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Chemistry, Materials & Packaging

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

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Waitrose, ITM Power Piloting Project to De-Carbonize Production of Industrial Fertilizer

UK supermarket chain Waitrose has teamed up with energy storage and clean fuel company ITM Power Project to design and build a lower-impact system for the production of industrial fertilizer.Industrial fertilizer production, which involves converting natural gas and other fossil fuels into ammonia, is responsible for a substantial proportion of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Thanks to co-funding from the UK’s Technology Strategy Board, under its Agri-Tech program, the project will demonstrate the de-carbonization of fertilizer production.

Colgate Commits to 100% Recyclable Packaging for Three of Four Product Categories by 2020

Shareholder advocacy group As You Sow (AYS) announced today that, after dialogue with AYS, personal care products giant Colgate-Palmolive has committed to making 100 percent of its packaging for three of four product categories completely recyclable by 2020. Colgate has also committed to developing a recyclable toothpaste tube or package, which would bring its fourth product category close to the same sustainability standard (perhaps the company can take a cue from this recent student redesign of its toothpaste tube!). Most toothpaste tubes are made from unrecyclable plastic laminates.

Liquid Light Wins Grand Challenge Grant for Carbon-Conversion Technology

New Jersey-based Liquid Light has received a CAD$500,000 seed grant in the first round of Alberta’s Grand Challenge, organized by the Climate Change and Emission Management Corporation (CCEMC). The purpose of the CCEMC Grand Challenge is to identify new technologies that will lead to the creation of new products and markets, while providing a one million ton net reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Naval Researchers Fly Model Plane with Fuel Derived from Seawater

Researchers at the US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), Materials Science and Technology Division, have demonstrated proof-of-concept of NRL technologies developed for the recovery of carbon dioxide (CO2) and hydrogen (H2) from seawater and conversion to a liquid hydrocarbon fuel, according to the US Navy.

Ecologic to Supply Paper Bottles to California Winemaker

Winemaker Truett-Hurst has completed a general supply agreement with Ecologic Brands to produce paper bottles for its PaperBoy brand.PaperBoy recyclable wine bottles are made from compressed recycled cardboard formed into the shape of a standard Bordeaux wine bottle, are 85 percent lighter than traditional glass bottles and filled with appellation wines sourced from the Mendocino and Paso Robles growing regions. PaperBoy is available in 45 states and has two offerings: a 2012 Paso Robles Red Blend and a 2012 Mendocino Chardonnay.

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Avon Phasing Hormone-Disrupting Triclosan Out of Its Products

As consumers and regulators escalate demand for safer consumer products, Avon announced last week it will phase out the toxic chemical triclosan — a commonly used antimicrobial agent found in color cosmetics, creams, shaving products, detergents, toothpastes, and antibacterial soaps — from its beauty and personal care products. Triclosan has been linked to hormone disruption and the emergence of bacteria resistant to antibodies and antibacterial products.

University of Nebraska Engineers Creating Textiles from Corn Husks

Corn may soon join the ranks of cotton and wool in the natural fiber world: A team at the University of Nebraska's Department of Textiles, Merchandising and Fashion Design is busy at work developing textiles from corn husks. On a recent segment of QUEST, a multimedia series with a new focus on exploring the science of sustainability, the team explains the process as separating lignocellulose fibers (complex and woody biopolymers) from the husk and spinning it into yarn.“If you look at history, textiles are agriculture. And Nebraska is the place we have lots of corn,” says Yiqi Yang, a biochemical engineer at the University.

Ecover Using Algal Oil to Develop First Palm Oil-Free Laundry Liquid

Sustainable cleaning products giant Ecover announced this week it is developing an algae-based laundry liquid as part of its goal to cut the use of palm oil in all of its products.Palm oil has become a huge topic of concern for NGOs, brands and consumers alike. The ubiquitous oil and its by-products are used in hundreds of packaged food, personal care and cleaning products — as demand has continued to increase, its production has become the largest single driver of deforestation in South East Asia and parts of Africa and South America.

Clariant Joins BASF, AkzoNobel in Chem Industry Sustainability Initiative

On Thursday, Swiss specialty chemicals giant Clariant announced it is the newest member of “Together for Sustainability” (TfS), a chemical industry initiative founded in 2011 aimed at improving sustainability practices within its supply chains.

Greif Jerry Can Wins Manufacturing Leadership Sustainability Award

Industrial packaging products and services firm Greif has received the 2014 Manufacturing Leadership Award (ML Award) in Sustainability for its DoubleGreen™ COEX 10-liter plastic jerry can. This is one of the first sustainable multilayer 10-liter plastic jerry cans made from a renewable resource, sugarcane, with a stackable design that eliminates the need for a carton during transport.The DoubleGreen COEX 10-liter plastic jerry is comprised of over 50 percent polyethylene that is derived from sugarcane ethanol. The can, produced in Brazil, creates a closed-loop system approach from agribusiness to agribusiness. Based upon the main Brazil agrochemical market volume, the use of sugarcane ethanol is estimated to eliminate roughly 1,390 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.

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McDonald's USA Becomes First Restaurant Chain to Join GreenBlue's How2Recycle Label Program

GreenBlue’s Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC) announced this week that McDonald’s USA is the newest participant in its How2Recycle Label Program. A member of the SPC since 2005, McDonald’s is the first national restaurant chain to join How2Recycle, a program dedicated to clearly and consistently communicating recyclability to the public.

How AkzoNobel Is Using Open Innovation to Drive Change in Transportation

The movement of people and goods is crucial to the world economy. Globally, the transportation sector is expected to continue growing, with a geographic shift of demand and manufacturing to the developing economies. But with this growth, environmental concerns are also increasing: Presently, more than 60 percent of the 87 million barrels of oil consumed daily power the world’s transportation sector, and liquid fossil fuels account for 94 percent of the energy supply to the sector.

LAUNCH Nordic Enlists IKEA, Novozymes in Quest for Sustainable Materials

LAUNCH — the strategic collaboration between NASA, NIKE, Inc., the US Department of State and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) — announced Friday it has added the expertise of a host of Scandinavian innovators in its continued search for sustainable materials. LAUNCH teamed up with Nordic-based companies IKEA, Novozymes, Kvadrat, Arla and a number of government institutions to announce LAUNCH Nordic, an initial step in taking the LAUNCH process to innovators around the world.

DTSC Challenging Manufacturers to Make Products Safer

On Thursday, California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) challenged manufacturers to make their products safer and dramatically change the way consumers are protected from potential toxic harm.As a key step in its Safer Consumer Products regulations, DTSC is announcing three draft “priority products” — consumer goods sold in California that each contain at least one toxic chemical — and asking manufacturers to find a safer alternative.The three products are:

New Food and Beverage Industry Group Aims to Boost Packaging Recycling in Scotland

A group of food, beverage and packaging giants has come together to collaborate with the Scottish government to help boost packaging recycling and provide partnership support for waste reduction and anti-littering programs. The Packaging Recycling Group Scotland (PRGS) aims to assist Scotland in raising recycling awareness while increasing recycling rates and quality. Supporters include Coca-Cola Enterprises, TetraPak, Britvic, Red Bull and the British Plastics Foundation.

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HP's New Packaging Partnership Aims to Turn Straw Into Savings

Hewlett-Packard has teamed up with global packaging company YFY Jupiter for a new initiative that will use straw waste to create packaging material for its products. The program will create multifold benefits for HP — reduced costs, better protection for its products and reduced long-term environmental impacts to cite a few.

Walmart Implements Policy to Remove Harmful Chemicals from Consumer Products

Walmart has informed dozens of product manufacturers throughout its supply chain that it is now implementing its new policy to phase out hazardous chemicals from its consumer products, announced late last year.

LEGO Seeking Sustainable Alternative to Its Trademark Brick Material

LEGO told Plastics News this week that it is looking for a sustainable alternative to Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS), the plastic resin used in its signature bricks, by 2030.LEGO’s senior project manager Allan Rasmussen told PN that, not only must the selected material be able to meet the same characteristics as the original locking building blocks, the new bricks must also blend seamlessly with previous generations of bricks already in use.

Testing the 'CVS Effect' on Microbeads: Could L'Oréal & Unilever Be Bolder?

Recent commitments from L'Oréal, Unilever, Johnson & Johnson and P&G to phase microbeads out of their products by (or before) 2017 is laudable and a good step forward. This news responds to scientific research linking the tiny, polystyrene balls to Great Lakes pollution.

EU Initiative Developing Plastic Packaging Made from Wastewater

An EU-funded program is developing a method for making plastic packaging from the fermented wastewater of processed juice, which could save the beverage industry millions while tapping into growing consumer demand for eco-friendly products.Through the PHBOTTLE project, researchers are working to create value from industrial residues by developing them into a new biodegradable material. The project is focusing on juice-processing wastewater because it contains high concentrations of organic substances, including fermentable sugars such as glucose, fructose and maltose.

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