Tag Archives: renewable plastics

“It isn’t that they can’t see the solution. It is that they can’t see the problem.”

I recently ran across a quote by G. K. Chesterton, “It isn’t that they can’t see the solution. It is that they can’t see the problem.” This quote is a powerful reality and sums up the environmental issue that our planet faces when it comes to plastic pollution. It got me thinking and I thought I’d write a blog about it.

There is no doubt that the global population is rapidly growing and will continue to do so. We have exceeded 7 billion humans on this planet. The planet we live on is a closed system, meaning that the amount of natural resources we have available to sustain our needs and wants will not change. We can certainly take resources and change their form, but the overall fundamental is that as the population grows we will continue to place a greater burden on the environment to mine, process, develop and use resources to sustain the global needs.

In today’s global perspective, developed countries do not see the massive problem that is being created from the way we are currently using plastics. We live in an environment where the convenience of placing items in a black, blue or green bin and having that material go away makes the problem much less visible.

In underdeveloped countries where the global population is the largest, the problem is much more prevalent and problematic, as they don’t have the resources available to discard their plastic garbage or recycle. People living in those conditions are faced with the problem on a daily basis with plastic litter being a serious problem. Litter at this level blocks water ways, increases illness, kills wildlife, destroys the landscape and this material is not going away anytime in the next hundred years.

There is a sad irony to today’s situation in that the largest concentration of human populations are in underdeveloped countries. Both China and India each have a population of over 1.2 billion people. Both of these countries have poor infrastructure to handle waste and almost no recycling. The United States falls way behind in total population with just over 300 million people.

The irony is that the 300+ million people in the United States consume the planet resources at a rate of over four times the rest of the world! So we are consuming at a level that far exceeds the rest of the world, but with our developed infrastructures we become blind to the problem. Sure, we have recycling, biodegradable and compostable solutions but the truth is the development of our infrastructures makes it convenient for us to see the solution, but not the problem, and therefore we take our time with implementing solutions that will matter most.

The big question lingers in everyone’s mind of What’s going to happen when these underdeveloped nations begin consuming at the level we are currently consuming at? Both China and India are increasing their middle class and that results in more and more people wanting the “convenient and finer things in life”. Considering the fact that the population in the US is only a fraction of the global population, when these underdeveloped nations reach a point where their citizens are consuming a fraction of what we currently do; the planet and its inhabitants are in for serious problems.

It makes sense for brands, manufacturers, retailers, and consumers to get involved in solving this problem. The truth is that consumers will not be able to solve this problem on their own. The biggest opportunity to addressing this issue and making the most impact is within the industry. We are the biggest consumers of resources and control the greatest deal of the problem from sourcing to end-of-life. ENSO Plastics is an environmental company and brings to the table renewable, landfill biodegradable, compostable (home and industrial), marine degradable and products with lower carbon footprints so that industry can take control and reduce its impact on the environment.

The team here at ENSO is dedicated to helping brands, manufacturers and businesses solve the plastics pollution issue facing the world. We would love the opportunity to sit at the table and be a part of the conversation of how your company can take control of the plastic materials being used and implement solutions that make sense and will have the most impact. ENSO Plastics has a proven track record and we ask that you just give us the chance to show you what can be done.


ENSO Plastics Drives Innovation to Address Plastic Pollution

ENSO Plastics announces solutions to make plastics more responsible, giving brands more environmental possibilities for plastic packaging.

Mesa, AZ — (SBWIRE) — 05/07/2013 — In the ongoing pursuit to address the growing global plastic pollution issue, environmental plastic solution provider ENSO Plastics announces two new technologies ENSO RENEW™ and ENSO RESTORE™ that have change the way plastics are used around the globe.

ENSO RENEW™ is a unique Renewable Thermo Polymer (RTP) derived from the waste process of agriculture, with a carbon footprint 75% lower than polyethylene. It is a high heat renewable biopolymer that results in home and industrial compostable as well as marine degradable plastics. ENSO RENEW™ is designed to meet the needs of applications looking for renewable solutions to further sustainability goals utilizing fast growing plant based material. Blending ENSO RENEW™ with traditional plastics combines bio-based content with the durability of traditional plastics making them ideal for partially renewable solutions that are durable.

ENSO RESTORE™ is the latest development of biodegradable additives offering superior improvements to biodegradable performance and process-ability/compatibility and eliminating the historical higher scrap rates of competing biodegradable additives, creating a huge environmental and cost advantage. ENSO RESTORE™ is a leading edge technology that accelerates the natural biodegradation without any disruption to disposal method or performance. ENSO RESTORE™ biodegradable additives work with light weighted packaging and thin film applications as well as all major resin types: PE, PP, PET, PS, Rubber, Nitrile, polyurethane and more.

While other companies are simply pursuing the best way to sell first generation products and solutions, ENSO™ is driving innovations by actively creating new solutions for our future generations and effectively dealing with plastic waste.

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

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

If you are interested in learning more about ENSO Plastics technologies, please visit us at http://www.ensoplastics.com or call (866) 936-3676 / (602) 639-4228.

Important California Notice
California law prohibits the sale of plastic packaging and plastic products that are labeled with the terms ‘biodegradable,’ ‘degradable,’ or ‘decomposable,’ or any form of those terms, or that imply in any way that the item will break down, biodegrade or decompose in a landfill or other environment. These restrictions apply to all sales in or into the State of California, including such sales over the Internet.

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