Category Archives: Product Innovation

Connecting the dots between plastic waste and renewable energy

With the recent United Nations Conference on Climate Change, there’s a lot of talk about harnessing renewable energy.  Take a company like Unilever who’s committed to becoming ‘carbon positive’ by 2030.  Meaning, 100% of Unilever’s energy across its operations will come from renewable sources, in just 15 years!  Interesting, now let’s quickly switch gears and take a look at plastic waste and the sustainability efforts taking place there.  With the advent of Extended Producer Responsibility, brands and manufacturers will be held accountable for the post-consumer stage of its product.  What is the common disposal method for the majority of Unilever’s packaging and products?  Well, if we’re being honest and using the facts and data available, it’s all ending-up in a landfill.  Recycling comes in a distant second and composting and incineration are practically nonexistent.   However, considering this new agenda Unilever proposes, is this really a negative thing?  Not if someone can connect the dots.

Today, the bad thing about landfills is in name only.   Perhaps we need to start referring to this single most common disposal method simply as Bioreactors.  The vast majority of all MSW ends-up in “landfills” that capture and control the gases being produced in these environments and turning it into energy.  This valuable resource, Landfill Gas-to-Energy, is considered the most economical form of green energy available today, even when considering the costs of hydro, solar and wind.  Once converted, landfill gas can be utilized in many ways: to generate electricity, heat, or steam; as an alternative vehicle fuel; or sold on the energy market as a renewable “green” power or gas. All States in the U.S. (including California) utilize gas to energy as part of their green initiatives and companies like Mars, Dart, Toyota, Frito Lay, SC Johnson, Tyson Foods, Kimberly-Clark, Coca-Cola, Anheuser Busch, just to name a few, are already harnessing this energy resource.

If Unilever’s plastic products and packaging where designed for this specific environment, it could essentially power itself with the trash it produces.  Today, we have the ability to make plastic waste naturally biodegrade in these amazing anaerobic environments, Bioreactors.   The Recycling industry and the Compostable Plastics industry will continue to rail against this, but it’s time more companies rely on facts and scientific data instead of myths and emotions that simply coddle consumer’s inaccurate perceptions.  Today, and in the foreseeable future, Landfills/Bioreactors will absolutely play a major role in the way we manage waste and harness renewable energy.  The demonization of this fact is counterproductive to the goals being set.  The power is in the hands of companies like Unilever to see beyond the status quo and implement solutions that provide accountability and viability for itself and its customers.  Connecting the dots is the key to a sustainable future.

Fueled by the Future | Back to the Future | Presented by Toyota Mirai

Watch the future become reality as two Back to the Future icons see trash get turned into fuel for a car! And some people believe biodegradation doesn’t happen in a landfill. Silly them, this must seem like pure magic….

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”.

Perils of forgeting the rubber…

Photo Courtesy of Malaysian Rubber Board

Photo Courtesy of Malaysian Rubber Board

For hundreds of years we have relied on rubber to produce superior products and materials, and the importance of using rubbers in our daily lives has increased significantly. In fact, more rubbers are used today than have ever been used in history. Yet somehow we forget about the waste of rubber products when we discard them.

Plastic has received the brunt of the attention, but rubbers have historically flown under the radar when it comes to waste management. Interestingly enough, municipal waste is comprised of 13% plastic (which we hear about every day) but Rubbers make up over 8%  and no-one says a word.

Additionally, rubber is very seldom recycled meaning that almost all of it goes straight into the landfill where it remains for hundreds of years. That equates to over 40 billion pounds of rubber waste every year going to US landfills.

Are we OK with this?

When will we begin to hold the rubber industry accountable as we have the plastics industry?

There is no reason today to have rubber waste sitting stagnant in the landfill. Technologies such as ENSO RESTORE RL allow rubber materials to biodegrade within the landfill and produce methane that we can capture for clean energy. This means that rather than hundreds of years, the rubber waste I throw into the landfill can be gone during my lifetime.

The solution is available, all we need to do is quit ignoring the problem.

How do you propose we hold the rubber industry accountable?

 

Looking Beyond the Borders for Plastic Pollution Solutions

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

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

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

 

rubber gloves

Researchers Unveil New Solution for Rubber Waste

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About ENSO Plastics™

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

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

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

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

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.