If you’ve been around the building products industry in the last five years, you’ve probably encountered conversations about transparency — around material health, chemical hazards, environmental impacts, you name it.
To be fair, if you were around the building products industry 10 years ago, no one was really talking about transparency (at least not like today). The buzzword of the day back then was recycled content. Before that, it was indoor air quality. And over time those attributes have become commonplace for most manufacturers; transparency is the next attribute to achieve.
New innovations in materials science by two of the US’ most respected engineering and research institutions could revolutionize the materials we use for a host of applications across industries.
First, what if the inherent weaknesses of a material actually made houses and buildings stronger during wildfires and earthquakes?
From competitor and public policies to non-profit and investor pressures, there is more demand than ever to advance safer chemicals programs at your company. One proven way to help get on the right course is through benchmarking.
Benchmarking does not need to be a daunting task. In fact, there are tools available to help companies evaluate and compare their safer chemicals performance to standardized criteria. This process can help foster safer chemicals management by driving program changes based on industry best practices and successful management techniques.
There’s a flurry of activity this week, as several heavy-hitters announce moves that promise big ripple effects in the plastics and packaging space.
PepsiCo, Inc. today announced a multi-year supply agreement with Loop Industries, Inc., a leading technology innovator in sustainable plastic, that will enable PepsiCo to purchase production capacity from Loop’s joint venture facility in the US and incorporate Loop™ PET plastic, which is 100 percent recycled material, into its product packaging by early 2020.
While it might be cliche to say that plant-based fabrics are the latest trend in fashion, the recent emergence of luxury textiles made from everything from kapok tree fibers, apples, orange waste and coffee grounds, to a vegan wool alternative made from hemp and coconut fibers suggests these innovations are more than a seasonal blip.
Signatories of the Chemical Footprint Project — companies across a range of industries with $2.78 trillion in assets under management and over $700 billion in purchasing power — are asking their stakeholders: Where are you on your chemicals management journey? Are you participating in the CFP Survey? What are your CFP Survey answers?
“Leadership in chemical and material health is participating in the CFP Survey,” highlighted Dr. Mark S. Rossi, Executive Director of Clean Production Action and co-founder of CFP.
First, Danish brewer The Carlsberg Group has unveiled a series of packaging innovations, including its new Snap Pack, which is set to reduce plastic waste globally by more than 1200 tonnes a year – the equivalent to 60 million plastic bags.
The Snap Pack replaces the plastic wrapping used around Carlsberg’s six packs with a pioneering technology that glues its cans together. A world first for the beer industry, it will reduce the amount of plastic used in traditional multi-packs by up to 76 percent, and save 1,200 tonnes annually – the equivalent of 60 million plastic bags – once all of its 4-, 6- and 8-packs have been converted.
This week, the nonprofit H&M Foundation and the Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel (HKRITA) opened two first-of-their-kind textile recycling facilities in Hong Kong, where HKRITA’s breakthrough hydrothermal recycling technology will for the first time be put into practice at scale, and a miniaturized Garment-To-Garment Recycling System is opened for the public.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.