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Journal ArticleDOI

Production, use, and fate of all plastics ever made

01 Jul 2017-Science Advances (American Association for the Advancement of Science)-Vol. 3, Iss: 7

TL;DR: By identifying and synthesizing dispersed data on production, use, and end-of-life management of polymer resins, synthetic fibers, and additives, this work presents the first global analysis of all mass-produced plastics ever manufactured.
Abstract: Plastics have outgrown most man-made materials and have long been under environmental scrutiny. However, robust global information, particularly about their end-of-life fate, is lacking. By identifying and synthesizing dispersed data on production, use, and end-of-life management of polymer resins, synthetic fibers, and additives, we present the first global analysis of all mass-produced plastics ever manufactured. We estimate that 8300 million metric tons (Mt) as of virgin plastics have been produced to date. As of 2015, approximately 6300 Mt of plastic waste had been generated, around 9% of which had been recycled, 12% was incinerated, and 79% was accumulated in landfills or the natural environment. If current production and waste management trends continue, roughly 12,000 Mt of plastic waste will be in landfills or in the natural environment by 2050.
Topics: Plastic recycling (58%), Plastic pollution (51%)
Citations
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Journal ArticleDOI
22 May 2019-Chemical Reviews
TL;DR: A broad and historical view of different aspects and their complex interplay in CO2R catalysis on Cu is taken, with the purpose of providing new insights, critical evaluations, and guidance to the field with regard to research directions and best practices.
Abstract: To date, copper is the only heterogeneous catalyst that has shown a propensity to produce valuable hydrocarbons and alcohols, such as ethylene and ethanol, from electrochemical CO2 reduction (CO2R). There are variety of factors that impact CO2R activity and selectivity, including the catalyst surface structure, morphology, composition, the choice of electrolyte ions and pH, and the electrochemical cell design. Many of these factors are often intertwined, which can complicate catalyst discovery and design efforts. Here we take a broad and historical view of these different aspects and their complex interplay in CO2R catalysis on Cu, with the purpose of providing new insights, critical evaluations, and guidance to the field with regard to research directions and best practices. First, we describe the various experimental probes and complementary theoretical methods that have been used to discern the mechanisms by which products are formed, and next we present our current understanding of the complex reaction networks for CO2R on Cu. We then analyze two key methods that have been used in attempts to alter the activity and selectivity of Cu: nanostructuring and the formation of bimetallic electrodes. Finally, we offer some perspectives on the future outlook for electrochemical CO2R.

840 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
Andrea J. Reid1, Andrew K. Carlson2, Irena F. Creed3, Erika J. Eliason4  +12 moreInstitutions (13)
01 Jun 2019-Biological Reviews
TL;DR: Efforts to reverse global trends in freshwater degradation now depend on bridging an immense gap between the aspirations of conservation biologists and the accelerating rate of species endangerment.
Abstract: In the 12 years since Dudgeon et al. (2006) reviewed major pressures on freshwater ecosystems, the biodiversity crisis in the world’s lakes, reservoirs, rivers, streams and wetlands has deepened. While lakes, reservoirs and rivers cover only 2.3% of the Earth’s surface, these ecosystems host at least 9.5% of the Earth’s described animal species. Furthermore, using the World Wide Fund for Nature’s Living Planet Index, freshwater population declines (83% between 1970 and 2014) continue to outpace contemporaneous declines in marine or terrestrial systems. The Anthropocene has brought multiple new and varied threats that disproportionately impact freshwater systems. We document 12 emerging threats to freshwater biodiversity that are either entirely new since 2006 or have since intensified: (i) changing climates; (ii) e-commerce and invasions; (iii) infectious diseases; (iv) harmful algal blooms; (v) expanding hydropower; (vi) emerging contaminants; (vii) engineered nanomaterials; (viii) microplastic pollution; (ix) light and noise; (x) freshwater salinisation; (xi) declining calcium; and (xii) cumulative stressors. Effects are evidenced for amphibians, fishes, invertebrates, microbes, plants, turtles and waterbirds, with potential for ecosystem-level changes through bottom-up and top-down processes. In our highly uncertain future, the net effects of these threats raise serious concerns for freshwater ecosystems. However, we also highlight opportunities for conservation gains as a result of novel management tools (e.g. environmental flows, environmental DNA) and specific conservation-oriented actions (e.g. dam removal, habitat protection policies,managed relocation of species) that have been met with varying levels of success.Moving forward, we advocate hybrid approaches that manage fresh waters as crucial ecosystems for human life support as well as essential hotspots of biodiversity and ecological function. Efforts to reverse global trends in freshwater degradation now depend on bridging an immense gap between the aspirations of conservation biologists and the accelerating rate of species endangerment.

668 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
22 Mar 2018-Scientific Reports
TL;DR: A major ocean plastic accumulation zone formed in subtropical waters between California and Hawaii: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is characterised and quantified, suggesting that ocean plastic pollution within the GPGP is increasing exponentially and at a faster rate than in surrounding waters.
Abstract: Ocean plastic can persist in sea surface waters, eventually accumulating in remote areas of the world’s oceans. Here we characterise and quantify a major ocean plastic accumulation zone formed in subtropical waters between California and Hawaii: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP). Our model, calibrated with data from multi-vessel and aircraft surveys, predicted at least 79 (45–129) thousand tonnes of ocean plastic are floating inside an area of 1.6 million km2; a figure four to sixteen times higher than previously reported. We explain this difference through the use of more robust methods to quantify larger debris. Over three-quarters of the GPGP mass was carried by debris larger than 5 cm and at least 46% was comprised of fishing nets. Microplastics accounted for 8% of the total mass but 94% of the estimated 1.8 (1.1–3.6) trillion pieces floating in the area. Plastic collected during our study has specific characteristics such as small surface-to-volume ratio, indicating that only certain types of debris have the capacity to persist and accumulate at the surface of the GPGP. Finally, our results suggest that ocean plastic pollution within the GPGP is increasing exponentially and at a faster rate than in surrounding waters.

567 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
Phil De Luna1, Phil De Luna2, Phil De Luna3, Christopher Hahn3  +8 moreInstitutions (5)
26 Apr 2019-Science
TL;DR: A comparative analysis of electrocatalyst and carbon emissions assessment of CO2 products such as ethylene, ethanol, and carbon monoxide shows that electrocatalytic production has the potential to yield the greatest reduction in carbon emissions, provided that a steady supply of clean electricity is available.
Abstract: Electrocatalytic transformation of carbon dioxide (CO2) and water into chemical feedstocks offers the potential to reduce carbon emissions by shifting the chemical industry away from fossil fuel dependence. We provide a technoeconomic and carbon emission analysis of possible products, offering targets that would need to be met for economically compelling industrial implementation to be achieved. We also provide a comparison of the projected costs and CO2 emissions across electrocatalytic, biocatalytic, and fossil fuel-derived production of chemical feedstocks. We find that for electrosynthesis to become competitive with fossil fuel-derived feedstocks, electrical-to-chemical conversion efficiencies need to reach at least 60%, and renewable electricity prices need to fall below 4 cents per kilowatt-hour. We discuss the possibility of combining electro- and biocatalytic processes, using sequential upgrading of CO2 as a representative case. We describe the technical challenges and economic barriers to marketable electrosynthesized chemicals.

548 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The pervasive microplastic contamination as a potential agent of global change in terrestrial systems is introduced, the physical and chemical nature of the respective observed effects are highlighted, and the broad toxicity of nanoplastics derived from plastic breakdown is discussed.
Abstract: Microplastics (plastics < 5 mm, including nanoplastics which are < 0.1 μm) originate from the fragmentation of large plastic litter or from direct environmental emission. Their potential impacts in terrestrial ecosystems remain largely unexplored despite numerous reported effects on marine organisms. Most plastics arriving in the oceans were produced, used, and often disposed on land. Hence, it is within terrestrial systems that microplastics might first interact with biota eliciting ecologically relevant impacts. This article introduces the pervasive microplastic contamination as a potential agent of global change in terrestrial systems, highlights the physical and chemical nature of the respective observed effects, and discusses the broad toxicity of nanoplastics derived from plastic breakdown. Making relevant links to the fate of microplastics in aquatic continental systems, we here present new insights into the mechanisms of impacts on terrestrial geochemistry, the biophysical environment, and ecotoxicology. Broad changes in continental environments are possible even in particle-rich habitats such as soils. Furthermore, there is a growing body of evidence indicating that microplastics interact with terrestrial organisms that mediate essential ecosystem services and functions, such as soil dwelling invertebrates, terrestrial fungi, and plant-pollinators. Therefore, research is needed to clarify the terrestrial fate and effects of microplastics. We suggest that due to the widespread presence, environmental persistence, and various interactions with continental biota, microplastic pollution might represent an emerging global change threat to terrestrial ecosystems.

530 citations


Cites background from "Production, use, and fate of all pl..."

  • ...Soil biogeochemistry related to agricultural mulching (Steinmetz et al., 2016), ingestion by terrestrial and continental birds (Gil-Delgado et al., 2017; Holland et al., 2016; Zhao et al., 2016), reduction in growth of earthworms (Lwanga et al., 2016), lethal toxicity to fungi (Miyazaki et al.,…...

    [...]

  • ...Microplastics in the guts of freshwater continental birds have also been reported (Gil-Delgado et al., 2017; Holland, Mallory, & Shutler, 2016), and microplastic from agricultural activities seem to be an important source (Gil-Delgado et al., 2017)....

    [...]


References
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Journal ArticleDOI
Jenna Jambeck1, Roland Geyer2, Chris Wilcox3, Theodore R. Siegler4  +4 moreInstitutions (7)
13 Feb 2015-Science
TL;DR: This work combines available data on solid waste with a model that uses population density and economic status to estimate the amount of land-based plastic waste entering the ocean, which is estimated to be 275 million metric tons.
Abstract: Plastic debris in the marine environment is widely documented, but the quantity of plastic entering the ocean from waste generated on land is unknown. By linking worldwide data on solid waste, population density, and economic status, we estimated the mass of land-based plastic waste entering the ocean. We calculate that 275 million metric tons (MT) of plastic waste was generated in 192 coastal countries in 2010, with 4.8 to 12.7 million MT entering the ocean. Population size and the quality of waste management systems largely determine which countries contribute the greatest mass of uncaptured waste available to become plastic marine debris. Without waste management infrastructure improvements, the cumulative quantity of plastic waste available to enter the ocean from land is predicted to increase by an order of magnitude by 2025.

4,410 citations



Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Global plastics production and the accumulation of plastic waste are documented, showing that trends in mega- and macro-plastic accumulation rates are no longer uniformly increasing and that the average size of plastic particles in the environment seems to be decreasing.
Abstract: One of the most ubiquitous and long-lasting recent changes to the surface of our planet is the accumulation and fragmentation of plastics. Within just a few decades since mass production of plastic...

2,900 citations


01 Mar 2012-
Abstract: Solid waste management is the one thing just about every city government provides for its residents. While service levels, environmental impacts and costs vary dramatically, solid waste management is arguably the most important municipal service and serves as a prerequisite for other municipal action. As the world hurtles toward its urban future, the amount of municipal solid waste (MSW), one of the most important by-products of an urban lifestyle, is growing even faster than the rate of urbanization. Ten years ago there were 2.9 billion urban residents who generated about 0.64 kg of MSW per person per day (0.68 billion tonnes per year). This report estimates that today these amounts have increased to about 3 billion residents generating 1.2 kg per person per day (1.3 billion tonnes per year). By 2025 this will likely increase to 4.3 billion urban residents generating about 1.42 kg/capita/day of municipal solid waste (2.2 billion tonnes per year).

2,036 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: To assess the environmental risk associated with microplastics, comprehensive data on their abundance, fate, sources, and biological effects in freshwater ecosystems are needed.
Abstract: While the use of plastic materials has generated huge societal benefits, the ‘plastic age’ comes with downsides: One issue of emerging concern is the accumulation of plastics in the aquatic environment. Here, so-called microplastics (MP), fragments smaller than 5 mm, are of special concern because they can be ingested throughout the food web more readily than larger particles. Focusing on freshwater MP, we briefly review the state of the science to identify gaps of knowledge and deduce research needs. Environmental scientists started investigating marine (micro)plastics in the early 2000s. Today, a wealth of studies demonstrates that MP have ubiquitously permeated the marine ecosystem, including the polar regions and the deep sea. MP ingestion has been documented for an increasing number of marine species. However, to date, only few studies investigate their biological effects. The majority of marine plastics are considered to originate from land-based sources, including surface waters. Although they may be important transport pathways of MP, data from freshwater ecosystems is scarce. So far, only few studies provide evidence for the presence of MP in rivers and lakes. Data on MP uptake by freshwater invertebrates and fish is very limited. While the research on marine MP is more advanced, there are immense gaps of knowledge regarding freshwater MP. Data on their abundance is fragmentary for large and absent for small surface waters. Likewise, relevant sources and the environmental fate remain to be investigated. Data on the biological effects of MP in freshwater species is completely lacking. The accumulation of other freshwater contaminants on MP is of special interest because ingestion might increase the chemical exposure. Again, data is unavailable on this important issue. MP represent freshwater contaminants of emerging concern. However, to assess the environmental risk associated with MP, comprehensive data on their abundance, fate, sources, and biological effects in freshwater ecosystems are needed. Establishing such data critically depends on a collaborative effort by environmental scientists from diverse disciplines (chemistry, hydrology, ecotoxicology, etc.) and, unsurprisingly, on the allocation of sufficient public funding.

653 citations


Performance
Metrics
No. of citations received by the Paper in previous years
YearCitations
202295
20211,682
20201,136
2019593
2018222
201719