Chemistry, Materials & Packaging

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

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VTT's Plastic-Eating Microbes Could Help Solve Marine Plastic Problem

VTT — the Technical Research Centre of Finland — is helping to solve the global plastic waste problem with a project called PlastBug, a mobile container unit that removes plastic waste from ocean areas and converts it into material for other uses. "Our idea is to design a mobile container where microbes degrade plastic waste to valuable products like fuels or chemicals," says Kari Koivuranta, Principal Scientist at VTT.

Q&A: DuPont Sorona and the Evolution, and Revolution, of Biomaterials

Over his more than 30 years in the business, Mike Saltzberg has seen firsthand how sustainability has grown to be of equal consideration with technical performance and cost in the development of new biomaterials. Saltzberg is the Global Business Director for Biomaterials at DuPont Industrial Biosciences, the team that ideates and develops products derived from bio-based materials. Among their innovations is DuPont™ Sorona®, a partially plant-based fiber increasingly used in apparel and carpet.

2 Companies Capitalizing on the Market Shift Away from Disposable Plastic Packaging

A growing market shift has reached a critical mass this year against disposable plastic packaging. Leading on the regulatory front, the EU announced a goal of making all of its plastic waste recyclable or reusable by 2030. In the private sector, major brands have committed to achieving 100 percent recycling and reuse of materials in the form of sustainable packaging by 2025.

Paper Battery from BillerudKorsnäs, Uppsala Paving Way for Energy Storage in Packaging

Swedish sustainable packaging giant BillerudKorsnäs and researchers at Uppsala University have partnered to bring paper batteries to life. Together, they have taken basic research based on pure cellulose from algae and developed it to work with the same type of fiber that BillerudKorsnäs often uses to manufacture its packaging material — furthering development for both inexpensive and eco-friendly batteries. The long-term aim is to enable large-scale production and the future use of paper batteries for applications in areas such as smart packaging.

Can Lessons from the Slow Food Movement Fuel Slow Fashion?

Grocery stores, restaurants and coffee shops have wholeheartedly embraced the slow food movement, with phrases such as "certified organic," "fair-trade" and "all-natural" plastered across product packaging and menus. While each of these designations means something specific, in the eyes of many along the supply chain including the end user, they all can deliver a similar message of high quality.

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Trending: Healthier Buildings Are on the Horizon; New Materials Clean the Air

What if buildings could break down pollution and act like forests? What if they could make occupants healthier?

Paper Calculator v4 Continues to Drive Sustainable Use, Purchasing

From packaging to copy paper and tissue, global paper consumption is steadily increasing. Reducing paper’s impacts on the planet is critical, but only what’s measured is managed. Previous tools to help quantify paper’s environmental performance have had limited data quality, scope and accessibility.

Trending: New Spins on Wood, Hemp, Coconut Recognized as Winning Natural Fibers

A process that turns wood pulp into yarn and a vegan wool alternative made from hemp and coconut fibers have respectively earned a spot in Fashion for Good’s Scaling Programme and a prize in the 2018 Biodesign Challenge.

3 Easy Concepts for Sustainable Packaging to Reduce Food Waste

Packaging waste, especially plastics, is the sustainability issue of our time, driven by growing public and media attention. Yet just two years ago, we were talking about food waste and one overlapping yet unresolved question is the role that packaging must play in protecting and preserving food.

adidas, Neste Bolstering Markets for Recycled Plastics

Amidst the anti-plastic frenzy dominating corporate sustainability news lately, adidas and Neste have announced plans to increase their efforts to utilize more waste plastic.

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Greenpeace: Clothing Industry Showing Progress Toward Detox Commitments

For the first time, Greenpeace has released a report on the progress of its Detox campaign to eliminate hazardous chemicals from clothing production by 2020. The 80 companies who have signed on over the first seven years of the initiative represent a combined 15 percent of global clothing production — and all of them are “making good progress” to cut 11 priority chemicals and improve transparency.

Lowe’s to Phase Out 2 Toxic Chemicals Following Deaths, Petitions, EPA Inaction

Lowe’s has become the first major U.S. retailer to commit to ending the sale of two toxic chemicals in its paint removal products sold globally by the end of this year. The chemicals, methylene chloride and N-methylpyrrolidone (NMP), have been linked to more than 60 deaths in the U.S. since 1980, prompting the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to propose a ban in January 2017 that has yet to be finalized.

Toxnot: Distilling the Complexity of Chemical Supply Chains

As we get ready to judge our semi-finalists next week in the 2018 Sustainable Brands Innovation Open, we wanted to check in with last year’s competitors to learn about the impacts they continue to have on the business world. Here, we catch up with Toxnot.

Trending: Aquafil-H&M Collaboration, Cotton Dyeing Process Making Textiles More ‘Effective’

This year, the world’s largest event on sustainability in fashion, the Copenhagen Fashion Summit, included an Innovation Competition that saw 12 finalists pitch their technologies onstage in front of a panel of expert judges and Summit attendees. After a series of presentations and judging sessions over the two day event, the winner was announced: ColorZen.

Apple Partners with Rio Tinto, Alcoa on Zero-Carbon Aluminum Smelting

Apple uses a lot of aluminum across its product line — it’s part of the company’s design ethos. But it also represents almost a quarter of Apple’s manufacturing emissions.

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Why Sustainable Chemistry Is Key to the Success of a Circular Fashion Industry

Earlier this year, the Global Fashion Agenda released the CEO Agenda for the fashion industry, which highlights the “efficient use of chemicals, water and energy” as a core priority for immediate implementation. However, while chemical management is listed high on this agenda, time and again, the importance of this topic is not reflected in key conferences and events.

U.S. Plastics Producers Aim to Recycle or Recover 100% of Plastic Packaging by 2040

Three new goals to enhance the circular economy for plastics and reduce packaging waste have been announced by leading U.S. plastic producers including BASF, Dow, DuPont and Braskem.

Trending: Pizza, Water, Frozen Foods Find Plastic-Free Packaging

People of all ages are more aware of their impact on the planet’s limited resources and ecosystem health than ever before. Packaging is of particular concern, prompting this year’s Earth Day theme: end plastic pollution. “I’d like more people to take care of the Earth,” said Yasmine, a 7th grader in the Garden Club at Montgomery Middle School in San Diego, CA. Fellow club member Daisy, also in 7th grade, agrees. “People can use more reusable bags instead of plastic,” Daisy added. “We have lots of reusable bags at home. When we do get plastic bags, we reuse them.”

More Companies Are Saying Don’t Go Paperless — Choose the Right Paper, Instead

Although we see every day as Earth Day, the annual celebration always inspires great conversation about sustainability and how we can do better as a society. We believe education is the cornerstone of this observance, and though we always hear about important best practices for recycling and minimizing water usage, paper is something we all use every day and an important factor that many people still don’t have right. It’s unrealistic to believe our business world will ever be truly paperless. With that in mind, it’s more productive to focus on how to make more sustainable paper choices — focusing instead on how your paper is made.

Trending: Enzymes, Recycled Roads Offer More Solutions to Our Plastic Problem

Growing consumer awareness and pressure has pushed plastic waste to the forefront of sustainability concerns, prompting numerous commitments to reduce single-use plastics, more efforts to combat marine plastic pollution, and the adoption of a bottle deposit scheme in the UK, to name a few.

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