Plastics Yet Again

Watts Up With That?

Guest Essay by Kip Hansen

plastics_not_foreverThe New York Times has treated us to another episode of the Great Plastics-Last-Forever  Urban Legend in their recent article “The Immense, Eternal Footprint Humanity Leaves on Earth: Plastics” by the incredible Tatiana Schlossberg (here and here).

The New York Times’ article breathlessly reports:

“From the 1950s to today, 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic have been produced, with around half of it made since 2004. And since plastic does not naturally degrade, the billions of tons sitting in landfills, floating in the oceans or piling up on city streets will provide a marker if later civilizations ever want to classify our era. Perhaps they will call this time on Earth the Plastocene Epoch.”

“Their findings suggest that staggering amounts of near-eternal litter is present in the environment — the oceans, landfills and freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems — and the…

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