Plastic

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In most states, the issue of container deposit legislation has festered for decades. Brian Finestone/Shutterstock.com

Spin the bottle: the fraught politics of container deposit schemes

Four decades after South Australia's container deposit scheme began, New South Wales has finally overcome industry resistance and launched its own. Could the rest of the country now follow suit?
Do you worry about BPA in your plastic? Image of bottles via Picsfive/Shutterstock

What that ‘BPA-free’ label isn’t telling you

Purchase a plastic water bottle, and there’s a good chance that it will feature a “BPA-free” label. You might be seeing it more often because the industrial chemical Bisphenol-A has now been removed from…

New type of plastic performs DIY repair

American researchers have created a plastic that can repair itself. Until recently, only living organisms could regenerate…
Debris or not debris? Floating rubbish could hamper the search for MH370. AAP Image/AP Pool, Kim Christian

The difficulty of searching for MH370 in a giant rubbish patch

Frustratingly, the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has turned up many floating objects, but none of them are from the plane. That’s largely because the latest search area is likely to…
Much of Australia’s waste plastic is ending up in the ocean, and in fish. John Schneider

Australian waters polluted by harmful tiny plastics

Each square kilometre of Australian sea surface water is contaminated by around 4,000 pieces of tiny plastics, according to our study published today in journal PLOS ONE and data repository Figshare. These…
Solid plastic made from gas. Novomer

Explainer: what is carbon capture and utilisation?

Carbon and carbon dioxide are found all around us. All living things contain carbon - it’s one of the essential building blocks of life and is fundamental to many chemical processes. Carbon dioxide (CO2…
Bioplastics of the future come in all shapes, colours and sizes. Achim Raschka

Creating renewable plastics that don’t cost the Earth

Imagine a future where packaging is made entirely from waste material and biodegrades to harmless by-products. Or where your home’s cavity wall insulation foam is made from captured CO2 emissions. Or where…
Great ocean garbage patches should be left alone until plastics are stopped from entering our oceans. Flickr/CesarHarada

Leave the ocean garbage alone: we need to stop polluting first

Recent plans to clean plastics from the five massive ocean garbage patches could do more damage to the environment than leaving the plastic right where it is. There is no doubt that the focus on cleaning…
Is Coca-Cola Amatil’s opposition to the Northern Territory’s container deposit scheme out of concern for household budgets or simply decreased profit margins? Flickr/Julian Stallabrass

Coke chokes the NT container deposit scheme

A reported 10 billion drink containers are thrown away in Australia every year. Many of these are recycled, but many end up in landfill, on roadsides and in waterways. The danger posed to wildlife by plastic…
Plastic is a major threat to our seabirds and marine life - this bird has filled its stomach with plastic during the 80-90 days it lived. Ian Hutton

Plastic and politics: how bureaucracy is failing our forgotten wildlife

Seabirds: the poster children for ocean health. Fishers use them to identify fishing hot spots. Environmental and marine scientists use them as indicators of the condition of the ocean environment due…
Rubbish in the ocean - marine debris - is a terrible threat to wildlife. Discarded fishing nets are among the worst. AAP Image/Department of the Environment and Heritage/Melbourne Zoo

Ghostnets fish on: marine rubbish threatens northern Australian turtles

Each year around 640,000 tonnes of fishing gear is lost or thrown overboard by the fisheries around the world. These “ghostnets” drift through the oceans and can continue fishing for many years. They kill…
Plastic bottles often end up on the beach where the plastic can remain for decades, harming sea life and the fish we eat. senderweb/Flickr

National container deposit scheme crushed by Australian Senate

For the past 30 years, South Australians have lived in a state with a “container deposit scheme”. This means on small bottles or cans of water, soft drink, juice or alcohol, consumers pay a 10c deposit…

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