Chemistry, Materials & Packaging

The latest developments in safe and sustainable chemicals, new materials, fuels, and more.

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McDonald’s Agrees to Phase Out Polystyrene Cups

McDonald’s Corp. has confirmed that it will replace all polystyrene beverage cups with paper cups at its 14,000 U.S. outlets, according to As You Sow (AYS), a nonprofit organization that promotes corporate responsibility through shareholder advocacy. The move comes in response to a shareholder proposal filed by AYS in 2011, asking the fast-food giant to stop using foam. After agreeing to a test replacement of its foam cups with a double-walled paper hot cup at approximately 2,000 restaurants, primarily on the West Coast, in 2012, McDonald’s deemed the pilots successful and the paper cup will now become the standard hot beverage cup at all U.S. outlets.

Clariant Releases Paraben-Free Alternative to Cosmetics Preservatives

Swiss chemical giant Clariant today announced the launch of Nipaguard® Zero — a powerful line of optimized preservative blends for cosmetics that contain no parabens, yet deliver a comparable performance.Clariant offers a broad portfolio of single actives and optimized blends under the brand names Phenonip®, Nipagin® and Nipaguard. Due to growing end-user demand for alternatives to parabens, the company has developed four Nipaguard Zero blends for use in rinse-off and leave-on applications, wet wipes and difficult-to-preserve formulations, including an Ecocert®-approved option.

California Adopts Groundbreaking Safer Consumer Product Regulations

California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) now has significantly expanded oversight regarding chemicals used in products involved in the state’s commerce stream, following the adoption of the Safer Consumer Product (SCP) Regulations that implements the Green Chemistry statute.While other states have adopted or are considering "Green Chemistry" initiatives, California has the only program that extends beyond children's products to any and all consumer products.The new regulations require the DTSC to identify its initial list of candidate chemicals by October 31, 2013.By next April, DTSC will need to identify up to five "priority products" that will be subject to the SCP regulations during the first few years of implementation.

WikiPearl Promises an Edible Packaging Revolution

Consumer demand for foods convenient and fast has led to a surge in packaging waste across the globe. The use and disposal of plastic in particular has spiked, and despite increased corporate and municipal recycling programs, far too much plastic still ends up in landfills. This grab-and-go mentality for both junk and healthful foods alike will hardly be sustainable in the long run as more food companies and their brands churn out more products and packaging gimmicks in the name of “innovation.” Not one company so far, though, has found an innovative way to deal with the accumulation of Tetra-Paks, cartons and myriad types of plastic. Could edible packaging help solve this problem?

Cascadian Farm Launches First Bio-Based Cereal Box Liner

Cascadian Farm, makers of more than 75 organic products, yesterday announced that it has introduced its first-ever cereal box liner made from renewable plant sources.The company says its Cinnamon Crunch cereal is now packaged in an inner bag made from up to 57 percent certified plant-based material. Cascadian Farm says this new liner is the latest among its various sustainability initiatives that support its mission of helping to shape a better world."At Cascadian Farm, we know that every choice we make can help shape a better world now and for the future," said Jennifer Jorgenson, marketing director for Cascadian Farm. "A desire to protect our Earth's resources led us to develop this groundbreaking inner bag."

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This Tiny Patch Could Be a Game Changer for Global Health

Kite Patch is the latest breakthrough technology in the global fight against malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases. A non-toxic adhesive patch that makes you virtually invisible to mosquitos, Kite brings a scalable solution to protect the world’s most vulnerable populations.

Biotech Companies Launch Campaign to Combat Anti-GMO Movement

This week, a group of biotech seed companies including Monsanto, Dow and DuPont launched a website to combat mounting opposition to genetically modified foods among consumer groups and activists, according to Reuters.

Dow Unveils Ozone-Based Solution for Safe Sanitation of Food and Beverage Processing Environments

Dow Microbial Control, a unit of The Dow Chemical Company, today introduced its Advanced Oxidation System (AOS) Certified technology for whole-room sanitization, which will provide food and beverage producers with an effective, chemical-free system for controlling surface and airborne pathogens. AOS Certified systems fill a need in the global food processing industry for a whole-room sanitization technology that quickly and safely reduces dangerous bacteria such as Listeria monocytogenes, E. coli and Salmonella, which pose serious health risks to consumers and a great financial risk for food manufacturers.

Tom's of Maine Experimenting with Potato Starch Packaging

This post first appeared on Earth911.com on July 10, 2013.Already topping lists of the nation’s most sustainable companies, Tom’s of Maine is looking to reduce end-of-life waste from its products even more by experimenting with biodegradable packaging made from potato starch.

Oshenite®: The Marine Mineral That Could Revolutionize Plastic Packaging

Oshenite®, a bioplastic additive produced from a renewable marine mineral called oolitic aragonite, allows environmentally conscience brand owners and manufacturers to produce or use plastic packaging with reduced amounts of fossil fuel-based resins. Produced by U.S. Aragonite, Oshenite can replace these resins in a wide range of flexible and rigid applications and offers environmental and economic benefits — both without sacrificing performance or contaminating recycling streams.

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New Novozymes Technology Boosts Biofuels Productivity

Whether one believes corn-based ethanol is a viable long-term solution for the United States’ energy portfolio or not, the reality is that 280 plants across the country will continue to produce biofuels. And with the constant argument over the rise of cultivating farmland for fuel versus food, it is incumbent upon growers and biofuel producers to use this valuable crop as efficiently as possible.

New Green Chemistry Commitment Promises to Change the Chemical Industry and Chemistry Education

Twelve colleges and universities have joined Dow Chemical and other chemical industry leaders in signing the Green Chemistry Commitment (GCC). This is the first nationally organized effort to link higher education and the chemical industry to effect education reform in the U.S.The non-profit Beyond Benign, founded by Dr. John Warner, launched this consortium with the goal of teaching chemistry for a sustainable future. In order to achieve this, Beyond Benign fosters innovative, efficient and environmentally sound chemical products and processes, while preparing world-class chemists with the skills necessary to do so.

Nike, Levi Strauss Publish Updated Hazardous Chemical Plan

Nike, Levi Strauss, H&M and several other members of the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals Group have committed to publishing a list of chemicals targeted for phase out or research by 2015 as part of a plan to eliminate hazardous chemicals from their supply chains by 2020.

Coca-Cola's PlantBottle Rollout Signals Brands Taking Sustainability in China Seriously

When Coca-Cola first rolled out its PlantBottle in fall 2009 in Copenhagen, the beverage giant sent a signal to the entire food and beverage industry that it had had to take sustainable packaging more seriously. Additional companies, including Heinz, later rolled out plastic bottles using the same technology.

Are We at the Dawn of a Refill Revolution?

Over the past 10 years we’ve seen a recurring ambition from clients — wanting to ‘do a Nespresso.’ This is because it’s a refill system that premiumised their brand, redefined their category, elevated user experience, drove consumption and built brand loyalty whilst delivering profitable growth.

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Blue Box Cleaning Up Equipment, Bottom Lines for the Industrial Sector

In the final week leading up to the Sustainable Brands Innovation Open (SBIO) finals presented by Target on June 5th, where the runner-up will be decided via live online public vote, we will feature daily articles introducing our semi-finalists. Today, meet Blue Box.Blue Box is positioning itself as an innovative method of cleaning industrial equipment with very little chemicals, at very low cost.

PulpWorks Set To Revolutionize Blister Packaging, Rid the World of PVC

PulpWorks, based in San Rafael, CA, designs and manufactures sustainable packaging, molded from 100% post-consumer waste paper, for the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry. The company has created a compostable and biodegradable alternative to toxic and harmful plastic (PVC) blister packaging.

How Plastics Packaging Can Exemplify Sustainability

The rapid adoption of plastics in innumerable applications over the years stems from their overall benefits versus other materials; in particular, their reliability, ease of manufacturing, lighter weight and affordability.

Sustainable Packaging Innovation Case Study: Pfeiffer Lab Wine Packaging

Today there are three ways to ship wine in the mail: cardboard, molded pulp or expanded polystyrene (EPS). Pfeiffer Lab, a Bay Area design firm, has been working on a design strategy project to re-envision wine packaging using new bio-based materials developed by Malama C

Crowdsourcing a Sustainable Packaging Strategy: Learning from Unilever's Sustainable Living Lab

Companies crowdsourcing their sustainability strategies is a growing trend, and I was lucky enough to experience this first-hand last month, through a Unilever Sustainable Living Lab session, as a guest speaker discussing sustainable packaging design (interest declared: they’re a Seymourpowell cl

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