Tag Archives: ENSO technology

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!

 

Oceanic gyres

Destination: Garbage Island

I’ve heard stories over the years about “islands”, out in the middle of the oceans, which are created completely from discarded plastic. It’s hard to believe that such a place would exist. I recently watched the documentary, “Garbage Island”, by Vice. This documentary proved there is no such island, at least not in the terms of plastic patches so thick you could walk on them.

What is actually out there; 1,000 miles from any landmass, is much worse than a simple growing patch of used up plastic. There are vortexes, holding in tons of broken down plastic particles from the plastic that doesn’t sink (LDPE, HDPE). This plastic floats along the currents of the ocean, breaking down year after year from the sun and the salt water, ultimately finding its home in and around the slower currents of the gyres.

It would be relatively easy to scoop up all the large items of trash and clean up our oceans, but the small, usually microscopic, size pieces of plastic particles would be nearly impossible to clean up.  All marine life has to live in an environment that is ultimately becoming toxic. They ingest the plastic particles and, in turn, we ingest the seafood.

How do we limit the amount of plastic that is ending up in our oceans? This isn’t a problem only confined to the United States, this is a worldwide problem. It’s not enough to just know where our plastic products are ending up, i.e. being recycled, landfill, etc. We should also be more aware of what types of plastics are being used and how their end of life is affecting our environment.

ENSO Plastics Restore is leading edge technology that gives plastic material biodegradability in landfills; and ENSO’s Renew resin will make plastic marine degradable. This is a solution that can solve the plastic pollution problem in our oceans. A solution that needs to addressed; because once the plastic is out of our hands, it’s up to nature to take care of the rest.

 

 

 

 

ENSO Plastics Brings Legitimacy to a Young Market

We all know that the biodegradable plastics industry is just in its infancy.  What many might not be aware of is all of the “back end” work that ENSO has been doing for the market.  ENSO Plastics is doing many things to provide value to the plastics industry as it applies to the environment.  Offering solutions for plastic to serve its useful life, and once disposed of be valuable both as recycled material and within landfill environments, is part of the big picture.  ENSO also provides market value and legitimacy in ways unlike typical corporate organizations and much more as a not for profit, or NGO.

ENSO has an environmental mission that remains pure throughout our business activity.  Part of the mission requires us to honestly look at the REAL impacts of our activity and integrate REAL solutions.  We realize the need to foster legitimacy in our industry that will be of benefit to not only our customers; but to the market as a whole, and even our competitors.  We believe that just “slinging” product for the sake of profit is not being a responsible steward of our environment, and is culturally at odds with the way we feel here at ENSO.  We are in this to change the way the plastics industry and consumers alike view and treat plastic.

In creating this monumental change in such a vast industry, like plastic, there is a massive amount of education and legitimate data that needs to be presented.  Unfortunately, there is the fact that traditional business is done with the idea that competition does not want anyone else to succeed.  Because of this dynamic new industry and its complexities, ENSO is doing things non-traditionally and has seen the needs of the market and responded appropriately.

We have brought together the world’s top experts in different fields of science to bring the most compelling and comprehensive data collecting to help foster the growth of this particular industry, and to bring value to brands and manufacturing all the way to the end consumer.  All in an effort to further the knowledge and acceptance of what we consider to be a “turn in the traditional plastics market”.  Bringing together top polymer and engineering scientists like Georgia Tech’s Research Institute (GRTI) Materials Center; as well as the University of North Carolina State, and the Department of Civil, Construction, & Environmental Engineering is only part of the effort ENSO has undergone to develop the understanding and education of our marketplace and its regulating bodies.  Much of this effort is ongoing as this technology is new, and more applications will bring new questions specific to its market.

The important precept ENSO Plastics takes very seriously is that in order to go to market with a product, credible and repeatable scientific data needs to be the foundation of all innovation.  Second to that precept is the need for the innovation itself to be a major positive for the environment.  Without these two keys, a product is only interested in one thing – taking advantage of environmental marketing opportunities with no positive impact on the environment; in other words, GREEN WASHING.

Having the support and “backing” of world class institutions and experts in their fields eliminates these basic concerns; as these entities will not stand for anything other than scientific truth.  The market is full of political and personal manipulation, seeking only to bring certain products to market, while attempting to discredit or eliminate others from the market.  ENSO is set apart from this kind of business model by only seeking credible, non-biased individuals and institutions to work with.  This is a higher standard that state and federal regulators have to appreciate because the industry does not get more knowledgeable, independent and credible than the world’s leading experts.  -Del Andrus

What can you claim with ENSO plastics?

At the retail store I am bombarded with “green” claims; earth friendly, recycled, energy efficient, recyclable, compostable, biodegradable, reuseable and renewable just to name a few. It can become overwhelming even for a person who is intimately involved with the environmental industry to sort through these claims and determine what each means. It seems that a majority of the brand owners don’t even understand themselves what the claims mean, so how can consumers be expected to understand?

To combat this confusion, ENSO is creating uniform and standard recommended claims for brands using products enhanced with ENSO technology. Creating a consistent message will alleviate much of the confusion and give consumers solid science to base their understanding upon.

Here is an example of an appropriate claim and qualifier:

ENSO accelerates the natural biodegradation of plastics

Qualifier

ENSO accelerates the natural biodegradation of plastics in biologically active landfills and anaerobic digesters as validated by independent certified laboratories using ASTM International test methods (ASTM D5526 & ASTM D5511).

Independent 3rd party testing has shown up to 24.7% biodegradation within 160 days in optimized conditions. Actual rate of biodegradation will vary dependent upon environmental conditions and the biological activity of microorganisms surrounding the plastic.

The qualifier identifies how you can support the claim and ensure that consumers understand exactly what you mean by the claim. It is an important aspect of your overall message.

The above claim and qualifier are an accurate representation of the performance you can expect when using ENSO enhanced plastics and are completely backed by third party independent test data to ensure the protection of your brand as you continue upon the path toward total sustainability!

** In the state of California it is unlawful to label any food or beverage container or plastic bag as biodegradable regardless of actual performance.

 

ENSO took PACK EXPO by Storm

ENSO proudly took PACK EXPO 2011 by storm with a fun, and clever marketing approach. If you attended PACK EXPO you probably saw or heard about the girl in the plastic dress. Being the girl in the plastic dress, I can personally say that I am proud to have connected with so many diverse individuals at PACK EXPO. By using in your face marketing, ENSO was able to capture the attention of many influential individuals; Some looking for a technology like ENSO, and some who had no idea that a solution like ours was available. We hope that all of you at PACK EXPO enjoyed our marketing approach, and hope that we made a positive impact on your view of the capabilities of our  biodegradable plastic technology. If you have a photo of the plastic dress, please post it on our facebook! For those who did not attend PACK EXPO and have no clue what I am talking about, Here is a photo…

 

biodegradable plastics ENSO plastics plastic dress

Henkel builds Bioplastic Additive Plant

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

 

shanghai china

Bioplastics, additives top this week’s Material Insights video

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

Plastics News senior reporter Frank Esposito

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

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

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

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

 

Bioplastic made from Mad Cow Disease?

First is was plastic made from cheese, now its plastic made from mad cow infested eye sockets? Talk about innovation. It’s amazing how much research and development is being done to find better plastic solutions. Would you feel comfortable using plastics made from mad cow tissue? Let me know in the comment box below!

 

Mad Cow Bioplastics

Written by Green Plastics
Tuesday, 06 September 2011 20:45

The Car Scoop Blog has an entertaining article about a new possible source for bioplastic being innovated in Canada: tissue infected with Mad Cow disease.

You may remember that several years ago they had an outbreak of the disease (“bovine spongiform encephalopathy”) that caused an incredible scare. In response to the outbreak, the government banned the use of any tissue that might by infected with the disease in byproducts. Of course, this lead to the inevitable problem of what to do with the masses of skulls, brains, eye-sockets, kneecaps, and whatever other miscellaneous body-parts were laying around after the epidemic.

This spurred an innovative idea: use it to make bioplastic! David Bressler, an associate professor at University of Alberta Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science, is working on finding a way to break down the proteins into smaller pieces and polymerizing them into rigid plastic. His vision is that this plastic could be used in the manufacture of car parts.

So far, it’s still in the early research stages. But it definitely looks like it could be promising. The bioplastics that comes out as the end result is strong and has good properties, and this solves one of the big problems that is often raised as a complain against bioplastic: if the bioplastic comes from polymers that could also be used as food, doesn’t it compete with our food supply and potentially raise food prices? That’s the argument against corn plastic, at any rate.

And in the case of bioplastic made from infected cow eye-sockets… well, let’s just say that isn’t an issue.

Coco-Colas plant bottle business plan

This isn’t the most recent use for those up to date with cokes plant bottle. This article however goes into a more detailed business view of Cokes decision and long term goals. Definitely worth the read, comment and let me know what you think!

http://www.greenwashingindex.com/ad_single.php?id=7083

Coca-Cola in green bottles

http://www.guardian.co.uk/sustainable-business/coca-cola-green-plant-bottles

The software drinks giant has come up with a technology to use plant material in plastic bottles. But it is not an easy task

    Coca-Cola has come up with a formula that will reduce the use of plastic in making bottles. Photograph: George Frey/Rueters

    You could forgive Scott Vitters the occasional spate of Monday morning blues. As global head of sustainable packaging at The Coca-Cola Company, he has an unenviable job. Some might even call it impossible. Every day, consumers around the world slurp their way through 1.5 billion Coca-Cola products. Packaging those servings accounts for the most sizeable chunk of the company’s environmental footprint. Now Vitters’ bosses back at Coca-Cola’s Atlanta HQ are saying they want to double sales over the next decade.

    Yet today finds him surprisingly upbeat. Hitting UK shelves today is PlantBottle, what Vitters calls a “breakthrough technology” destined to green not just Coca-Cola but the entire packaging industry.

    “We know that we need to do more with less and we know that we can do that through technological innovations like PlantBottle”, he says.

    So how does it work? The theory is simple. Plastic bottles are currently made out of a variety of petroleum-based materials. What the chemistry wonks in Coca-Cola’s labs have done is replace some of those with plant materials.

    The result is to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and cut carbon emissions by 8-10% in the process. Furthermore, the plant-based solution is an identical match with polyethylene terephthalate (PET), a recyclable plastic already widely used by Coca-Cola.

    “This isn’t about an innovation that’s just a little green widget or flavour of the day … We’re taking the next step of the journey to decouple our plastic from fossil fuels”, Vitters insists.

    The numbers seem to back him. Coca-Cola expects to shift over 200 million packs in the UK this year as it switches 500ml bottles of Coca-Cola, Diet Coke and Coke Zero to the greener formula.

    The UK is no guinea pig. PlantBottle has already been around for a couple of years, rolled out first in Denmark to coincide with the UN climate change summit in Copenhagen. Coca-Cola currently produces around five billion packs in twenty markets.

    Vitters is adamant that the new bottle makes long-term financial as well as environmental sense. Although the plant alternative currently costs more than petroleum, he expects that to drop to parity or below by 2020 – due to predicted oil price increases and efficiencies in the PlantBottle supply chain.

    Recyclability is another big win. As one of the toughest, most efficient polymers around, PET can be reused many times. That way, the plant material stays within a “continuous loop” – one up on biodegradable plastics that go to landfill and “then sit like a petroleum bottle”.

    The impacts across industry could also be profound. Coca-Cola is working with Heinz to help it produce a PlantBottle-packaged ketchup. Toyota is also said to be interested to use the technology for the seats in its cars.

    “Across all commodity plastics, this same pathway could be followed. For HDPE [High Density Polyethylene] plastic, polyethenes, films and even PVC”, says Vitters.

    Although Coca-Cola is in the process of patenting the application of the plant-based technology (known as Bio-MEG) to containers, Vitters insists that Coca-Cola ultimately intends for the technology to be open. “This is bigger than Coke”, he says magnanimously. Vitters isn’t even again arch rivals Pepsi getting a look in too. “We believe that our competition will need to be part of this journey.” Coca Cola’s sustainable packaging chief may have skipped to work this morning, but his job is still far from complete.

    Work to do

    PlantBottle is a step in the right direction, but it’s far from the final destination. The plant-based alternative only covers ethyleneglycol – around 22.5% of PET by weight. Coca-Cola has yet to develop a commercially viable plant solution for the other 77.5%, comprising the petroleum-based compound terephthalic acid.

    Vitters admits that his marketing team would have been “much happier” if the ratios were the other way around. As it is, the US beverage giant hopes to have a market-ready, plant-based alternative to terephthalic acid by 2015. A date for its integration into brand packaging is yet to be set.

    His problems don’t stop there. ‘Plant-based materials’ all sounds very wholesome and green, but not if their production requires excessive water use, pushes up food prices (by using arable land for non-food purposes) or relies on genetically-modified technologies.

    As the Coca-Cola packaging head admits: “We knew inherently that just because it’s a plant, it isn’t better for the environment by any stretch of the imagination…this programe fundamentally rests on the ability to demonstrate proven social and environmental sustainability.”.”

    For the moment, the company has turned to Brazil and the bio-ethanol extracted from the country’s vast sugar cane plantations. As a major buyer of Brazilian sugar already, Vitters says Coca-Cola has a “comfort for getting the programme started” there.. Not that the social and environmental record of Brazillian sugar is perfect. Far from it. Vitters admits there is still “a lot of growth room to meet [Coca Cola’s] sustainability criteria”. As a result, the company is working with WWF towards a sugar certification scheme in Brazil.

    In the future, Vitters conceded that it’s not sustainable to “source only from Brazillian sugar cane. If PlantBottle takes off in the way he predicts, Coca-Cola will have to look elsewhere, as well as to other plants. Excessive demand could present supply problems as well as pushing sugar prices up – something, Vitters jokes, that “wouldn’t be a good career choice” for him.

    Wisely wary

    The clever polymer chemists in Coca-Cola’s labs have identified other potential feedstocks, but the company is wary about jumping in too fast.

    “We need to be very careful about expanding use of land at a time when we think agricultural environments for feeding a growing population are going to be essential”, says Vitters, who acknowledges the need to proceed “responsibly”..

    The US drinks giant is therefore looking to second-generation technologies focused on agricultural waste, such as switch grass, pine bark, corn husks and fruit peel.

    Even then, challenges still exist. Supply is one. Finding such agricultural bi-products in commercial volumes is no easy task. Land productivity represents another issue. In many parts of the world, agricultural waste is typically returned to the soil as a natural fertiliser.

    “Disruptive” though PlantBottle may be, it falls far from enabling Vitters to fulfil his sustainable packaging brief completely. Commercialising a plant-based solution for the terephthalic acid portion of PET would help considerably. But we still have to wait for 2020 until Coca-Cola bottles of all sizes boast the 22.5% plant content.

    Nagging at his mind as well must be the fact that Coca-Cola was recently thrown out of the prestigious Dow Jones Sustainability Index. More galling still, the Index praised Pepsi as a “supersector leader”.

    There’s a silver lining, though as Dow Jones did award Coca-Cola an “uptick” for its packaging and material sourcing – another reason Vitters’ Monday shouldn’t be too blue.