This month, we dig deeper into the growing number of innovations and initiatives aimed at eliminating pollution caused by the most ubiquitous material on earth.

Amerplast Announces New, Flexible Packaging Made From Sugar Cane

CHEMISTRY, MATERIALS & PACKAGING - This week, Amerplast, one of Europe's largest flexo printers and bag converters, began a supply partnership with Braskem, a global leader in biopolymers, to market Green Polyethylene (Green PE) made from a renewable sugar cane ethanol, to tissue segment.

Being Socially Responsible is Business as Usual for us at AT&T, and we Weave it Into Everything we do

PRESS RELEASE -  Being socially responsible is business as usual for us at AT&T, and we weave it into everything we do. So today, for the fourth year in a row, we want to recognize several suppliers who have really taken to heart our call to action for sustainable operations. These companies have contributed innovative solutions toward our sustainable operation efforts.  

Procter & Gamble Joins GreenBlue’s How2Recycle Label Program Encouraging At-Home Recycling

PRESS RELEASE -  GreenBlue’s Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC) today announced that The Procter & Gamble Company (NYSE:PG) has joined the organization’s How2Recycle Label program. Procter & Gamble (P&G) will initially carry the label on their Dawn dishwashing liquid packaging, a product already known for its environmental efforts, including its use to clean animals affected by oil spills. 

Dow Pilot Program Shows Plastic Waste Can Be Turned Into Fuel

PRODUCT, SERVICE & DESIGN INNOVATION - The Dow Chemical Company recently completed a pilot program aimed at showing how certain plastics such as juice pouches, candy wrappers and plastic dinnerware — which are not easily recyclable under traditional models — can be converted into synthetic crude oil for fuel.As part of the Energy Bag Pilot Program, Dow partnered with the Flexible Packaging Association, Republic Services, Agilyx, Reynolds Consumer Products and the city of Citrus Heights, Calif. to drive a collection pilot program meant to divert non-recycled plastics from landfills and to optimize their resource efficiency across the lifecycle.

Plastic Permanence: Our Litter Is Now Part of the Geologic Record

CHEMISTRY, MATERIALS & PACKAGING - From a human perspective, the earth’s geography changes pretty slowly — it takes thousands of years for a glacier to carve out a valley, for plate tectonics to form mountains and for volcanic eruptions to layer new land masses. But a recent discovery by scientists shows a new addition to the rock record, and it’s partly man-made.The new hybrid rock type is called a plastiglomerate, and the colorful stones are cropping up on shorelines in Hawaii. They’re multicolored and multitextured, a mosaic of stone and polymer. Plastiglomerates are formed when plastic is melted and hardens into pores of existing rocks. They’re usually between 2 and 8 inches, and rounded from erosion on the shore.

Project MainStream Launches 3 Programs to Help Scale Circular Economy

WASTE NOT - Project MainStream, part of the World Economic Forum’s Circular Economy initiative, has launched three new programs focused on developing ways of scaling the circular economy through materials management, information technology and business model innovation, among others.

Why Durable Bioplastics, Not Biodegradable, May Be the Answer

CHEMISTRY, MATERIALS & PACKAGING - To conclude this series about bioplastics and the biodegradability (or lack thereof) of plastic products and packaging, I want to discuss the future of what I consider to be one of the only viable alternatives to plastics derived from non-renewable resources: durable bioplastics.

Valio Debuts First Product Using Tetra Pak’s 100% Plant-Based Carton Package

PRODUCT, SERVICE & DESIGN INNOVATION - Finnish dairy producer Valio has become the first company in the world to sell products to consumers in carton packaging made entirely from plant-based materials. Consumers are able to buy these packages at retail shops in Finland beginning this week.

The Myth of Biodegradability in Plastic Consumer Products and Packaging

CHEMISTRY, MATERIALS & PACKAGING - In my last post regarding the long-term viability of bio-based polymers, I touched on some of the primary concerns we face regarding the rise of plastics labeled as “biodegradable.” It’s an important component of this broad discussion, and one that has become increasingly relevant in an increasingly sustainability-driven product market.

The Push for Bioplastics and the Myth of Biodegradability

CHEMISTRY, MATERIALS & PACKAGING - This is the first of a three-part series by TerraCycle CEO Tom Szaky that examines the benefits, risks, misconceptions and long-term viability of bioplastics.

Reports Find Over 5 Trillion Pieces of Plastic Floating in the World’s Oceans … and 10,000 Times More in the Deep Sea

WASTE NOT - More than five trillion pieces of plastic, collectively weighing nearly 269,000 tons, are floating in the world’s oceans and causing damage throughout the food chain, according to new research by the 5 Gyres Institute — but that is apparently a drop in the bucket compared to the amount littering the ocean floor.Data collected by scientists from the United States, France, Chile, Australia and New Zealand estimates a minimum of 5.25 trillion plastic particles in the oceans, most of them “microplastics,” measuring less than 5mm.

Ecover Partners with Sonoco on Plant-Based Plastic Bottles for New North American Cleaning Products

CHEMISTRY, MATERIALS & PACKAGING - Ecover, the world's largest maker of non-toxic, eco-friendly cleaning products, has teamed up with packaging producer Sonoco for a series of plant-based plastic bottles for its new North American home care line.

BASF, Schuster Developing Greaseproof, Recyclable Cardboard for Fast Food Packaging

CHEMISTRY, MATERIALS & PACKAGING - BASF and recycled cardboard company Schuster have announced they are working on a solution for a combined migration and grease barrier on recycled cardboard.The biopolymer ecovio® PS 1606 is applied to recycled cardboard in an extrusion coating process. This enables the proportion of recycled paper fibers in fast food packaging to be increased while simultaneously making it industrially compostable. The polymer coating applied to the cardboard is several times thinner than a human hair, but provides the packaging with good protection against potential migration of undesired substances while also offering high greaseproofness and liquid tightness. This cardboard is more than 90 percent biobased, recyclable and industrially compostable.

VTT Developing Eco-Friendly Alternative for Polystyrene

CHEMISTRY, MATERIALS & PACKAGING - VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has announced it is developing an affordable and environmentally friendly alternative for polystyrene from PLA bioplastic, which is derived from organic sources.Although expanded polystyrene (EPS) is currently used all over the world as a light packaging and insulation material, it poses a significant waste problem. The annual production volume of EPS is 5 to 6 million tons per year, and the non-biodegradable material typically ends up on waste tips or is disposed of by burning, which results in toxic compounds.

Plum Organics Joins GreenBlue's How2Recycle Label Program

CHEMISTRY, MATERIALS & PACKAGING - GreenBlue’s Sustainable Packaging Coalition announced this week that Plum Organics is the latest company to join its How2Recycle Label program. Plum joins 30 other participating companies — including most recently, Kellogg and McDonald’s — committed to educating consumers on packaging recyclability by providing clear on-package instructions.

VWR Tackling Single-Use Garment Waste with New Recycling Program

WASTE NOT - VWR, provider of laboratory products, services and solutions, has launched a new recycling initiative that allows U.S. customers to recycle a variety of single-use garments.Through "Gown Up, Give Back”, VWR hopes to help reduce the millions of pounds of single-use garments sent to the landfill each year. The plastic waste from these garments is recycled into resin that is used to make permanent infrastructure, including composite decking, railroad ties and drainage pipes. The recycling program provides a waste collection, shipment and recycling solution for most single-use garments as long as they are free from contamination and purchased from VWR.

Carbios Announces Milestone in Controlled Biodegradation Process for Disposable Soft Plastics

CHEMISTRY, MATERIALS & PACKAGING - 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.

Not Magic, Science: Startup Creating Plastic Out of Thin Air

CHEMISTRY, MATERIALS & PACKAGING - We’re hearing more and more often about inventive new ways companies are turning waste into valuable resources — from turning everything from CO2 and methane gases to human and food waste into fuels, and plastic into bacteria-battling “

IBM's Plastic 'Ninja Polymers' Could Be MRSA Bacteria's First Worthy Opponents

CHEMISTRY, MATERIALS & PACKAGING - A team of research scientists at IBM and Singapore’s Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) have drawn upon years of expertise in semiconductor technology and material discovery to crack the code for safely destroying the antibiotic-resistant and sometimes-deadly superbug MRSA.IBM says the researchers have made a nanomedicine breakthrough by converting common plastic materials such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET) into non-toxic and biocompatible materials designed to specifically target and attack fungal infections.

Over 380 Waitrose, John Lewis Stores to Be Powered by Renewables Through New Deal

CLEANTECH - Already leading the charge when it comes to wiping out its food and plastic waste, The John Lewis Partnership has become the latest company to commit to drastically increasing its use of renewable energy. The UK retail giant recently announced a new partnership with SmartestEnergy to supply over 380 of its Waitrose and John Lewis stores with 100 percent clean power.

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