is growing, few studies have examined policy and legislative tools to reduce plastic pollution, particularly single-use plastics (plastic bags and microbeads). This paper reviews current international market-based strategies and policies to reduce plastic bags and microbeads.