Academic Journal Devotes Issue to 'Plastics Dilemma'

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Colin Staub | July 8, 2021

The latest issue of Science discusses mechanical and chemical recycling, global policy and more. | qvist / Shutterstock

Science Magazine has published a special edition covering various facets of the global plastic pollution problem. Articles touch on efforts to reduce the amount of material ending up in the environment as well as advancements (and shortcomings) in recycling.

The academic journal on July 2 published an issue titled “Our Plastics Dilemma,” exploring the rise of plastic as a common material, the environmental threats posed by the material and possible solutions to reduce the impact in the future.

“A series of reviews discusses how plastics are best understood as novel geomaterials, the evolutionary and ecological dimensions of plastic ingestion by wildlife, the accumulation and effects of plastic pollution in the environment, and how innovations in upcycling and recycling may affect the fate of plastics and drive advances in next-generation materials design,” authors stated in the issue introduction.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science, which publishes the magazine, highlighted the issue in a news release.

“The fallacy of mechanical recycling has already taught us that technology alone will not and cannot solve the plastic pollution crisis. No silver bullet solution exists for the multifaceted nature of plastic pollution,” the release states, quoting from one article in the issue. “Only through committed action and coordination across the value chain will a sustainable future for plastics be secured.”

The issue includes articles discussing microbes that can break down plastic polymers, in-progress efforts to create an international agreement combatting plastic pollution, mechanical and chemical recycling and more.

The University of Delaware published an interview with two researchers from the institution who authored an article for the magazine.