British decision to ban plastic straws and cottons joins Europe's choices and eases the oceans

Thursday, April 19, 2018, the British government announced to ban plastic straws, buds and cotton swabs by the end of the year. This decision comes as part of its plan to fight against plastic waste. In United Kingdom the Marine Conservation Society is responsible for the surveillance of the seas and coasts of the country and regularly carries out beach cleaning operations. According to their figures the statement is without appeal . Thousands of plastic waste, cutlery, straws, goblets, sticks or cotton swabs are found at their Great british beach clean . Figures are up 23% since last year. According to them, for the cotton swabs, the record on a single beach is more than 13,000 swabs found. As far as straw is concerned, around 8.5 billion plastic straws are thrown away each year in the UK. That's more than 150 tons of plastic per year poured into the oceans.

This waste has a very harmful effect it is suspected on the environment they are grouped within real continents of plastic . A number of these wastes were swallowed by animals who confused them with their food and smothered them. Or the marine fauna gets entangled with, without being able to extricate itself, and ends up dying. The remaining waste is fragmented on the spot under the action of granular elements and other flakes that poison the fauna and flora.

A sea turtle in 2015 is seen removing a straw in plastic stuck in his nostril.

So it was time to act and the London government proposed in January 2018 a new plan to fight against plastic waste, providing for the generalization of plastic bags paid to all businesses in England. Then in late March, 2018, the British executive announced its intention to establish a deposit system on plastic bottles . The forthcoming ban on straws, mixers and cotton swabs is the logical consequence of this new ecological policy.

A European movement

Europe has a similar reflection. Indeed, the European Commission wants all plastic packaging to be recyclable by 2030 . In particular, it wants to drastically reduce the use of single-use bags by 80% by 2019 compared to the beginning of the decade. They have become profitable to reduce their use, where they are replaced by bio-degradable bags.

In France, despite generous intentions about recycling – which we know already they will be difficult to hold – things are moving too. The Biodiversity Law adopted in July 2016 should put an end to the use, except medical, plastic cotton-rods for 2020. As in the United Kingdom, the plastic sticks will be replaced by sticks in biodegradable paper or reusable sticks where cotton is to be added with each use. The limitation on the sale of cutlery and disposable plastic cups is also expected to come into effect on January 1, 2020, with the goal of achieving 50% disposable tableware by 2020 and 60% by 2025. Oceans will then see less plastic arrive. It will then be time to clean them up .

Enzyme that degrades plastic: the French of Carbios ready to use it

The green chemistry company Carbios assured Thursday, April 19, 2018 that its technology of degradation of plastic by enzymes was much more advanced than that just unveiled, with much publicity , by American and British scientists . " The use of enzymes for the degradation of plastics is not new, the French biotech Carbios is already developing this technology with performance well above those announced by these researchers ", argued the company in a statement. Scientists from the Portsmouth University of the United Kingdom and the US Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory announced two days ago that the accidental mutation of an enzyme, allowing a bacterium to feed on plastic type PET, made it even more effective in this task.According to them, this discovery opened a new trail for the destruction of plastics that accumulate around the world.

PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) is the one of the most common plastics, since it contributes 65 million tons to the 335 million tons of plastics produced each year worldwide. A quarter of this production is used to make bottles and packaging, the rest going mainly to the textile industry (PET is a polyester).

"Strong for the buzz"

"The English and the Americans are very strong enough to make + buzz + because this enzyme is far from new.From 2016, it has been the subject of four publications in reputable journals as Science Nature and now the Accounts- Proceedings of the American Academy of Sciences (PNAS) "says Alain Marty, Scientific Director of Carbios. " These four articles have in common to never say clearly what proportion of PET has been transformed into monomer (its raw material) but give only indications to calculate it ", underlines this former researcher of the Insa Toulouse.

On these bases, Mr. Marty arrived at " 0.01% in 36 hours " for the first three publications – " we are far from saving the planet ", he quipped. For the last, Mr. Marty arrives at a conversion rate " around 3% in 96 hours ". In contrast, Carbios, based in Clermont-Ferrand, believes that its technology can degrade the PET to 97% within 24 hours. The Anglo-Saxon scientists, he notes, " did not work on bottles or packaging, but on a polymer of which we know nothing ". Carbios can treat PET in all its forms, solid or textile, colored or not. This has particularly attracted the interest of L'Oréal, world leader in cosmetics, which has partnered with the startup to recycle its packaging.

If Carbios communicates regularly on the As a result of its advanced work, the company has not turned to the scientific community through publications in peer-reviewed journals. " I work for a company whose primary goal is to protect its intellectual property, by filing patents – not to make very good publications in scientific journals ," says Marty. Now that its patents are registered, Carbios intends to be better known. " In view of our results, we are very confident that our articles are accepted in prestigious journals ," added his scientific director, referring to a deadline of three to six months.

Circular economy

Since its creation in 2011, Carbios has invested some 20 million euros in research and mobilized about sixty researchers through its agreements with Insa and CNRS. The Auvergnate company, which is listed on the stock market, now intends " to initiate the phase of industrial demonstration " of its process – and this, " from 2019 ". It wants to set up a unit of 10,000 tons " which will produce the first volumes of virgin PET from (his) technology by mid-2021 " in a logic of circular economy. The company is currently choosing the location of this demonstrator. " One is very lucky to be in France when one makes innovation ", underlines the general director Jean-Claude Lumaret, in reference to the multiple devices of aid to research. " Our duty now is to move quickly towards industrialization "

Carbios' "gluttonous enzymes" in the assault of plastic mountains

Removing plastics that clog our planet with "greedy enzymes"? Scientists have dreamed of it. A French startup has done so and is preparing to recycle thousands of tons by 2021.

The green chemistry company Carbios assured Thursday that its technology of degradation of plastics by enzymes was much more advanced than that all just unveiled with much publicity by American and British scientists.

"The use of enzymes for the degradation of plastics is not new, French biotech Carbios is already developing this technology with much better performance to those announced by these researchers, "the company said in a statement.

Scientists at the British University of Portsmouth and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory of the US Department of Energy announced there are two days that the accidental mutation of an enzyme, allowing a bacterium to feed on PET-type plastic, had made it even more effi

In their view, this discovery opened a new avenue for the destruction of plastics piling up all over the world.

PET (polyethylene terephthalate) is one of the most important plastics in the world. because it contributes 65 million tonnes to the 335 million tonnes of plastics produced each year worldwide. A quarter of this production is used to make bottles and packaging, the rest mainly going to the textile industry (PET is a polyester).

– "Forts pour le buzz" –

"The English and the Americans are very strong to make + buzz + because this enzyme is far from new.Since 2016, it has been the subject of four publications in reputable journals like Science, Nature (2) and now the Reports of the American Academy of Sciences (PNAS) ", says Alain Marty, scientific director of Carbios.

" These four articles have in common to never say clearly what proportion of PET has been transformed into monomer (its raw material) but only give indications to calculate it ", underlines this former researcher of Insa Toulouse.

On these bases, Mr. Marty arrived at" 0,01% in 36 hours "for the first three publications -" we are far from save the planet, "he quipped. For the last, Mr. Marty arrives at a conversion rate "around 3% in 96 hours".

In contrast, Carbios, based in Clermont-Ferrand, believes that its technology can degrade the PET to 97% in 24 hours.

Anglo-scientific scientists, he notes, "did not work on bottles or packaging, but on a polymer of which we know nothing". Carbios can treat PET in all its forms, solid or textile, colored or not. This has particularly attracted the interest of L'Oréal, the world leader in cosmetics, which has partnered with the startup to recycle its packaging.

If Carbios regularly reports on the progress of its work, the company does not is not addressed to the scientific community through publications in peer-reviewed journals.

"I work for a company whose primary purpose is to protect its intellectual property, by filing patents – not to beautiful publications in scientific journals, "says Marty. Now that his patents have been registered, Carbios intends to get a little better known.

"Given our results, we are very confident that our articles will be accepted in prestigious journals", added his scientific director, referring to a expiry of three to six months

– Circular economy –

Since its creation in 2011, Carbios has invested some twenty million euros in research and mobilized sixty researchers through its agreements with Insa and CNRS

The Auvergnate company, which is listed on the stock exchange, now intends to "initiate the industrial demonstration phase" of its process – and this, "from 2019". It wants to set up a unit of 10,000 tons "which will produce the first volumes of virgin PET from (its) technology by mid-2021" in a logic of circular economy.

The company is currently choose the location where this demonstrator will be located. "We are very lucky to be in France when we make innovation," said the general director Jean-Claude Lumaret, referring to multiple devices for research assistance. "Our duty now is to move quickly towards industrialization."

Plastic: London favors bottle deposit system

The British government announced Wednesday its intention to establish a deposit system on plastic bottles as part of its plan to fight against waste of this material.

The order will cover all single-use plastic, glass and metal (beverage) beverage packaging sold in England, Environment Minister Michael Gove said in a statement.

"It is absolutely It is vital that we act now to tackle this threat and reduce the millions of plastic bottles that escape recycling every day, "he said.

"We want to act on plastic bottles to help clean our oceans," he said.

According to the statement, British consumers would use some 13 billion plastic bottles annually, of which more than three billion are incinerated, sent directly to a landfill or abandoned in the wild.

Such systems already exist in other European countries, such as Denmark, Sweden and Germany, Gove said.

Before being introduced, the deposit system will be subject to consultation this year with manufacturers and consumers to determine the terms and conditions.

"The devil will be in the details and it is vital that the system applies to the entire UK and to containers of all sizes, and that it is available wherever they are sold", reacted Elena Polisano, Oceans campaigner at Greenpeace UK.

In January, British Prime Minister Theresa May announced a new plan to combat plastic waste, providing for the generalization of pay plastic bags to all businesses in England.

Current legislation only concerns supermarkets whose customers must pay 5 pence (5.7 eurocents) per bag.

Plastic bottles: London wants to introduce a deposit system

The British government announced on Wednesday its intention to introduce a deposit system for plastic bottles as part of its plan to fight against plastic waste.

The order will cover all single-use plastic, glass and metal (beverage) beverage packaging sold in England, Environment Minister Michael Gove said in a statement.

"It is absolutely It is vital that we act now to tackle this threat and reduce the millions of plastic bottles that escape recycling every day, "he said.

"We want to act on plastic bottles to help clean our oceans," he said.

According to the statement, British consumers would use some 13 billion plastic bottles annually, of which more than three billion are incinerated, sent directly to a landfill or abandoned in the wild.

Such systems already exist in other European countries, such as Denmark, Sweden and Germany, Gove said.

Before being introduced, the deposit system will be subject to consultation this year with manufacturers and consumers to determine the terms and conditions.

"The devil will be in the details and it is vital that the system applies to the entire UK and to containers of all sizes, and that it is available wherever they are sold", reacted Elena Polisano, Oceans campaigner at Greenpeace UK.

In January, British Prime Minister Theresa May announced a new plan to combat plastic waste, providing for the generalization of pay plastic bags to all businesses in England.

Current legislation only concerns supermarkets whose customers must pay 5 pence (5.7 eurocents) per bag.