Monday, September 29, 2014

Ocean Plastic - The Truth and More Hype

I ran across a couple of articles this weekend regarding ocean plastics that are worth a read. The first is from, entitled 8 Things You Should Know About Plastic in the Ocean. The amazing aspect of the article is that it gets it right. Or at least the text is correct. The pictures tell another story. They are still of macroscopic objects on beaches or in the water. But the text is correct. In brief, there is a lot of plastic particles out there, but we don't know how much, we can't collect it and the problem starts back on land.

Of course the comments go right back off the deep end (ha!) such as this one by Jeff:
"The ONLY real solution is to stop making plastic. Cleanup on a massive scale like this is pure fantasy and delusion. On top of that, there's no way to clean up the small stuff and what's been eaten by wildlife. Humans lived their entire history without plastic until recently. Plastic is unnecessary and totally harmful and should be outlawed."
Hey Jeff, no plastics? No Internet and no Facebook!

And then there is beauty about the newest brainstorm from James Dyson's (that charming Brit behind the Dyson vacuum cleaners that were claimed to "never lose suction" [1]). He's now proposing to use his one trick pony of cyclonic separation [2] to attack river plastic. While grabbing plastics from rivers before they make it into the ocean makes sense, his idea is problematic. First, it only focuses on large pieces of plastic. Second, the plastic, once recovered, is shredded and then passes into a cyclonic separate where it is magically separated. I say magically because the difference between all the grades of polyethylene (High-density, low-density and linear, low-density) is pretty small, making their separation very challenging. And then there is polyproplyene too that would mixed in as well. Yet the separation needs to be very effective or else the recovered plastic is of very low value. And Dyson knows this since that is why he wants to separate the various plastics in the first place.
"The Recyclone barge has not yet been prototyped or tested, but Dyson said he is convinced it can work."
Well that's enough to convince me. How about you?

[1] Funny how they don't make that claim anymore. Is it because it isn't true?

[2] Cyclonic separation is the answer [3]. What's the question?

[3] Multicyclonic separation is the answer. What's the question?

Previous Years

September 29, 2011 - Presenting Rheology Data

September 29, 2011 - Cool video of the day

September 29, 2010 - ANTEC is accepting papers

September 29, 2010 - More Destuction from Windows Reflecting Sunlight

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