Tag Archives: ENSO biodegradable additive

Landfill Biodegradable Products engage in Carbon Negative Activity


The phrase carbon negative activity can have many interpretations that I feel needs clarification.  Carbon is sequestered in plastic as we all know, but when the plastic is biodegradable, the off gassing of methane (comprised of C02 and Methane) from the biodegradation process is combustible.  If this bio-gas is utilized in methane to energy generators, the result is considered a “green” source of energy.  However, carbon is still emitted from the process, the benefit is that we used energy from bio-gas instead of using energy from say…coal.  Utilizing methane from a landfill is only part of a possible process of creating a carbon negative cycle.  There’s a major running debate right now as to the carbon positivity/negativity of landfill biogas generation.  The back-to-back papers at the SPC conference last Spring in San Diego by Adam Gendell and Mort Barlaz spoke to two sides of this issue.  As more data flows in from many different projects currently underway, we will have a more definitive understanding of how to apply it to carbon life-cycle analysis, in the ultimate goal of realizing carbon negativity!

In the hopefully not so distant future, we will have plastic that has come from renewable sources that are not land-crop depended, but will still utilize carbon available in our atmosphere, to help in the carbon sequestering process.  ONLY when carbon is being pulled out of the atmosphere, and less carbon is being put back into it (by engaging activities like methane to energy), can someone be truly carbon negative.  Having an ENSO biodegradable plastic is part of the whole picture that is entirely up to progressive sourcing of material, and responsible end of life process.

Thank you,

Del Andrus



Better labeling for Bio plastics

This article discusses an array of trending concerns in the plastics  market, give it a read!

Waste Management World

Report Calls for Better Labeling of Bioplastics


The European Commission’s DG Environment’s news service, Science for Environment Policy, has published a new report which outlines a roadmap for environmentally-friendly plastic design and the development of biodegradable plastics, as well as policy options to maximise benefits.

With such an enormous volume of plastic product sold on the world’s markets, an inevitable knock on consequence is an equally huge volume of plastics entering the waste stream, or in some cases escaping the waste stream and entering the environment, said the report.

One particular concern raised was ‘plastic soup’, which exists in the world’s oceans and seas, containing everything from large abandoned fishing nets to plastic bottles, to miniscule particles.

However, according to the report, the redesign of plastic products, both at the scale of the individual polymer and in terms of the finished product’s design, could help alleviate some of the problems associated with plastic waste. The authors claimed that thoughtful development and redesign could have an impact at all levels of the hierarchy established by the European Waste Framework Directive: prevention, re-use, recycle, recovery and disposal.


U.S. Government Launches Waste Electronics Strategy

The U.S. government has launched its National Strategy for Electronics Stewardship, which provides recommendations on steps the Federal government, businesses and citizens can take toward tackling the problem of used electronics. It is to target the goals identified by President Obama, of protecting human health and the environment from the potentially harmful effects of the improper handling and disposal the almost 2.5 million tons (2.27 million tonnes) of used electronics that is discarded in the U.S each year.

The announcement also included the first voluntary commitments made by Dell, Sprint and Sony to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) industry partnership, aimed at promoting the environmentally sound management of used electronics.

According to the administration, the strategy will:

  • Promote the development of more efficient and sustainable electronic products
  • Direct Federal agencies to buy, use, reuse and recycle their electronics responsibly
  • Support recycling options and systems for American consumers
  • Strengthen America’s role in the international electronics stewardship arena.

Under the strategy, the EPA and the General Services Administration (GSA) will remove products that do not comply with energy efficiency or environmental performance standards – from the information technology purchase contracts used by Federal agencies, and will ensure that all electronics used by the Federal government are reused or recycled properly.


In addition, the GSA said that it will promote the development of new environmental performance standards for categories of electronic products not covered by current standards. Several Federal agencies will work together to identify methods for tracking used electronics in Federal agencies to move toward reuse and recycling.

Key components of this strategy include the use of certified recyclers, increasing safe and effective management and handling of used electronics in the United States and working with industry in a collaborative manner to achieve that goal. As a first step in this effort, EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson has signed a voluntary commitment with Dell Inc. CEO Michael Dell and Sprint CEO Dan Hesse to promote a U.S. based electronics recycling market. Representatives of Sony Electronics also committed to improving the safe management of used electronics.

According to the EPA, the collaboration with industry is aimed at encouraging businesses and consumers to recycle their electronics with certified recyclers, and for electronic recyclers to become certified. There are two existing domestic third-party certification recycling entities, R2 and E-Stewards, and the electronics recycling industry is increasingly embracing these programs.

“A robust electronics recycling industry in America would create new opportunities to efficiently and profitably address a growing pollution threat,” said Jackson.


John Shegerian, co-founder, chairman and CEO of Electronic Recyclers International (ERI) welcomed the announcement, and was encouraged to see the Federal government leading the way by establishing a policy to utilise only certified recyclers for its electronics processing, increase U.S. jobs, and reduce harm from U.S. exports of e-waste.

“As an R2 and e-Stewards certified company, ERI supports the safe handling and recycling of electronics here in the U.S. and abroad and looks forward to working with the Federal government in promoting scientific and technological developments to improve the electronics recycling process and maximise the recovery of valuable materials from discarded electronics,” he explained.

Meanwhile, Willie Cade, CEO, PC Rebuilders & Recyclers was also optimistic about the strategy’s potential to create jobs in the U.S.: “This will prove to be a very successful jobs creation and sustainability or ‘Green’ program…This is the first comprehensive sustainability strategy in our nation’s history,” he added.

Robin Wiener, president of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) commented on the Federal government’s position as the largest source of used and end-of-life electronics, and its commitment to lead by example in ensuring that it is the nation’s “most responsible” consumer of electronics.

“We are encouraged by the Obama Administration’s flat dismissal of burdensome and overreaching legislation that would ban exports and pull the rug out from under an industry that continues to create jobs and contribute to both the U.S. and global economy,” he said.

in brief

U.S. Study to convert landfill gas to hydrogen

BMW has launched the first phase of a program to validate the economic and technical feasibility of converting landfill gas into hydrogen.

BMW’s manufacturing plant in South Carolina is using hydrogen fuel cells to power nearly 100 material handling vehicles. If this is successful, follow-up phases of the project will provide infrastructure to use hydrogen to fuel the company’s entire fleet of material handling equipment.

UK: Waste to Energy Facility Given Go-Ahead

A 269,000 tonne capacity waste to energy facility has been granted planning permission near Ipswich, UK. The Environment Agency has issued the necessary draft permit for the site – effectively giving SITA UK the green light to proceed. Building work is due to start later this year and the plant is expected to be operational by December 2014.

The 25-year contract will be awarded by Suffolk County Council.

GM and ABB Demonstrate Battery Re-Use

General Motors and ABB Group have offered a potential solution to the problem of what to do with the lithium-ion battery packs used in a growing number of electric and hybrid vehicles, as those vehicles reach the end of their lives.

According to GM, the battery packs used in its Chevrolet Volt will have up to 70% of life remaining after their automotive use is exhausted. Earlier this year, GM signed a definitive agreement with ABB Group, a power and automation specialist, to identify joint research and development projects that would reuse the Volt’s battery systems.

The partners claim to have demonstrated an energy storage system that combines electric vehicle battery technology and a grid-tied electric power inverter. The companies are building a prototype that could lead to battery packs storing energy, including wind and solar energy, and feeding it back to the grid.

The system could store electricity from the grid during times of low usage to be used during periods of peak demand, saving customers and utilities money. The battery packs could also be used as back-up power sources during outages and brownouts.

– Turn to page 41 to read a summary of the report ‘Recycling of Li-ion Batteries: Trends and Challenges of the Future.

Scrap Industry Worth $90 Billion to U.S. Economy

The economic and environmental impact of the scrap recycling industry in the U.S. has been highlighted in a report from the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI).

The study, undertaken by John Dunham and Associates and commissioned by ISRI looks at different kinds of economic activity such as jobs and exports, at the national, state and congressional district levels. According to ISRI, the economic analysis shows that the industry creates over 137,000 direct jobs, rising to more than 459,000 jobs when the wider economic impacts are taken into account. In addition, the industry generates $10.3 billion in tax revenues for governments across the U.S. as well as delivering environmental benefits.

The industry also generates significant export revenue for the U.S. The report claimed that approximately 34% of the scrap materials processed in the United States are exported to over 155 other countries for manufacture into new products. This generates nearly $30 billion in export sales, significantly helping the U.S. balance of trade.

The total economic activity generated by scrap recycling in the U.S. exceeds $90.6 billion, according to ISRI, making the industry similar in size to the nation’s forestry and fishing industries combined.

in brief

U.S. Investment in New E-Waste Facilities

Garb Oil & Power Corporation has formed a joint venture with ACG Consulting to build seven e-waste recycling facilities within the next three years, with the first planned to break ground in South Florida in March of 2012. Garb said that it intends to start work on a new e-waste recycling facility every four months thereafter, at various sites in the U.S.

Haiti: Recycling Enterprise Initiative Launched

A ‘cash for recyclables’ program has been launched in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The social enterprise project – Ramase Lajan – which means ‘picking up money,’ will expand the collection of plastics to create permanent jobs through a network of independently owned and operated neighbourhood collection centres. The initiative has been launched by Executives Without Borders, in partnership with CSS International Holdings and Haiti Recycling.

UK Wood Waste Down as Demand Rises

Largely due to reduced activity in the construction industry, wood waste arisings in the UK have fallen by 10% since 2007, according to the Waste & Resources Action Programme’s (WRAP) recently published Wood Market Situation Report.

Arisings from the construction industry showed a 13% decrease, while arisings from the furniture and joinery sectors fell by 23% and total arising fell from 4.5 million tonnes to 4.1 million tonnes between 2007 and 2010.

However, WRAP said that an increase in the amount of wood waste being used in the biomass sector has more than doubled over the same period to 500,000 tonnes in 2010. The total amount of wood waste recycled or used in energy recovery in the UK increased to 2.3 million tonnes in 2010 – more than half of all wood waste arisings. Exported wood waste has also increased, rising to almost 200,000 tonnes in 2010.

A combination of these factors has been reflected in lower gate fees for wood recyclers since early 2009. The report claimed that while recovered wood arisings are likely to grow gradually as the economy recovers, rising demand may put further downward pressure on gate fees.

Growing demand and falling supply have led to lower gate fees Credit: WRAP

Marcus Gover, director of the Closed Loop Economy at WRAP, said: “It’s easy to put the decrease in wood waste arising down to a reduction in construction activity during the recent economic downturn, but it’s also important to note that the construction industry – one of the biggest contributors to wood waste arising – has also taken proactive steps to reduce the amount of wood they send to landfill.”

According to WRAP, the introduction of site waste management plans in April 2008 requires construction companies to plan, monitor and measure the waste generated on site, as well as industry commitments such as Halving Waste to Landfill, launched by WRAP in 2008, have also had an impact.

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e-mail: benm@pennwell.com

Pepsi follows Green washed Consumers

This is a great article. Companies should be going with the best environmental packaging out there, not just what consumers believe is the best environmental packaging because they have suffered from greenwashing or a lack of access to the facts.  How amazing would it be to have a bottle made from renewable resources & with the ENSO additive. A renewable, biodegradable & recyclable bottle, that would be amazing.

Consumer preferences driving PepsiCo sustainability efforts


Posted August 11, 2011

PURCHASE, N.Y. (Aug. 11, 12:40 p.m. ET) — For a brand owner like PepsiCo, sustainable packaging doesn’t just mean making decisions on a complex set of resource, energy and environmental issues. It also means that you have to understand and determine whether consumers will view what you do as sustainable.

“Everything needs to be in sync with the brand identity, and you have to ask yourself what is the right message so the consumer understands that what you are doing is sustainable,” said Denise Lefebvre, vice president of global packaging for food and beverage giant PepsiCo. “There already is confusion among the public about sustainability, so all our messages have to be clear, consistent and in sync.”

Lefebvre, who was director of advanced research for beverage packaging for the Purchase, N.Y., soft-drink giant until a recent promotion, also said that when it comes to sustainable packaging, much of what brand owners focus on is driven by “consumer desires and consumer thinking.”

“Consumers are looking for technologies and innovations where it is readily evident to them what to do with that product and how it benefits them and the environment,” Lefebvre said in a recent interview. “The benefit has to be clear to them and right in their sweet spot. Our messages give us an opportunity to simplify things for consumers.”

With that in mind, the company has focused on producing increasingly lightweight PET bottles, developing technology to make PET bottles from plant-based resources and agricultural and food waste, and putting Dream Machine recycling bins and kiosks into place in cities to increase the number of bottles and cans that are recycled, she said.

“When consumers see a bottle that is fully recyclable and ultra-lightweight, it helps them in terms of making their purchase,” Lefebvre said. “The consumer understands source reduction and the use of less material. It is tangible and they can understand that. So if we can create technologies to push that faster, that would be ideal.”

Similarly, consumer perceptions are one of the driving reasons why PepsiCo is working, in partnership with others, to make a PET bottle completely from plant-based materials, including switch grass, pine bark and corn husks.

“If I tell [consumers], it’s 100 percent renewable PET, they understand it and they get it because they want things straightforward,” Lefebvre said.

Since the firm announced in March that it had developed a 100 percent renewable bottle, it has received positive consumer feedback, she said — although that bottle won’t eat go into pilot production until sometime in 2012, and even then, in limited quantities of 100,000-500,000 bottles.

“Consumers like it because you have eliminated fossil-based products [and] they believe that pulling oil out of the ground” is not the route to use anymore, Lefebvre said.

PepsiCo is also working to make its planned renewable PET bottle from organic waste from its food businesses, including orange and potato peels, oat hulls and other agricultural byproducts.

“Consumers have made it clear that they want us to use non-food resources, or food or agricultural waste [for bioresins] because it doesn’t detriment the environment and it doesn’t take away from food supplies,” she said.

Although many of PepsiCo’s sustainability package initiatives are driven by consumer perceptions, the firm realizes it can’t do things that are not sustainable just because consumers perceive them to be, she said. “Consumers would love an oxo-biodegradable bottle,” Lefebvre said “But right now, the technologies out there would do more harm than good.

“So to deliver something that would be more detrimental to the environment … It would be wrong and it would be greenwashing.”

Similarly, PepsiCo is not using polylactic bioresin for bottles because she said the material does not have the necessary barrier properties and is problematic in the PET recycling stream.

During a presentation at the Bioplastek conference in New York in late June, Lefebvre said PepsiCo’s objective is to create “performance with a purpose” in its packaging.

“Our objective is to make a 100 percent renewable, sustainable, non-fossil-fuel-based PET bottle in a closed-loop system using agriculture waste,” she said. “We want performance identical to what we have now: a product that is fully recyclable and a product that significantly reduces the carbon footprint.”

A number of companies now make non-petroleum-based ethylene glycol — which is 30 percent of the formulation of PET. And roughly a half-dozen firm say that they have demonstrated in a lab that they can make paraxylene, the building block for terephthalic acid, which constitutes the rest of PET, or plant-based terephthalic acid.

PepsiCo’s main competitor, Coca-Cola Co., has been making its PlantBottle from conventional terephthalic acid and renewable ethylene glycol since December 2009. H.J. Heinz Co. also began using the Coca-Cola PlantBottle for its 20-ounce ketchup containers in July.

Heinz expects to sell 120 million PlantBottle ketchup bottles in 2011; Coca-Cola expects this year to package 5 billion beverages globally in 15 countries in the PlantBottle compared to 2.5 billion last year.

PepsiCo has not discussed technology details for making the renewable terephthalic acid needed for a PET bottle manufactured 100 percent from renewable resources.

“We can buy and source the renewable ethylene glycol from any number of sources,” Lefebvre said. “That has been around for awhile. The key is the T piece [terephthalic acid]. That is critical in driving a renewable PET bottle to a mass scale.”

PepsiCo plans to model several different types of chemistry in its pilot -cale project to determine their efficiency to make renewable terephthalic acid. “There are a lot of emerging technologies that we will be evaluating, and they all have their pros and cons,” she said. “We’re very open to looking at them all and would be comfortable using several of them,” she said.

“We don’t make PET. We’re not going to. So we need the quality to be right.”

Lefebvre said she expects PepsiCo to announce soon on its sourcing strategies for renewable PET bottles. None of those strategies, she said, mean the firm will reduce its efforts to boost recycling of its plastic bottles or aluminum cans.

Since it embarked on its Dream Machine recycling initiative in April 2010, PepsiCo has placed 2,600 Dream Machines bins and reverse-vending kiosks in more than 30 states — at supermarkets, on city streets and other public venues.

The recycling bins are similar to trash cans, but they’re painted Pepsi blue with a recycling message on them. The computerized kiosks give reward points for each bottle or can recycled, which consumers can redeem online at greenopolis.com. — a partner in the program along with Waste Management subsidiary WM GreenOps LLC.

PepsiCo has also developed a recycling initiative for schools, called Dream Machine Recycle Rally, which rewards schools with points for each non-alcoholic plastic bottle or aluminum can students bring to school for recycling.

“It is a self-supportive strategy,” Lefebvre said of the initiatives. “As the program proliferates, it reaffirms to the consumer that recycling is important, and that recycling is just as good as renewables.” The Dream Machines also help the firm bring up recycling rates and get the material it needs to incorporate recycled content in its products, she said.

Just last week, PepsiCo announced that in August it will market the first plastic soft drink bottle to be made from 100 recycled PET in North America. The bottle, 7UP EcoGreen, will be used for diet and regular 7UP sold in Canada. It is expected to reduce the amount of virgin PET used for that product by 6 million pounds a year.

“We want to use more recycled PET” in all plastic bottles, Lefebvre said. “It is a matter of obtaining the right quality and getting the material — which is in short supply. “

To augment PepsiCo’s supply of recycled PET, the firm last year agreed to buy the majority of its bottle-grade PET pellet and flake from the new CarbonLITE plant in Riverside, Calif., which is scheduled to launch by Sept. 30 with nameplate annual capacity of 100 million pounds.

Yale Students discover Plastic eating Organisms

This past week I had the most intriguing article show up in my Google alerts; Yale students find organisms to degrade polyurethane.  In a 2008 trip to Equador, Yale undergraduates discovered organisms in Amazon rainforests fungi that have shown the ability to degrade polyurethanes all by themselves. Endophytes collected by students were taken back to New Haven and were analyzed as well as tested for biological activity, ability to be used in bioremediation, and other possible uses. In a rudimentary test, student Pria Anad showed that a chemical reaction did take place when a endophyte was introduced to plastic. The great thing is that the enzyme identified by Yale students is able to degrade plastic without the presence of oxygen, which in the future I could see greatly benefiting landfills/plastic trash disposal. This could open the doors to an entirely new way to reduce all of the plastic waste the world has accumulated.

Foe ENSO this is not a terribly new concept. Our ENSO Biodegradable plastics additive was inspired by nature’s ability to breakdown plastic materials. By examining nature we have created a scenario inspired by the very concept of microbial digestion. The ENSO additive allows any plastic polymer to become degradable in a landfill. How have we made that possible? By adding our organic ENSO additive into standard plastic during the manufacturing process, the plastic will become recognizable by nature so that it will biodegrade (while keeping the same attributes of the original plastic.) When ENSO products are thrown away, the organic blend creates a perfect environment and food source for microbes in a landfill. As microbes consume the additive, they secrete enzymes. These enzymes break down the polymer chain into materials that are easily consumed by microbes. The end result is carbon dioxide, methane, and healthy, new soil.


Check out the original article about the Yale undergraduates fantastic discovery below!


Yale students find organisms to degrade polyurethane

Urethanes Technology International

Aug. 2 — Yale undergraduates have discovered organisms in Amazon Rainforest fungi which can degrade polyurethanes. The discovery, which is featured in the journal “Applied and Environmental Microbiology,” may lead to innovative ways to reduce waste in the world´s landfills, the university said in a press release.

The undergraduates were participating in Yale´s Rainforest Expedition and Laboratory course, funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

“This shows amazing things can happen when you let undergraduates be creative,” said Kaury Kucera, postdoctoral researcher in the department of molecular biophysics and biochemistry and co-instructor of the course.

Students collect endophytes found in rainforest plants and take them back to New Haven to test for biological activity and then analyze any that show biological activity to see what medical or other uses might be possible.

On the 2008 trip to Equador, student Pria Anand decided to see if the endophytes she collected could be used in bioremediation. In a rudimentary test, Anand showed a chemical reaction did take place when an endophyte she found was introduced to plastic.

Jeffrey Huang analyzed endophytes collected by other students on the 2008 trip to find those that broke down chemical bonds most efficiently.

Then Jon Russell discovered that one family of endophytes identified by Huang showed the most promise for bioremediation. Russell went on to identify the enzyme that most efficiently broke down polyurethane.

While other agents can degrade polyurethane, the enzyme identified by Yale students holds particular promise because it also degrades plastic in the absence of oxygen — a feature which the university points out is “a prerequisite for bioremediation of buried trash.”