Archive for plastic waste

garbage in the air

Posted in pictures, Travel, Wines with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 6, 2019 by xi'an

As I am flying today to Seoul, for the Fall meeting of the Korean Statistical Society, a somewhat interesting paper in the New York Times about switching to alternatives for airline catering (if not air travel), starting with the figure that a passenger generates on average 1.5kg of waste per flight. And pointing out the conflicting issues in recycling food waste in most countries as they see it as imported waste and potential imported pathogens.and biohazards… While getting rids of plastic items is a tiny step in the right direction, especially because airlines do not sort between different kinds of garbage, a major step would be to avoid replacing them by another disposable item, especially heavier ones. From getting rid of providing food and drink (except water) on short and medium-haul flights to aim at healthy foods that do not require packaging or utensils. Like fruits. And asking passengers to carry their own garbage when leaving the plane could also enhance the realisation of the amount of garbage they thus produced. (On a recent early morning flight between Paris and Birmingham, the plane supposedly could not leave until the late delivery truck had brought croissants and drinks, as if passengers could not have abstained for the 55mn the flight lasted, especially when most of them were sleeping…) Nowadays. I usually travel with a water bottle that I fill before boarding after security and often skip meals on flights, but it invariably proves difficult to ask flight attendants to use my own reusable cup rather than a single-use plastic cup.

Antarctic sabbatical

Posted in Mountains, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , on September 29, 2019 by xi'an

Airbnb is supporting 5 volunteers that wish to join next December environmental scientist Kirstie Jones-Williams, from the University of Exeter, on a scientific expedition in Antarctica, investigating the presence of microplastics there. The deadline for applications  is 11:59pm EDT on 8 October 2019. (I wish I could, but the news came a bit late to contemplate rescheduling a large number of classes.) As the offer includes riding snowmobiles and fat tyre bikes, and visiting sites over Antarctica, during the one week stay there, this obviously sounds more like covert tourism than a genuine expedition. With a dose of greenwashing by Airbnb, “inherently more eco-friendly than other forms of travel given that people are using spaces already built” to quote from the University of Exeter webpage, which does not mention the impact of airbnbing locals out of city centres by drying out long-term rentals and raising housing prices sky-high… (As a long-term user of airbnb, hence accomplice to the fact, I noticed a rising proportion of places that are sheer around-the-year rentals rather than occasionally let to visitors. And hope the alternative platform fairbnb.coop will launch soon.)

a statistic with consequences

Posted in pictures, Statistics with tags , , , , , , , on July 18, 2019 by xi'an

In the latest Significance, there was a flyer with some members updates, an important one being that Sylvia Richardson had been elected the next president of the Royal Statistical Society. Congratulations to my friend Sylvia! Another item was that the publication of the 2018 RSS Statistic of the Year has led an Australian water company to switch from plastic to aluminum. Hmm, what about switching to nothing and supporting a use-your-own bottle approach? While it is correct that aluminum cans can be 100% made of recycled aluminum, this water company does not seem to appear to make any concerted effort to ensure its can are made of recycled aluminum or to increase the recycling rate for aluminum in Australia towards achieving those of Brazil (92%) or Japan (86%). (Another shocking statistic that could have been added to the 90.5% non-recycled plastic waste [in the World?] is that a water bottle consumes the equivalent of one-fourth of its contents in oil to produce.) Another US water company still promotes water bottles as one of the most effective and inert carbon capture & sequestration methods”..! There is no boundary for green-washing.

plastic oceans

Posted in Kids, pictures with tags , , , , , , , , on May 28, 2018 by xi'an