Scientists call for better plastics design to protect marine life
Improved materials would encourage recycling and prevent single-use containers from entering the oceans and breaking into small pieces
Plastics should be better designed to encourage recycling and prevent wasteful single-use containers finding their way into our oceans, where they break up into small pieces and are swallowed by marine animals, scientists said on Thursday.
This could be as effective as a ban on microbeads, proposed by green campaigners as a way of dealing with the rising levels of microplastic waste – tiny pieces of near-indestructible plastic materials – that are harming marine life.
Richard Thompson, professor of marine biology at Plymouth University, told an experts’ briefing in London that better design was a key element in combating the rapidly growing problem: “The irony is that if most of these materials were better designed, they could be better recycled, and we could capture them. That would also reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We need to change the way we do this.”