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Stories About Plastics

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BASF Tool Helping Designers Lightweight Products, Minimize Development Costs
BASF Tool Helping Designers Lightweight Products, Minimize Development Costs

CHEMISTRY, MATERIALS & PACKAGING - A common misconception regarding fiber-reinforced plastics is that the material’s performance cannot be predicted, as with steel or aluminum. But BASF says its ULTRASIM® performance-prediction technology routinely delivers 90-95 percent accuracy when predicting the performance of parts molded using BASF materials, creating new opportunities for lightweighting products while minimizing design and development costs.Using sophisticated material characterization methods and analysis techniques, the company says the tool now enables designers and engineers to account for the influence of the injection molding process of a thermoplastic and study:

Biobased Plastics: Fostering a Sustainable and Resource-Efficient Circular Economy
Biobased Plastics: Fostering a Sustainable and Resource-Efficient Circular Economy

CHEMISTRY, MATERIALS & PACKAGING - Bioplastics are not a single kind of plastic, but rather a family of materials that vary considerably from one another. There are three groups in the bioplastics family, each with its own individual characteristics: biobased, biodegradable, or both bio-based and biodegradable. Today, there is a bioplastic alternative to almost every conventional plastic material and application. Bioplastics have the same properties as conventional plastics and often offer additional advantages, such as compostability or natural breathability.

To Recycle or Not to Recycle: The Economics of Garbage
To Recycle or Not to Recycle: The Economics of Garbage

THE NEXT ECONOMY - People are confused about recycling because they complain that the entire process – from labeling, to which bin is which, to what your municipality accepts - makes it difficult to determine a material’s recyclability. This issue is especially common when consumers are dealing with some of the more complicated recyclable materials such as plastics, but the question persists: What exactly makes a material recyclable or not? Two very different lenses are often used to determine this: science and economics. Which of these factors is more relevant in revealing a material’s chance of being recyclable? Or is it a combination of both?

Ford Brings REPREVE to the 2015 F-150
Ford Brings REPREVE to the 2015 F-150

PRESS RELEASE - What if we could redirect plastics from landfill and use them to create innovative materials, and then put them in the all-new Ford F-150, part of Ford F-Series, America’s best-selling truck?​ We could make a big difference.

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Additives to Biodegrade Plastics Offered False Hope, Says Latest Study
Additives to Biodegrade Plastics Offered False Hope, Says Latest Study

CHEMISTRY, MATERIALS & PACKAGING - The world today has a plastic addiction, a vice that creates major environmental issues by entering waterways and clogging up our landfills and oceans. The problem is that conventional plastics have a half-life (the time it takes for half of the product to degrade) of hundreds of years — basically, once the plastic is discarded, it’s in the environment for the long haul.Solutions including “bioplastic” and “biodegradable” plastics have been proposed and often marketed to consumers as such. One of the possible remedies is the use of additives in plastics, which help break them down in the environment. Could they be the answer?

Amerplast Announces New, Flexible Packaging Made From Sugar Cane
Amerplast Announces New, Flexible Packaging Made From Sugar Cane

CHEMISTRY, MATERIALS & PACKAGING - This week, Amerplast, one of Europe's largest flexo printers and bag converters, began a supply partnership with Braskem, a global leader in biopolymers, to market Green Polyethylene (Green PE) made from a renewable sugar cane ethanol, to tissue segment.

Being Socially Responsible is Business as Usual for us at AT&T, and we Weave it Into Everything we do
Being Socially Responsible is Business as Usual for us at AT&T, and we Weave it Into Everything we do

PRESS RELEASE -  Being socially responsible is business as usual for us at AT&T, and we weave it into everything we do. So today, for the fourth year in a row, we want to recognize several suppliers who have really taken to heart our call to action for sustainable operations. These companies have contributed innovative solutions toward our sustainable operation efforts.  

Procter & Gamble Joins GreenBlue’s How2Recycle Label Program Encouraging At-Home Recycling
Procter & Gamble Joins GreenBlue’s How2Recycle Label Program Encouraging At-Home Recycling

PRESS RELEASE -  GreenBlue’s Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC) today announced that The Procter & Gamble Company (NYSE:PG) has joined the organization’s How2Recycle Label program. Procter & Gamble (P&G) will initially carry the label on their Dawn dishwashing liquid packaging, a product already known for its environmental efforts, including its use to clean animals affected by oil spills. 

Dow Pilot Program Shows Plastic Waste Can Be Turned Into Fuel
Dow Pilot Program Shows Plastic Waste Can Be Turned Into Fuel

PRODUCT, SERVICE & DESIGN INNOVATION - The Dow Chemical Company recently completed a pilot program aimed at showing how certain plastics such as juice pouches, candy wrappers and plastic dinnerware — which are not easily recyclable under traditional models — can be converted into synthetic crude oil for fuel.As part of the Energy Bag Pilot Program, Dow partnered with the Flexible Packaging Association, Republic Services, Agilyx, Reynolds Consumer Products and the city of Citrus Heights, Calif. to drive a collection pilot program meant to divert non-recycled plastics from landfills and to optimize their resource efficiency across the lifecycle.

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Plastic Permanence: Our Litter Is Now Part of the Geologic Record
Plastic Permanence: Our Litter Is Now Part of the Geologic Record

CHEMISTRY, MATERIALS & PACKAGING - From a human perspective, the earth’s geography changes pretty slowly — it takes thousands of years for a glacier to carve out a valley, for plate tectonics to form mountains and for volcanic eruptions to layer new land masses. But a recent discovery by scientists shows a new addition to the rock record, and it’s partly man-made.The new hybrid rock type is called a plastiglomerate, and the colorful stones are cropping up on shorelines in Hawaii. They’re multicolored and multitextured, a mosaic of stone and polymer. Plastiglomerates are formed when plastic is melted and hardens into pores of existing rocks. They’re usually between 2 and 8 inches, and rounded from erosion on the shore.

Project MainStream Launches 3 Programs to Help Scale Circular Economy
Project MainStream Launches 3 Programs to Help Scale Circular Economy

WASTE NOT - Project MainStream, part of the World Economic Forum’s Circular Economy initiative, has launched three new programs focused on developing ways of scaling the circular economy through materials management, information technology and business model innovation, among others.

Why Durable Bioplastics, Not Biodegradable, May Be the Answer
Why Durable Bioplastics, Not Biodegradable, May Be the Answer

CHEMISTRY, MATERIALS & PACKAGING - To conclude this series about bioplastics and the biodegradability (or lack thereof) of plastic products and packaging, I want to discuss the future of what I consider to be one of the only viable alternatives to plastics derived from non-renewable resources: durable bioplastics.

Valio Debuts First Product Using Tetra Pak’s 100% Plant-Based Carton Package
Valio Debuts First Product Using Tetra Pak’s 100% Plant-Based Carton Package

PRODUCT, SERVICE & DESIGN INNOVATION - Finnish dairy producer Valio has become the first company in the world to sell products to consumers in carton packaging made entirely from plant-based materials. Consumers are able to buy these packages at retail shops in Finland beginning this week.

The Myth of Biodegradability in Plastic Consumer Products and Packaging
The Myth of Biodegradability in Plastic Consumer Products and Packaging

CHEMISTRY, MATERIALS & PACKAGING - In my last post regarding the long-term viability of bio-based polymers, I touched on some of the primary concerns we face regarding the rise of plastics labeled as “biodegradable.” It’s an important component of this broad discussion, and one that has become increasingly relevant in an increasingly sustainability-driven product market.

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The Push for Bioplastics and the Myth of Biodegradability
The Push for Bioplastics and the Myth of Biodegradability

CHEMISTRY, MATERIALS & PACKAGING - This is the first of a three-part series by TerraCycle CEO Tom Szaky that examines the benefits, risks, misconceptions and long-term viability of bioplastics.

Reports Find Over 5 Trillion Pieces of Plastic Floating in the World’s Oceans … and 10,000 Times More in the Deep Sea
Reports Find Over 5 Trillion Pieces of Plastic Floating in the World’s Oceans … and 10,000 Times More in the Deep Sea

WASTE NOT - More than five trillion pieces of plastic, collectively weighing nearly 269,000 tons, are floating in the world’s oceans and causing damage throughout the food chain, according to new research by the 5 Gyres Institute — but that is apparently a drop in the bucket compared to the amount littering the ocean floor.Data collected by scientists from the United States, France, Chile, Australia and New Zealand estimates a minimum of 5.25 trillion plastic particles in the oceans, most of them “microplastics,” measuring less than 5mm.

Ecover Partners with Sonoco on Plant-Based Plastic Bottles for New North American Cleaning Products
Ecover Partners with Sonoco on Plant-Based Plastic Bottles for New North American Cleaning Products

CHEMISTRY, MATERIALS & PACKAGING - Ecover, the world's largest maker of non-toxic, eco-friendly cleaning products, has teamed up with packaging producer Sonoco for a series of plant-based plastic bottles for its new North American home care line.

BASF, Schuster Developing Greaseproof, Recyclable Cardboard for Fast Food Packaging
BASF, Schuster Developing Greaseproof, Recyclable Cardboard for Fast Food Packaging

CHEMISTRY, MATERIALS & PACKAGING - BASF and recycled cardboard company Schuster have announced they are working on a solution for a combined migration and grease barrier on recycled cardboard.The biopolymer ecovio® PS 1606 is applied to recycled cardboard in an extrusion coating process. This enables the proportion of recycled paper fibers in fast food packaging to be increased while simultaneously making it industrially compostable. The polymer coating applied to the cardboard is several times thinner than a human hair, but provides the packaging with good protection against potential migration of undesired substances while also offering high greaseproofness and liquid tightness. This cardboard is more than 90 percent biobased, recyclable and industrially compostable.

VTT Developing Eco-Friendly Alternative for Polystyrene
VTT Developing Eco-Friendly Alternative for Polystyrene

CHEMISTRY, MATERIALS & PACKAGING - VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has announced it is developing an affordable and environmentally friendly alternative for polystyrene from PLA bioplastic, which is derived from organic sources.Although expanded polystyrene (EPS) is currently used all over the world as a light packaging and insulation material, it poses a significant waste problem. The annual production volume of EPS is 5 to 6 million tons per year, and the non-biodegradable material typically ends up on waste tips or is disposed of by burning, which results in toxic compounds.

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Plum Organics Joins GreenBlue's How2Recycle Label Program
Plum Organics Joins GreenBlue's How2Recycle Label Program

CHEMISTRY, MATERIALS & PACKAGING - GreenBlue’s Sustainable Packaging Coalition announced this week that Plum Organics is the latest company to join its How2Recycle Label program. Plum joins 30 other participating companies — including most recently, Kellogg and McDonald’s — committed to educating consumers on packaging recyclability by providing clear on-package instructions.

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