Environment: Plastic Pollution is the New Acid Rain

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Environment: Plastic Pollution is the New Acid Rain
Mr. Magoo

Recycling isn’t going to solve the problem of plastic pollution, Greenpeace Canada said, with the audit showing that recyclability of a product doesn’t necessarily reduce the likelihood of it being thrown out as garbage.

The plain-language translation:  "Recycling isn’t going to solve the problem of plastic pollution, Greenpeace Canada said, because even when something is totally recyclable, people still put it with garbage or toss it on the ground."



Which makes people the worst polluters not those companies

Mr. Magoo

I would hope that companies who sell stuff in cups or bags or cartons or packages look for ways to reduce packaging, and/or to use recyclable or biodegradable packaging.  But if they're doing that, and also providing garbage and recycling receptacles in their restaurant, and filling consumer's re-usable cups and mugs when asked to, I feel like we can't really honestly pretend they're still the problem when some asshole orders a jumbo soda and then tosses the empty cup, lid and straw on the ground twenty feet from garbage/recycling receptacle.

And really, counting the number of "branded" cups, lids and bags you find on the street isn't identifying the "worst polluters", it's identifying the most popular restaurants.


Charging 25 cents or even more more for folks who don't bring their own recyclable coffee mugs might do wonders.


Another problem now is that it has been increasingly difficult to find the ecological alternative - loose produce, or coffee sold in real cups. I'm very afraid that the aftermath of this crisis will mean less interest in tackling the climate crisis, whether in terms of useless plastics or private motor vehicles.


Most places are no longer allowing reusable bags of mugs due to covid (or cash for that matter)


While I understand the reasons, refusing cash is gross discrimination against the poorest. People begging as we wait in queues get told - in my case at least, truthfully - that we no longer have any change (I gave the last I had to a beggar). There are always people who fall between the cracks (and the ruling class doesn't give a shit).


When have they ever?


Never, of course. Some of them are pretending to in this crisis.


meanwhile, back at the autoclave...



Waste Generators and the COVID-19 Waste Generated

In healthcare, regular medical waste and sharps are being generated amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s minimal, explained Hoboy during the webinar.

“We are not seeing a high volume of waste that is generated by the patients themselves. When we look at this compared to Ebola, the patients had a lot of blood and bodily fluids that were generated that had to be dealt with. In this case, we are seeing a lot of personal protective equipment and solid waste that’s being included in the medical waste,” she said.

Hoboy noted that Stericycle is seeing a lot of decontamination materials from the healthcare environment due to increased cleaning efforts. Materials from healthcare facilities where there are COVID-19-positive patients are being treated as regulated medical waste. However, areas with no positive patients are not considered regulated medical waste but being treated as solid waste.


Lastly, there is household waste.

“Many patients are being told that there is not testing available and to isolate at home. In these cases, we recommend that the patients are taking that material and putting it into rigid, sturdy bags or taking smaller bags and putting them into a larger, sturdier bag for final disposal into the solid waste stream,” explained Hoboy. “We recommend that those bags are properly closed all the way through before being placed in the solid waste stream.”


Regarding the travel industry—i.e. planes and cruise ships—solid waste is also being treated as regulated medical waste, particularly from the cruise ships where there have been COVID-19-positive individuals on board. The challenge here, according to Hoboy, is that this waste is regulated by the U.S. United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service regulations, which require additional decontamination.


Here is some of the additional work NWRA has done on behalf of the industry amid the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Urged Congress to pass the SBA Lending program.
  • Urged Congress through multiple letters and calls to include waste collection in the national emergency declaration (for hours of service relief).
  • Sent a letter to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) petitioning regulated medical waste exemption from certain parts of FMCSA regulations.
  • Sent legislative language to Congress to include waste collection haulers in the FMCSA hours of service exemption.
  • Sent FHWA a letter requesting that the agency provide guidance to states around weights. 
  • Sent a letter requesting that FMCSA issue relief from expiring commercial driver’s licenses, drug and alcohol testing and physicals.
  • Sent a letter to Vice President Mike Pence requesting regulatory flexibility.