Tag Archives: ENSO biodegradable & recyclable plastic

Is recycling the key to sustainability?

graphThe 2015 U.S. plastic bottle recycling rate posted a slight decrease of 0.6 percent compared with 2014, according to the figures released by the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) and the American Chemistry Council (ACC) in the 26th annual “National Post-Consumer Plastics Bottle Recycling Report.” At the current and projected rate of production, a plateau like this should ring alarm bells!  The data clearly shows we are not going to recycle our way to a sustainable future.

As someone who’s actively engaged in the sustainable management of plastics, I pay close attention to companies that are managing our waste. These companies are on the frontlines of managing the recovery and disposal of solid and hazardous waste materials, which include landfills and recycling centers. I strongly believe that integrating the advice from these groups and working with them hand-in-hand should be an integral aspect to any sustainability program.

For example, at the recent 2016 Resource Recycling Conference in New Orleans, CEO of Waste Management, David Steiner, specifically pointed out that in order to achieve the “biggest bang for the buck” environmentally, coupling recycling with landfill gas-to-energy offers the greatest return value. This is the “environmental” recommendation from David Steiner, not a shareholder perspective. And Waste Management should know, they are after all the ones actually doing all the work in collecting, processing and managing the vast majority of the our waste.

His shareholder perspective is profitability, as it should be.   In a recent interview with Bloomberg, David Steiner explains that when you look at the various commodities that are recycled, there are some that are profitable. Those are primarily fiber (paper) and metals. Once you start moving into organics (plastics) and glass, they become less profitable (and in most cases over the past few years, they have lost money). In places like California they’ll do things to subsidize those types of materials to ensure Waste Management makes a profit, and then people can recycle those materials… Elsewhere, this does not work economically and understandably so. However, Waste Management will do what the municipality wants, just not at the expense of its bottom-line.   They’ll be happy to recycle everything; it’s only a matter of how much you want to pay for it. But buyers beware if the commodity prices do not cover the processing costs, recycling becomes an exercise in futility.

Nonetheless, if the municipalities are willing to pay (increase taxes) for this exercise, Waste Management will be happy to oblige. They will “recycle” it, collect it, sort it and they will process it. For Waste Management, processing costs and a little profit are baked into the contract. If there’s no market, no problem for Waste Management, this material will end up disposed into a form that is not recycling.

Recently at K 2016, Patrick Thomas, chairman of the European trade group Plastics Europe, said that “every tonne of plastic that goes to landfill is a waste. It is too valuable a resource to go that way.” Really, if it needs to be subsidized by the government (tax payer money), what value is he referring to and is it sustainable?

Where exactly is the value? Last year the average bale price of recycled bottles fell by 31%, meaning that the bottles were less valuable last year than the year before. Couple this with oil prices dropping by 47% and the result is a compounded decrease in the “value” of recycled plastics.

Today, 80 million tons of non-reusable/non-recyclable plastic packaging is produced annually. This volume is expected to double in 20 years. If this 80 million tons were simply designed to comply with the primary disposal method (a.k.a. modern landfills), this material could provide enough energy to power 30 million homes for a year!

Nearly 50 years has passed since the launch of the first universal recycling symbol, today only 14% of plastic packaging is collected for recycling. When additional value losses in sorting and reprocessing are factored in, only 5% of material value is retained for a subsequent use. Meanwhile, in a business-as-usual scenario, the ocean is expected to contain one ton of plastic for every three tons of fish by 2025, and by 2050, more plastics than fish [by weight].  What are we doing?

There’s a pervasive attitude that we must recycle everything at all costs, this is not sustainable by any definition. Plastics, unlike aluminum, can only be recycled 3-4 times; eventually it will find its way into our waste streams and into our environment.   Although recycling does provide us the option to extend the life of some plastics, it is not an ‘end-of-life’ solution. We cannot recycle our way out of the environmental waste problem plastics are causing. If companies continue to ignore performance compliance with todays’ primary means of disposal, facilities that actively control and convert biogas into clean alternative energy (intrinsic return value), progress will remain stagnate. The science and data validate David Steiner’s recommendation; including landfill gas-to-energy provides an environmental and economic value higher than any other option.  We can take the advice or not, Waste Management will come out ahead either way, but will we?

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!

 

Plastic Recycling: Green or “GREEN”?

 

Recycling is all about the environment, conserving our resources and greening our planet.

Isn’t it?

With the recent onslaught of laws angled at restricting the types of materials allowed to be recycled, one could start to wonder. After all, technically all these materials can be recycled. Are they implying that we should not encourage recyclers to find outlets for new materials? As companies are pushing for new materials that are more sensitive to our fragile environment, recyclers are pushing for laws that prevent recycling these materials, because they want to “protect” their profits and use of traditional plastics?

Are you kidding me?

Sounds a bit more like the green they are pursuing is the money in someones pocket. Even NC Representative Brawley’s site positions “These companies are developing new and innovative technologies to recycle plastic, including the development of new types of degradable and biodegradable plastic materials designed to decompose in landfills or when they are exposed to soil, water, and other natural elements over time. This has great benefits for our environment.” and then at the same time, acknowledges that despite the environmental benefits, we should protect petroleum based plastic recycling. I hear dollar signs  $$$..

I may be out in left field, but wouldn’t it make sense to send all materials that have the potential to be recycled to the recyclers and encourage them to find new and innovative ways to recycle those materials? Why are we OK with only recycling a few select materials?

With the latest reports on recycling rates in the US, it definitely seems our recycling infrastructure has a terminal illness; traditional medicines are not working to solve this illness. PET bottle collection rates are stagnant, HDPE recycling rates have dropped and there is no plan in sight to fix this. Even NAPCOR recognized this in their recent statement “without additional collection efforts or NEW STREAMS OF MATERIALS, the increased capacity will only serve to drive prices to unsustainable levels” and from Scott Saunders of KW Plastics Recycling “unfortunately, the recycling rate is going to stay where it is unless some NEW IDEA pushes recyclers forward.”

How about this NEW IDEA to provide NEW STREAMS OF MATERIAL:

Let’s place all clean materials (paper, plastic, metal, wood) in our blue bin and use the subsidies paid to recyclers to find out how to effectively recycle. and if that seems too radical check out this new idea that is already 5 times more effective than recycling: 35% success rate for waste management

I find myself placing plastics and other recyclable material that are not “on the recyclable list” in my blue bin in hopes that my little bit of rebellion will encourage recyclers to find ways to utilize these materials.   I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas on this subject.

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

Henkel builds Bioplastic Additive Plant

Oh bioplastics, how you confuse consumers.  I am all for finding renewable sources for plastics but I also believe that product claims should speak very clearly about the capabilities of the product. Consumers often misinterpret “bioplastics” as being biodegradable, mainly because the lack of education in labeling. Check out the article below and leave me a comment letting me know what you think!

 

shanghai china

Bioplastics, additives top this week’s Material Insights video

By Frank Eposito | PLASTICS NEWS STAFF
Posted September 6, 2011

Plastics News senior reporter Frank Esposito

AKRON, OHIO (2:10 p.m. ET) — New capacity for recycled resins at a plant in Indiana is featured in this week’s Material Insights video.

Petoskey Plastics is spending $3 million on the project, which will add 12 million pounds of capacity to its plant in Hartford City, Ind. Some of the resin will be used at Petoskey film and bag plants in Petoskey, Mich., where the firm is based, and in Morristown, Tenn. Petoskey also is spending about $6 million to add new fim and bag lines at those two plants.

Henkel AG’s plans to build the world’s largest plastic additives plant in Shanghai also is featured in this week’s video. The 150,000-square-foot plant will have annual capacity of more than 900 million pounds for a variety of plastic additives. It represents an investment of more than $70 million for Henkel, which is based in Düsseldorf, Germany.

This week’s video wraps up with a pair of bioplastics items. Renewable chemicals maker BioAmber Inc. of Minneapolis is building a 35 million-pound-capacity plant in Sarnia, Ontario, to make succinic acid, which can be converted into bioplastics for auto parts and plastic cutlery. In Barcelona, Spain, Iris Research & Development has devised a way to produce a bioplastic based on whey protein, which is a byproduct of cheese production. The new bioplastic is expected to be used in food and cosmetics packaging.

 

Plastic Bags get Recovered

I think that it is wonderful that stores will be reclaiming plastic bags from consumers. In this particular case I wonder if the bags will be recycled or what action will be taken. If single use bags must be biodegradable, depending on whether they can biodegrade in a landfill or biodegrade in a industrial compost consumers must be informed so the proper disposal method will be taken. Too often do consumers see the word biodegradable on a label and assume that if the product is thrown in the trash it will biodegrade. Products made with ENSO will definitely biodegrade in a landfill however PLA products must be taken to an industrial composting facility, if not they will just sit in a landfill like traditional plastic. As a consumer do you desire for more accurate labeling/claims on products? Have you ever been misinformed about a green product because of their marketing claims/labeling? If you have any examples please share them with me! If a store offered a program where you could return your bags would you take advantage of it? Check out the article, and let me know what you think in the comment box below!

 

 

Measure boosts plastic bag ban

By CHARISSA M. LUCI
August 27, 2011, 3:31pm

MANILA, Philippines — The campaign to ban non-biodegradable plastic bags got a big boost after the House of Representatives approved on third and final reading a bill requiring the store owners to provide biodegradable plastic bags to customers.

To be known as the Plastic Bag Regulation Act of 2011, House Bill 4840 is an initiative to address the impact of climate change.

Under the bill, stores are mandated to implement an in-store recovery program in which the customers can return the plastic bags they had used.

“The recovery system will lead citizens to exert effort and give their due share in protecting the environment by bringing used plastic bags to stores and commercial establishments which in turn shall provide the logistics for recovery of these plastic shopping bags,” Caloocan City Rep. Oscar Malapitan, the bill’s principal author, said

HB 4840 also provides that the bags must have a logo showing that they are biodegradable, with a printed note saying “lease return to any store for recycling.”

Under the measure, all business establishments shall have their own plastic bag recovery bins, which shall be visible and accessible to the customers.

For their part, the local government units (LGUs) shall be tasked to collect, recycle and dispose of all plastic bags recovered by the stores.

“The State must ensure that contaminants to the environment, such as plastic and plastic bags, be prevented from being introduced into the ecosystem,” Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, who co-authored the bill, said.

It is expected that after the implementation of the HB 4840, there will be a phase out of non-biodegradable plastic bags within three years.

How to Market & Sell a Green Product

Its about that time for our Free Monthly Webinar

Sept 7th, 9-10am PDT

Sign up here

In the competitive industry of earth friendly plastics the available information can become overwhelming. Our ENSO sales & marketing webinar will bring you back down to earth. We will explain the alternatives to traditional plastics, analyzing the pros and cons of the leading products on the market.

Ever wonder just how your supposed to market a green product? We have got that covered too! Don’t hesitate, you don’t want to miss out on this one of a kind webinar!

If you have not attended a previous ENSO webinar, you are in for a exciting experience. Not only will you be learning from the leading experts in the industry, but you will know that the information you are receiving is accurate & applicable. As you absorb the information throughout the webinar, you will probably experience a feeling of enlightenment and a urge to know more. This is natural and we have planned for this! At the end of every webinar you are encouraged to ask any questions on your mind!

We look forward to your virtual attendance at our free webinar!

 

 

What percentage of methane is collected in landfills?

I recently came across an article by James Levis called Collecting landfill gas good step. This article is a reaction to a paper that Levis co-wrote with Dr. Morton Barlaz titled “Is biodegradability a Desirable Attribute for Discarded Slid Waste? Perspectives from a National Landfill Greenhouse Gas Inventory Model.” That very paper started the jumping off point for the sudden out spurt of biodegradable plastic methane emissions articles all over the web this summer.

Spinoff headlines ranging from  “Study: Biodegradable plastics can release methane” to the reckless “Biodegradable products are often worse for the planet” were at the forefront of attention.

I had reacted to such articles in a previous blog which you can read here but after reading Levis Collecting landfill gas good step article, I came across some statistics that I just had to share!

greenhouse gas emissions methane

Levis stated in the article “ The foundation of this research is a life-cycle accounting of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with discarding waste in both national-average and sate of the art landfills”    Now here is some interesting information,

An estimated..

35% of waste is discarded in state of the art landfills which collect generated methane and use it in beneficial ways

31% of waste is left in landfills without any gas collection occurring

34% of the waste is in landfills that collect and flare the gas

lanfill

The results of the research showed that there are significant benefits to collecting and beneficially using landfill gas. Levis addressed reactions to the research, one of the most common comments being “these materials are intended to be composted, therefore the results are irrelevant.” Levis reacted to the response by stating, “But these materials are generally not composted, and most areas of the country do not have the infrastructure for source-separated compostable collection and treatment of these emerging biodegradable materials. Therefore we need to understand the effect of their disposal in a landfill.”

Another common response to the research included that the conclusions were too broad, that they neglected emerging materials like bioplastics that do not appreciably degrade in landfills. Levis responded by stating that the argument seems misguided because these types of materials are not even technically biodegradable and the study’s only mention of bio-based, non biodegradable products was to say that it would lead to green house gas emissions in a landfill.  Levis closed the article by stressing the importance of analyzing the entire life cycle of a product to know if it is better to use a conventional or biodegradable material in the production, as well as environmental and economic factors, before making your final judgment.

2011 Global Packaging Design Awards

Think your beverage packaging has what it takes to be Award Winning?! You must enter this competition, show off your design(s) and get the notoriety you deserve!

Beverage World magazine announced in their June issue that they are currently accepting entries for their 2011 Global Packaging Design Awards. The competition is open to any and all beverage packages introduced since September 2010. Entries will be judged on a variety of elements including graphic design and structural innovation. The deadline to submit your package is September 1, 2011. Award winners will appear in the November print edition of Beverage World and on beverageworld.com the same month. Winners will be recognized as the best in beverage packaging from all over the world so don’t miss your chance to be acknowledged. The submittal process is EASY! They are currently accepting samples of the package you wish to enter (samples are preferred) but you can also submit a photo or rendering by e-mail.

This is a great opportunity for all brands including those that have used ENSO Plastics to show off their earth friendly packaging and design.

How to enter

For those sending a sample
If you would like to send a sample of your package you need to e-mail Beverage World Managing Editor Andrew Kaplan at akaplan@beverageworld.com with the subject line “Packaging Awards” for information on where to ship your package. Don’t forget, the deadline to submit your package is September 1, 2011 .
For those e-mailing a photo or rendering
If you would rather  send a photo or rendering, you need to e-mail Beverage World Managing Editor Andrew Kaplan at akaplan@beverageworld.com with the subject line “Packaging Awards” and you must include the following information (Remember the deadline to submit your package/photo/rendering is September 1, 2011 .)

• Brand Name
• Beverage Company Name
• Design firm name and location
• Name of key packaging supplier(s)
• Contact person’s name, e-mail, phone number & address
• A brief write-up explaining why the package should win

If you have any questions about the packaging awards, please contact Andrew Kaplan at akaplan@beverageworld.com or (347) 494-5731

Below are photos of beverage packages that I find extremely successful in the areas of design and marketing!


 

 


neuro drink

 

paper water bottles 360

 

 

fruit drinks

 

 

 

milk in glass bottle

 

 

gloji packaging

 

 

ping packaging

 

 

 

north pole