Category Archives: Customer News

ENSO aims to manage rubber waste with Restore RL

By Mike McNulty

FAIRLAWN, Ohio—Some might call it a pipe dream. Teresa Clark scoffs at the naysayers.

The vice president of product development at Enso Plastics L.L.C. continues to preach about the benefits of technologies that accelerate the natural bio-remediation of materials, including rubber, in the waste environment.

Speaking at the International Latex Conference, held in Fairlawn, she stressed that “rubber items are a critical part of modern society, and a focus on the waste management of rubber is becoming more critical.”

In a paper she presented at the conference, titled “Enhancing the Biodegradation of Waste Rubber,” Clark said advancements have been made in recycling rubber goods, “but a vast majority of rubber products are discarded into landfills and in the environment.”

Two years ago she gave a presentation at the latex conference and unveiled Enso’s new technology, Enso Restore RL, which she said is a unique material designed to attract specific naturally occurring microorganisms and “induce rapid microbial acclimatization to synthetic rubbers and resulting biodegradation.”

Enso primarily served the plastics industry until it came up with Restore RL, which was in the development stage when she initially discussed it at the 2013 conference.

That’s changed, she said. Restore RL is being commercialized and advances have been made. “We expanded from just synthetics, such as nitrile, to rubber-based adhesives, natural rubber, gloves of all kinds and numerous other applications.”

Clark also said Enso is researching the use of the firm’s material on tires.

Basically, Restore RL is an additive used during the manufacturing of rubber products. It’s dispersed throughout the matrix of the rubber.

“A novel aspect of this material,” she said, “is its inertness to the host rubber resin; it does not contribute to any degradation of the rubber, thus leaving the shelf life of the rubber article intact.”

Clark noted that the material increases the biodegradation of rubber within natural microbial and municipal landfill environments.

A prime difference in the paper she presented at the conference this year and her presentation in 2013 is that this time around she stressed why it is important. Two years ago, she primarily discussed the technical aspects of Restore RL.

She maintained in her most recent presentation that “there is significant benefit to adjusting our waste management strategy for rubber to include biodegradation within landfills.

“By utilizing technologies such as Enso Restore to achieve controlled biodegradation, it is possible to implement biomimicry and achieve zero waste through full biodegradation.

“This complete biodegradation integrates in the natural carbon cycle while also creating clean energy to offset fossil fuel use.”

Clark said that because landfill gas is generated continuously, it provides a reliable fuel for a range of energy applications, including power generation and direct use. “Landfill gas is one of the few renewable energy resources that, when used, actually removes pollution from the air.”

Using the gas is cost-effective, she said, and generates economic opportunities.

The bottom line, she said, is to eliminate toxic waste.

Read the original article here: http://www.rubbernews.com/article/20150930/NEWS/309219980/enso-aims-to-manage-rubber-waste-with-restore-rl

It’s time for U.S. employers to go green

By Margaret Badore

A survey released yesterday shows that many Americans want their workplaces to be more environmentally sustainable, and employers should take note.

The survey was commissioned by Ricoh Americas and conducted by Harris Polls. The survey of 948 employees, people defined as having part-time and full-time work, aimed to measure how much people care about their company’s sustainability practices.

The poll found that three out of four employees said they would insist on change if they saw an obviously wasteful practice at work. Sixty-seven percent said they would report if their company were harming the environment.

Perhaps most surprisingly, 44 percent of respondents said they’d rather be unemployed than work for a company that knowingly harms the environment. “People do not want to be associated with a company that is knowingly damaging the environment,” said Jason Dizzine, director or technology marketing at Ricoh. He also points out that the phrasing of the question regarding unemployment is very specific. “It’s not that they’d rather be unemployed than work for a company that doesn’t have the strongest environmental policy.”

It should be noted that the survey aimed to measure workers’ general attitudes towards sustainability, rather than look for their opinions on specific sustainability practices.

Many Americans feel that they are being more sustainable at home than at work, with 68 percent of respondents saying that they feel they do more for the earth at home than at work.

Although more than half (59 percent) of surveyed employees were optimistic about sustainability in the future, it’s clear that there’s still a lot of work to be done. Thirty five percent of employees think their companies would sacrifice the environment to increase profits and 18 percent said they’d seen an environmentally harmful activity at work.

“Employees are demanding these types of commitments to sustainability and environmental programs,” said Dizzine. He says that if companies want to attract top talent, adopting environmental practices is a good idea. It’s no longer just government regulations or even customers that should make companies care about sustainable practices. “I think it’s clear from this poll that employees are expecting us to take action as well.”

Read the original article here http://www.treehugger.com/corporate-responsibility/its-time-us-employers-go-green.html

My personal comments by Danny Clark

This past weekend I was in one of the largest retail chains in the world shopping for a few particular items. Being that it was Easter weekend, there was a very large display area filled with gifts and baskets. One thing that stood out in the center of this massive display, was an enormous mound of white plastic buckets. A pile so high of these plastic buckets; useable for making gift baskets and/or the obligatory Easter egg hunt. . There must have been hundreds of these white buckets at this particular store and I could only imagine that this same display was the same all over the country in each and every retail location. Thousands upon thousands of these plastic buckets that would ultimately be thrown in neighborhood trash cans in the next few days.

I happen to know this particular manufacturer and have worked with several people within their company. This particular manufacturer is one of the top five largest plastic manufacturers in the U.S. and produces millions of pounds of plastic items just like these one-time-use buckets. The majority of products produced by this manufacturer are one-time-use, non-recyclable, that will inevitably end up in landfills around the country.

What environmental mission would you expect from a company like this that produces millions of pounds of plastics and how should they take responsibility? This particular manufacturer suggests and supports the idea “that we all should recycle our plastics.” This is a great idea but does nothing to reduce the environmental impact this manufacturer places on the environment everyday by producing millions of pounds of plastic products that are destined for a landfill.

Somehow some companies have developed the notation that by simply stating “we support recycling” is somehow reducing their impact on the environment. I’m not sure that those who take this approach really truly understand what it means to take responsibility and take action to reduce their impact on the environment. One must actually do something; make a change in some way to start reducing their company’s environmental impact.

“Lobbing the turd,” by simply stating that your company supports recycling only makes the recycling issue someone else’s problem. In my opinion if these people within this manufacturer really supported recycling they would no longer produce a single product that didn’t have at least 30% recycled content. Imagine the change this would bring?

And what about using technologies such as ENSO RESTORE that bridge the gap between recycling and landfilling plastics? The technologies are out there that are better for the environment so it’s time to stop playing the “green” game by promoting an agenda that does nothing to reduce your company’s impact on the environment. Take responsibility by doing something to reduce the environmental impact your company places on the environment every day.

We all play an equally important part in solving the global plastic pollution problem, but it’s up to each of us to ask ourselves what we are doing to reduce our impact on the environment and then start doing something now to make a difference.

Pack Expo’s Trashiest Girl Speaks Out!

Houston, we might be the  problem!

 Pack Expo – Las Vegas, my first major event within the “plastic industry” and it was a very eye-opening experience for me.

I went to this convention in a dress that was made completely out of plastic “trash.” I was very nervous to be in public dressed in what could be construed as a controversial outfit; however, the second I walked into the door I could tell that most people were going to be receptive and accepting of my “statement.”

I thoroughly enjoyed being at Pack Expo. I had a lot of fun walking through the aisles and meeting so many great people. I was often stopped and asked by many of the attendees to just take a picture with me and then was asked why I was wearing this particular outfit. Unfortunately, most people didn’t quite understand what was behind the sentiment of  my plastic dress and they thought I was there to endorse recycling. My colleagues and I were able to take the opportunity to share with so many people that even though we think recycling is great, it’s not enough and that there are more options for being truly sustainable.

Something that I think the plastic industry would be more cognizant of, is recycling and sustainability. However, there weren’t even recycle bins at Pack Expo (well, there was actually only one recycle bin that I saw. There were, however, bins for garbage at practically every corner) This is definitely indicative of the sustainability problem we face. Most of the plastic discarded doesn’t even get recycled, it ends up in landfills. The entire Pack Expo is a reflection of the plastic packaging industry and yet they didn’t even offer a sustainable option for discarding plastic refuse from the show.  Not to mention that on the final day when booths were being torn down, workers were just throwing away huge piles and handfuls of plastics into the garbage.

If we, the “experts” in plastic packaging, don’t come up with solutions for sustainability the problem is only going to get worse. For being an event encompassing the plastic packaging industry, I was very surprised to learn that people in this industry aren’t more concerned with the end of life of their plastic packaging.  I thought for sure that the people in this business would realize that recycling just isn’t enough.

I wore a dress made out of plastic bags and packaging to make a point that represented the many items on my dress would not be recycled; but would ultimately end up in a landfill. What happens to all that plastic when it’s not recycled and gets discarded? Right now, nothing happens; it will stay buried in a landfill for thousands of years. Doesn’t it make sense to think that more should be done?

Unless you’re doing something with your packaging to make it more sustainable; you’re part of the problem!

 

 

 

Firm: Technology spurs degradation of rubber in landfills

Written by: Mike McNulty, Rubber News

AKRON—ENSO Plastics L.L.C. is moving quickly to gain a foothold in the rubber industry with new technology that a company official said accelerates the natural biodegradation of synthetic rubber in landfills.

The producer of biodegradable and biobased products has come out with a new technology, ENSO Restore RL, that issues in a new age for rubber, according to Teresa Clark, vice president of product development for the Mesa, Ariz.-based company.

Restore RL “is a unique material designed not only to attract specific naturally occurring microorganisms, but also to induce rapid microbial acclimatization to synthetic rubbers and resulting biodegradation,” Clark said.

“The method of biodegradation caused is strictly enzymatic and is designed to utilize naturally occurring microorganisms within waste environments, including landfills.”

Its new development opens the door for ENSO to begin servicing the rubber industry, she said. Previously, it primarily served the plastics sector.

Basically, the company has transferred its knowledge of biodegradable plastics to the rubber industry and developed ENSO Restore RL, Clark said. The rubber industry, she noted, has produced little technology regarding environmental remediation until Restore came along.

From plastics to rubber

“We were founded in 2007 to find solutions for plastic waste, and at the time we didn’t have a product,” she said. “We ended up forming a joint venture, and eventually the company came to market with a product for the plastics industry.”

“We’re a young company that’s growing,” said Clark, one of the firm’s founders.

Clark discussed ENSO and the new technology at the International Latex Conference, held July 23-24 in Fairlawn, a suburb of Akron. She also gave a presentation at the meeting, titled “Advancements in Rubber and Latex Disposal—Biodegradation and the Environment.

Restore RL is an additive used during the manufacturing of rubber products “in such a way as to disperse the additive throughout the matrix of the rubber,” she said.

It does not “involve an initial abiotic breakdown as is seen with degradable products in other industries,” according to Clark. “A novel aspect of this material is its inertness to the host rubber resin; it does not contribute directly to any degradation of the rubber, thus leaving the shelf life of the rubber article in¬- tact.”

She said independent laboratory testing shows nitrile treated with Restore biodegrades about 17 percent in the first 20 days compared to nitrile showing no biodegradation during the same time frame.

Similar biodegradation test results were found in polychloroprene, polyurethane and other synthetic materials when treated with the product, the executive said.

According to Clark, the material increases the biodegradation of synthetic rubber within natural microbial and municipal landfill environments.

“Given the unique properties of rubber materials, the overall use of rubber for a large number of applications is constantly on the rise and becoming an ever increasing focus of concern … not only in industrialized countries but also in less developed nations,” she said.

The ENSO executive said testing shows significant increases in the rate of biodegradation in various synthetic rubbers when treated with Restore RL “and with the biodegradation being in anaerobic environments offers a unique waste disposal solution.”

Restore’s purpose is to impact biodegradability without affecting the physical characteristics or the shelf stability of treated rubber products, Clark said, which is in contrast to other methods, including degrading materials through oxygen or UV exposure, which risks the stability of rubber goods.

read the full article

If you would like to learn more or if you missed the presentation at the International Latex Conference join ENSO’s free upcoming webinar titled; “A New Solution for Rubber Waste”.

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 .

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!

 

Regulation: Friend or Foe? Is it coming soon to your town?

We have heard regulatory agencies wanting to do more to protect the consumer and the environment alike.  And while regulation is a necessity for a properly functioning society, what does the current trends of regulation do for your business?  What does it do for our economy?  What does it do for innovation and ultimately the environment?

Unfortunately, there is also an additional qualifying question anyone familiar with the way the world spins around will ask themselves… “it depends on which private business is lobbying for, and what agenda…”  Todays environmental issues have an opportunity to be treated with innovation and forward thinking.  Perhaps never before in our history have we been more prepared and evolved to address the real problems relating to the environmental issues we face.  Words like; Life Cycle Analysis, Carbon Footprint, Sustainability, green movement…the list goes on-all in the name of greening up business and consumer habits.  But at the end of the day, what has been the net result?  Because in the end, what is paramount is results-positive results.

How is regulating this “green movement” helping?  Today, innovations have to answer questions of legitimacy and solid science.  Federal agencies like EPA, FTC, FDA are all both educating and becoming more educated on what the market trends are doing, and what materials are available to help green up materials and processes.  They demand companies to sufficiently demonstrate the validity of their claims, and help to curb “green washing” for the irresponsible opportunists looking to only capitalize on our consumer base sincerely wanting to do the right thing.

We at ENSO take this demonstration of legitimacy and solid science behind our innovative material VERY seriously.  We have engaged top-of-their-field scientific minds to aid in the quest to help our innovation receive the understanding and market reception it warrants.  Sometimes innovation outpaces conventional understanding, and what helps bridge the gap between innovation and acceptance is education and credibility.  Some of these processes take more time than desired, but in the end, things that are worthwhile and lasting often endure hurtles.  Many of our past innovations were looked at as a “pipe dream” only to turn into life changing propositions for markets-cars, electricity, a round earth etc. all took time for conventional wisdom to catch up to these innovations.

Today, I believe the market is ripe to receive an increase in both innovation and education, with responsible regulatory agencies sifting through relevant information to help environmental and economic impacts in our market.  Although the budgets in many agencies have been drastically reduced, they are hard at work to create a viable market which will include an earth friendly future marketplace.  Hopefully this work combined with everyone’s convictions and individual effort will drastically reduce the length of time processes can take, so we can more efficiently make innovative materials a positive conversion in our market.  So all can answer, regulation is a friend, not a foe.  One thing is for sure, we need regulation, as long as it helps an ever evolving marketplace.  Indeed nothing these days seem to remain static, questions and answers will always evolve, and so will regulatory process.

 

ENSO Plastics Brings Legitimacy to a Young Market

We all know that the biodegradable plastics industry is just in its infancy.  What many might not be aware of is all of the “back end” work that ENSO has been doing for the market.  ENSO Plastics is doing many things to provide value to the plastics industry as it applies to the environment.  Offering solutions for plastic to serve its useful life, and once disposed of be valuable both as recycled material and within landfill environments, is part of the big picture.  ENSO also provides market value and legitimacy in ways unlike typical corporate organizations and much more as a not for profit, or NGO.

ENSO has an environmental mission that remains pure throughout our business activity.  Part of the mission requires us to honestly look at the REAL impacts of our activity and integrate REAL solutions.  We realize the need to foster legitimacy in our industry that will be of benefit to not only our customers; but to the market as a whole, and even our competitors.  We believe that just “slinging” product for the sake of profit is not being a responsible steward of our environment, and is culturally at odds with the way we feel here at ENSO.  We are in this to change the way the plastics industry and consumers alike view and treat plastic.

In creating this monumental change in such a vast industry, like plastic, there is a massive amount of education and legitimate data that needs to be presented.  Unfortunately, there is the fact that traditional business is done with the idea that competition does not want anyone else to succeed.  Because of this dynamic new industry and its complexities, ENSO is doing things non-traditionally and has seen the needs of the market and responded appropriately.

We have brought together the world’s top experts in different fields of science to bring the most compelling and comprehensive data collecting to help foster the growth of this particular industry, and to bring value to brands and manufacturing all the way to the end consumer.  All in an effort to further the knowledge and acceptance of what we consider to be a “turn in the traditional plastics market”.  Bringing together top polymer and engineering scientists like Georgia Tech’s Research Institute (GRTI) Materials Center; as well as the University of North Carolina State, and the Department of Civil, Construction, & Environmental Engineering is only part of the effort ENSO has undergone to develop the understanding and education of our marketplace and its regulating bodies.  Much of this effort is ongoing as this technology is new, and more applications will bring new questions specific to its market.

The important precept ENSO Plastics takes very seriously is that in order to go to market with a product, credible and repeatable scientific data needs to be the foundation of all innovation.  Second to that precept is the need for the innovation itself to be a major positive for the environment.  Without these two keys, a product is only interested in one thing – taking advantage of environmental marketing opportunities with no positive impact on the environment; in other words, GREEN WASHING.

Having the support and “backing” of world class institutions and experts in their fields eliminates these basic concerns; as these entities will not stand for anything other than scientific truth.  The market is full of political and personal manipulation, seeking only to bring certain products to market, while attempting to discredit or eliminate others from the market.  ENSO is set apart from this kind of business model by only seeking credible, non-biased individuals and institutions to work with.  This is a higher standard that state and federal regulators have to appreciate because the industry does not get more knowledgeable, independent and credible than the world’s leading experts.  -Del Andrus

Battling the bottle- from the Inside

Aspen native battles the bottle — from the inside

Max Ben-Hamoo fights bottled water — with better bottlesStewart Oksenhorn
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado

Aspen native Max Ben-Hamoo is the president of WorldLife Water, which has introduced water in a biodegradable bottle.Stewart Oksenhorn / The Aspen Times

ASPEN — As a kid growing up in Aspen, Max Ben-Hamoo was intensely interested in science; he went on to major in environmental science at the University of Denver. But as he got older Ben-Hamoo became more practical-minded, and after getting his bachelor’s degree, he changed directions and earned an MBA, also from the University of Denver.

“Once I realized how much more powerful business is than science, I wanted to combine my passion for the environment with some knowledge of business, and grow that,” the 25-year-old said.

Ben-Hamoo’s current career is a near-perfect reflection of the development of that sort of thinking. Where in his childhood, Ben-Hamoo disdained single-use bottles of water — “I gave my parents trouble when they got bottled water: ‘Get something you can refill,’” he said — he has adjusted his perspective and has joined the bottled-water business. But with a twist. WorldLife Water, the company which he serves as president, has introduced what Ben-Hamoo says is the first single-use water bottle to use completely biodegradable plastic. The bottles are manufactured by an Arizona company that treats the PET plastic with an additive that attracts microbes, thus speeding the decomposition of the material. (The bottles are also made without BPA, a plastic which Canada has banned as a toxic substance.)

WorldLife Water arrived on shelves two weeks ago at the Highlands Pizza Co., at Aspen Highlands. “I asked the guy there if he wanted it, and he said, ‘Yeah, looks great. I think people will love it,’” Ben-Hamoo said. “I think he understands people will want it.”

For the moment, Highlands Pizza is the only place to find WorldLife Water, but Ben-Hamoo believes retailers, especially in Colorado, will see things the way Highlands Pizza did: Customers who are attached to the convenience of bottled water will happily switch to a product that is relatively easy on the environment.

“It’s the conscious consumer we’re after, someone who will notice that biodegradable plastic is important for the future of our environment,” Ben-Hamoo said, adding that he is working on adding accounts in Aspen, where he visits frequently to see family, and Denver, where he now lives. “And Colorado is the best place for that — most people have a good understanding of that connection. We’re optimistic because we’ve gotten a great response from everyone we’ve shown it to. It’s like people were waiting for it. They feel bad about their bottled water habit, and this helps them do something about it.”

Ben-Hamoo said making a bottle biodegradable costs 70-80 percent more than a regular plastic bottle, but the added manufacturing expense results in only a slight increase in price for the customer. A 500-milliliter bottle of WorldLife, he said, will sell for between $1 and $2. The trick will be to get the big retailers who emphasize low prices to stock it.

WorldLife was founded two years ago by Kris Kalnow, a Cincinnati resident who has a house in Snowmass, and whose son, Chip, was a friend of Ben-Hamoo’s in college: “She founded the company, then quickly realized, while she wanted to keep it going, she didn’t want to be the one running it,” Ben-Hamoo said. “She knew my background and thought I’d be a good one to run it.”

Taking over the business has required some readjustment of his perspective. Now, instead of shouting out against bottled water — and seeing its use more than quadruple in his lifetime — Ben-Hamoo is on the inside, trying to make the product more environmentally palatable.

“I understand how much bottled water is out there; people are going to buy it,” he said. “If we can replace the standard market with this product, that’s better. It’s better for the earth.” (Ben-Hamoo added that the best thing that can be done with plastic bottles is to recycle them, but that, in practice, some 70 percent of bottles end up in landfills.)

Ben-Hamoo is currently the only employee of WorldLife. While he looks to line up some interns, he is handling sales, marketing, manufacturing, warehousing and accounting. And while he gains broad business experience, his curiosity about science hasn’t died. In the yard at his father’s house are buried several WorldLife bottles, so Ben-Hamoo can monitor for himself how quickly his product biodegrades.

stewart@aspentimes.com