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Chemistry, Materials & Packaging

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

Solazyme and AkzoNobel Expand Algal Oil Partnership

Solazyme, Inc, a pioneer in renewable oils and bioproducts, and AkzoNobel, a global producer of paint, coatings and specialty chemicals, announced today they have expanded their previous agreement for the joint development of Tailored™ algal oils. The expansion provides for funded development, as well as agreed key terms for a multi-year supply agreement targeting annual supply of up to 10,000 MT of the oils, pending successful product development.The parties expect that the algal oil will be able to replace both petroleum- and palm oil-derived chemicals. The target product is designed to have improved functional and environmental performance, as well as a lower overall cost to AkzoNobel.

The Road to Renewable Raw Materials Is Paved with Strategic Partnerships

As the demand to reduce carbon-based raw materials intensifies, companies are not only looking at how they can reduce their consumption, but also at how they can find appropriate replacements for fossil fuel-based raw materials.To meet this challenge, a number of forward-thinking companies in the chemicals industry are developing strategies aimed at driving a successful transition to renewable alternatives. But how do companies successfully manage this transition? And what are the challenges?

Carbios Announces Milestone in Controlled Biodegradation Process for Disposable Soft Plastics

Carbios, a French green chemistry company specializing in technologies enabling the recovery of plastic waste and the production of bio-polymers, has announced a significant step forward in the development of its controlled biodegradation process for disposable soft plastics.With its new process, Carbios says it obtained completely biodegradable plastic material in domestic conditions. The material, comprised of an oil-based polymer and an enzyme, loses 50 percent of its mass in 15 days and completely biodegrades in less than three months, making Carbios’ technology an effective potential industrial answer to legal concerns around how to better control the end of life of disposable and short-life plastics.

Södra, James Cropper Unveil 100% Renewable, Biodegradable Alternative to Plastic

UK specialty paper and advanced materials manufacturer James Cropper PLC — which has developed breakthrough processes for recycling cocoa husk waste into paper and for recycling both the paper and plastic components of disposable coffee cups — has unveiled a sustainable alternative to plastic that the company says can carry the weight of an adult and be composted within 100 days. Developed in partnership with Södra, a Swedish forestry cooperative, DuraPulp is a bio-composite material that consists of specially selected pulp and a renewable biopolymer.

New Research Says Biostimulation Can Help Produce Algae 300 Times Faster

A research team at AlgaStar Inc, a Florida-based algae cultivation company, has reported that biological simulation has yielded a 300 percent increase in algae growth rate over normal conditions. Based on findings presented by AlgaStar CEO John Ericsson at the 2013 Algae Biomass Summit in Orlando, the research conducted at AlgaStar and recently initiated at Los Alamos National Laboratory has begun to map the conditions under which biostimulation enhances growth rate and metabolism for several biological cultures with microwave energy.

Biogen Idec Says It Will Reduce Its GHGs 80% by 2020

In its fifth annual Corporate Citizenship Report, released this week, biotech company Biogen Idec puts forward an aggressive set of 2020 goals, including reducing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions intensity by 80 percent (compared to its 2006 baseline and normalized by revenue), maintaining its zero waste-to-landfill status (achieved in 2012), and developing a new water-intensity goal, to be released by 2015. The GHG reductions will be equivalent to maintaining 2006 levels of GHG emissions despite significant realized and anticipated business growth.

New Tetra Pak Campaign Encourages Industry-Wide Commitment to Renewable Packaging

Tetra Pak has launched a campaign to raise industry awareness of the importance of the front end of the packaging life cycle — the sourcing of renewable materials — and is calling on the consumer goods industry to commit to prioritizing renewability.

Sainsbury's, M&S Lead Effort to Recycle 1.3 Billion Plastic Food Trays Annually

Sainsbury's and Marks and Spencer (M&S) are leading a consortium of UK packaging, retail and recycling organizations to launch a market trial aimed at recycling as many as 1.3 billion plastic food trays each year.The campaign focuses on reducing waste from black CPET trays, which are commonly used in supermarket ready meals. The trays are recyclable, but the black color of the trays makes them undetectable with Near Infra-Red optical sorting equipment typically used at plastic sorting and recycling facilities.

Dow Challenging People to Become Better Recyclers

Dow Packaging & Specialty Plastics has launched a campaign called Recycle Rally — A 30-Day Recycling Challenge, to inspire people to cultivate daily recycling behaviors.

Walmart, Bumble and Bumble Fined for VOC Emissions

Walmart, Bumble and Bumble and 17 other companies have been fined by the California Air Resources Board for air pollution violations. Bumble and Bumble received the highest penalty of $88,000 followed by Walmart at $34,000 out of a total of $233,175 of fines.The 19 companies were involved in the manufacturing or selling of consumer products - ranging from nail polish removers and bathroom cleaners to charcoal lighter materials and air fresheners - which exceeded California’s standards for volatile organic compounds (VOCs), gases that contribute to ozone formation once released into the air. The violations amounted to over 11 tons of excess VOC emissions.

Recycle Across America, Participant Media Determined to Get Us to 'Recycle Right!'

Recycle Across America® (RAA), a nonprofit that has developed the first and only society-wide standardized labeling system for recycling bins to help eliminate the public confusion surrounding recycling, has joined forces with Participant Media on a social action campaign called Recycle Right!, focused on transforming recycling and improving the economics and prevalence of sustainable packaging and manufacturing.

Defra Study Funding Coke, Tesco, Nestlé to Boost Recycling of Aluminum Packaging

Coca-Cola Enterprises, Tesco and Nestlé UK & Ireland are among the companies being funded by the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to develop viable approaches for collecting flexible packaging materials containing aluminum to improve the recycling and remanufacture of the material.Flexible laminate packaging — such as toothpaste tubes and pet food sachets — often contains valuable aluminium and various recyclable plastics, which can be difficult to collect and separate for viable recycling.

'Valuing Plastic' Illustrates Critical Need for Companies to Disclose Data on Plastic Use

Companies could become more sustainable by improving the way they measure, manage and report the amount of plastic they use in their business operations and supply chains, according to groundbreaking new research by the Plastic Disclosure Project (PDP), the UN Environment Programme and natural capital analysts Trucost.

LAUNCH Seeking Chemistry Innovations to Advance Sustainable Materials, Manufacturing

Calling all chemistry innovators! LAUNCH — the open innovation platform aimed at identifying and fostering breakthrough ideas for a more sustainable world — this week announced its newest System Challenge: Green Chemistry.

Biome Research Confirms Next-Generation Bioplastics Could Be Derived from Trees

A research project led by Biome Bioplastics, one of the UK’s leading developers of natural plastics, has demonstrated the feasibility of extracting organic chemicals from lignin — a complex hydrocarbon that helps to provide structural support in plants and trees — for the manufacture of bioplastics.The results stem from a grant from the UK’s innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board, awarded to a consortium led by Biome Bioplastics in early 2013 to investigate lignin as a potential new source of organic chemicals for bioplastics manufacture, which could significantly reduce costs and increase performance of these sustainable materials.

adidas Partners with bluesign, Commits to Additional Best Practices in Chemical Management

Today, the adidas Group announced a strategic partnership with bluesign technologies to further drive sustainable solutions in the Group’s global supply chain.bluesign technologies is the well-established world leading provider of assessment tools for positive chemistry in the textile industry. The bluesign® system, focused on screening and managing chemical input at supplier level, brings multiple benefits such as the more responsible use of resources, the effective management of restricted substances, as well as the elimination of hazardous chemicals in the supply chain.

Feds Release Recommendations to Improve Chemical Facility Safety and Security

The Chemical Facility Safety and Security Working Group, a federal government working group set up after an explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, in 2013 has released recommendations that agencies should consider new rules for the storage and handling of chemicals.Established by Executive Order 13650 issued in response to the blast, the working group has developed a preliminary list of options for improving chemical facility safety and security for further discussion and comment.

Kaiser Permanente Commits to Flame-Retardant-Free Furniture

Kaiser Permanente has announced that it will stop purchasing furniture treated with flame retardants. Its new standard specifies that upholstered furniture in new or remodeled buildings should not contain added fire-retardant chemicals.The medical group says it spends roughly $30 million a year to furnish its hospitals, medical offices and other buildings. It is the first health system in the country to make this commitment; the decision could impact more than 38 hospitals and 600 medical offices in eight states and the District of Columbia.

Ford and Heinz Collaborate on 'Tom-auto'-Based Materials for Car Parts

When most people think of ketchup and cars (if they do at all), they’re probably just hoping to not spill any while they’re driving. But researchers at Ford and Heinz have something much cooler in mind — the companies announced today they are investigating the use of tomato fibers in developing bio-based composite materials for use in vehicle manufacturing. Specifically, dried tomato skins — now a waste product of the ketchup-making process — could become the wiring brackets or a storage bin used to hold coins and other small objects in a Ford vehicle.

Groups call on Walmart, P&G, Coke to Back Proven Recycling Approaches, Not Closed Loop Fund

Today, a group of public interest organizations called on Walmart and the eight other companies involved in the recently launched $100M “Closed Loop Recycling” loan fund, to instead support proven policies to boost recycling, such as extended producer responsibility (EPR), which holds consumer goods companies financially responsible for the collection of their packaging post-use (rather than having taxpayers and local governments foot the bill) and meeting recycling targets.