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Speech and Environmental Science Learning Community

This guide will provide research and resources to support students enrolled in EVR 1001 and SPC 2608 learning community.

Managing Plastic Waste

Plastic waste poses significant consequences for the Earth, as it pollutes terrestrial and marine environments, harming wildlife and entering the food chain. The production and disposal of plastics also contribute to climate change, as their manufacturing relies on fossil fuels, releasing greenhouse gases. Furthermore, plastic waste in the environment can indirectly affect climate by disrupting ecosystems and contributing to the degradation of carbon sinks such as forests and oceans.


Listen While You Learn

Stream these podcast episodes online in your browser or on your mobile device through the following apps: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or Spotify. Use the Listen Notes Podcast Search Engine to find additional podcast episodes about your topic. 

Plastic Waste Podcasts

In this episode, commemorating Plastic Free July, we encounter the inspiring journey of Hannah Testa, a young environmental activist, book author, Tedx speaker,  who didn't just read about plastic pollution, but made a monumental change.
Witness the transformative power of one determined voice as we traverse her path from a passionate youngster to a renowned international speaker, author of "Taking on the plastics crisis", and founder of Hannah for Change.
An ardent environmentalist, Hannah's resolve enabled her to establish February 15th as Plastic Pollution Awareness Day in Georgia - a day dedicated to our planet. Our discussion also uncovers her unflinching determination in the face of challenges from the plastic industry and the profound impact of a documentary "Plastic Paradise" that ignited her fight against the plastic crisis.

Welcome back to Season 7 of Sustainably Influenced. This series we are discussing the intersection of technology and sustainability. Most of you will have seen that recycled plastic is everywhere, from our clothes (in the form of polyester) to bags, car components, furniture, building materials, paint pots and even kerbstone. Recycling plastic has been touted as a solution to the waste problem in the technology industry, but it is not a silver bullet. While recycling plastic can help reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills, it is only part of the solution.

What is electronic waste? What makes it so problematic? And what's the best way to deal with it?

Berlin-based Open Funk is tackling throwaway culture with a blender that's as easy to fix as to replace.

Plastic's risks to the environment and human health far outweigh the benefits. Every first and third Monday of the month, The Straits Times analyses the beat of the changing environment, from biodiversity conservation to climate change. Bans on single-use plastics are essential, experts say. Nations are also negotiating a global plastic pollution treaty to try to bring the crisis under control. But more is needed. 

Every year, the world generates 2 billion tons of trash, including 400 million tons of plastic. Most of this waste is mismanaged, piling up and flowing into our oceans, adding to greenhouse gas emissions and land and water pollution. A long-term solution requires the world to shift to a circular economy. What does circularity entail? What can we learn from global efforts to tackle solid waste, and in particular plastics? 

The fastest-growing part of the world's waste stream is e-waste (unwanted or unusable consumer electronics). This is because technology continues to improve or evolve faster and faster, so electronics become outdated more quickly.

Electronic items should not be thrown in the trash (or in landfills) because they contain toxins such as lead, mercury, and cadmium that can leach into the soil and water supplies. For these reasons alone, all electronics should be responsibly recycled. But they seldom are. A company called ERI specializes in the environmentally safe and socially responsible dismantling of electronic waste and ensures 100% data destruction and compliance.

With estimates suggesting that there are more than 5 trillion pieces of micro and macro plastics in our seas and continued reports stating that a truckload of plastic enters our oceans every minute, we can no longer turn a blind eye to the life cycle of plastic products once they are thrown in the bin. Environmental Editor for The Times, Adam Vaughan is joined by scientist, tech entrepreneur and Rolex Awards for Enterprise Laureate Miranda Wang to learn how her innovative upcycling technology is paving the way for plastic to have a second, third, maybe even evergreen, life.

This episode explores the role of design in enabling a circular economy for plastics, by delving into the challenges and opportunities of scaling designing for recycling solutions. Julie Zaniewski is joined in this conversation by Jay Fitzgerald from the US Department of Energy and Kathleen Liang from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. The panel discusses the role of individual businesses in advancing plastics recycling and set out their own company goals, including objectives for improving waste management, reducing greenhouse gases, and increasing the recyclability of products. 

Research Database

Use this library database to search for research articles about your topic. See below for featured articles to get started on learning more about your topic. 

Find full-text articles in: Applied Science & Technology Source, General Science Full Text, and GreenFILE.

Managing Waste Books