Chemistry, Materials & Packaging

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

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Will Clean Meat Change the GMO Debate?

The environmentally devastating statistics on the meat industry are staggering. It seems predicated on the idea that the population needs to eat now, so the future can take care of itself. If humanity follows through on that idea, efforts at sustainability will go to waste. Before you slap another steak on the barbecue this summer, contemplate the following arguments against red meat as we know it:

Trending: £25M Investment Scheme, Climate-Positive Sack Will Reduce Packaging Waste

Plastics and packaging are ubiquitous and leading to major problems both for waste management and ocean pollution. While many companies are committing to reduce or eliminate single-use plastics, there is still a lot of work to do on all fronts.

Trending: New Circular Solutions for Polyester, Almonds Drive Textiles, Plastics Towards Zero Waste

The potential of a circular economy continues to unfold as new technologies are help transform everything from post-consumer textiles to almond shells into high-quality raw materials. CARBIOS, a pioneer in the field of bioplasturgy, has taken its enzymatic depolymerization process to the next level, rendering it applicable to PET polyester fibers from textile waste.

As Starbucks Seeks Sustainable Cup Solutions, Shareholders Demand More Ambitious Action

Ahead of its Annual Meeting of Shareholders this week, Starbucks has announced it is committing $10M in partnership with Closed Loop Partners and its Center for the Circular Economy to develop a more sustainable coffee cup. Together, the organizations will establish a new consortium to launch the NextGen Cup Challenge, which will award accelerator grants to entrepreneurs working on potential cup solutions and encourage industry collaboration.

Trending: Entrepreneurs, Glass Recycling, Prefab Taking Eco-Homes to the Next Level

The construction industry is the world’s largest consumer of raw materials, and after they’re built, buildings can use a substantial amount of energy to keep us comfortable. Reducing the environmental impacts of buildings – particularly through their materials and energy intensity – has become a priority for startups and large companies alike.

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Trending: Food Industry Says Sayonara to Single-Use Plastics

The war against single-use plastics rages on as even more brands rise to the challenge of creating a plastic-free future. Online food delivery companies Just Eat and Deliveroo are the latest businesses to hop aboard the sustainable packaging bandwagon.

Levi’s Cleans Up Denim Supply Chain with Digital Finishing Process

Levi Strauss & Co. (LS&Co.) has taken an important step to clean up the fashion supply chain, rolling out a new digital manufacturing process that will eliminate the use of hazardous chemicals that have traditionally been used in the industry for jeans finishing.

Free First-of-Its-Kind App Enables Total Impact Modeling of Products, Supply Chains

Makersite, a groundbreaking open data platform created by Everycs that aims to make better products faster, has developed a first-of-its-kind modeling app that simultaneously calculates a product’s production costs, its compliance and its effect on environment and health.

H&M Teams Up with Aquafil to Bring Sustainable Fashion to the Masses

Aquafil and H&M have joined forces to make sustainable fashion mainstream through the H&M Conscious Exclusive collection.

Toxnot, ILFI Team Up to Scale Product Transparency

In a bid to scale product transparency, chemicals management innovator Toxnot and transparency and regenerative design leader International Living Future Institute (ILFI) have embarked on a new partnership. Toxnot provides a best-in-class toolset to collect, manage and report on the chemicals in product supply chains.

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Trending: Momentum Continues Gathering to Phase Out Single-Use Plastics

Single-use plastics continue to lose their appeal as the global community rallies around the concept of a circular economy. The UK, in particular, is taking the lead, setting a new standard for both the public and private sector, while food and beverage giant Nestlé is helping ease the transition away from a take-make-dispose model.

Trending: Supermarkets, Government, the Queen Take Stand Against Single-Use Plastics

Plastic packaging continues on its downward spiral as supermarkets, government and even the Queen begin to explore more sustainable alternatives. Kiwi supermarket chain New World is setting a new standard for the food industry by drastically reducing the amount of plastic packaging stocking its shelves.

Why Sustainable Concrete Will Be the Bedrock for Future Megacities

The US’s infrastructure is falling apart beneath our feet. In 2017, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave our infrastructure a “D-” on its infrastructure report card. There are so many considerations for infrastructure repair, it’s mind-boggling. From aviation to wastewater systems to public parks, it all needs work. There are two common threads throughout: energy and concrete.

Dunkin’ Donuts to Eliminate Foam Cups by 2020

As part of its commitment to serve both people and the planet responsibly, morning mainstay Dunkin’ Donuts has unveiled plans to eliminate polystyrene foam cups in its global supply chain by 2020. The phase-out will begin later this year and will see the coffeehouse giant replace conventional foam coffee cups with a double-walled paper alternative. The company’s transition to paper cups will remove nearly one billion foam cups from the waste stream annually.

Trending: Brewing Up Sustainable Solutions for Plastic Tea Bags, Six-Pack Rings

2018 is gearing up to be a big year for packaging innovation.

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Chemistry, Materials & Packaging

Design experimentation and product innovation for sustainability would be impossible without the underlying scientific advances coming out of research labs around the world dedicated to chemical, mechanical and materials engineering. This channel highlights breakthroughs in 'green' chemistry that are creating sustainable alternatives to wasteful or polluting materials, fuels and processes; and the organizations that are leveraging them for maximum environmental, social and economic benefit.

Trending: Coca-Cola, Evian, Amcor Unveil Ambitious Circular Packaging Strategies

Beverage giants Coca-Cola and Evian and global packaging company Amcor have announced new efforts that will fundamentally reshape their approaches to packaging. By 2030, Coca-Cola says it will collect and recycle 100 percent of its packaging; Evian has pledged to produce all of its plastic bottles from 100 percent rPET by 2025; and all of Amcor’s packaging will be recyclable or reusable by 2025.

Trending: Plastic Packaging Takes Backseat to Seaweed, Origami-Inspired Alternatives

Though the normalization of single-use plastic packaging has made plastic pollution out to be an insurmountable problem, consumers’ and brands’ growing awareness of the implications of take-make-dispose models is helping drive the development of recyclable and renewable packaging alternatives. Ellen MacArthur Circular Design Challenge winners TrioCup and Evoware are two examples of packaging innovators leading the charge towards a more circular economy.

Algae Poised to Power Future Fuel Cells

Researchers at the University of Cambridge have developed a new algae-powered fuel cell that is five times more efficient than existing plant and algal models. Both cost-effective and practical to use, scientists expect the fuel cell to bring algal-based systems one step closer to practical implementation.

A New Year’s Resolution for Retailers: Eliminate Toxic Chemicals

This New Year’s, retailers should make a resolution to get toxic chemicals out of their products and packaging. At a time when the EPA is undermining the implementation of the nation’s new chemical safety law enacted just last year, it’s more critical than ever for retailers to step up and use their market clout to drive dangerous chemicals out of commerce and ensure substitutes are safe. Over the past year, we’ve seen a growing number of retailers adopt new or expand sustainability policies to identify and remove chemicals that are harmful to public health.

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