Plastic Waste – California Enacts Legislation Voiding November Ballot Measure

A June 30, 2022 Los Angeles Times story https://www.latimes.com/environment/story/2022-06-30/california-new-law-phase-out-single-use-plastics-containers reports that on June 30, 2022, the Governor of California signed into law https://www.gov.ca.gov/2022/06/30/governor-newsom-signs-legislation-cutting-harmful-plastic-pollution-to-protect-communities-oceans-and-animals/SB-54 Solid waste: reporting, packaging, and plastic food service warehttps://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=202120220SB54 which requires “… all packaging in the state to be recyclable or compostable by 2032, cutting plastic packaging by 25 percent in 10 years and requiring 65 percent of all single-use plastic packaging to be recycled in the same timeframe … the legislation shifts the plastic pollution burden from consumers to the plastics industry by raising $5 billion from industry members over 10 years to assist efforts to cut plastic pollutionThe legislation heads off a November ballot measure …” #PlasticWaste @SingleUsePlastic #FoodPackaging #Recycling @CAgovernor

Microplastics – Colonization by Human Microbial Pathogens Quantified

The abstract of a September 1, 2022 Environmental Pollution article https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2022.119594 by researchers with UK University of Stirling and Germany Brandenburg Medical School Theodor Fontane reports that “… Microplastics in wastewater and surface water rapidly become colonised by microbial biofilm … Here, we have used rotavirus (RV) SA11 (a non-enveloped enteric virus) and the enveloped bacteriophage Phi6 as model viruses to quantify binding and recovery from biofilm-colonised microplastic pellets in three different water treatments (filtered and non-filtered surface water, and surface water with added nutrients). Viruses associated with biofilm-colonised pellets were more stable compared to those remaining in the water … Although our results suggest that the presence of an envelope may limit virus interaction with the plastisphere, the ability to recover both enveloped and non-enveloped infectious viruses from colonised microplastic pellets highlights an additional potential public health risk of surface waters becoming contaminated with microplastics, and subsequent human exposure to microplastics in the environment …” #PlasticWaste #Microplastics #SingleUsePlastic @MHB_Fontane @StirUni

Microplastics – Effects on Lentil Seed Germination and Seedling Growth Reported

The abstract of a September 2022 Chemosphere article https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2022.135162 by researchers with Japan Saitama University, Sri Lanka University of Ruhuna, and Japan Shibaura Institute of Technology reports that “… Widespread use of plastics and mishandling has resulted in severe environmental issues affecting seed germination and seedling growth. This study investigates the effect of polyethylene microplastics … on lentil (Lens culinaris) seed germination and seedling growth … with conventional parameters, germination viability, germination rate, root and shoot lengths, fresh and dry seedling weights, and antioxidative enzymes, no significant effect was observed until 2 d of exposure. The results revealed that the presence of PEMPs significantly reduced the internal activity at the initial stages … Our results demonstrated for the first time the effect that microplastics indeed could hinder the internal activity during germination of the seeds, possibly resulting from the physical blockage of pores leading to stunted growth at later stages …” #MicroPlastics #PlasticWaste #SingleUsePlastic #Polyethylene #SaitamaUniversity @L3F_ICT_RUH_OU @shibaura

Plastic Waste – USAID Launches “Save Our Seas Initiative”

In a June 22, 2022 news release https://www.usaid.gov/news-information/press-releases/jun-22-2022-usaid-announces-save-our-seas-initiative the US Agency for International Development (USAID) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Agency_for_International_Development launched a “… new flagship initiative to combat ocean plastic pollution globally—the Save Our Seas Initiative. The initiative will include $62.5 million in initial funding and will launch 14 new country and regional programs in key countries and regions … Each year, 11 million metric tons of plastic pollution enter our oceans … This rate is expected to double by the end of this decade and triple by 2040—threatening the world’s delicate marine ecosystems, major industries such as fishing and tourism, food security, and ultimately human health. Once plastic is in the ocean, it is very difficult and expensive to remove. Therefore, USAID focuses on preventing plastic from getting into the natural environment in the first place. USAID is combating ocean plastic pollution by creating inclusive circular economies together with local and national governments, communities, and the private sector …” #PlasticWaste #SingleUsePlastic #Recycling @USAID

Plastic Waste/Microplastics/Food Waste/Recycling – EPA Seeks Research Grant Funding Proposals from Small Businesses

A June 15, 2022, update to the EPA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program Funding site https://www.epa.gov/sbir/sbir-funding-opportunities advises that grant funding applications from small businesses are sought in several topics areas, including: “… Clean Technologies to process, sort and identify microplastics; In-stream aquatic trash capture technologies … Innovative technologies that help consumers prevent food waste in the acquisition, preparation, and storage of food; Innovative technologies or materials that will improve the U.S. recycling system; [and] Innovative reduction, reuse, and recycling solutions to advance plastic circularity …” #PlasticWaste #SingleUsePlastic #FoodWaste #Recycling #PlasticCircularity @EPAresearch

Microplastics – Presence in Digestive System of Migratory Birds Reported

The abstract of a September 10, 2022 Science of The Total Environment article https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.155827 by researchers with Loyola University Chicago “… examines the abundance and types of microplastic (MP) content in the digestive system of different bird species … The lower GI tracts of six bird species (Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor), Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapilla), Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis), Hermit Thrush (Catharus guttatus), Tennessee Warbler (Leiothlypis peregrine), White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis)) were collected for MP analysis … Results of plastic analysis showed that the lower GI tracts of all bird species contained different types of MPs (i.e., fibers, fragment, beads). Fiber was the most dominant … Microplastics were polyethylenepolyethylene terephthalate, nylon, and polyvinyl base materials … Further study should be conducted to investigate the potential transfer of MPs from aquatic insects to birds …” #PlasticWaste #SingleUsePlastic #MicroPlastics @LoyolaChicago

Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) – SEC Proposes Standardized ESG Reporting Requirements

A June 15, 2022 Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP news release https://www.faegredrinker.com/en/insights/publications/2022/6/sec-proposes-esg-disclosure-requirements-for-investment-companies-to-combat-greenwashing advises that the “… In a three-to-one vote on May 25, 2022 U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission ( SEC) proposed amendments to rules and reporting forms … that would require registered investment companies and business development companies to provide standardized environmental, social and governance (ESG) disclosure to investors and the SEC. The proposed amendments are designed to provide a consistent framework for ESG disclosure that would allow investors to compare and make more informed decisions about ESG investments … The proposed common ESG disclosure framework is the latest step in the SEC’s efforts to curb “greenwashing” (the practice of exaggerating or overemphasizing ESG practices and the role ESG factors play in a fund’s or adviser’s strategy) and facilitate better informed ESG-related investment decisions …” #PlasticWaste #SingleUsePlastic #Recycling @FaegreDrinker

Recycling, Reuse, Prevention and Education – EPA Seeks Comments on $375 Million Grant Program

A June 8, 2022 EPA news release https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/biden-harris-administration-and-epa-announce-375-million-funding-bipartisan advises that the Agency is seeking public comment by July 25 https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2022/06/09/2022-12458/recycling-education-and-outreach-grant-program-and-model-recycling-program-toolkit-request-for on “… a Solid Waste Infrastructure for Recycling grant program, a Recycling Education and Outreach grant program, a Model Recycling Program toolkit … [and] best practices for battery collection, recycling, and labeling guidelines … EPA is asking all interested individuals and organizations to share their perspectives on resources, opportunities, and barriers related to reducing, reusing, and recycling infrastructure, education and outreach programs and battery recycling and collection … Additionally, EPA is initiating a national effort to engage stakeholders across the country to inform the development of these new programs, hosting virtual meetings and feedback sessions in all 10 regions and nationally …” #Recycling #PlasticWaste #SingleUsePlastic @EPA

Microplastics – Toxicity Data Available in Database “ToMEx”

The abstract of a May 28, 2022 Microplastics and Nanoplastics article https://microplastics.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s43591-022-00032-4 by international  researchers led by the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project reports that “… Throughout the past decade, many studies have reported adverse effects in biota following microplastic exposure. Yet, the field is still emerging as the current understanding of microplastic toxicity is limited … Here, we present the Toxicity of Microplastics Explorer (ToMEx), an open access database and open source accompanying R Shiny web application that enables users to upload, search, visualize, and analyze microplastic toxicity data. Though ToMEx was originally created to facilitate the development of health-based thresholds to support California legislations, maintaining the database by the greater scientific community will be invaluable to furthering research and informing policies globally. The database and web applications may be accessed at https://microplastics.sccwrp.org/ …” #MicroPlastics #PlasticWaste #SingleUsePlastic #ToMEx #SCCWRP

Plastic Waste – Polystyrene Degradation by Superworms Reported

The abstract of a June 9, 2022, Microbial Genomics article https://www.microbiologyresearch.org/content/journal/mgen/10.1099/mgen.0.000842 by researchers with Australia The University of Queensland reports that “… we assessed changes in the gut microbiome of superworms (Zophobas morio) reared on bran, polystyrene or under starvation conditions over a 3 weeks period. Superworms on all diets were able to complete their life cycle to pupae and imago, although superworms reared on polystyrene had minimal weight gains, resulting in lower pupation rates compared to bran reared worms … We detected several encoded enzymes with reported polystyrene and styrene degradation abilities … our results provide the first metagenomic insights into the metabolic pathways used by the gut microbiome of superworms to degrade polystyrene. Our results also confirm that superworms can survive on polystyrene feed, but this diet has considerable negative impacts on host gut microbiome diversity and health …” #PlasticWaste #SingleUsePlastic #Polystyrene @UQ_News @MicrobioSoc