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Concept: Waste


Plastic pollution in the ocean is a global concern; concentrations reach 580,000 pieces per km(2) and production is increasing exponentially. Although a large number of empirical studies provide emerging evidence of impacts to wildlife, there has been little systematic assessment of risk. We performed a spatial risk analysis using predicted debris distributions and ranges for 186 seabird species to model debris exposure. We adjusted the model using published data on plastic ingestion by seabirds. Eighty of 135 (59%) species with studies reported in the literature between 1962 and 2012 had ingested plastic, and, within those studies, on average 29% of individuals had plastic in their gut. Standardizing the data for time and species, we estimate the ingestion rate would reach 90% of individuals if these studies were conducted today. Using these results from the literature, we tuned our risk model and were able to capture 71% of the variation in plastic ingestion based on a model including exposure, time, study method, and body size. We used this tuned model to predict risk across seabird species at the global scale. The highest area of expected impact occurs at the Southern Ocean boundary in the Tasman Sea between Australia and New Zealand, which contrasts with previous work identifying this area as having low anthropogenic pressures and concentrations of marine debris. We predict that plastics ingestion is increasing in seabirds, that it will reach 99% of all species by 2050, and that effective waste management can reduce this threat.

Concepts: Scientific method, Atlantic Ocean, Albatross, Plastic, New Zealand, Pacific Ocean, Ocean, Waste


The ubiquity of anthropogenic debris in hundreds of species of wildlife and the toxicity of chemicals associated with it has begun to raise concerns regarding the presence of anthropogenic debris in seafood. We assessed the presence of anthropogenic debris in fishes and shellfish on sale for human consumption. We sampled from markets in Makassar, Indonesia, and from California, USA. All fish and shellfish were identified to species where possible. Anthropogenic debris was extracted from the digestive tracts of fish and whole shellfish using a 10% KOH solution and quantified under a dissecting microscope. In Indonesia, anthropogenic debris was found in 28% of individual fish and in 55% of all species. Similarly, in the USA, anthropogenic debris was found in 25% of individual fish and in 67% of all species. Anthropogenic debris was also found in 33% of individual shellfish sampled. All of the anthropogenic debris recovered from fish in Indonesia was plastic, whereas anthropogenic debris recovered from fish in the USA was primarily fibers. Variations in debris types likely reflect different sources and waste management strategies between countries. We report some of the first findings of plastic debris in fishes directly sold for human consumption raising concerns regarding human health.

Concepts: Human, Fish, Pacific Ocean, Vertebrate, Seafood, Fishing, Waste, Shellfish


Intracellular concentrations of adenosine-5'-triphosphate (ATP) are many times greater than extracellular concentrations (1-10 mM versus 10-100 nM, respectively) and cellular release of ATP is tightly controlled. Transient rises in extracellular ATP and its metabolite adenosine have important signaling roles; and acting through purinergic receptors, can increase blood flow and oxygenation of tissues; and act as neurotransmitters. Increased blood flow not only increases substrate availability but may also aid in recovery through removal of metabolic waste products allowing muscles to accomplish more work with less fatigue. The objective of the present study was to determine if supplemental ATP would improve muscle torque, power, work, or fatigue during repeated bouts of high intensity resistance exercise.

Concepts: Metabolism, Energy, Muscle, Tissues, Lactic acid, Exercise physiology, Power, Waste


Plastic debris in the marine environment is widely documented, but the quantity of plastic entering the ocean from waste generated on land is unknown. By linking worldwide data on solid waste, population density, and economic status, we estimated the mass of land-based plastic waste entering the ocean. We calculate that 275 million metric tons (MT) of plastic waste was generated in 192 coastal countries in 2010, with 4.8 to 12.7 million MT entering the ocean. Population size and the quality of waste management systems largely determine which countries contribute the greatest mass of uncaptured waste available to become plastic marine debris. Without waste management infrastructure improvements, the cumulative quantity of plastic waste available to enter the ocean from land is predicted to increase by an order of magnitude by 2025.

Concepts: Atlantic Ocean, Coast, Pacific Ocean, Sea, Ocean, Marine debris, Waste, Tonne


Growing evidence suggests that anthropogenic litter, particularly plastic, represents a highly pervasive and persistent threat to global marine ecosystems. Multinational research is progressing to characterise its sources, distribution and abundance so that interventions aimed at reducing future inputs and clearing extant litter can be developed. Citizen science projects, whereby members of the public gather information, offer a low-cost method of collecting large volumes of data with considerable temporal and spatial coverage. Furthermore, such projects raise awareness of environmental issues and can lead to positive changes in behaviours and attitudes. We present data collected over a decade (2005-2014 inclusive) by Marine Conservation Society (MCS) volunteers during beach litter surveys carried along the British coastline, with the aim of increasing knowledge on the composition, spatial distribution and temporal trends of coastal debris. Unlike many citizen science projects, the MCS beach litter survey programme gathers information on the number of volunteers, duration of surveys and distances covered. This comprehensive information provides an opportunity to standardise data for variation in sampling effort among surveys, enhancing the value of outputs and robustness of findings. We found that plastic is the main constituent of anthropogenic litter on British beaches and the majority of traceable items originate from land-based sources, such as public littering. We identify the coast of the Western English Channel and Celtic Sea as experiencing the highest relative litter levels. Increasing trends over the 10-year time period were detected for a number of individual item categories, yet no statistically significant change in total (effort-corrected) litter was detected. We discuss the limitations of the dataset and make recommendations for future work. The study demonstrates the value of citizen science data in providing insights that would otherwise not be possible due to logistical and financial constraints of running government-funded sampling programmes on such large scales.

Concepts: Time, Statistics, Data, Coast, Beach, Waste, Output, English Channel


Urban waste impacts human and environmental health, and waste management has become one of the major challenges of humanity. Concurrently with new directives due to manage this human by-product, illegal dumping has become one of the most lucrative activities of organized crime. Beyond economic fraud, illegal waste disposal strongly enhances uncontrolled dissemination of human pathogens, pollutants and invasive species. Here, we demonstrate the potential of novel real-time GPS tracking of scavenging species to detect environmental crime. Specifically, we were able to detect illegal activities at an officially closed dump, which was visited recurrently by 5 of 19 GPS-tracked yellow-legged gulls (Larus michahellis). In comparison with conventional land-based surveys, GPS tracking allows a much wider and cost-efficient spatiotemporal coverage, even of the most hazardous sites, while GPS data accessibility through the internet enables rapid intervention. Our results suggest that multi-species guilds of feathered detectives equipped with GPS and cameras could help fight illegal dumping at continental scales. We encourage further experimental studies, to infer waste detection thresholds in gulls and other scavenging species exploiting human waste dumps.

Concepts: Waste management, Recycling, Waste, Waste collection, Gull, Larus, Herring Gull, Yellow-legged Gull


The construction industry is one of the biggest and most active sectors of the European Union (EU), consuming more raw materials and energy than any other economic activity. Furthermore, construction waste is the commonest waste produced in the EU. Current EU legislation sets out to implement construction and demolition waste (CDW) prevention and recycling measures. However it lacks tools to accelerate the development of a sector as bound by tradition as the building industry. The main objective of the present study was to determine indicators to estimate the amount of CDW generated on site both globally and by waste stream. CDW generation was estimated for six specific sectors: new residential construction, new non-residential construction, residential demolition, non-residential demolition, residential refurbishment, and non-residential refurbishment. The data needed to develop the indicators was collected through an exhaustive survey of previous international studies. The indicators determined suggest that the average composition of waste generated on site is mostly concrete and ceramic materials. Specifically for new residential and new non-residential construction the production of concrete waste in buildings with a reinforced concrete structure lies between 17.8 and 32.9 kg m(-2) and between 18.3 and 40.1 kg m(-2), respectively. For the residential and non-residential demolition sectors the production of this waste stream in buildings with a reinforced concrete structure varies from 492 to 840 kg m(-2) and from 401 to 768 kg/m(-2), respectively. For the residential and non-residential refurbishment sectors the production of concrete waste in buildings lies between 18.9 and 45.9 kg/m(-2) and between 18.9 and 191.2 kg/m(-2), respectively.

Concepts: European Union, Construction, Building, Waste, Fire protection, Occupancy, Reinforced concrete, Demolition waste


This work presents the enforcement performance of recent Haulien County, Taiwan municipal solid waste (MSW) recycling management programs. These programs include: Mandatory Refuse Sorting and Recycling, Diverse Bulk Waste Reuse, Pay-as-you-Discharge, Total Food Waste Recycling, Restricted Use on Plastic Shopping Bags & Plastic Tableware, Recycling Fund Management, and Ash Reuse. These programs provide incentives to reduce the MSW quantity growth rate. It was found that the recycled material fraction of MSW generated in 2001 was from 6.8%, but was 32.4% in 2010 and will increase stably by 2-5% yearly in the near future. Survey data for the last few years show that only 2.68% (based on total MSW generated) of food waste was collected in 2001. However, food waste was up to 9.7 % in 2010 after the Total Food Waste Recycling program was implemented. The reutilization rate of bottom ash was 20% in 2005 and up to 65% in 2010 owing to Ash Reuse Program enforcement. A quantified index, the Total Recycle Index, was proposed to evaluate MSW management program performance. The demonstrated county will move toward a zero waste society in 2015 if the Total Recycle Index approaches 1.00. Exact management with available programs can lead to slow-growing waste volume and recovery of all MSW.

Concepts: Waste management, Reuse, Recycling, Incineration, Waste, Waste picker, Waste hierarchy, Waste management concepts


Food and yard wastes are available year round at low cost and have the potential to complement each other for SS-AD. The goal of this study was to determine optimal feedstock/effluent (F/E) and food waste/yard waste mixing ratios for optimal biogas production. Co-digestion of yard and food waste was carried out at F/E ratios of 1, 2, and 3. For each F/E ratio, food waste percentages of 0%, 10%, and 20%, based on dry volatile solids, were evaluated. Results showed increased methane yields and volumetric productivities as the percentage of food waste was increased to 10% and 20% of the substrate at F/E ratios of 2 and 1, respectively. This study showed that co-digestion of food waste with yard waste at specific ratios can improve digester operating characteristics and end performance metrics over SS-AD of yard waste alone.

Concepts: Anaerobic digestion, Waste management, Biogas, Sintex Digester, Methane, Waste, Biodegradable waste, Landfill


Sustainability and going green have become popular trends among foodservice organizations. Despite this interest, foodservice operations still produce large amounts of edible food waste and contribute significantly to waste management problems.

Concepts: Nutrition, Eating, Food, Recycling, Restaurant, Omnivore, Waste, Food and drink