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Chemistry, Materials & Packaging

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

Get the Last Drop: New Marketing Opportunities in a Resource-Constrained World

What’s your favorite way to get at that last dollop of Crest? Do you flatten as you go? Slice the neck?What about shampoo or conditioner? Do you add a little water and swirl? Prop the bottle upside down in a corner? You are not alone! As the Wall Street Journal has noted, an increasing number of consumers are shaking, rattling and rolling their packages in search of the last drop, ounce and morsel — and for good reason.According to the scientific pounders and pummellers at Consumer Reports up to 25 percent of the LaPrairie and Lubriderm get left behind, as well as up to 16 percent of the Tide.

Dow's Reverse Osmosis Technology Earns Bronze Edison Award

Last week, not long after Dow designated its FILMTEC™ ECO Reverse Osmosis (RO) Elements as its second Breakthrough to a World Challenge, the technology garnered a prestigious Edison Award.

INVISTA Unveils Renewable, Bio-Based LYCRA Material

INVISTA, one of the world’s largest integrated producers of polymers and fibers, and owner of the LYCRA® brand, today introduces the first commercial offering of a bio-derived spandex — the stretchy fabric commonly found in swimwear, sportswear and dancewear.The company says approximately 70 percent by weight of the new LYCRA® bio-derived spandex fiber comes from a renewable source made from dextrose, derived from corn. The use of a renewable feedstock in the making of this new LYCRA® bio-derived fiber results in a lower CO2 emissions footprint than spandex produced using traditional raw materials.

Unilever's Lux Soap Will Now Be Made with Algal Oils

Unilever and Solazyme announced today the incorporation of algal oils into Unilever’s Lux brand soap (branded Caress in the US), which Unilever says is the world’s best-selling bar soap. The move aligns with Unilever’s ambition to double the size of its business while reducing its overall environmental footprint, as part of which Unilever has made a commitment to using only sustainably sourced agricultural raw materials by 2020.

'Make It, Take It' Campaign Pressuring Companies to Take Responsibility for Packaging Waste

A coalition of organizations devoted to waste and recycling, plastic pollution and resource conservation today launched the Make It, Take It Campaign, a collaborative effort to pressure consumer goods companies to take responsibility for packaging waste. Coordinated by UPSTREAM and backed by organizations including 5 Gyres, Clean Water Action, Green America and the National Resources Defense Council, the campaign aims to elevate the issue of packaging waste, put public pressure on consumer goods companies and educate and mobilize citizens to push for sustainable packaging policies.

Carrington Co. Launches First-Ever Organic Tea in Biodegradable Packaging

Organic food company Carrington Co. has announced the launch of the first tea on the market to feature packaging that will fully and safely biodegrade when composted.The company says all components of the Carrington Organics Tea, from the packaging to the bag and tea itself, are recyclable. The tea’s packaging is completely compostable and biodegradable, and leaves close to a zero carbon footprint.Carrington Co., which also makes other organic, non-genetically modified products such as flax seeds, hemp, chia and coconut oil, says that all of its Carrington Organics Tea products are certified organic and packed in the United States.

Unilever's New Plastic-Molding Process Could Save 27,000 Tons Per Year

Unilever announced on Tuesday that its Dove Body Wash will now come in bottles that contain at least 15 percent less plastic, thanks to a new packaging technology. Unilever says it will make the breakthrough process — which represents another step towards its goal to halve its waste footprint by 2020 — available for use throughout the industry.

Novelis Introduces High-Recycled Content Aluminum Can

Novelis has launched the world's first commercial use of evercan™, the company's independently certified high-recycled content aluminum sheet for beverage cans.Red Hare craft beer packaged exclusively in cans made of Novelis' evercan aluminum sheet – made of a minimum 90 percent recycled content – is expected to be on store shelves beginning in May 2014 in key markets throughout the southeastern US.

Could the Scourge of the Seas Help Defeat the Scourge of the Landfill?

We all know climate change and pollution are beginning to wreak havoc around the world in a variety of ways. In tropical and Mediterranean areas, higher oceanic acidity and warmer temperatures in recent years have created, among other things, a proliferation of pesky and increasingly invasive jellyfish, which are clogging up industrial piping systems, frustrating fishermen, and stinging and creeping-out beach-goers.

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.

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.

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.


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