Connecting smugglers, disposable workers, garbage pickers and the poorest of consumers, the flip-flop trail is one of globalisation’s darker stories.
Plastic debris strewn across a beach.
We're drowning in plastics. With governments setting un-ambitious targets, corporations are now listening to consumers who are demanding less plastic packaging and food containers.
Sure, ditch the coffee cups. But don’t say goodbye to these too soon.
We can safely say goodbye to most single-use plastics. But they do have essential uses in some areas, such as for medical or scientific samples, or storing food for humanitarian aid.
Microplastic in the soil is extremely difficult to track (or remove).
Florida Sea Grant
Ocean plastic has made a big splash, but there may be even more microplastic on land. The problem is that we have no idea exactly how much is in Australian soil, where it is, and what it's doing.
Could this be turned into fuel, instead of just more plastic?
Plastic can only be recycled a few times before it becomes useless. But even non-recyclable plastic can be used to help produce petrol and diesel. Could this process help overcome the recycling crisis?
These are already 100% recyclable - the trick is to actually recycle them.
Under a new target, 100% of Australian packaging will be recyclable, compostable or reusable by 2025. But this is not enough - we also need to ensure that recyclable materials are actually recycled.
Not as green as you might think.
Truly green plastic requires more than sustainable raw materials.
Sustainable swimwear shopping means that you don’t have to worry about the sea soaking in plastic from your bathers while you soak in the sun!
Summer may have come to an official end, but the plastics from your bathers might still be at the beach!
A seal trapped in a mat of plastic pollution.
Millions of tonnes of plastic garbage winds up in our oceans each year. Voluntary pledges haven't worked. It's time for Canada to advocate for an international plastics treaty.
The science is clear but to improve plastic literacy, we need the arts. Here’s why.
The short answer is that it depends on the material the cups and plates are made of, and even what shape they are.
Marcella Cheng/The Conversation
Have you ever been told not to put metal in the microwave? Edie, age 8, wants to know why.
Think of what your clothes are doing to the planet.
Joe Giddens/PA Archive
Water pollution, toxic chemical use and textile waste: fast fashion comes at a huge cost to the environment.
Imported laptop housings, Guiyu, China.
Basel Action Network
China, which recycles much of the world's waste material, is slashing its scrap imports. This move could force the United States and Europe to boost recycling instead of shipping trash overseas.
An incredibly sad scene.
The impact of plastic on the ocean is heartbreaking but the science must be watertight to convince everyone that we need to change.
Plastic pollution: discarded plastic bags are a hazard to marine life.
Tonnes of plastic end up in the ocean each year, but a switch away from petroleum-based products to bio-derived and degradable composites could lessen marine pollution.
Everyone knows that plastic waste is an environmental problem. So let's get creative with it.
What will we do for bin liners now?
AAP Image/James Ross
Banning single-use plastic bags makes sense, as long as it doesn't usher in behaviours that are just as bad, or worse – like over-using heavier bags made of even more plastic.
The same beach on Henderson Island, in 1992 and 2015.
After making worldwide headlines with the story of the Pacific "garbage island", researchers were sent a photo of the same beach, white sand free of litter, as recently as 1992.
Your recycling doesn’t have to be sparkling clean.
Many people are confused about what they can and can't recycle, and whether they need to clean everything before it goes in the bin. The best plan is to check the details with your local council.
The researchers found nearly 38 million pieces of plastic rubbish on Henderson Island, in one of the remotest parts of the ocean.
Plastics pose a major threat to seabirds and other animals, and most don't ever break down - they just break up. Every piece of petrochemical-derived plastic ever made still exists on the planet.