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Oceans
Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0

Please Stop Flushing Your Contact Lenses

Contact lenses may appear harmlessly soft and small, but a big chunk of American users are improperly disposing their used lenses and adding to the planet's microplastic problem, Arizona State University researchers found.

In a survey of 409 wearers, about 1 in 5 responded that they flushed their used lenses down the toilet or sink instead of throwing them in the trash, according to a new study presented at the American Chemical Society's National Meeting and Exposition.

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DWalker44 / Getty Images

Tons of Plastic Trash Enter the Great Lakes Every Year – Where Does It Go?

By Matthew J. Hoffman

Awareness is rising worldwide about the scourge of ocean plastic pollution, from Earth Day 2018 events to the cover of National Geographic magazine. But few people realize that similar concentrations of plastic pollution are accumulating in lakes and rivers. One recent study found microplastic particles—fragments measuring less then five millimeters—in globally sourced tap water and beer brewed with water from the Great Lakes.

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Thailand's Wai Mei Dat center filled with imported e-waste. baselactionnetwork / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

Thailand to Ban Imports of Plastics and E-Waste

Thailand has joined Vietnam and Malaysia in cracking down on the world's trash. Thailand will stop accepting more than 400 types of electronic waste (e-waste), including circuit boards, old TVs and radios, within six months, an environment ministry official told Reuters.

The decision was made Wednesday at a meeting chaired by Surasak Kanchanarat, the environment minister. Imports of plastic waste will also be banned in two years, although specific details of the program are not yet known, Reuters reported.

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Multicolored balloons flying to the sky. Jakkree Thampitakkull / Getty Images

After Plastic Straws, Are Balloons Next to Go?

We get it. Balloons are fun and make great decorations. But we hate to burst your bubble—balloons can be a big problem when they are deliberately released into the environment.

The litter is not only a blight on landscapes, waterways, trees and power lines, but balloons and balloon strings can entangle, choke or kill marine life and other animals. That's not to mention the wasteful use of helium, a non-renewable resource.

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Michael Coghlan / CC BY-SA 2.0

France: Non-Recycled Plastic Will Cost 10 Percent More

France will roll out a series of measures to accelerate President Emmanuel Macron's goal of reaching 100 percent plastic recycling by 2025, a government official said Sunday.

"Declaring war on plastic is not enough. We need to transform the French economy," Junior Environment Minister Brune Poirson told French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche.

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Polystyrene foam contains potentially harmful chemicals that can leach into food and drinks. Planet Takeout / Flickr / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Pediatricians Warn Against Using Plastic Numbers 3, 6, 7

The next time you use a plastic container or bottle, you might want to look at the little number inside the triangle recycling symbol.

In a report issued last month, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) said that plastics with the recycling codes 3 (phthalates), 6 (styrene) and 7 (bisphenols) should be avoided unless they are labeled as "biobased" or "greenware," which do not contain these chemicals.

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Japatino / Getty Images

Only a Third of UK's Plastic Food Packaging Is Recyclable

Local governments in England and Wales have said that only about a third of the plastic food containers recycled by their constituents are actually able to be processed in recycling facilities, BBC News reported Saturday.

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Plastic pollution on a beach in Hawaii. NOAA

Study Finds New Reason to Ban Plastic: It Emits Methane in the Sun

The proliferation of plastic pollution has led to concerns over its impact on marine life and human health as the toxins it absorbs and emits move up the food chain. Now, a new study reveals yet another potential plastic hazard: It releases greenhouse gasses.

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A student cares for plants as part of an experiment conducted through the 'Alala Reintroduction Community Inquiry Program, one of the UL Innovation Education Award winners. San Diego Zoo

5 Nonprofits Win UL Innovation Education Award

One program teaches girls the science and math skills they need to solve environmental problems in their communities and go on to lives of greater opportunity, another uses marine science to empower students in a low-income, highly diverse San Diego community, and yet another gives Hawaiian middle schoolers the chance to participate in research surrounding the reintroduction of the highly endangered 'Alala (Hawaiian Crow).

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