Category Archives: Plastic news

Are plastics the most sustainable packaging choice?

Six major categories of plastic packaging significantly reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions compared to packaging made with alternative materials, according to a new study.

Read the full study here.

Compiled by Franklin Associates for the American Chemistry Council and the Canadian Plastics Industry Association, and using 2010 as a baseline year, the data shows replacing plastic packaging with alternative materials would result in a 4.5 times more packaging weight, an 80 percent increase in energy use and 130 percent more global warming potential.

“The benefits hold up across a range of different kinds of applications and materials,” said Keith Christman, managing director of plastics markets for ACC. “Because plastics use so much less material in the first place it results in dramatic greenhouse gas reduction, and that’s just the start. It really adds up across the different types of packaging, to the equivalent of taking more than15 million cars off the road.”

The study pits the six major packaging resins — low density polyethylene, high density PE, polypropylene, PVC, polystyrene, expanded PS, PET — against paper, glass, steel, aluminum, textiles, rubber, and cork. It considers the implications of the materials used in caps and closures, beverage containers, other rigid containers, shopping bags, shrink wrap, and other flexible packaging in a detailed life cycle assessment.

Individual studies on particular products have been done before, Christman said, on products ranging from plastic pouches vs. cans for tuna and EPS vs. paper cups. But the new study, titled Impact of Plastics Packaging on Life Cycle Energy Consumption and Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the United States and Canada, is comparatively sweeping.

It contains more than 50 tables and 16 charts and illustrations and examines each of the major life cycle stages for packaging: raw material production, packaging fabrication, distribution transport, post-consumer disposal and recycling.

The study also offers a glimpse into the potential unintended consequences of proposed and recently enacted bans on plastic packaging products, Christman said. While a plastic bottle ban might keep bottles out of waterways, the increase in energy use to manufacture, transport and even recycle their glass counterparts would be dramatic, according to the numbers.

“I don’t think that’s what people intend by some of those policies,” Christman said. “But it could happen if policies force people back to alternatives that use more energy and produce more greenhouse gas emissions.”

Read the full study here.

Click here for the original Plastic News article.

By Gayle S. Putrich
Staff Reporter Plastics News

Published: March 14, 2014 12:29 pm ET

FTC Finds Company’s “Recyclability” Claims Misleading

Company’s Green Claims for Plastic Lumber Misleading

FTC Order Requires Firm to Have Distributors Take Down Ads With Unsupported Claims

A Wisconsin-based manufacturer of plastic lumber products has agreed to stop making allegedly unsubstantiated claims about the recycled content and recyclability of two of its brands of plastic lumber.

Under the FTC settlement, the company, N.E.W. Plastics Corp., must have credible evidence to support any recycling-related claims it makes, and is required to tell its distributors to remove any marketing material for the two products provided by the company before December 2013.

“Consumers deserve to know the truth about the products they are buying,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Many of them want to buy products that are environmentally friendly, but they can’t do that if they get information that’s wrong or unsupported.”

N.E.W. Plastics Corp., which also does business as Renew Plastics, is based in Luxemburg, Wisconsin, and makes plastic lumber products, including the Evolve and Trimax brands, which are used to make items such as outdoor decking and furniture. It sells the products to consumers through distributors.

In its administrative complaint, the FTC alleges that between September 2012 and March 2013, N.E.W. made false and misleading claims while promoting Evolve and Trimax. Specifically, the company claimed:

    * that Evolve products are made from 90 percent or more recycled content;
    * that Trimax products are made from mostly post-consumer recycled content; and
    * that both Evolve and Trimax are recyclable.

The proposed consent order prohibits N.E.W. from making any statements about the recycled content, post-consumer recycled content, or environmental benefits of any product or package unless they are true, not misleading, and are substantiated by competent and reliable evidence, which for some claims must be scientific evidence.

The proposed order also bars N.E.W. from making unqualified recyclable claims about any product or package, unless the product or package can be recycled in an established recycling program, and such facilities are available to at least 60 percent of consumers or communities where the product or package is sold. If N.E.W. can’t meet these requirements, it must qualify the claim regarding the availability of recycling centers. If only part of a product or package is recyclable, N.E.W. must disclose to consumers which part or portion of the product or package is recyclable.

Finally, the proposed order bars N.E.W. from providing anyone else with the means of making false, misleading, or unsubstantiated claims. The order will end in 20 years.

Information for Consumers

The FTC has new information for consumers in a blog post on its website. Also the FTC provides detailed guidance to businesses on environmental claims in its Green Guides.

To read the full article from the FTC go to http://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2014/02/companys-green-claims-plastic-lumber-misleading

A lot of US plastic isn’t actually being recycled since China put up its Green Fence

By Gwynn Guilford

For many environmentally conscious Americans, there’s a deep satisfaction to chucking anything and everything plasticky into the recycling bin—from shampoo bottles to butter tubs—the types of plastics in the plastic categories #3 through #7. Little do they know that, even if their local trash collector says it recycles that waste, they might as well be chucking those plastics in the trash bin.

“[Plastics] 3-7 are absolutely going to a landfill—[China’s] not taking that any more… because of Green Fence,” David Kaplan, CEO of Maine Plastics, a post-industrial recycler, tells Quartz. “This will continue until we can do it in the United States economically.”

The Green Fence went up…and it’s not coming down

Kaplan is referring to an initiative the Chinese government launched last year ostensibly to reduce pollution. Dubbed “Green Fence,” the policy bans the import of all but the cleanest, most tidily organized bales of reusable rubbish—and bars some types altogether.

The program was supposed to end in November of 2013. Now Chinese industry sources say that Green Fence is here to stay, reports American Metal Market, supporting what many in the US recycling business have suspected.

Before Green Fence, when American households and businesses recycled their plastic, for the most part what they were really doing was sending it for collection at US recycling companies. Some of that plastic trash would be shredded, granulated and packed into bales, while other types were simply bundled up as is. US recycling companies would then export it to China.

The many lives of plastic junk

Why would China import this? Plastic has many lives. That means that what to Americans is just a used Stonyfield Farms yogurt container is actually valuable raw material to Chinese manufacturers, which use the plastic resin from the processed tub to make everything from laptop cases to cosmetics. Chinese recyclers would import the bales of used plastic, sorting the valuable stuff from the chaff, cleaning it and breaking it down into plastic resin that can be remolded by manufacturers.

Recycled plastic resin is much cheaper than “prime”—i.e. new—plastic resin. The vast majority of what’s used in plastic packaging still comes from prime resin, though that can be supplemented by resin from recycled plastics to make it cheaper. Particularly for manufacturers in countries with a high degree of worry about the environment, being able to say that recycled plastics were used to make a product counts as valuable marketing as well.

The US may have Save the Earth campaigns to thank for the embrace of recycling. But more likely, it was made possibly by China’s emergence as a manufacturing powerhouse. The more China made, the more it needed used plastics, eventually sucking up around two-thirds of the US’s plastic scrap each year, worth several billion dollars.

Cheap plastic’s toll on China’s environment

But China’s cheap plastic came at a cost. Anything recyclers couldn’t use was heaped onto China’s growing massif of trash mountains. Worse still, the majority of recycling processors are small firms—often mom-and-pop operations—that pollute heavily but are hard to regulate.

As outrage among the Chinese public over the country’s noxious air and befouled waterways has surged in the last few years, the Chinese government has scurried to respond. Maine Plastic’s Kaplan thinks that’s what’s behind Green Fence.

“Because China got this bad press for pollution, the Chinese government says, ‘You know what? It’s because of importation of plastic scrap. The reason… that people can’t breathe in Beijing is plastics emissions,’” he tells Quartz. “That seems kind of arbitrary.”

Though China obviously has many more severe sources of pollution, Green Fence’s suspension of 247 import licenses for domestic recyclers will force smaller outfits out of business, making environmental regulation easier for the government.

Plus, China actually needs the US’s and other countries’ plastic in order to meet the demands of its manufacturers. Perhaps to take address that, the Chinese government announced plans for 100 pilot Recycling Economy Cities where it will invest in developing infrastructure for recycling.

Time for a US recycling renaissance?

Historically, higher labor costs and environmental safety standards made processing scrap into raw materials much more expensive in the US than in China. So the US never developed much capacity or technology to sort and process harder-to-break down plastics like #3 through #7.

Green Fence might be a chance to change that, says Mike Biddle, CEO of California-based recycling company MBA Polymers. “China’s Green Fence offers a real opportunity to the US government and recycling industry to step up its efforts on recycling and catalyze a strong domestic recycling market in the US,” Biddle said at a recent webinar on Green Fence.

Kathy Xuan, president of Parc Corp, one of the few US companies that processes post-industrial and post-consumer scrap, agrees that Green Fence will be good for the US. “Definitely it’s going to create a lot of job openings,” Xuan tells Quartz, adding that “every job China did can be done here, but it costs more.”

More demand from US manufacturers

China’s virtual monopoly on processing made it so US manufacturers imported raw materials mostly from China. But with Green Fence shutting down processors, supply of plastic resins is much scarcer.

Parc Corp’s Xuan says more US companies are now buying from her company. The lower supply of plastic resin will presumably help other US recyclers because it will raise prices enough to allow them to hire and invest in new capacity.

But it will take time

It might not be that simple, though.

Developing new recycling capacity in the US will “eventually” benefit the country, says Maine Plastics’ Kaplan. For the moment, though, Green Fence restrictions have blocked Chinese demand for his company’s clean, sorted post-industrial scrap. And while US and other countries’ manufacturers need that scrap as well, finding those markets takes time.

Plus, the proximity of Chinese manufacturers to the Chinese plastic processors kept transportation costs down. Green Fence has changed that. New markets for processing and sorting plastic scrap are growing in Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam. But “after [the plastic is] processed, they send it to China, which costs extra money, which means we get less for the material,” says Kaplan.

With Green Fence remaining in place, unless US manufacturing demand for plastic resins picks up a lot, margins are likely to remain uninviting for all but the biggest US recyclers.

What does that mean for consumers? Given the choice, the best answer’s probably “paper.”

For the full article visit: http://qz.com/122003/plastic-recycling-china-green-fence/

US states banned from exporting their trash to China are drowning in plastic

Article by Gwynn Guilford

Being green is getting a lot harder for eco-friendly states in the US, thanks to the country’s dependency on overrun Chinese recycling facilities. Recycling centers in Oregon recently stopped accepting clear plastic “clamshell” containers used for berries, plastic hospital gowns and plastic bags, as the Ashland Daily Tidings reports. Yogurt and butter tubs are probably next. In Olympia, Washington, recycling centers are no longer accepting plastic bags. California’s farmers are grappling with what to do with the 50,000 to 75,000 tons of plastic they use each year.

“The problem is we don’t have a market for it,” Jeff Hardwood, an Olympia-area recycling center manager, tells Washington state’s KIRO-TV. ”China is saying we are only going to accept the high-value material we have a demand for now.”

Hardwood is referring to China’s “Green Fence” campaign banning “foreign garbage” (link in Chinese). China has rejected 68,000 tons (61,700 tonnes) of waste in the first five months of 2013, when the program was officially launched. The Green Fence initiative bans bales of plastic that haven’t been cleaned or thoroughly sorted. That type of recyclable material, which costs more to recycle, often ends up in China’s landfills, which have become a source of recent unrest in the country’s south.

Instead of investing in the sorting and cleaning technologies required to process soiled and unsorted recyclables, which both China and the US have been reluctant to do, China’s Green Fence policy blocks the import of those plastics. As a result, US recycling centers that once accepted scrap plastic for recycling are being forced to send it to American landfills.

As we’ve discussed before, Americans generally don’t recycle their plastic; they export it. And more than half of the $1 billion a year business goes to China.

​​The full-year projection for 2013 is based on January-June data.

Green Fence has contributed to the 11% decline in export value of US plastic scrap in the first half of 2013, compared with the same period in 2012. China’s customs data reflect that too. It imported 20% less plastic scrap in Q2 than the same quarter of 2012, a value of $300 million less.

And yet, Chinese processing factories desperately need US plastic. Once reprocessed, it’s used to make everything from polar fleeces to stadium seats. China imports around 40% of the world’s plastic scrap, collecting the rest domestically. Now that China’s plastic scrap supply is being squeezed by Green Fence bans, plastics smuggling at ports and in cities (links in Chinese) is on the rise.

For every ton of reusable plastic, China has received many more tons of random trash, some of it toxic. That has helped build “trash mountains” so high they sometimes bury people alive (link in Chinese). For a country facing environmental crisis after environmental crisis, this is no longer tenable.

Discarded plastic bottles imported from Australia are seen at a plant in Hong Kong’s rural New Territories August 24, 2011, before a process which separates plastic waste from them. The “Plastic Waste-to-Fuel System” is designed to provide a practical and cost effective solution to plastic waste management with energy regeneration. A prototype machine can process three tonnes of plastic waste into 1,000 litres of fuel oil per day. With further refinement, the fuel oil is suitable for diesel engine usage, said Ecotech Recycling Social Enterprise Managing Director Ming Cheung. Picture taken August 24, 2011. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

Because US trash exporters haven’t been forced to spend on technology or labor to sort and clean trash piled up at its recycling centers—Chinese laborers have handled that part—those shipments have been profitable for US exporters. But Green Fence is shifting those economic incentives; It costs the US around $2,100 per shipping container to return rejected trash to California ports.

Those high costs may drive the US to expand its own recycling capacity. Until then, American pollution will no longer be piling up in China; It will be festering at home.

To view the full article:
http://qz.com/117151/us-states-banned-from-exporting-their-trash-to-china-are-drowning-in-plastic/

Looking Beyond the Borders for Plastic Pollution Solutions

Plastics rock!  In a brief moment, if you focus on the role of plastic in our lives, it’s incredible all the applications we use it to our benefit.  Unfortunately, the end-of-life for most plastic is hundreds of years away, if not longer, a fundamental problem.   Over the course of the last few years I’ve had the privilege of playing a role in the Sustainability efforts of numerous producers of plastic.   I’ve heard about their attempts at previous technologies, their struggles of processing and performance, the regulatory quagmire they face, what they’re trying to hang their hat on now and everything under the sun and including the sun.

During this time, I’ve also been privy to some remarkable advancement in technologies and I’m amazed at the innovations that are available today as well as what is on the horizon.  It’s that focus on what tomorrow brings that truly provides a synergistic sustainable solution for a company.  It’s about implementing a solution that understands that plastic, and the issue of plastic waste, is not an island unto itself.  We must look beyond the borders to see the true possibilities, the interaction of multiple elements and cooperative action.  It’s why ENSO applauds the efforts and recent announcement by NatureWorks, for recognizing the possibilities beyond its current technology.   The silver bullet may not exist today, but with concerted efforts, we can move closer and closer to the goal.  The value proposition of methane capturing is far beyond any of its counterparts and it is increasingly being recognized as a more logical and fundamentally sound platform to adopt.

Methane, despite the perceived negative connotations, is one of our most inexpensive and cleanest energy resources.  This naturally produced gas can be used either in combustion engines or for conversion to electricity.  To include the possibility of harnessing methane for plastic production would be a huge game changer.  It is why current technologies such as ENSO RESTORE®, which proves to accelerate the natural biodegradation process in landfill environments, are being sought after.  Many initiatives being touted today are simply incapable of proportionally meeting the increased production rate of plastic.  What may appear to be “green” in theory essentially remains inadequate at meeting the greater objective of a cleaner planet.  It is why ENSO RESTORE® provides a significantly more dynamic solution to stand behind when it comes to adopting technologies that support sustainability goals.  Beyond bans and regulations, the objective is to provide a clear end-of-life solution in any plastic application (PET, HDPE, LDPE, PE, PP, EVA, PS, nitrile, rubber or latex); otherwise, we’re merely offering lip service in addressing the plastic waste in our environment.

 

rubber gloves

Researchers Unveil New Solution for Rubber Waste

ENSO Plastics’ lead researcher will make a major announcement for latex and rubber waste at this year’s International Latex Conference.

Mesa, AZ — (SBWIRE) — 07/17/2013 — The increasing amount of landfilled rubber and latex waste is an imperative concern for government entities and environmentalists worldwide. Teresa Clark, researcher for ENSO Plastics will be presenting “Advancements in Rubber and Latex Disposal – Biodegradation and the Environment” at this year’s International Latex Conference, July 23-24 in Akron, Ohio.

Revealed at the conference will be the groundbreaking development, ENSO RESTORE™ RL; a revolutionary technology that accelerates the natural biodegradation of synthetic rubber in landfills, as well as an unexpected discovery about natural rubber that may change the entire rubber industry.

Biodegradable plastics have been the big hitter in the past 10 years, with various compostable plastics such as PLA, PHA, Starch, and ENSO RENEW™; as well as products like ENSO RESTORE™ that enhance the biodegradation of traditional plastics. However the rubber industry has produced little technological advancements regarding environmental remediation, until now.

The research break-through that lead to the development of ENSO RESTORE™ RL issues in a new age of rubber, one that focuses on the environmental disposal. ENSO RESTORE™ RL is a unique material that increases the biodegradation of synthetic rubber within natural microbial and municipal landfill environments. Independent laboratory testing shows nitrile treated with ENSO RESTORE™ RL biodegrading 16.9% in the first 20 days compared to Nitrile showing no biodegradation during the same time period. Similar accelerated biodegradation results are seen in polychloroprene, polyurethane and other synthetic materials when treated with ENSO RESTORE™ RL.

As a society it is crucial that we address the huge amount of rubber waste going into landfills. Plastics have traditionally received most of the attention regarding waste with programs such as recycling, biodegradable, compostable and renewable solutions being offered. Unfortunately rubber waste, although just as important, has not received the same attention.

ENSO Plastics™ is committed to addressing the environmental impact of rubber and plastic waste and continues to lead the market with products that solve plastic waste issues with products like ENSO RENEW: A compostable, marine degradable and renewable biopolymer; and ENSO RESTORE: A family of products that accelerate the biodegradation of polyester, polypropylene, polyethylene, PVC, rubber and other materials.

About ENSO Plastics™

ENSO Plastics, LLC is an environmental plastics solutions company with proprietary biodegradable and biobased solutions, bringing to market cost competitive cutting-edge solutions to meet the market demands of sustainability, home or industrial compostability, landfill biodegradability, marine degradability and recyclability.

ENSO Plastics’ mission is to solve the global plastics pollution issue by bringing the best technologies to market, finding solutions with the greatest and most productive impact for the plastics industry and providing answers that can be trusted to integrate seamlessly – a platform that companies can stand behind with confidence.

Learn more about ENSO Plastics technologies visit us at http://www.ensoplastics.com or call (866) 936-3676 or +00-1-602-639-4228.

http://www.sbwire.com/press-releases/researchers-unveil-new-solution-for-rubber-waste-283962.htm

China does not want our trash.

China puts up a green wall to US trash

Written By:
Peter Ford, Christian Science Monitor, June 19, 2013 Beijing

US recyclers are nervous about losing their largest market after China began enforcing new environmental laws this year.

Have you ever wondered what happens to the soda can that you toss into a recycling bin? Chances are high that it ends up in China – like 75 percent of the aluminum scrap that the United States exports. Or 60 percent of its scrap paper exports. Or 50 percent of its plastic.

But a new Chinese edict, banning “foreign rubbish,” has thrown the international scrap and waste trade into turmoil and is posing a major new challenge for US recyclers.

Operation Green Fence, a campaign by Chinese customs to strictly enforce laws governing the import of waste, “could be a game changer,” says Doug Kramer, president of Kramer Metals, an international scrap dealer in Los Angeles. “A lot of companies have used China as a dumping ground, getting rid of … substandard scrap and trash,” Mr. Kramer says.

As China’s government seeks to raise environmental standards, he says, “I understand China’s need to take a hard look” at its imports.

That hard look, involving stepped-up inspections of containers filled with scrap metal, paper, and plastic at Chinese ports and a merciless application of the rules, has intercepted more than 800,000 tons of illegal waste since the campaign began in February, according to the customs agency.

Now nervous traders are refusing to ship consignments of recyclables that might contain unacceptably large amounts of unrecyclable materials (anything from unwashed items to the wrong kind of plastic to random bits and pieces of garbage that get mixed in with the recyclables). And cities and towns across the US and Europe are finding there is no longer a ready market in China for their poorly sorted and often impure bales of plastics, paper, and other waste.

“A butterfly in China has caused a tornado in Europe,” Surendra Borad, chairman of Gemini, the world’s largest collector of waste plastic, told the Bureau of International Recycling (BIR), an international federation of recyclers, at its annual convention in Shanghai last month.

Why China needs the West’s scrap

However, China is not bringing down the hammer on every kind of scrap (and “scrap” is the preferred term of art). The country has few resources of its own, and its fast-growing industry relies heavily on reprocessing other countries’ plastic soda bottles into fabrics, or their junked metal into machinery.

“Making proper use of this scrap supplements China’s resources, helps save energy, protects the environment, and boosts economic efficiency,” Li Xinmin, a former pollution inspector at the Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection, told a recent meeting of the China Metals Recycling Association.

But in China, much of the imported plastic scrap, for example, is recycled in primitive, family-owned workshops with no facilities to treat waste water before it flows into local rivers. And Chinese recyclers “have got used to expecting 20 percent trash” in the bales of mixed plastics they buy from the US, according to David Cornell, technical consultant to the Washington-based Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers.

That trash has to be sorted from the recyclables, then buried or burned, further degrading China’s environment.

Though Chinese regulations have long banned excessive levels of contamination in imports of recyclables, they were rarely enforced until Green Fence was launched, traders say. “Before, we were able to import dirty materials and bottles, but not any longer,” explains Sun Kangning, who owns a small plastics recycling plant in the village of Laizhou in Shandong Province (see sidebar on the industry’s woes).

Since February, he says, 24 shipping containers of plastic waste that he had bought from the US have been turned away by customs – about 20 percent of his business.

Because the government finds it hard to control all the mom and pop makeshift recycling workshops, it appears to have chosen to enforce environmental standards on imports at the pier.

Those imports have been skyrocketing in recent years. Scrap was America’s top export to China by value in 2011 – worth $11.3 billion, according to US trade figures. (Last year, record soybean sales knocked scrap and waste into second place.)

Also in 2011, the US exported 23 million tons of scrap (a little less than half of everything that was collected for recycling). Two-thirds of it went to China, according to figures from the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) in Washington. ‘We don’t have the capacity’

The international trade has boomed partly because the US cannot dispose of all the waste it generates; the country has neither enough recycling facilities nor sufficient manufacturing demand for all its scrap.

“If the US border were closed, most of the scrap that is exported today would go to landfill,” says Robin Wiener, president of ISRI. “We don’t have the capacity to absorb it all.”

The rising overseas sales of paper, aluminum, copper, plastics, and steel also have to do with the nitty-gritty economics of America’s trade deficit with China.

Because China exports so much more to America than it buys back, the shipping containers from Shanghai that are full of computers, mobile phones, and TVs on the journey to Long Beach, Calif., risk returning empty for the trip back.

Shipping companies, seeking to cut their losses, offer bargain rates on their westbound freighters: It is cheaper to ship a 40-foot container full of iron scrap from Los Angeles to a Chinese port than it is to send it by train to a foundry in Chicago. US and Chinese scrap merchants have not been slow to take advantage of the deals.

At the same time, sorting and recycling is a lot cheaper in China, where wages are a fraction of US levels. At Mr. Sun’s courtyard processing plant, for example, women using box cutters to strip labels from plastic soda bottles before they are ground up earn about $15 for a day’s work.

Such factors have made the world “over-dependent on China” for scrap recycling and vulnerable to sudden changes in the rules, such as Green Fence, worries Mr. Borad. “That is a matter of concern.”

Some traders say the new policy in China has forced them to sell their scrap in different countries, such as Vietnam, Indonesia, and Malaysia, where it is either reprocessed or simply sorted and cleaned to the new Chinese standards and then shipped on to China.

“We’ve seen a pretty good uptick in shipments to Southeast Asia,” says Joe Pickard, ISRI’s chief economist. But capacity there “is not sufficient to take up the slack from China,” he adds.

Nor are the new destinations likely to tolerate being the planet’s trash can indefinitely, predicts Kramer, who sells American scrap iron and nonferrous metals in several Asian countries. ” ‘If you can’t send it anywhere else, send it here’ is not the kind of message anyone wants to send,” he says. How long will this last?

Some businesses do not expect Chinese customs officials to go on being so zealous for long. Indeed, previous similar crusades have petered out in the past, and the General Administration of Customs in Beijing has announced that its current campaign to “reinforce inspection and prevention work in key areas” will end in November.

But well-placed observers do not think that the old lax habits will reassert themselves. “Before Green Fence, both companies and customs officials were unclear about the laws and regulations,” says Wang Jiwei, secretary-general of the China Metals Recycling Association. “After the campaign, both sides will understand the laws better, and I think they will continue to be enforced.”

The first four months of the campaign have certainly hit the Chinese recycling industry – raising prices for some recyclable materials that are now in shorter supply. “Our industry is really facing a very big adverse impact from the stricter environmental standards,” complained Huang Chongsheng, chief executive officer of aluminum scrap smelter Ye Chiu Metal Recycling at last month’s BIR conference.

US recyclers, too, are beginning to feel the effects, especially those who collect, sort, or trade low-end materials, such as the cheaper sorts of mixed plastics often extracted from household waste.

“The market for mixed rigids [such as plastic yogurt containers, margarine tubs, or buckets] has gone to hell in a handbasket,” says Jeff Powell, publisher of Resource Recycling magazine. “Mixed paper and mixed plastics are being put into landfill” now that they cannot be sold to Chinese recyclers, he adds.
What next?

“We used to send garbage because it was the cheapest thing to do and because the Chinese would accept it,” Mr. Powell explains. The new Chinese policy, he says, will force US recyclers either to sort recyclables more carefully, or to recycle more material in the US, or both.

“We are going to find ourselves forced to be much more innovative” in dealing with waste, predicts Michael Schipper, a scrap trader with International Alloys in Mendham, N.J. “We will have to find ways of processing that material here in a much more cost-effective way.”

US processors “are beginning to dip their toes into” that future, says Mr. Schipper, but they are constrained by the cost of more sophisticated machinery.

Already, however, US businesses handling scrap are dealing with it more carefully, according to Steve Alexander, spokesman for the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers. “People who took the easiest route” before by baling and selling heavily contaminated material “may be running it through a second sorting step, putting it through optical sorters,” he says, because that is what the market now demands.

That means that more of the plastic ends up where it is meant to be, and less gets thrown away or burned, either in the US or in China. “Environmentalists love Green Fence,” says Powell.

“We are at a turning point in our business,” Gregory Cardot of the French waste management firm Veolia Propreté told the BIR conference. “We have to seize this opportunity … for a sustainable environment for our planet.”

If the new Chinese policy lasts, predicts Borad, “the fly-by-night exporters will be eliminated. Green Fence will be a blessing in disguise for our industry.”

Written By:
Peter Ford, Christian Science Monitor, June 19, 2013

ENSO Plastics Announces Biodegradable Plastic Solutions for the Philippines

MAKATI, Philippines–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The grace period for Makati City Ordinance No. 2003-095 has ended. This ordinance bans the use, sale and distribution of plastics that are non-biodegradable. To help manufacturers comply with the city ordinance ENSO Plastics announces two new biodegradable technologies for the Philippines market – ENSO RENEW™ and ENSO RESTORE™.

ENSO RENEW™ is a unique Renewable Thermo Polymer (RTP) derived from the waste process of agriculture, with a carbon footprint 75% lower than polyethylene. It is a high heat renewable biopolymer that provides home and industrial compostability as well as being marine degradable. ENSO RENEW™ is designed to meet the needs of applications looking for renewable solutions to meet new legislative requirements utilizing fast growing plant based material and rapid biodegradation. Manufacturers are also able to blend ENSO RENEW™ with traditional plastics for partially renewable solutions that are durable.

ENSO RESTORE™ is the latest development of biodegradable additives offering superior improvements to biodegradable performance and process-ability/compatibility and eliminating the historical higher scrap rates of competing additives, creating a huge environmental and cost advantage. ENSO RESTORE™ is a leading edge technology that accelerates the natural biodegradation without any disruption to disposal method or performance. ENSO RESTORE™ biodegradable additives work with light weighted packaging, thin film applications, and heavier injection molded parts in all major resin types: PE, PP, PET, PS, Rubber, Nitrile, polyurethane and more.

ENSO Plastics solutions are quick to implement with minimal or no change in current manufacturing. It’s quick and easy to integrate biodegradable technologies that comply with the recently implemented laws without difficulty or expense.

About ENSO Plastics™

ENSO Plastics, LLC is an environmental plastics solutions company with proprietary biodegradable and biobased solutions, bringing to market cost competitive cutting-edge solutions to meet the market demands of sustainability, home or industrial compostability, landfill biodegradability, marine degradability and recyclability.

ENSO Plastics’ mission is to solve the global plastics pollution issue by bringing the best technologies to market, finding solutions with the greatest and most productive impact for the plastics industry and providing answers that can be trusted to integrate seamlessly – a platform that companies can stand behind with confidence.

If you are interested in learning more about ENSO Plastics technologies, please visit us at http://www.ensoplastics.com or call +00-1-602-639-4228.
Contacts

ENSO Plastics
Paul Wightman, +00-1-602-639-4228
http://www.ensoplastics.com

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20130620006486/en

Important California Notice
California law prohibits the sale of plastic packaging and plastic products that are labeled with the terms ‘biodegradable,’ ‘degradable,’ or ‘decomposable,’ or any form of those terms, or that imply in any way that the item will break down, biodegrade or decompose in a landfill or other environment. These restrictions apply to all sales in or into the State of California, including such sales over the Internet.

Newly Developed Plastic Reduces Carbon Footprint 75%

Mesa, AZ — (SBWIRE) — 06/13/2013 — ENSO Plastics™ announces their latest product; demonstrating their continued commitment to innovation and the environment with the release of ENSO RENEW™ RTP. ENSO RENEW™ RTP is a revolutionary plastic that puts the environment first with a significant reduction in carbon footprint, rapid biodegradability and the utilization of agricultural waste rather than petroleum or fossil fuels.

ENSO RENEW™ RTP provides a huge reduction in overall carbon footprint. A product’s carbon footprint is a critical factor when determining the impact on the environment. ENSO RENEW™ RTP boasts a carbon footprint over 50% less than PLA (one of the most common bio-plastics) and over 75% lower than HDPE (the plastic used to make film, milk jugs and many other items). ENSO RENEW™ RTP is made from agricultural waste that is manufactured very close to the source keeping the carbon footprint minimal. While most companies work to reduce their carbon footprint by fractions of a percent, ENSO RENEW RTP opens a whole new realm of possibilities.

ENSO RENEW™ RTP offers a unique end-of-life advantage for disposal not requiring specialized industrial composting facilities to breakdown, as ENSO RENEW™ RTP biodegrades rapidly in most natural soil and marine environments. ENSO RENEW™ RTP passes the ASTM D6400 standard for industrial composting, as well as marine degradability and home composting in as little as 10 days. Additionally, ENSO RENEW™ RTP is natural, and if accidentally consumed by wildlife will not cause harm.

ENSO RENEW™ RTP can be used as a stand-alone resin or blended with polyethylene or polypropylene. ENSO RENEW™ RTP is made from agricultural waste allowing manufacturers to take advantage of “bio-preferred” programs whether used as a stand-alone or blended.

ENSO RENEW™ RTP resin blends well with many types of PE, as well as PP, and shows good versatility in many applications; such as films, blow molded parts, and heavier injection molded parts. ENSO is currently working with leading companies in agriculture, consumer goods and other high profile applications, who recognize the unique opportunity to use plastic that is sourced sustainably, used effectively, and disposed of in a way that adds value to the ecosystem.

Between the environmental damage caused by long lasting traditional plastics and the need for alternative solutions, ENSO RENEW™ RTP will change the face of the industry and the environment. Contact an ENSO Plastics Business Development Representative today to learn more about how your company and brand can now use plastics that are more environmentally responsible.

About ENSO Plastics™
ENSO Plastics™, LLC is an environmental plastics solutions company with proprietary biodegradable and biobased solutions, bringing to market cost competitive cutting-edge solutions to meet the market demands of sustainability, home or industrial compostability, landfill biodegradability, marine degradability and recyclability.

ENSO Plastics™ has a mission to solve the global plastics pollution issue by bringing the best technologies to market, finding solutions with the greatest and most productive impact for the plastics industry and providing answers that can be trusted to integrate seamlessly – a platform that companies can stand behind with confidence.

Learn more about ENSO™ technologies visit us at http://www.ensoplastics.com or call U.S. (866) 936-3676 , international 001 602 639-4228 .

The Truth Shall Set You Free

We produce well over 200 billion pounds of plastic each year.  This is a well-documented environmental issue of grim proportions; plastic is literally trashing our planet.  Brands, manufactures and consumers are fully aware and the search for solutions is in full swing.  Fortunately, our awareness has spurred incredible technological advances to address this problem, some better than others.

As a brand, being environmentally accountable is a trait that serves well in the marketplace.  It’s a hallmark that projects the greater good.  But in a Cass Sunstein meets George Orwell world,  where the FTC, EPA, FDA, IRS, (insert acronym),  are watching your every move and new terms such as Extended Producer Responsibility emerge, it can be paralyzing to make that technological decision.  You want to choose something that is justifiable, reliable and proven.

In a small microcosm of the larger issue, we catch a glimpse of the efforts and problems we face.  In a recent article Coffee Makers wrestling with recyclability of single-serve pods,  TerraCycle is boasting about recovering 25 million coffee capsules over the last couple years, but has essentially found no use for them.  Are we to understand that companies are paying TerraCycle to collect and store these things in some warehouse?  Add to this, according to the article, 41 million adults drink a coffee made in a single-cup brewer every day.  So in a two year effort, TerraCycle could not recover a single days’ worth of coffee capsules?  Clearly, the Customary Disposal Method for this application is the garbage, in other words, the Landfill.   Let’s not jump on a bandwagon for the sake of waiving a green flag, the overall effect is useless.

Here’s one, California is now floating a new Bill to put the burden on companies to find solutions for plastic waste in our waterways.  The same State that bans the claim of biodegradable materials (and has sued companies legitimately making those claims), is now requiring brands and manufacturers to seek out and implement biodegradable solutions?? Are they expecting producers to put their necks on the line in search for innovation? Good luck taking that bait!

Unfortunately, the principle concern of environmental safety is being contaminated with agendas that have not proven capable of long term sustainability.  There is a tendency to gravitate towards colorful Green language instead of clear, black and white solutions.  Today, we have the capability to address plastic pollution on an incredible scale, without contamination.  Unfortunately, too many producers are paralyzed with uncertainty or are turning to the least point of resistance.

A perfect example is the less than bold stand that one of the largest producers of bottled water took, “Lightweighting”.  Holy crap! That’s it?  Reduce your costs and provide a rigid bag for a bottle?  C’mon…the “commitment to minimizing the environmental impact” is lackluster., considering 50 billion plastic water bottles end up in U.S. landfills each year.

Here’s my humble opinion.  Within a generation, we have witnessed the birth of the plastic EVERYTHING.  We began filling-up our Landfills with EVERYTHING and noticed NOTHING was reprocessing back into nature.   The raging river of plastic is pouring onto our planet and we place the majority of this material in Landfills.   There is a biodegradation process in Landfills that is beaming with potential and we have the proven ability to produce, capture and harness one of the most inexpensive and cleanest energy resources and fundamentally address our plastic pollution problem.

Recycling is an industry I support, but the numbers don’t lie and the goal is not to prop-up one particular industry, it’s to clean our planet.  We need to stop kidding ourselves and start dealing with reality.  I also understand Sourcing from renewable resources, but harvesting Corn for plastic in order to claim “Compostable” is absolutely wrong.  I’ve lived in many places over the years and I have yet to find my local Industrial Composting facility.  But if I did, I would respectfully not bring them my plastic waste.  Let’s face it, you can claim it, but it’s not going there and where it is going, this technology does nothing.   For those adding metal into the equation, this technology is borderline criminal.  That probably explains the parasitic tendencies of this technology in underdeveloped countries.  Both of these technologies have an adverse effect on our Food Source/Supply, which alone is highly irresponsible.

When making the decision on how to be accountable for your Plastic Footprint, know what is out there, get the full story and get the proof that it performs as claimed.  If you stand in the light of truth, you will be safe.  70% is greater than 30%, 2+2=4, what’s right is right.