This article lacks perspective. First if the numbers sighted in the article are correct then only 0.07% of all plastic pellets are lost. Assume $0.50 per pound for the cost of the pellets, a reasonable assumption in bulk, at a distributor or processor level, the cost is higher. That means the plastic industry has a combined loss of $~280 million per year. Second, not all plastic pellets float: polystyrene, PVC, PET, compounded pellets and many engineering resins sink. Salt water may float polystyrene but not the large volume pellets like PET or PVC. My experience in US plastic/polymer industry ~20 years ago was that all US segments take Operation Clean Sweep very seriously and try to comply (I sold polyolefin, polystyrene polymerizers, and compounders, all produce pellets). Are there accidents, of coarse. Is the word perfect, no. My guess is the problem is greater overseas: Southeast Asia and China where environmental laws are limited if enforced.
The polymer industry has a bad reputation in the public. In spite of the fact that our society worldwide is dependent on polymers to reduce energy and water consumption. In spite of the fact that plastic have very low energy, water and air footprints versus other materials. Polymer/plastics problem is commercial success. Polymers are versatile materials that can be tailored to a application from cars, planes, bottles, houses, packaging, whatever is needed. Plastic versatility and low density hinders the plastic recycling. There are better environmental options for used polymers, such as trash to steam.
Be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater! Without polymers, water and air pollution would grow exponentially and standards of living would decline.
No ones talking about banning polymers. It’s not going to bankrupt the industry to make regulations mandatory rather than voluntary, and to attempt to trace back spills and hold those responsible accountable.
Seems like you work in the industry and you should disclose that.
Maurice, you sound very much like a company shill or industry spokes person. The polluters need jail time like all common criminals. Regulation without meaningful enforcement is meaningless. The dumping of pollutants is done by individual people, not faceless companies and the law should impose a penalty that is a deterrent. Jail-time and ten times the amount that might have been saved by their illegal actions would be a good start. But as you see in the article the criminals are protected by the government that simply refuses to do the will of the people. So much for democracy.
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