Stories About Plastics

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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.

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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.

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.

VWR Tackling Single-Use Garment Waste with New Recycling Program
VWR Tackling Single-Use Garment Waste with New Recycling Program

WASTE NOT - VWR, provider of laboratory products, services and solutions, has launched a new recycling initiative that allows U.S. customers to recycle a variety of single-use garments.Through "Gown Up, Give Back”, VWR hopes to help reduce the millions of pounds of single-use garments sent to the landfill each year. The plastic waste from these garments is recycled into resin that is used to make permanent infrastructure, including composite decking, railroad ties and drainage pipes. The recycling program provides a waste collection, shipment and recycling solution for most single-use garments as long as they are free from contamination and purchased from VWR.

Carbios Announces Milestone in Controlled Biodegradation Process for Disposable Soft Plastics
Carbios Announces Milestone in Controlled Biodegradation Process for Disposable Soft Plastics

CHEMISTRY, MATERIALS & PACKAGING - Carbios, a French green chemistry company specializing in technologies enabling the recovery of plastic waste and the production of bio-polymers, has announced a significant step forward in the development of its controlled biodegradation process for disposable soft plastics.With its new process, Carbios says it obtained completely biodegradable plastic material in domestic conditions. The material, comprised of an oil-based polymer and an enzyme, loses 50 percent of its mass in 15 days and completely biodegrades in less than three months, making Carbios’ technology an effective potential industrial answer to legal concerns around how to better control the end of life of disposable and short-life plastics.

Investors Press Mondelez International to Switch to Recyclable Packaging
Investors Press Mondelez International to Switch to Recyclable Packaging

CHEMISTRY, MATERIALS & PACKAGING - Last week, shareholder advocacy organization As You Sow (AYS), along with shareholders representing $11.8 billion worth of shares, presented a proposal to Mondelez International asking that the company make the switch to recyclable packaging.The resolution, which received 28.4 percent shareholder support, was presented at the giant food manufacturer’s annual meeting.The world’s largest snack food company, Mondelez International produces brands such as Oreo, Chips Ahoy!, Trident gum, and Philadelphia cream cheese. It comprises the global snack and food brands of the former Kraft Foods, from which it split in 2012.

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Pharrell Williams, G-Star Announce Denim Collection Made from Recycled Marine Plastic
Pharrell Williams, G-Star Announce Denim Collection Made from Recycled Marine Plastic

WASTE NOT - Music producer and entrepreneur Pharrell Williams announced last weekend at New York Fashion Week a new partnership with denim label G-Star Raw to create a line of jeans made with plastic collected from the oceans. "The oceans need us now," Williams said as he announced the collaboration between G-Star and his textile company, Bionic Yarn, which Williams co-founded in 2010 to produce fabric from recycled plastic. The new collection, "Raw for the Oceans," which will be the first denim collection to incorporate marine plastic, will debut in stores and online on August 15.

Not Magic, Science: Startup Creating Plastic Out of Thin Air
Not Magic, Science: Startup Creating Plastic Out of Thin Air

CHEMISTRY, MATERIALS & PACKAGING - We’re hearing more and more often about inventive new ways companies are turning waste into valuable resources — from turning everything from CO2 and methane gases to human and food waste into fuels, and plastic into bacteria-battling “

IBM's Plastic 'Ninja Polymers' Could Be MRSA Bacteria's First Worthy Opponents
IBM's Plastic 'Ninja Polymers' Could Be MRSA Bacteria's First Worthy Opponents

CHEMISTRY, MATERIALS & PACKAGING - A team of research scientists at IBM and Singapore’s Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) have drawn upon years of expertise in semiconductor technology and material discovery to crack the code for safely destroying the antibiotic-resistant and sometimes-deadly superbug MRSA.IBM says the researchers have made a nanomedicine breakthrough by converting common plastic materials such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET) into non-toxic and biocompatible materials designed to specifically target and attack fungal infections.

Over 380 Waitrose, John Lewis Stores to Be Powered by Renewables Through New Deal
Over 380 Waitrose, John Lewis Stores to Be Powered by Renewables Through New Deal

CLEANTECH - Already leading the charge when it comes to wiping out its food and plastic waste, The John Lewis Partnership has become the latest company to commit to drastically increasing its use of renewable energy. The UK retail giant recently announced a new partnership with SmartestEnergy to supply over 380 of its Waitrose and John Lewis stores with 100 percent clean power.

Nestlé, Coke, Pepsi & Unilever Join Forces to Combat Waste in Chile
Nestlé, Coke, Pepsi & Unilever Join Forces to Combat Waste in Chile

COLLABORATION - Nestlé has announced a commitment to helping reduce waste and boost responsible disposal in Chile by supporting a new recycling network.The company has backed the “Collective Recycling Project,” which aims to recycle about 1,200 tons of waste per year through the installation of five recycling centers in the capital city of Santiago.The project is a joint collaboration with Walmart Chile, Coca-Cola Chile, PepsiCo and Unilever, with the goal of improving waste management in the country.

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LEGO Group Partners with WWF, Commits to 100% Renewables by 2016
LEGO Group Partners with WWF, Commits to 100% Renewables by 2016

COLLABORATION - LEGO Group recently announced a partnership with WWF centered around improving performance on a range of environmental priorities — including greater focus on collaboration with suppliers to reduce total carbon emissions — and committed to becoming net positive through the use of renewables by 2016.The toy maker joins the likes of Natura, HP, Volvo, Johnson & Johnson and Sprint as the newest member of the WWF’s Climate Savers program.

PulpWorks Out to Save People and Planet from Painful Plastic Packaging
PulpWorks Out to Save People and Planet from Painful Plastic Packaging

CHEMISTRY, MATERIALS & PACKAGING - Each week leading up to our SB London conference, where the winner of the SB London Innovation Open (SBIOL) will be announced on November 18, we will get to know each of our four finalists. This week, meet PulpWorks.

P&G’s New Plastic Mold Process Could Save $1 Billion Annually
P&G’s New Plastic Mold Process Could Save $1 Billion Annually

CHEMISTRY, MATERIALS & PACKAGING - Procter & Gamble has developed a new process to mold plastic that it claims is thinner, cheaper and more environmentally friendly than the current industry standard and could save the company $1 billion a year by using less plastic and different raw materials.The company says it plans to use the material for its own products and its patent applications and may also sell it to other marketers from non-competitive package-goods players to automotive giants.

BASF and Heritage Plastics, Inc. form strategic partnership to bring ecovio manufacturing to North America
BASF and Heritage Plastics, Inc. form strategic partnership to bring ecovio manufacturing to North America

PRESS RELEASE - BASF and Heritage Plastics, Inc. form strategic partnership to bring ecovio manufacturing to North America Florham Park, NJ, September 24, 2013 – BASF announced today that it has formed a strategic manufacturing partnership with Heritage Plastics, Inc. to produce ecovio® certified compostable products in North America. The partnership enables BASF to begin manufacturing ecovio biopolymers outside of Europe to better serve its customers and to further focus on growth in the rapidly developing North American market. Production of ecovio will begin September 2013 at the Heritage facility in Picayune, Mississippi.

Crayola's Colorcycle Program Turning Used Markers Into Clean Energy
Crayola's Colorcycle Program Turning Used Markers Into Clean Energy

WASTE NOT - JBI, Inc., a clean energy company that recycles waste plastic into liquid fuels, has announced it is partnering with Crayola on its "Colorcycle" program, which converts markers into clean energy.The program will be conducted throughout the United States in participating K-12 schools and encourages students to responsibly dispose of used Crayola markers through an in-school collection process. Markers will be sent to JBI, where they will be used as feedstock to produce diesel and other liquid fuels using JBI's Plastic2Oil® ("P2O") process.

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Irish Marine Pilot Project Upcycles Abandoned Fishing Nets
Irish Marine Pilot Project Upcycles Abandoned Fishing Nets

WASTE NOT - A pilot project to manufacture commercially viable products from recycled polyethylene fishing nets has been completed successfully in a collaboration between Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM - the Irish Sea Fisheries Board) and Liverpool-based plastics recycler Centriforce Products, according to Centriforce’s website.

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