Monday, November 14, 2016

This week's C&EN

A few of this week's articles from Chemical and Engineering News
  • Cover: Fascinating write-up of the recent news surrounding the FDA's approval of eteplirsen for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. (article by Lisa Jarvis)
  • Interesting idea to use vaccines against siderophores. (article by Stu Borman)
  • More on the aftermath of Election 2016, with a look at legal marijuana and the plastic bag ban in California. 
    • I hadn't heard about the plastic bag ban - that's bad for someone...
  • Very interesting overview of the Li-ion battery space by Mitch Jacoby, with an eye towards removing flammable organic solvents from them. 

5 comments:

  1. Plastic bag ban is annoying....yes, fine, it's only a dime per bag which I don't care about financially but (having grown up a free bag world) I'm still irked.

    Would be interesting to see if there are any data that these bans accomplish anything. My guess is no difference in plastic use (stores sell fewer bags with more plastic in them).

    Just another example that https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWdfRRtAs3o

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    1. Here you go: http://mrsc.org/getmedia/d4703f1e-2ab4-4bfd-9f0a-98ca5ca32b44/s42plastic.pdf.aspx
      (Report on Seattle's plastic bag ban for most stores/applications)

      "Between 2010 and 2014, the amount of plastic bags in residential garbage declined from 262 tons to 136 tons, a nearly 50% decrease over a four year period."

      That said, for a city the size of Seattle, it's kind of a drop in the bucket. For reference, in 2016 the City of Seattle produced 150,835 Tons of solid waste for landfill. In context, plastic bags as a percentage of landfill waste decrease from 0.2% to 0.1%. In comparison, in 2016 Seattle diverted 80,175 Tons of solid waste through municipal composting, representing a 35% mass savings compared to if the waste had instead been sent to a landfill. Honestly, I like composting and I don't like the plastic bag ban, and the numbers just don't support it the ban either, especially when compared against the waste diversion provided by municipal composting.

      For those interested in data over anecdote/opinion, much is available from the City of Seattle: http://www.seattle.gov/util/Documents/Reports/SolidWasteReports/index.htm

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    2. I don't know how much is plastic bag makers harnessing people's dislikes, but it does mean that stores can pass on whatever costs for bagging to their customers and blame it on the state. They don't carry paper - and if they do, they charge.

      Plastic bags are pretty mobile, but I don't know what fraction of plastic waste in the ocean or ground they make up. I would assume that most heavy plastic waste ends up in landfills, while lots of bags could end up elsewhere (as actual pollution), but I don't actually know, either what fraction of bag material ends up in the (open) environment (as opposed to landfills) or what fraction of environmental plastic waste bags make up.

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    3. Though the UK is on track for an 83% fall in 'disposable' bag use after introducing a charge (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-36917174) I haven't seen any data on overall plastic consumption. Anecdotally, however, I should not have been surprised as I was to find the 'Bags for Life' that supermarkets sell instead littering the roads in a similar way to the old-style ones did.

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  2. Resident of a coastal CA city here. Leading up to the vote, campaigning for the plastic bag ban focused not on preventing bags from ending up in landfills but rather the ocean. Not sure how you provide data on amount of plastic floating around in the water.

    The annoying part is grocery stores stopped carrying plastic bags the day after the election. Law isn't in effect yet!

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