Category Archives: Latest News

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

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.

landfill biodegradation

Manufacturers Beware!

Have you ever thought about where your plastic garbage goes?

Shopping for items packaged in plastic may end up costing you more in the long run; that is, if you discard the packaging incorrectly. The same could be true for plastic manufacturers if California passes their latest bill (Assembly Bill 521) on “extended producer responsibility”.

Right now; in San Francisco, California it is against the law to not recycle your trash.  That’s right…you; as a law abiding citizen must separate all of your garbage, recyclables, and compostable items.  To ensure that all citizens are complying with this law, trash auditors check garbage bins the night before it is scheduled for pickup. If you do not comply after several warnings, the non-complying residents will receive fines and/or have to take educational classes on recycling.

Taking this a step further, California is now working towards making plastic manufacturers responsible for the end of life of their product; ultimately, charging hefty fines for material that is not disposed of properly.  (This, after recently making the word biodegradable illegal on labeling)

So who is responsible for all of this plastic pollution that is littering our oceans and filling our landfills? Is it the consumer?  Is it the plastic manufacturer? Is it the recycling industry? (Who happens to discard more plastic than it recycles.) California may think they are doing the right thing by penalizing those who are in the path of plastic – from beginning to end – but they’re not supporting or encouraging better solutions…so who’s fault is it, really?

Despite whose responsibility this may be; it leads to a very important question…”Why are we not producing plastic that is biodegradable or even marine degradable? And, (ok, two questions) if there is a solution, why, as consumers and manufacturers, are we not jumping on that solution?”

I think that if there is a solution to this plastic pollution problem and a plastic manufacturer is using a product that is proven to be biodegradable and/or marine degradable, they are showing their end-of-life responsibility and it should be encouraged and rewarded amongst those companies; as well as, consumers who use such a product.

Does such a product exist?

Yes!

ENSO Plastics has created an additive, that when added to the plastic manufacturing process will cause the plastic to become biodegradable; as well as, marine degradable. There are two customizable blends that offer many options to manufacturers – ENSO RESTORE and ENSO RENEW.

This is the solution California needs to recognize, before they start penalizing all of their citizens and plastic manufacturers. California may want to make the people responsible, but I think the state needs to be responsible by allowing new technology and better options for their residents and local commerce.

Wake up California! The solution is staring you in the face!

 

ENSO RESTORE

ENSO Plastics Drives Innovation to Address Plastic Pollution

ENSO Plastics announces solutions to make plastics more responsible, giving brands more environmental possibilities for plastic packaging.

Mesa, AZ — (SBWIRE) — 05/07/2013 — In the ongoing pursuit to address the growing global plastic pollution issue, environmental plastic solution provider ENSO Plastics announces two new technologies ENSO RENEW™ and ENSO RESTORE™ that have change the way plastics are used around the globe.

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 results in home and industrial compostable as well as marine degradable plastics. ENSO RENEW™ is designed to meet the needs of applications looking for renewable solutions to further sustainability goals utilizing fast growing plant based material. Blending ENSO RENEW™ with traditional plastics combines bio-based content with the durability of traditional plastics making them ideal 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 biodegradable 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 and thin film applications as well as all major resin types: PE, PP, PET, PS, Rubber, Nitrile, polyurethane and more.

While other companies are simply pursuing the best way to sell first generation products and solutions, ENSO™ is driving innovations by actively creating new solutions for our future generations and effectively dealing with plastic waste.

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.

If you are interested in learning more about ENSO Plastics technologies, please visit us at http://www.ensoplastics.com or call (866) 936-3676 / (602) 639-4228.

 
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.

Consumer Pressure and Legislation Increasing Demand for Biodegradable Plastics by Nearly 15 Percent Annually During 2012 to 2017 in North America, Europe and Asia, Says IHS Study

Europe continues to be largest consuming region for biodegradable polymers, with more than half of global total

“The biodegradable polymers market is still young and very small, but the numbers are off the charts in terms of expected demand growth and potential for these materials in the coming years,”

According to a new IHS Chemical (NYSE: IHS) global market research report, mounting consumer pressure and legislation such as plastic bag bans and global warming initiatives will increase demand for biodegradable polymers (plastics) in North America, Europe and Asia from 269 thousand metric tons (KMT) in 2012 to nearly 525 KMT in 2017, representing an average annual growth rate of nearly 15 percent during the five-year period 2012-2017.

The IHS Chemical CEH Biodegradable Polymers Marketing Research Report focuses on biodegradable polymers, including compostable materials, but not necessarily including all bio-based products. Biodegradable polymers are a part of the larger overall bio-plastics market. Typically, bio-plastics are either bio-based or biodegradable, although some materials are both.

In terms of biodegradable polymer end-uses, it is estimated that the food packaging (including fast-food and beverage containers), dishes and cutlery markets are the largest end-uses and the major growth drivers. In both North America and Europe, these markets account for the largest uses and strong, double-digit growth is expected in the next several years. Foam packaging once dominated the market and continues to represent significant market share for biodegradable polymers, behind food packaging, dishes and cutlery. Compostable bags, as well as single-use carrier plastic bags, follow foam packaging in terms of volume.

“The biodegradable polymers market is still young and very small, but the numbers are off the charts in terms of expected demand growth and potential for these materials in the coming years,” said Michael Malveda, principal analyst of specialty chemicals at IHS Chemical and the report’s lead author. “Food packaging, dishes and cutlery constitute a major market for the product because these materials can be composted with the food waste without sorting, which is a huge benefit to the waste management effort and to reducing food waste and packaging disposal in landfills. Increasing legislation and consumer pressures are also encouraging retailers and manufacturers to seek out these biodegradable products and materials.”

The report also noted that these biodegradable polymers offer expanding uses for biomedical applications. Another developing use for these biodegradable polymers is in the shale gas industry, where they are used during hydro-fracking as more environmentally friendly proppants to ‘prop open’ fractures in rock layers so oil and gas can be released.

In 2012, Europe was the dominant market for biodegradable polymers consuming 147 KMT or about 55 percent of world consumption; North America accounted for 29 percent and Asia approximately 16 percent. Landfill waste disposal and stringent legislation are key market drivers in Europe and include a packaging waste directive to set recovering and recycling targets, a number of plastic bag bans, and other collection and waste disposal laws to avoid landfill.

The most acceptable disposal method for biodegradable polymers is composting. However, composting requires an infrastructure, including collection systems and composting facilities. Composting has been a growing component of most  European countries’ municipal solid waste management strategies for some time, and the continent has an established and growing network of facilities, while the U.S. network of composting facilities is smaller, but expanding.

North American consumption of biodegradable polymers has grown significantly in recent years, according to the IHS report, primarily due to the following factors—biodegradable polymers have become more cost competitive with petroleum-based products, and there has been growing support at the local, state and federal levels for these products (for example, legislation defining biodegradability, and plastic bag bans). In addition, there has been progress in addressing issues relative to solid waste disposal, such as improving composting infrastructure.

Said Malveda, “A couple of main barriers to these biodegradable polymers are price and performance, which will become less significant as processing technologies improve, more applications for their use are developed, and production increases. Regulations such as plastic bag bans are being enacted in many countries, and this stimulates new research investments for alternative materials and new uses.”

In Asia, there has been some growth of biodegradable polymers use due to government and industry promoting their use. This also includes plastic bag bans and global warming initiatives. However, Asian consumption of biodegradable polymers has not increased as much as expected. Current market prices of biodegradable polymers continue to be higher than conventional, petroleum-based resins. However, the Chinese market is expected to grow rapidly due to new capacity and government legislation supporting the environment. Future growth will also depend on price reductions, Malveda said.

In 2012, the two most important commercial, biodegradable polymers were polylactic acid (PLA) and starch-based polymers, accounting for about 47 percent and 41 percent, respectively, of total biodegradable polymers consumption. Starch sources vary worldwide, but include corn, potatoes, cassava and sugar beets. In Europe, starch-based biodegradable polymers are the major type consumed, accounting for 62 percent of the market, due to Europe’s large, starch-based capacity and their use in many applications. This is followed by PLA, with 24 percent and other biodegradable polymer types with 14 percent.

For more information on the IHS Chemical CEH Biodegradable Polymers Marketing Research Report, please contact susan.wright@ihs.com. To speak with Michael Malveda, please contact melissa.manning@ihs.com, or press@ihs.com.

About IHS (www.ihs.com)

IHS (NYSE: IHS) is the leading source of information, insight and analytics in critical areas that shape today’s business landscape. Businesses and governments in more than 165 countries around the globe rely on the comprehensive content, expert independent analysis and flexible delivery methods of IHS to make high-impact decisions and develop strategies with speed and confidence. IHS has been in business since 1959 and became a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange in 2005. Headquartered in Englewood, Colorado, USA, IHS is committed to sustainable, profitable growth and employs more than 6,700 people in 31 countries around the world.

IHS is a registered trademark of IHS Inc. All other company and product names may be trademarks of their respective owners. © 2013 IHS Inc. All rights reserved.

Biodegradable Plastic – Compostable Not So Fast Says Stanford Daily

There was a recent press release issued by Media Juice titled “Biodegradable Plastic – Compostable Not So Fast Says Stanford Daily.”  The press release reviews a study performed by students at Stanford University regarding compostable utensils and their performance in “real world” environments.

The study points out that what the company markets as a compostable PLA material and the “Compostable” certifications that organizations (such as BPI Biodegradable Products Institute) issue on the material is not necessary a reflection of what happens in real world environments.

This brings up a great point and discussion topic and one ENSO has pushed for the past five years and that is that we are mistaken in our approach to promoting, marketing or pushing materials that will go away in any real world environment in a specific timeframe.    Even the much touted and pushed material of PLA is not a rapidly compostable as is promoted in marketing materials.  Sure, we can create test environments which are highly controlled and manipulated that will maximize biodegradation and provide results that look and sound great, but the variety that nature brings in the real world can mean a huge difference in the amount of time needed for a product to biodegrade, from months to even years. This does not change the fact of whether a product is biodegradable, just simply that to dictate exactly when it will biodegrade is a bit misleading to the consumer.

So yes – labs can show specific time frames for biodegradation, but what happens when that same material ends up in real world environments?  9 times out of 10, it doesn’t perform as promised.  So, what does this mean?  How can a material tested and certified by industry organizations such as BPI not perform when introduced into real world natural environments?  After all legislators are passing laws based on such certifications.

We would love to hear your thoughts on the subject.

http://www.sbwire.com/press-releases/biodegradable-plastic-compostable-not-so-fast-says-stanford-daily-225526.htm

http://forkprintproject.wordpress.com/

http://www.news.pitt.edu/news/Landis_polymers_LCA

http://new.ensoplastics.com/theblog/?p=1143

 

Clean Energy

Methane Gasses: Least Expensive Form of Clean Energy?

Did you know that using the methane gasses generated from landfill sites are the least expensive form of clean energy we currently have available to us?  It’s true, our waste when biodegraded anaerobically produce methane which is a flammable gas.  Landfills are packed very tight and therefore do not allow oxygen to be used in the biodegradation process.  This results in anaerobic microbes having an environment which allows them to thrive and break down the organic matter within the landfill cell.  This also happens in Anaerobic Digesters where the by-product of the anaerobic biodegradation process produces the biogas Methane (CH4).

It is true that Methane gas is a potent greenhouse gas.  It is also flammable and dangerous and as such it needs to be collected and converted into gases that are less impacting on the environment and/or to create clean energy.  In the past many landfills would flare, or burn the methane to convert it to CO2 but over the years more and more landfills and businesses are recognizing that methane from landfills and anaerobic digestion can be used to create clean energy.

We are a long way from being a zero waste society and until we are we will have to deal with our waste.  That waste if placed into anaerobic environments can generate methane which has a value that can offset our need for other fossil fuels.

Due to the stringent level of regulations the United States has the highest percentage of landfills with LFG (Landfill Gas) collection systems relative to any other country practicing landfilling.  Nearly 60% of the worldwide capture of methane occurs in the U.S. even though the U.S. only generates 24% of the worldwide methane.  From the perspective of the largest sources of methane emissions, landfills are the third largest.  I provide these numbers to show that globally collecting and converting methane from landfills can provide the incentive to lower GHG (Greenhouse Gas) emissions.   It should be noted that progress in lowering GHG emissions is best achieved by a concerted, integrated approach that employs all available technologies and methods, including reuse, recycling, composting, waste-to-energy, and landfilling with capture of LFG.

So here’s the question:  What if all plastics were both recyclable and biodegradable, and would biodegrade in landfill environments?

If we do the math on the 31 billion plastic water bottles sent to a landfill instead of were recycled in 2006.  It would result in enough energy to power a 100w light bulb for over 900,000 hours.

To calculate how much energy can be created from a plastic bottle enhanced with the ENSO additive take the weight of the bottle multiply it by % carbon, multiply by 1.33 (molecular weight of CH4 16 / molecular weight of carbon 12 – this converts the carbon to methane), then multiply by 22.4 (L/g – ideal gas law).

(bottle wt * bottle carbon %) * (methane mass 16 / carbon mass 12) * 22.4 L/g = vol. methane per bottle

(19.2 gram * 62.5%) * (1.33) * 22.4 = vol. of methane per bottle

(12) * (1.33) * 22.4 = 357.50 L * (1 m3/100 L) = .3575 m3

Once we know the volume of methane per bottle we need to convert that into how much energy can be created per volume of methane. The Thermal energy content of methane is approximately 26.73 – 32.7 kj/m3 therefore about (26.73 + 32.7) / 2 = 29.715 kJ/m3

.3575 m3 * 29.715 kJ/m3 = 10.623 kJ

1kJ/second = 1kW and considering a 100W light bulb:

10.623 kJ = 10.623 kW seconds * (1000 W/1 kW) * (1 hr/3600 s) = 2.95 W hr

To light a 100W light bulb for 1 hour would require 33.88 bottles:

100 W * (1/2.95 W hr) = 33.88

31 billion bottles = 31,000,000,000 bottles * (1 hr/33.88 bottles) = 914,759 hrs

Bacteria Strain

Bacteria Strain that Biodegrades Polyethylene

Most people understand standard plastics to be resistant to the biodegradation process, but did you know that research from back in 2005 isolated a microbial strain called Brevibacillus borstelensis that is capable of utilizing polyethylene as the sole carbon and energy source?

So what does all that mean and how did they do this?

Soil taken from a polyolefin waste disposal site was used to isolate the bacteria strain that had adapted to its environment and energy source to be able to secrete the enzymes needed to utilize the carbon within the polyethylene chemical chain.  From the research there were a few BIG discoveries with one being that Brevibacillus borstelensis was able to use the carbon found in polyethylene as the sole source of energy.  This is important because we typically find that microbes will develop where there are easily accessible sources of energy.  This is the reason traditional plastics take so long to biodegrade, the carbon is too difficult to utilize by microbes resulting in plastics lasting for hundreds of years in the environment.  We now know of a microbe that is indifferent in using the carbon from polyethylene plastic or from other sources.

This research has opened the door to better understanding the adaptive nature of those microscopic creatures we share the planet with.  Although we can’t see them, they outnumber the human inhabitants by a factor of many trillions of them to each one of us.  They have also had millions of years more time on the earth than us humans have, and are instrumental in the cleaning process of creating a healthy viable planet.  There is a lot we can and will continue to learn about the tiniest creatures we call microbes.

To read the full paper: Biodegradation of polyethylene by the thermophilic bacterium Brevibacillus borstelensis

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2672.2005.02553.x/full