Tag Archives: Plastic Bottles

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.

Why Recycling is NOT Enough to Solve Plastic Bottle Pollution

The environmental impact that we humans have is very complex.  Much of what we do in our daily lives have unintended consequences.  There are some that believe plastics need to eliminated from being used.  There may be some valid points to their argument however, the alternatives are usually not as environmentally friendly as what we have today.  In most cases plastics provide a more environmental and healthy packaging solution than their predecessor.  Yes, it is true our abuse of plastics has lead to pollution issues in the oceans, landfills and other areas that we may never be able to fully clean up.  Although there are a number of environmental groups, organizations, companies and many individuals who are diligently trying to solve the plastic pollution issue.

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Are ENSO Bottles the Answer to Eliminating Sea Pollution

Recently, ENSO Bottles was asked to address the following questions:

  1. How do Enso bottle behave in a low temperature marine environment?
  2. When Enso bottles eventually fragment in the ocean, do they attract POPs in the same way that Petroleum plastics do, posing potential human health threats through the food chain?
  3. Why has Enso chosen petroluem plastics as opposed to a plant based, biodegradable material?

These questions come up all the time, so we thought we’d post our answers to these questions on our blog.  So here it goes…

In any environment where there is a bio-active environment, ENSO bottles will naturally biodegrade. Currently, there is a lot of research going into marine degradation, but there is still a lot of work to do. Marine environments vary drastically from region to region due to various water depths, types of water, etc.  Unfortunately, marine environments are more complicated than soil environments.

It’s also, important to understand the type of polymer and how it behaves in marine environments.  For example, PET which is used for water, soda, juice and other beverages is a dense polymer and will sink to the bottom.  There is very little bioactive environments found directly in marine environments, but at the bottom of those marine environments this is a lot of  bio-active, microbial activity.  This is where the bottles have the highest opportunity to biodegrade.  In reality, we need to keep plastics out of the ocean regardless of the kind.  We have dumped garbage into the oceans for decades and are now dealing with those consequences.  Biodegradable plastics are better than non-biodegradable plastics, however in our opinion no plastics in marine environments is the solution.

Currently, there are no plant based technologies that make environmental sense.  We believe plant based plastics are a good fit for packaging that involves food items, so that there is the highest chance possible for making it into a professional composting environment.  Plant based plastics require an initial chemical breakdown before microbes can do the rest.  This chemical breakdown happens from the exposure to high temp (140 degrees) for 10 days.  If plant based plastics do not make it in such environments they will last just as long as traditional plastics. Most people do not realize this.

Bottles basically have two main disposal paths: recycling or landfills, the third, although small, but important is liter.  The technology we utilize allows ENSO bottles to be fully recycled without contaminating the recycle stream, but for those bottles (which are the majority) that end up in bio-active environments, they will naturally biodegrade with the help of microbes.  We fully believe that we need to improve recycling so that it becomes the primary solution for plastics.  Coke is setting a good direction with using plant material as biochemicals which end up as the same strong polymers we have today, but are from non-fossil fuels.  Plant based plastics will last forever in landfills just like standard plastics.  They, also do take up farming resources and require A LOT of petroleum resources.  Keep in mind that petroleum is also a plant based material.  It is fossilize algae that is processed.  A true plant based environmental solution will revolve around feedstocks such as algae or waste material from other processes.

In the end, it is extremely tough (close to impossible) to design a plastic that will be perfect to all environments and all disposal methods.  We felt that something needed to be done today and the step in the right direction is to integrate into the existing infrastructure of recycling and landfilling.  We believe no matter the type of plastic it doesn’t belong in the ocean or other marine environments.  The solution that works today is to allow plastics to be recycled, and will naturally biodegrade if placed in bioactive environments. This is the best solution available today until we move away from fossil fuels.

ENSO Bottles is a small company in comparison to the companies producing hundreds of billions of bottles per year. Somebody needed to step up and do something, and not wait until tomorrow or until the perfect solution arrives.  We believe we have taken a step in the right direction by doing something now, and will continue our quest in bringing to market the best available technologies which will solve the problem with plastic pollution.

Many thanks,

Danny Clark

Recycling – Is it just a business?

This is a question that I’ve been mulling over for the past couple of weeks. Recently I’ve been reading books and articles that suggest that recycling is more of a business than an environmental solution. The articles claim that the majority of the recycling industry is not based on “helping the environment” but is about picking the easiest and largest money making bottles – #1 PET and #2 HDPE beverage bottles.

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How many ENSO bottles does it take to power a light bulb?

How much energy can the off gassed methane from an ENSO bottle generate?

To calculate how much energy can be created from ENSO bottles take the weight of the ENSO 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).

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Are PET Bottles Safe?

NAPCOR Reassures on PET Safety with Answers to Common Concerns

Sonoma, CA, September 25, 2007 – PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles have garnered a great deal of media attention recently, some of it raising questions about PET safety. According to the National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR), the trade group for PET packaging, it’s time to clear up any fallacies and set the record straight: Consumers can continue to rely on the safety of PET bottles.

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One Step to Success

The other night I was helping my daughter with her math homework. She was frustrated and overwhelmed with the amount of problems and the difficulty level. After several hours of this, she stopped cold in her tracks. “I am not going to do this anymore, this is too hard, there are way too many problems and I don’t even know how to solve them! I might as well just quit.”

This reminds me of the many times I have felt this way myself with environmental issues –

  • Why do people litter?
  • Do I use paper, plastic or reusable bags? (I forgot my reusable bags again!)
  • Rain forests disappearing!
  • Ice caps melting!
  • Global warming!
  • Plastic water bottles
  • Driving my car!
  • The issues can sometimes seem endless and a bit overwhelming if we try to tackle everything. Sometimes I too feel like stomping my feet and giving up.

    So, back to the math lesson; what happened? I covered up every math problem except one and we began to work one problem at a time. Even breaking the problems down to the individual components when a problem seemed difficult. About 30 minutes later, the lesson was complete and my eight year old stated “Once I stopped looking at the whole thing, it was easy.”

    So let’s all take the advice of an eight year old and stop worrying about every environmental issue out there. Pick one simple thing and make a start – One Step to Success! (I am going to turn off the lights when I leave, how about you?)

    Teresa M Clark