A recent article in the Journal of Hazardous Materials Advances (Brown, MacDonald, Allen and Allen, 2023) found that plastic recycling facilities can be a major source of microplastics getting into the environment.
Whilst there is increasing understanding of the negative impacts of plastic pollution on the environment – and many people try to do their bit to recycle what they can – the recovery and reprocessing of plastics is not, for many people, given much consideration.
Microplastics – those fragments of plastics between 1 μm (10-6 m) and 5mm in diameter – are increasingly being found throughout the environment; including in humans. Much focus has been given to marine microplastics and their impacts on a range of marine organisms including fish, seabirds, mammals, turtles, and bivalve molluscs.
However, little attention has been paid to the introduction of microplastics into the environment from plastic recycling facilities.
At plastic recycling facilities, the recyclable plastics are separated, broken down, granulated and then pelletised for reprocessing. Mechanical friction processes can result in increased microplastics in wastewater streams discharged from these facilities.
Click to read and download the document 20230510 – MR – Microplastics releases from Recycling Faciities, by Jason Dingley.pdf.
Frank Ondrus, President – HOPE Inc., ph. 07 4639 2135
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