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Chemistry, Materials & Packaging

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

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UK Scientists Say New Form of Carbon Graphite Could Revolutionize Renewable Energy, EVs

A recently discovered form of carbon graphite has a completely unexpected property that scientists say could revolutionize the development of renewable energy and electric cars.According to results published in the journal Nature, researchers at the University of Manchester have discovered that graphene — a one-atom-thick layer of graphite — allows positively charged hydrogen atoms (protons) to pass through it, despite being completely impermeable to all other gases. This could have amazing implications for the efficiency of fuel cells and other hydrogen-based technologies as they require a barrier that only allows protons to pass through.

Novelis 'Creating Value' by Increasing Closed-Loop Recycling, Reducing Carbon Emissions

Novelis’ recently released Fiscal Year 2014 sustainability report shows the aluminum rolling and recycling giant making significant investments and strides to advance the circular economy and increase the sustainability of its business, the aluminum industry and its broader value chain.

Carbios Makes New Advances in Reduction of Plastic Waste Through Enzymatic Depolymerization

Carbios, a French green chemistry company specializing in technologies dedicated to the recovery of plastic waste and the production of bio-polymers, recently announced that it has successfully managed to depolymerize 90 percent of polylactic acid (PLA) material — a thermoplastic aliphatic polyester derived from renewable resources, commonly used in everything from chip bags to toothpaste tubes — in only 48 hours, using its cutting-edge enzymatic process.

SC Johnson Highlights Lower GHGs and Waste, Higher Ingredient Transparency in 2014 Sustainability Report

In its just-released 2014 sustainability report, SC Johnson details progress on its environmental goals — including the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50 percent and manufacturing waste by 71 percent since 2000 — as well as significant advancements in ingredient transparency through its SC Johnson Greenlist™ process.

AkzoNobel and Partners Considering Sugar Beets as Renewable Chemical Feedstock

AkzoNobel has joined forces with SuikerUnie, Rabobank, Deloitte, Investment and Development Agency for the Northern Netherlands (NOM), Groningen Seaports, and the Province of Groningen to investigate the possibility of producing chemicals from beet-derived sugar feedstock.The parties have asked Deloitte to perform a feasibility study to provide an independent critical review and economic assessment on the viability of several business cases for commercial production in the Delfzijl chemical cluster in the Netherlands.

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Survey: Consumers Hate Product Waste More Than Going to the Dentist

This week, LiquiGlide Inc. — creator of a coating for the insides of food containers that helps coax out every last drop — released survey results that clearly illustrate consumers' intense dislike of product waste.

Confused by All the Tools to Evaluate Chemicals?

While listening to the radio in New York City a while back I heard an ad for a ‘chemical free’ mattress.What is a ‘chemical free’ mattress? There is no such thing. In fact, like all of our consumer products, all humans, animals, and minerals are made up of chemical molecules. Some molecules are made by nature, think wood or cotton or biomaterials (grass, bamboo), and others are made synthetically (or by man). By taking what nature has given us, companies turn biomaterials, oil, natural gas, salt, minerals, etc. into the beneficial and innovative products we use today. There is no way to avoid chemicals.There are no ‘chemical free’ products, period. Since chemical molecules are part of everything, we need to understand them. So how do we go about this process?

Researchers Develop Process to Make Nanostructured Carbon from Sawdust Waste

Chemists at the University of Birmingham have found a new way to make nanostructured carbon using the waste product sawdust, according to research published in the Royal Society of Chemistry journal Green Chemistry.By cooking sawdust with a thin coating of iron at 700 degrees centigrade, the researchers found they can create carbon with a structure made up of several tiny tubes. These tubes are one thousand times smaller than an average human hair.

AkzoNobel Develops Nature-Inspired Additive to Improve Road Safety

AkzoNobel has launched an additive for road salt to help protect against frost damage and improve driving safety.Inspired by the ability of certain animals to withstand cold and prevent ice forming in their bodies, Ecosel® AsphaltProtection is a fully biodegradable additive for de-icing brine. It works by preventing the water trapped inside the asphalt pores from turning into hard ice. It encourages the formation of slushy ice, which is mechanically weaker than the asphalt and substantially reduces the risk of damage. Slowing the freezing process results in soft, slushy ice, rather than hard, abrasive ice. After in-depth research and development, the product is available to customers in Italy and the Netherlands.

M&S Replacing Confounding Packaging Ties with Eco- and Consumer-Friendly Paper Version

Isn’t it great when a simpler solution makes the most sense? This week, Marks and Spencer (M&S) rolled out a much less aggravating alternative to the dreaded plastic and metal ties traditionally used to secure products inside packaging, particularly that of toys.The company told edie.net that its patent-pending 'PaperTies' lock products in place and, while strong enough to withstand transport and other wear and tear, are easily torn by the buyer, making receiving a new toy a much less frustrating experience for its recipient. And unlike the standard plastic and metal version, the 100% FSC-certified PaperTies are easily recyclable.

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Cooper Tire & Rubber Testing Tires Made with Guayule

Cooper Tire & Rubber Company — the Ohio-based parent company of a global family of companies that specialize in the design, manufacture, marketing and sales of passenger car and light truck tires — has completed tire builds using rubber derived from guayule plants and new guayule-related materials. The company says the tires are being evaluated by Cooper’s technical team using rigorous wheel, road and track tests, which are ongoing, but to date suggest tire performance that is at least equal to tires made of components derived from traditional rubber, derived from the Hevea rubber plant.

Shareholders Representing $35B Press P&G for Recyclable Packaging

Consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble has made a qualified commitment that 90 percent of its packaging will be recyclable by 2020. The commitment came the day before an October 14 vote on a shareholder proposal filed by shareholder advocacy group As You Sow asking the company to phase out unrecyclable packaging. The proposal won significant support — 25 percent of shares voted, representing more than $35 billion of investments, according to a P&G filing yesterday with the Securities & Exchange Commission.

Solazyme Wins 2014 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award

Solazyme, producer of renewable oil and bioproducts, has won the 2014 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award for its breakthrough platform technology to produce sustainable oils and products from microalgae for commercial use in a wide range of industries.

B&Q Is Out to Make Gardening as Sustainable as We Always Thought It Was

As an urban farmer, I’ve always been proud of my small-scale food production and gardening efforts, thinking that I’m supporting nature and working with the environment. But I wasn’t aware of the impacts of the gardening materials I chose and unable to see the big picture and interconnectedness of what I thought was a sustainable practice. For example, I sighed every time I tried to save the unrecyclable polystyrene planting trays for the next season or reuse them for other purposes, knowing that there was no better option out there. The common use of peat as compost in the trays is also an issue — turns out, commercial harvesting can destroy hundreds of years’ worth of peat and complex wildlife ecosystems in one or two years.

Tetra Pak Launches First Package Made From 100% Plant-Based Packaging Materials

Tetra Pak, provider of food processing and packaging solutions, today announced the launch of the industry’s first carton made entirely from plant-based, renewable packaging materials.The new Tetra Rex® carton will be the first in the market to have bio-based low-density polyethylene (LDPE) films and bio-based high-density polyethylene (HDPE) caps, both derived from sugar cane, in addition to Forest Stewardship Council (FSC™)-certified paperboard.

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AkzoNobel Creates Longer-Lasting, Self-Cleaning Paint

AkzoNobel has discovered a way to add self-cleaning properties and extend the life of its paints. Pioneered by one of the company’s product developers, Dr. Peter Greenwood, the company added colloidal silica to its paints and found it gave them this unique quality and durability.“It was actually on an aircraft. I was travelling home after meeting with a customer. Then I came up with the idea that if we add colloidal silica to a paint you can enhance the self-cleaning properties,” Greenwood reflected in the video.Through rigorous testing, AkzoNobel found that the paints now last up to 16 years, which is 25 percent longer than the standard product.

Clorox Increasing Product Transparency with Mobile App, Ingredient Calculator

The Clorox Company — a multinational leading manufacturer of top-selling cleaning and personal care products — has announced the launch of its Clorox Preferred Ingredient Calculator. The company has also expanded its Ingredients Inside program — a mobile app that lists and explains all ingredients of Clorox products to shoppers — to include specific fragrance components.The company says both are aimed at showing consumers what goes into their cleaning and care products so they can make informed purchasing decisions, as well as pushing the company to continue making sustainable ingredient choices.

Biome Bioplastics Unveils Plant-Based 3D-Printing Filament to Rival Oil-Based Counterparts

One of the UK’s leading bioplastics developers, Biome Bioplastics, has launched a new plant-based material for the 3D printing industry. Biome says its Biome3D, made from plant starches, is a biodegradable plastic that combines easy processing and a superior print finish, while offering much higher print speeds. Developed in partnership with 3Dom Filaments, the new material was unveiled last week at the TCT Show 2014, the leading event dedicated to 3D printing, additive manufacturing and product development.

Global Chemical Companies Release Environmental Footprint Guide

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) has published a new guide designed to help chemical industry customers and stakeholders make more informed, sustainable choices.Life Cycle Metrics for Chemical Products is the result of a collaboration between leading chemical companies that are part of the WBCSD’s Reaching Full Potential project. Focused on life cycle assessment methods, a key objective of the new guide is to provide and communicate material information about the environmental footprint of products that customers and stakeholders can trust and compare.

BASF's 'Intelligent' Gypsum Board Can Help Regulate Room Temperatures During Extreme Weather

As the likelihood grows for climate change to potentially wreak havoc with seasonal temperatures around the world, it not only has implications for our outdoor environment but indoors, as well: When rooms inside buildings become uncomfortably hot, for example, it can negatively affect the well-being and the performance of those living or working there.

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