Tag Archives: ENSO biodegradable plastic

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.


The Plastic Monster will be taking over PACK EXPO

ENSO Plastics is bringing the Heat to PACK EXPO this year

It’s no secret that ENSO Plastics’ biodegradable plastic technology brings the most desirable premium feature to any plastic product on the market wanting to go green. Interested? Intrigued? If you are attending PACK EXPO in Vegas get excited, because ENSO Plastics will be there and making noise in a way that you have not seen before. ENSO is bring the Plastic monster to PACK EXPO!

If you haven’t heard of PACK EXPO you’re missing out because PACK is North America’s largest packaging and processing show. With the opportunity to see 1600 world class suppliers, explore cutting edge technologies for all vertical markets , and discover a brand new array of products, why would you miss out on expanding your network and broadening your packaging knowledge?!

PACK EXPO 2011 | September 26–28, 2011
Las Vegas Convention Center | Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

Whether you are just attending, sporting a booth, or if we have intrigued you enough to make last minute plans to attend, I hope to see you in Vegas! Please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like me to visit your booth or would like to personally meet and engage an ENSO Business Development professional.

Cheese Plastic…No, We are Serious.

Well this is new, I have heard of corn plastics…but now Cheese plastics? This is quite interesting, if they are using products that would be waste I find that  quite resourceful. Please let me know what you think about this new technology! At ENSO were all about innovative technology that will make a difference and is good for the earth.

Is Cheese the Next Sustainable Packaging Solution?


Cheese makes a tasty addition to any meal, but did you ever guess it could be used for packaging?

Researchers say that a biodegradable plastic made from cheese byproducts could reduce the need for synthetic packaging and keep useful materials out of the landfill.

The bioplastic made from whey protein is the result of the three-year WheyLayer project, a European Commission-funded research and development project in Spain’s Catalonia region that aims to solve a common packaging woe.

In the food industry, oxidation of oils, fats and other components can lead to unpleasant colors and flavors. So, keeping oxygen out of packaged food is essential.

SEE: 5 Absurdly Over-Packaged Foods

Plastics like PE (polyethylene) and PP (polypropylene) are excellent moisture-blockers, but to keep out oxygen, they must be coated with expensive synthetic polymers.

Most of these polymers – such as EVOH (ethylene vinyl alcohol polymer) and PVDC (polyvinylidene chloride polymer) – are petroleum-based and extremely difficult to reuse, as it is almost impossible to separate each layer for individual recycling.

Whey, the milk protein byproduct of cheese production, provides similar oxygen-blocking properties, but it’s much cheaper and more environmentally friendly.

The new packaging – developed by Barcelona-based research company IRIS – replaces synthetics with whey protein-coated plastic fibers, which could save loads of money and make packaging more readily recyclable.

After packaging is used, whey protein can be chemically or enzymatically removed, and underlying plastic can be easily recycled or reused to make new packaging.


In addition to saving money and raw materials, the new application could also keep millions of tons of whey out of European landfills. Each year, European cheese factories produce 50 million tons of whey. Some of it is reused as food additives, but almost 40 percent is thrown away.

Discarded whey collected from cheese producers can be filtered and dried to extract the pure whey protein, which can be used in several thin layers to create a plastic film for use in food packaging.

While the packaging is subject to patent applications, researchers expect it to appear in consumer products within a year. The bioplastic is expected to be used for cosmetics packaging first, and food packaging applications will follow.

The technology will likely be used in the European market at first. But many companies from around the globe showed interest in the packaging when researchers took it to the Interpack international trade fair for packaging and processes back in May.

Apples top Green Efforts with Steve as CEO

I came across this article on treehugger today and it definitely grabbed my attention. The impact Apple has had on modern society has been something that will probably never be duplicated, in the same way at least..so it is sort of a celebration in some sense. This article highlights the top 5 “green” moments in Steve Jobs time as Apples CEO. What do you think about Apples “green” moments, could they have been better…worse…Let me know in the comment box below!


5 Noteworthy Green Moments in Steve Jobs’ Time as Apple CEO

by Matthew McDermott, New York, NY on 08.25.11
Science & Technology

steve jobs photo
photo: Ben Stanfield/CC BY-SA

Steve Jobs stepping down as CEO understandably has everyone buzzing, talking about the impact that Jobs and Apple has had on modern society. Indeed it would be hard to overstate the impact that Jobs has had on creating what we expect our computers and devices to do, how they look, and how we interact with them.

So let’s do our part and take a look at some of the genuine green strides Apple has made in the past few years:


An Off-Grid Corporate Headquarters

Back in June Jobs pitched the virtues of Apple’s planned new corporate HQ in Cupertino to the city council. At the time Lloyd wrote that in addition to being “really elegant and beautiful” even if “isolated behind a wall of parking garages”, there’s a lot of interesting green aspects to it:

It’ll reduce the amount of asphalt on the property by 90%, increase the number of trees by 60% and the amount of landscape by 350%, and all of this while reducing the actual building footprint by 30%. It’s also going to be off-grid, generating it’s own power and using the grid as a backup, but that electricity will be produced with natural gas, according to what Steve said in the presentation.

The lack of renewable energy at the site does knock the green cred down a bit, but all told it’s a remarkable effort at reducing eco-impact–even if being isolated from the surrounding community.

Leaving Chamber of Commerce Over Climate Change

It may not seem significant compared to making its products more eco-friendly, but Apple really needs to be commended for taking a stand and leaving the climate change-denying Chamber of Commerce.

Back in 2009, just prior to the COP15 climate talks, Apple was one of the first of a number of high profile companies, including several large energy companies, which decided that the Chamber did not represent their corporate values.

At the time Apple wrote:

Apple is committed to protecting the environment and the communities in which we operate around the world. We strongly object to the Chamber’s recent comments opposing the EPA’s effort to limit greenhouse gases. As a company, we are working hard to reduce our own greenhouse gas emissions by relying on renewable energy at our facilities and designing more energy-efficient products for our customers. We have undertaken this unilaterally and without government mandate, because we believe it is the right thing to do.

Needless to say, the Chamber wasn’t too happy. Since then, the Chamber has continued its efforts to stymie the EPA doing anything to regulate greenhouse gases, while Apple continues to make improvements in greening its products.

Energy Efficiency Improvements All Around

Back in 2009 Apple launched new batteries for the 17″ MacBook Pro, which upped the ante in terms of thrifty energy consumption and lasted three times longer than the industry average. At the time, Jaymi wrote:

[The new technology] lays claim to a battery life improvement of 60%. The new battery can last up to 8 hours on a charge, and can be charged 1,000 times, equivalent to about 5 years. It’s also recyclable at the end of it’s life. But there are even more green features to this new technology.

Apple made a block of batteries, rather than the usual cylindrical cells that end up wasting space. The newly utilized space allows the notebook to have a 40% bigger battery, without making the notebook bigger.

Since then battery technology has improved further, but in many cases at the expense of user-repairability and user-replaceability.

The Snow Leopard OS has been replaced by Lion, but when Snow Leopard was launched it offered a 10% energy efficiency improvement over OS 10.5.6–which translated into a savings of a mere $1 per person annually on the electric bill.

Not a lot, right? Perhaps on the personal basis that’s true, but when you extrapolate that energy savings across Apple’s (at the time) annual sales of 10 million computers it could add up to a savings of 80 million kilowatt-hours annually.

That’s the power of even small energy efficiency gains when they occur on a product or a company with tremendous reach.

But What’s Powering iCloud?

Sticking with energy usage for a moment, when Apple recently announced its iCloud service, Mike raised some important questions about how green will this really be. Though Jobs said the data centers which are the backbone of iCloud were “as green as we could make them” there as still a good deal of unanswered questions about that.

Topping the list is electricity usage. Mike wrote:

While the building and equipment itself has an impact on the planet via the materials, embedded energy, and eventual disposal, a data-center is first and foremost a creature that is very hungry for energy. We’re talking many megawatts… So it truly matters where the electricity is coming from. Is it hydro power? Coal? Wind? Solar? Did Apple build any on-site production capability? Are they buying straight from the local grid or are they buying renewable energy credits?

This is crucial. Should it come out that the primary energy source for the iCloud data centers is coal it really calls into question any statements about making them as green as possible. And could open up Apple to the sort of activism campaign waged against Facebook when it came out that it’s new data center was coal-powered and therefore a greenhouse gas emissions spewing environmental nightmare.

macbook air material breakdown image

image: Apple

Greener Materials, Less Packaging

There are a number of milestones that Apple has passed recently in terms of green its products and in how they are packaged. The new MacBook Air is exemplary of this:

The packaging uses “corrugated cardboard made from over 30 percent recycled content and molded fiber made entirely from recycled content. In addition, the packaging is extremely material efficient, allowing at least 15 percent more units to fit per shipping container than the original MacBook Air.”

As Lloyd writes:

After years of complaints about Apple lagging on the green front, they are getting pretty aggressive, touting their carbon footprint and their material choices: Mercury-free display, Arsenic-free display glass, BFR (brominated flame retardants) free; PVC-free internal cables and power adapter DC cables.

Of course the new MacBook Air is manufactured in the same process of milling it out of a solid piece of aluminum that it introduced in the MacBook Pro line back at the end of 2008.

As Jaymi wrote at the time, the unibody enclosure allows the MacBook Pro to use 50% fewer parts, not to mention the recyclability of the aluminum enclosure–which takes some 13 steps to produce.

All of that is quite energy intensive, no doubt, but Jaymi’s conclusion was that, “this process, despite flaws, has some real improvements for the notebook in the big picture of its lifetime and total footprint.”

Let’s remember in all this that there is still much that could be done to reduce the environmental impact of Apple’s products, which is frankly true for all electronics companies.

After all, Apple still ranks 9th in Greenpeace’s latest tally, dropping from 5th place in 2009. Greenpeace lauded Apple’s reductions in toxic chemicals in its products, a good number questions remain regarding transparency and future plans to phase-out other toxics.

With a score of 4.9 out of 10 (with the top company, Nokia, receiving a 7.5), even with genuine improvements over the past few years, Apple still ranks decidedly in the middle of the pack.

Which, again, is probably indicative less of Apple’s corporate attitudes towards the environment–the company certainly says all the right things and is heading in the right direction, despite ranking drops–and more a sign of how much more work needs to be done and can be done across the manufacturing, design, and energy sectors as a whole.


macbook air greenhouse gas breakdown image
image: Apple

As for the bigger questions of our use of electronics, like planned obsolescence, rapid upgrade cycles, better user-repairability, let’s leave those aside for the moment. To a large degree those are questions of the industry as a whole and not just Apple, even if Apple is a conveniently bold example of the trend.

As for what we’d like incoming CEO Tim Cook to do to further green Apple, that’ll have to wait for another time as well.

Heinz Ketchup joins team plant bottle?

So I saw an official Heinz ketchup plant bottle yesterday and I felt good and bad about it. Using renewable sources is awesome don’t get me wrong, but it still does not solve the problem of plastic waste in landfills and in nature! Only 5% of plastics get recycled and the rest end up as waste. While going renewable with the Heinz bottle is a great step forward, many consumers are completely oblivious to what the “plant” bottle is. A grad student from Florida conducted a survey asking random consumers questions regarding the plant bottle. 50% of the participants believed that plant bottles are biodegradable. 68% of the participants believe that PET plant based beverage bottles are better than traditional PET plastic bottles because they are biodegradable.  From the results of the survey it is clear that these average consumers are confused of the capabilities of plant based bottles.  Let me know what you think of the new bottles in the comment box below!

Heinz to Use Plant-Based Bottles Made by Coca-Cola

by Jessica Dailey, 02/24/11
Starting this summer, Heinz will be bottling its famous ketchup in more earth-friendly packaging. Yesterday, the company announced that it plans to use plant-based bottles developed by Coke — aptly named “PlantBottles” — for all of its 20 oz. ketchup bottles. The plastic bottles consist of 30 percent plant material, and are made with a Brazilian sugarcane ethanol, which results in a lower reliance on unsustainable resources as compared with traditional PET bottles.The switch is the biggest change that Heinz has introduced to their ketchup bottle since first using plastic containers in 1983. There will be no difference in shelf life, weight, or appearance, except talking labels asking, “Guess what my bottle is made of?” Heinz says that the switch to more eco-friendly bottles is a vital step in reducing the company’s greenhouse gas emissions, solid waste, water consumption and energy usage by at least 20 percent by 2015. 

When Coke first introduced PlantBottles in 2009, an initial life-cycle analysis by the Imperial College London showed that the bottle had a 12 to 19 percent reduction in carbon impact. Coca-Cola said that last year, PlantBottles eliminated the equivalent of 30,000 metric tons of CO2.

Both Coca-Cola and Heinz are working to reduce their carbon footprints. Coca-Cola recently released an updated sustainability plan, and the company plans to replace all regular plastic packaging with PlantBottles by 2020. Last October, Heinz reported that the company cut CO2 emissions by 17,000 tons since 2006 at three of its UK factories. Heinz also received an “A” grade from Green Century Capital Management and As You Sow for using BPA-free linings from some of its canned products, and creating a timeline to completely eliminate the chemical from all packaging.

Here’s hoping Heinz will create a similar timeline for replacing all plastic packaging with PlantBottles!


The negative environmental impact of plastics are widely known and understood, so here at Inhabitat, we applaud any step away from them. While PlantBottles are not a perfect solution, they still help eliminate CO2 emissions and mitigate global warming.

Via Environmental Leader


People Prefer Products Associated with a Cause




Cone LLC Releases the 2010 Cone Cause Evolution Study

More than 9-in-10 moms want the opportunity to buy a product benefiting a cause

BOSTON (September 15, 2010) – Forty-one percent of Americans say they have purchased a product in the past year because it was associated with a social or environmental cause (41%), a two-fold increase since Cone first began measuring in 1993 (20%). But even as their purchasing power grows, consumer appetite for socially conscious shopping has yet to be satiated. A full 83 percent of consumers want more of the products, services and retailers they use to benefit causes, according to the new 2010 Cone Cause Evolution Study, the nation’s only 17-year benchmark of cause marketing attitudes and behaviors.

Recession Didn’t Alter Expectations
The nation’s ongoing economic woes have not deterred Americans’ social sentiment, nor their expectations that companies will benefit society. Eighty-one percent said companies should financially support causes at the same level or higher during an economic downturn. It appears business rose to this challenge – nearly two-thirds (64%) of consumers believe companies responded well to social and environmental issues during the recession.

Americans’ enthusiasm for cause marketing also emerged from the turmoil fully intact and continues to strongly influence their purchase decisions:

88% say it is acceptable for companies to involve a cause or issue in their marketing;
85% have a more positive image of a product or company when it supports a cause they care about; and,
80% are likely to switch brands, similar in price and quality, to one that supports a cause.

Not only are consumers willing to switch among similar brands, they are also willing to step outside their comfort zones. When it supports a cause:

61% of Americans say they would be willing to try a new brand or one unfamiliar to them;
46% would try a generic or private-label brand; and,
Nearly one-in-five consumers (19%) would be willing to purchase a more expensive brand.

“When price and quality are equal, we know most consumers will choose the product benefiting the cause,” explains Alison DaSilva, executive vice president at Cone. “But cause alignment can have an even bigger influence on consumer choice, pushing them to experiment with something different and unfamiliar. Cause branding is a prime opportunity for companies to extend beyond their traditional market and increase exposure to potential new consumers.”

Moms and Millennials: Most Cause-Conscious Consumers
By all measures, moms lead the way as the demographic most amenable to cause marketing. In fact, moms virtually demand the opportunity to shop with a cause in mind. A staggering 95 percent find cause marketing acceptable (vs. 88% average), and 92 percent want to buy a product supporting a cause (vs. 81% average). They are also more likely to switch brands (93% vs. 80% average), so it is hardly surprising that moms purchased more cause-related products in the past year than any other demographic (61% vs. 41% average).

Millennials (18-24 years old) are close on moms’ heels as they also shop with an eye toward the greater good. Ninety-four percent find cause marketing acceptable (vs. 88% average) and more than half (53%) have bought a product benefiting a cause this year (vs. 41% average).

A company’s support of social or environmental issues is also likely to influence this group’s decisions outside the store, including where to work (87% vs. 69% average) and where to invest (79% vs. 59% average).

Engage Consumers Beyond the Vote
At a time when consumer voting campaigns have emerged as the cause marketing tactic du jour, a majority (61%) of consumers say they would prefer to see a company make a long-term commitment to a focused issue rather than determining themselves which issue the company supports in the short-term. This does not suggest they do not want to be engaged, however. Buying a cause-related product (81%) continues to be the leading way consumers want to support a company’s efforts, but they also seek other higher-touch opportunities, such as lending their voices through ideas or feedback (75%) and volunteerism (72%).

“Putting the charitable dollars in the hands of consumers has, no doubt, been the standout cause strategy of the last two years. But although these campaigns are notable, they are not building long-lasting brand equity,” explains DaSilva. “They are big and bold today, but in one year, or five or 10, they won’t have clearly defined what the company stands for, and it may be hard to gauge social impact. This will require greater focus and more meaningful consumer engagement beyond the click of a button.”

Dual-Role of Employees
Consumers are the primary audience for most companies’ cause branding programs, but businesses should be wary of overlooking employees as a key participant in their efforts. Sixty-nine percent of Americans consider a company’s social and environmental commitments when deciding where to work. The correlation does not end once they are employed. Employees who are involved in their company’s cause efforts are much more likely to feel a sense of pride and loyalty toward their employer:

93% say they are proud of their company’s values (vs. 68% for those who are not involved); and,
92% say they feel a strong sense of loyalty to their company (vs. 61% for those who are not involved).

Employees may translate their experiences and knowledge as participants to their role as front-line ambassadors for a company’s cause efforts. Seventy percent of consumers say a knowledgeable employee may drive their purchases or donations. And when consumers do not receive the details they need to make an informed cause-related purchase, whether through employees, on-pack messaging or other channels, 34 percent will either choose another brand or walk away.

Issues Stand Test of Time
Even as businesses face a set of complex new issues, consumers remain steadfast in their expectations of what companies should address. They continue to want companies to prioritize support of issues close to home, in local communities (46%) and in the U.S. (37%), but they are gradually recognizing the need for companies to address issues globally, as well (17%). The leading causes consumers want companies to support include:

Economic development – 77%
Health and disease – 77%
Hunger – 76%
Education – 75%
Access to clean water – 74%
Disaster relief – 73%
Environment – 73%

Americans may feel some of these issues personally, but they also recognize the impact a company can have when it supports a business-aligned issue. They are equally likely to say that a company should consider supporting an issue that is important in the communities where it does business (91%), as well as one that is aligned with its business practices (91%).

“Cause branding is standing the test of time, but leadership companies must continue to innovate to ensure their programs offer an original consumer experience, tackle tough emerging issues and make bold new commitments,” says DaSilva. “Those that are most successful and meeting the competing needs of many stakeholders are aligning issues with the business for mutual benefit and integrating these efforts into a larger corporate responsibility strategy for maximum impact.”


About the Research:
The 2010 Cone Cause Evolution Study presents the findings of an online survey conducted July 29-30, 2010 by ORC among a demographically representative U.S. sample of 1,057 adults comprising 512 men and 545 women 18 years of age and older. The margin of error associated with a sample of this size is ± 3%.

About Cone:
Cone LLC (www.coneinc.com) is a strategy and communications agency engaged in building brand trust. Cone creates stakeholder loyalty and long-term relationships through the development and execution of Cause Branding, Brand Marketing, Corporate Responsibility, Nonprofit Marketing and Crisis Prevention and Management initiatives. Cone is a part of the Omnicom Group (NYSE: OMC) (www.omnicomgroup.com).

Sarah Kerkian

Military open burn pits cause illnesses

With all the hype online regarding methane emissions from biodegradable plastics I couldn’t help but find the article below relevant. Check it out, let me know what you think in the comment box below!


US Military’s Open Burn Pits in Afghanistan May Be Making People Sick

by Jaymi Heimbuch, San Francisco, California on 08.23.11

Science & Technology

This is the never-ending burn pit at Balad. It’s a rather crude waste disposal method (burn off anything that burns, then sell the rest in bulk to Iraqis for metal recycling), but it works well enough — except when the wind blows the smoke through the rest of the base. I lived about 300 meters away from this burn pit in q3/q4 2004, which was…sometimes unpleasant.”

J. Malcolm Garcia has written a piece on Guernica on the strange smell of burning plastic that comes from the American military base just outside of Bagram Village in Afghanistan. The military burns garbage — an average of 10 pounds of solid waste per person inlcuding “computers, motorbikes, TVs, shoes, and even human feces” — to dispose of it, but the method releases toxins that could be causing illness.

Garcia writes, “As of last year, the United States Central Command estimates that there were 114 open burn pits in Afghanistan. According to a public information officer at Bagram Airbase who asked not to be identified, there were twenty-two burn pits in Iraq as of 2010. Used since the beginning of both wars, burn pits have consumed metals, Styrofoam, human waste, electronics and even, in some cases, vehicles and body parts. Diesel and jet fuel keep the pits burning, adding their own mix of dangerous elements.”

We know of the issues of improper recycling of electronics — e-waste dumps have taught, and are teaching us, about the consequences to human health, water supplies, air quality and even soil quality of burning toxic materials such as electronics. Open burn pits with everything tossed in, well, it is clearly an unhealthy idea, and that is acknowledged by the US EPA.

“Military officials declined to comment on the decision to use open burn pits, but the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency bans open pit burning of materials that discharge toxic chemicals and whose smoke can contribute to the risk of cancer, asthma and reproductive problems. The EPA also prohibits open pit burning grass and leaves, food and petroleum products such as plastic, rubber and asphalt,” writes Garcia.

Garcia reports that there has been an uptake in respiratory diseases among US soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, and we can guess that local laborers and residents are also being affected.

While some say that this was the cheapest, easiest solution to the garbage, it certainly isn’t the smartest. One soldier says that it’s probably just too hard to get people to recycle because putting trash convoys on the road is too risky. However, we’ve seen the level of ingenuity coming out of Afghanistan when it comes to repurposing materials into something useful.

Garcia visited the area to find out more about the open pits — the reasons why, and what soldiers and officers think about the “solution” for garbage — and has a fantastic article written about it. I highly recommend reading it all the way through.

Follow Jaymi on Twitter for more stories like this

Tesco Drops Oxo Bags



Tesco drops oxo biodegradable bags

Friday, August 19, 2011



British supermarket chain Tesco ended the use of oxo biodegradable plastic following research findings saying biodegradable plastic bags could be more harmful to the environment.

Oxo biodegradable bags are made of nonrenewable plastics, which are able to degrade in the presence of oxygen and sunlight thanks to the addition of small amounts of metals.

“We took the decision to remove the biodegradable additive because we believed it contributed towards bags becoming weaker and to help better promote their reuse and recycling at end-of-life,” a spokesman for Tesco said.

The decision was based on research conducted by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs disproving that plastic bags will degrade to water, carbon dioxide and biomass in 18 months. The report concluded that degradability depends on where and what conditions the bag ended up after use.

Currently, Tesco uses non-biodegradable carriers that contain 15 percent recycled material. – K.D. Mariano


Landfill gas will fuel America

With all the recent online stir about biodegradable plastics releasing methane too quickly the below article caught my attention. The problem is not the biodegradability of plastics, but more so the lack of attention to collecting it in a timely manner and using it for its amazing, natural benefits! In the past 100 years we as humans have worked so hard in making things convenient, disposable, and unnatural. The truth is,we live in nature, and nature has its own processes for cleaning things up…and it revolves around biodegradation. This article reminded me of the movie Dirt, which is a must see! It also reminds me of this article/video I recently found on treehugger….http://www.treehugger.com/files/2011/08/putting-a-price-on-poop-and-pee.php

Landfill gas is ‘awesome example of American ingenuity’
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Jim Johnson | WRN senior reporter

Aug. 8 — If using natural gas to garbage trucks is considered a home run, then using natural gas created by decomposition of trash and other organic waste could be viewed as a grand slam.

For Joanna D. Underwood, the potential for this kind of renewable gas use is huge around the country.

It was not that long ago that folks realized using natural gas could be a terrific step forward, said Underwood, president of Energy Vision, a nonprofit group in New York City concerned with transportation fuels and renewable energy. But the exact path was fuzzy, she remembered.

“The picture that has become much clearer in the last four years is the picture that involves renewable natural gas. And that is really this country’s first sustainable fuel. It’s renewable. It’s the lowest carbon-based fuel in the world,” she said.

Harvesting methane from sites such as landfills, waste water treatment plants and farms can help create a supply of domestic transportation fuel, she said. Creating an infrastructure to handle renewable natural gas allows communities and companies alike to better picture its future use.

“That’s pretty exciting. Every community, right now, can begin looking at renewable natural gas and the organic waste that they have in their jurisdiction,” she said.

“There is no other major option for significantly reducing our dependence on foreign oil right now other than natural gas: conventional natural gas and renewable natural gas,” Underwood said.

McNeilus Companies Inc. makes both traditional diesel-powered refuse trucks and CNG-powered vehicles.

Jeffry Swertfeger, the company’s director of marketing and communications, sees more and more interest from solid waste management companies wanting to close the loop between disposal sites and collection operations by using methane created by decaying waste as a transportation fuel.

“We call it the ultimate green machine, when you have a truck that’s picking up refuse that’s being powered by the methane from the refuse,” he said.

“I think that’s an awesome example of American ingenuity,” he said. “These are the guys who make this country great.”

One location he pointed to is Waste Management Inc.’s Altamont landfill in California, where methane gas is converted into liquefied natural gas to run company trucks in nearby markets.

That $15.5 million project uses about 3,000 cubic feet of landfill gas per minute to create about 13,000 gallons of LNG per day.

“It’s easier for cities and communities to envision making the fuel if they already have a way to distribute it,” Underwood said. “It can take the place of conventional natural gas. It also can be blended with it. They are chemically just about the same.”

Target T.V. Ads “Go Green”

It’s always exciting when a big company that has such a influence on consumers decides to make earth friendly changes. Target is teaming up with EcoSet (eco-consulting firm) to make their television commercials more earth friendly. For example, on set, they’re using PLA utensils….I just hope they are discarding of those in a industrial compost facility! Read the article below to learn what other changes Target is making to their t.v. advertisements . Do you think these changes are enough, or do you think they could do better? Let me know in the comment box below!- Megan Bentley


Target and EcoSet: TV Commercials Can Be Green Too

By Merlin Miclat on Mon, 08/15/2011 – 1:27pm

Many retailers these days have made significant progress in reducing their impacts on the environment. From implementing alternative energy to fuel their operations to carrying eco-friendly products, retailers are increasingly going green. However, Target and eco-consulting firm EcoSet, are taking it further by making television ads eco-friendly as well.

Target, which already carries a number of eco-friendly products, has teamed up with EcoSet to produce TV advertisements that are more environmentally responsible. The firm claims to have the ability to prevent 90% of waste produced on the set from ending up in landfills without interfering or costing production crews time or extra money. Also, since TV ad shoots last only a few days, crews usually do not take the time or put in the effort to clean up after the shoot. With tight schedules, why clean up if it takes up as much time as the shoot itself? This is where EcoSet comes in.

EcoSet is comprehensive in achieving its goals. On the set, there is not a single plastic water bottle; everyone is given a reusable, stainless steel water container. For Target shoots, everyone gets a red bottle labeled with a Target logo. Filtered water dispensers are provided for everyone to refill their water containers when necessary. How many times do people open a water bottle, take a sip, put the bottle down somewhere, leave, then come back and wonder which bottle was theirs? Then, just to be safe, they open up a new, sealed water bottle, and might repeat the whole process again. The use of reusable water containers and water dispensers would help eliminate this problem, which wastes water and plastic.

EcoSet also provides numerous recycling solutions. Waste from the set and office are recycled. Hazardous and electronic waste are also properly disposed of or recycled.

EcoSet also has composting bins to compost any food waste, which can be a big problem. In some cases, this problem has prompted groups to launch campaigns against production crews that waste food. For instance, Australian chef Matt Moran was angered when the prosciutto-wrapped chicken dish he prepared as a demonstration was tossed into the trash by a crew member.

Although the profanity-laced incident was admittedly staged, it emphasizes the problem with food waste. Chef Moran later explained, “I was more than happy to be involved in something so controversial if it meant that the message of food waste would be brought to the top of Australians’ minds.” Food waste can be used as compost; however, some chefs, especially those that spend much time and effort putting together dishes they are proud of, may be irked at the sight of their labors being composted and used to feed plants instead of being enjoyed by people.

Speaking of food, all dishware and utensils used on the set are either reusable or plant-based. Plant-based utensils are composed of renewable materials such as rice, corn, potatoes, and sugarcane. These utensils will biodegrade within 100 days, compared with traditional plastic utensils that take hundred or even thousands of years to decompose, taking up space in ever crowding landfills. These plant-based utensils usually conform to DIN CERTCO, ASTM, and ISO standards, assuring that they actually decompose in a timely manner as claimed.

Lastly, EcoSet has helped Target donate construction materials that are no longer needed on the set to various art and education organizations. Materials have been used for a variety of projects. Cindy Saucedo Smith, program coordinator for the organization ArtStart, has seen kids use materials such as silver cooling tubes as part of robot costumes. Says Smith, “The kids can go crazy when they see stuff like that, so we’ll hold on to it for the fall and see if there are suggestions for eco-costumes.”

As retailers may launch TV ads that claim how environmentally responsible they are, it is even better if producing these ads are green as well.