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Plastics News, June 09, 2022   An industry coalition wants to boost the recycling rate of PET thermoforms like these from their current rate of about 10 percent in the U.S.   An industry coalition wants to boost the recycling rate of PET thermoforms like these from their current rate of about 10 percent in the U.S.A new industry coalition that aims to provide technical grants to improve PET recycling has set an initial target of raising $25 million.   The PET Recycling Coalition, which includes major PET resin makers and beverage companies, said in a June 8 launch announcement that it will focus on making grants to recycling facilities for sorting equipment and other capital spending.   The group had a preliminary launch at an industry conference in March but it did not including financial details at that time.   It said in a staement that it hopes to use grants and technical assistance to increase recycling of PET, particularly to meet the "skyrocketing demand" for recycled content set by major manufacturers and being spelled out in U.S. legislation.   One of the targets will be recycling more non-bottle packaging like PET egg cartons and fruit clamshells.   "We are excited to partner with leaders across the value chain to catalyze the change that will get all forms of PET, not just clear bottles, into our recycle stream," said Scott Ballard, president of plastics and circular at Eastman Chemical Co., a founding member. "Together, we can create a circular economy, leave fossil feeds in the ground, and do it with a lower carbon footprint."   The coalition said only 54 percent of U.S. residents have access to recycling non-bottle PET containers like egg cartons in their local programs.   Figures from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency show that only 9.6 percent of non-bottle PET packaging was recycled in 2018, the last year figures are available.   The group also said it wanted to fund work to reduce the amount of PET lost to contamination, noting that up to 17 percent of PET bottles that are collected in curbside bins and brought to materials recovering facilities are lost because of challenges in sorting, it said.   The initiative has set an initial funding target of $25 million over five years but it did not provide additional details.   In its statement, it outlined four priorities: increasing the capture of PET bottles; broadening acceptance of PET trays and other non-bottle packaging in community programs; unlocking new supplies of recycled PET for packaging manufacturers; and strengthening recycling of pigmented and opaque PET.   The coalition noted that only 26.6 percent of PET bottles were recycled in 2021 in the United States.   The group will operate as part of The Recycling Partnership's Pathway to Circularity Initiative. Founding members of its steering committee include Eastman, Indorama Ventures, Procter & Gamble and the Walmart Foundation.
Editor 2022-06-12
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Consumer brands see value in chemical recyclingA new, independent scientific study demonstrating has found that the chemical recycling of hard-to-recycle plastic waste could reduce the climate impact of plastic when compared to waste-to-energy incineration.The study, published April 13, was commissioned by the Coalition of Action on Plastic Waste, one of the coalitions within the Consumer Goods Forum, a not-for-profit global organization that brings consumer goods retailers and manufacturers together, and conducted by Sphera, a leading provider of life cycle analysis (LCA) services.The coalition is working with others to encourage plastics recycling innovation, which includes exploring the potential of chemical recycling as a complementary approach to mechanical recycling. The new LCA study serves to reinforce and underscore the stance of the Coalition outlined in its latest Vision and Principles Paper, entitled Chemical Recycling in a Circular Economy for Plastics.That paper, compiled by 16 companies under the umbrella of the Consumer Goods Forum Plastic Waste Coalition of Action, provides a view of the role of pyrolysis-based chemical recycling in a circular economy for plastics and plastic packaging. It indicates tentative support for the development of new plastic recycling technologies, although this support is conditioned on these technologies meeting some six principles outlined in the paper: complementing work on mechanical recycling, material traceability, process yields and environmental impact, health and safety and the need for credible, transparent communication about all claims made regarding chemically recycled plastics.Chemical recycling, write the authors of the paper, could increase packaging recycling rates which could enable recyclability targets to be met, more specifically for hard-to-recycle plastics, for example post-consumer flexible film."Chemical recycling is a critical complement to mechanical recycling as it will allow large quantities of flexible packaging to be recycled into food grade packaging,” said Barry Parkin, chief sustainability officer for Mars, Inc., one of the 16 companies co-authoring the paper. He added that the LCA study, commissioned to examine the aspect of climate change impact, showed that chemical recycling ‘has a significantly lower carbon footprint than the current end of life of flexible packaging’.The study is focused on the European Union where legislation and recycling targets are creating increasing demand for food-grade recycled plastic. It showed that where residual plastic waste is disposed only through waste-to-energy incineration, expanding pyrolysis-based chemical recycling for hard-to-recycle plastic packaging waste would result is a reduction of overall greenhouse gas emissions.Specifically, the life cycle GHG emissions of pyrolysis-based chemically recycled polyethylene/polypropylene flexible packaging that is also potentially disposed of through chemical recycling at end of life is 43 percent lower than plastic films manufactured from fossil fuels and disposed through waste-to-energy incineration at end of life."It is crucial to consider all potential environmental impacts across the life cycle of production and consumption systems when assessing technologies such as chemical recycling of plastics,” noted Llorenç Milà i Canals, the head of the life cycle initiative secretariat within the United Nations Environmental Programme.“Life cycle assessment is the standardized tool to do just that, assuring the necessary scrutiny by experts and interested parties; the Consumer Goods Forum has initiated a very useful process to shed light on many of these aspects in this report.”The report also points to chemical recycling as the only way to recycle large volumes of flexible plastics packaging and other mixed PE/PP into food grade PE/PP recycled content under current European regulations.Twenty-two coalition member companies, asked to estimate their potential European demand for chemically recycled PE/PP that could meet their quality and safety standards and was reasonably priced, arrived at an estimated volume of 780,000 metric tons per year, of which 680,000 tonnes food grade, which demonstrates the potential market demand for chemically recycled plastics. Meeting just this volume of demand would require 60-70 new medium-sized chemical recycling plants.As the companies state in their Vision and Principles paper, their vision is for pyrolysis-based chemical recycling to reach industrial scale, within the bounds of the principles formulated by the group, by 2025. By 2030 the aim is for the technology to be sufficiently scaled as to hit targets for recycling rates and recyclability, including the production of food-grade recycled plastics at scale."As we continue to reduce the use of virgin plastic, new technologies such as chemical recycling can help drive up recycling rates and increase the availability of food grade recycled materialsm,” said Colin Kerr, Packaging Director, Unilever. “The principles and Life Cycle Assessment work from The Consumer Goods Forum is key to ensuring this can happen in a safe and environmentally sound way.”source : https://www.plasticsnews.com/news/consumer-brands-see-value-chemical-recyclingedit : handler
Editor 2022-05-16
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Case Western researchers develop process to recycle thermoset plasticsResearchers at Case Western Reserve University are working on a simple way of turning scrap thermoset plastics into new thermosets with similar properties.Their process involves mixing scrap thermoset with a catalyst and then pulverizing the mixture. In the process, the catalyst bonds at the cross-linking sites where it can break the cross-link bonds and then form new ones into a new thermoset. They call the technology vitrimization.Researcher Liang Yue said in a phone interview the research stems from the desire to recycle tough thermoset scrap rather than landfill it.“These are strong materials and resistant to impact, but until now they were single use. We’re trying to change that,” Yue said.Wind turbine blades, auto parts and a host of other industrial and commercial products are made of tough thermosets such as epoxies, polyurethanes and reinforced unsaturated polyesters. These products can end up in landfills or be incinerated, which are undesirable outcomes at the products’ end of life.Much work has been done on grinding up thermoset scrap and adding the resultant powder as a filler in virgin thermoset resin, but this approach is frustrated by poor bonding between the filler and virgin resin.Yue and others began work on the concept at Cleveland-based Case Western’s School of Engineering laboratory two years ago when he joined with lead researcher Ica Manas-Zloczower, professor of advanced materials and energy. Their team, which included several other Case Western researchers, first announced its discovery recently in journal ACS Macro Letters.The team reported on recent work with thermoset epoxy materials and a zinc-based catalyst. It created a material with so-called dynamic cross-links. The “permanent” cross-links in the scrap bond with zinc ions, which under heat and pressure catalyse the formation of new cross-links.The powder they made can be compression molded into a new thermoset part. The process does not rely on solvents and in theory such scrap could be infinitely recycled. These benefits call to mind the ability to recycle thermoplastics through many cycles.Yue said the researchers want to expand on their work with more thermoset polymers. He said it should be applicable to elastomeric thermosets like rubber, which then could be injection molded. Down the road, even polyolefins might be applicable to vitrimization-based recycling.Various approaches to vitrimization have been studied by several research groups for more than a decade. The Case Western work seems more promising and economically feasible than other approaches tried so far, Yue said.The team’s paper sparked interest in industry, according to Yue. He and Manas-Zloczower are negotiating with potential industry partners to scale up their process via mechanical-chemical ball milling of scrap to make thousands of pounds of reusable powder resin.“We can recycle tons of epoxy waste in a matter of hours,” he said.source : https://www.plasticsnews.com/news/case-western-researchers-develop-process-recycle-thermoset-plastics
Editor 2020-07-05
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Market trends drive LSR innovations▲Gifford Shearer, silicone elastomers market manager with Dow Inc., discussed how market trends are driving liquid silicone rubber innovations at the LSR 2019 conference, held Sept. 10-12.Schaumburg, Ill. — Pressure has usually driven some of history's best innovations, and the world of liquid silicone rubber is no exception.Market demands are major drivers of innovation within the LSR market, and Gifford Shearer, silicone elastomers market manager with Dow Inc., shared how the current market is pushing the industry to new limits at the LSR 2019 conference, held Sept. 10-12 in Schaumburg."LSR innovation shouldn't just be done by the chemists in the labs," Shearer said. "Innovation should be driven by changes in the marketplace."The LSR market is projected to grow by 8 percent annually through 2023, which Shearer said is faster than any other silicone elastomer primarily because of the advantages LSR has in the forms of automation and short cycle times.These advantages allow LSR to penetrate many industries, and in turn those industries push compounders to come up with stronger formulations to meet ever-demanding applications. Shearer outlined four in his presentation, including:• The need for higher quality, such as improved processing and lower cycle times.• Improved sustainability, longevity or safety in sensitive applications.• New applications, or combining LSR with new materials.• Changes to specifications, either on the customer or regulatory side."All of these factors or changes are going to drive LSR innovation," Shearer said. "And as we bring new innovations, it's going to enable new applications and bring additional problems to solve."Higher temperaturesElectrification within automotive is driving growth."If you open up the hood of a car these days, all you see is wires going everywhere," Shearer said. "The electrical content is significantly higher in the automobile and will continue to increase as we go toward hybrids and fully electric vehicles."But despite the migration to electric platforms, traditional internal combustion engines are still going to play a major part of the automotive market for at least the next 10 years. Shearer said there is still demand for materials that can handle increasing temperatures for the standard internal combustion engine.As internal combustion engines shrink in size, they will require materials that can withstand higher temperatures. Shearer said to do this, LSR compounders must suppress hydrosilylation reactions and stabilize the silicone compound's backbone to limit thermal oxidative degradation."If we can do this effectively, we see a significant reduction in compression sets," Shearer said. Low volatilesSensitive applications like medical, food, water, consumer/baby products will continue to demand LSR because Shearer said the material has been proven to be safe in these applications and is ideally suited to meet regulatory requirements.These highly regulated industries require low-volatile LSRs to reduce risk. Shearer said there is typically 1 percent of volatile content in LSR after it's been molded and cured, but certain end applications require that those be removed with a post-curing application — heating the part in the oven."It really becomes the job of the fabricator to ensure that they're able to post-cure the part sufficiently, to remove these volatiles for the end application," Shearer said. "This can be a source of variability. There could be variability in the amount of volatiles coming into the LSR, and there could be variability in the effectiveness of the post-curing operation."Post-curing can depend on the type of the oven, the effectiveness of the oven and the part thickness. Shearer said a thicker part is going to be more challenging to post-cure than a thinner part. The fabricator can't just use one set of post-curing operations for every part, which Shearer said injects some risk into the process because they now need to figure out the requirements to meet the end application.Shearer said a solution is to remove the volatiles from the LSR before it's molded by using a no-volatile LSR. These compounds have been stripped out of the A and B parts before being delivered to the molder. Shearer said this guarantees that fabricators will be left with no more than 0.25 percent volatiles, and typically less, after molding and curing, which is well below the threshold limit for sensitive applications."We've eliminated the risk and eliminated the additional processing step of post-curing," Shearer said. "That's really the value that a no post-cure LSR brings."Other driversThe rise of wearable bands and unseen protection on electronic devices is presenting more opportunities for LSR, as is the rise of 3D printing applications.But Shearer said one key hurdle to overmolding LSR with some of these sensitive electronic parts is the temperature. LSR typically has to cure at about 150° C, which is too hot for microchips and other low-temperature plastic compounds. This has pushed the industry to innovate with low-temperature-cure LSR compounds.Shearer said these silicones are ideal for users who want to put thermally sensitive additives into the LSR but couldn't at the high temperature because they'd lose their function if cured at that heat. The low-temperature LSR grades also reduce cycle time and open up new possibilities to be overmolded to other plastics."Low-temperature-cure LSR uses the same chemical reaction, but we've reduced the activation temperature while maintaining the same pot life," Shearer said."It significantly reduces the curing time."Finally, low-volume prototyping LSRs are becoming more prevalent as 3D printing applications begin to enter the silicone market. Shearer said these developments are driven by the need for manufacturers to prototype parts and customize manufacturing in low volumes."The ideal solution is 3D printing," Shearer said. "3D printing is not going to replace injection molding, but it can complement our molding of LSR through the ability to create rapid prototypes of functional materials and give us the ability to do custom manufacturing at low volumes."source  https://www.plasticsnews.com/news/market-trends-drive-lsr-innovations 
editor 2019-10-26
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Thousands of Particles Identified across 11 International BrandsNew Orb Media research and reporting shows that a single liter of bottled water can contain thousands of microplastic particles. Exclusive tests on more than 250 bottles from 11 leading brands worldwide reveal widespread contamination with plastic debris including polypropylene, polyamide, and polyethylene terephthalate (PET).▲ Commissioned by the Washington-based  Orb Media,a study has found that a large number of plasticbottled water brands contain microplastics(© Fotolia.com/anibal) Plastic was identified in 93 % of the samples, Orb Media says. The global average was 325 particles per liter. Particle concentration ranged from zero to more than 10,000 likely plastic particles in a single bottle. The study was supervised by Dr. Sherri Mason, Chair of the Department of Geology and Environmental Sciences at the State University of New York at Fredonia, a leading microplastics researcher.Brands tested included Aqua (Danone), Aquafina (PepsiCo), Bisleri (Bisleri International), Dasani (Coca-Cola), Epura (GEPP*), Evian (Danone), Gerolsteiner (Gerolsteiner Brunnen), Minalba (Grupo Edson Queiroz), Nestlé Pure Life (Nestlé), San Pellegrino (Nestlé), and Wahaha (Hangzhou Wahaha Group). Orb Media reporters purchased bottled water in 19 locations across nine countries on five continents, including through Amazon. All purchases made were of a pre-packed case of water (no single bottles). All purchases and shipments to the lab were video documented. Countries included Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, Thailand, and the United States. The majority of the samples came in plastic bottles though water in glass bottles also held microplastic.Researchers counted plastic particles in the 100 micron (0.10 millimeter) size range or smaller as microplastics. For plastic particles in the 100 micron size range, tests conducted for Orb Media at the State University of New York at Fredonia revealed a global average of 10.4 plastic particles per liter. The tests also showed a much greater number of even smaller particles that researchers have noted are also likely plastic. The global average for these particles was 325 per liter.Researchers analyzed bigger particles, about 100 microns (0.10 millimeters), by Fourier-Transform Infrared spectroscopy (an industry standard infrared microscope), which beams infrared light into an object to read its molecular signature. To quantify the particles, Orb Media developed a counting method that recorded the number of fluorescing objects in photographs of lab filters.The study has not been published by a journal or peer-reviewed and referring to the results of the study. Orb Media says that "What this means for human health is unknown."IBWA ResponseAccording to the International Bottled Water Association, Alexandria, VA/USA, the Orb Media study is not based on sound science, and there is no scientific consensus on testing methodology or the potential health impacts of microplastic particles. IBWA says that microplastic particles are found everywhere – soil, air, and water. And, as the Orb Media report states itself, currently there is no evidence that microplastics can cause harm to consumers. "Orb Media’s position on microplastics seems to be based on the faulty premise that if this substance is found in a bottled water product that it presents a health concern, even if no regulatory standard has been established. Because there is no scientific consensus about the potential health impacts of microplastic particles, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not issued any regulations concerning these substances in foods and beverages."Source: Kunststoffe
Aeyoung Park 2018-03-29
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Cooperation with Braskem Production has started on a range of sustainable Lego elements made from sugarcane-based polyethylene supplied by Braskem. The new sustainable Lego ‘botanical’ elements will come in varieties including leaves, bushes and trees and will appear in Lego boxes already in 2018."This is a great first step in our ambitious commitment of making all Lego bricks using sustainable materials,” said Tim Brooks, Vice President, Environmental Responsibility at the Lego Group. The move is part of the Lego Group’s commitment to use sustainable materials in core products and packaging by 2030.▲ Lego botanical elements such as leaves, bushes and trees will be made from plant-based plastic sourced from sugarcane in the future and will appear in Lego boxes already in 2018 (© Lego) Lego botanical elements such as leaves, bushes and trees will be made from plant-based plastic sourced from sugarcane in the future and will appear in Lego boxes already in 2018 (© Lego) zoomLego botanical elements such as leaves, bushes and trees will be made from plant-based plastic sourced from sugarcane in the future and will appear in Lego boxes already in 2018 (© Lego)The new sustainable Lego elements are made from polyethylene and while they are based on sugarcane material, they are technically identical to those produced using conventional plastic. The elements have been tested to ensure the plant-based plastic meets the high standards for quality and safety that the Lego Group has. Braskem, the world's largest biopolymer producer, will supply the Lego Group with its I'm green polyethylene, a globally certified plastic made from sugarcane. The Green PE is 100% recyclable and contributes to the reduction of greenhouse gases. The production process begins with dehydrating ethanol, which is obtained from sugarcane, to transform it into green ethylene, which then goes to the polymerization units, where it is transformed into polyethylene. The sugarcane plastic then goes to third-generation companies, the so-called converters, which transform it into products.The world's first renewable biobased polyethylene to be produced on an industrial scale, Braskem's I'm green plastic has been produced since 2010 at the Triunfo Petrochemical Complex in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, which is the world's largest industrial plant making ethanol-based ethylene, with annual production capacity of 200 kilotons.The Lego Group has partnered with WWF to support and build demand for sustainably sourced plastic, and has joined the Bioplastic Feedstock Alliance (BFA), an initiative of WWF, to secure fully sustainable sourcing of raw material for the bioplastics industry. The plant-based plastic used to make the botanical Lego elements is certified by the Bonsucro Chain of Custody standard for responsibly sourced sugarcane.Source: Kunststoffe
Aeyoung Park 2018-03-13
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Innovation Award "Biocomposite of the Year 2017" by BCCThe 230 participants of the Biocomposites Conference Cologne (BCC), the worldwide largest conference on Natural Fibre and Wood-Plastic Composites, chose the three winners out of six nominees. The Innovation Award, initiated by nova-Institute and sponsored by Coperion GmbH, highlights biocomposites and their applications that entered the market in 2017 or are just about to be launched. ▲ 6 Nominees for "The Biocomposite Award 2017"The stand-out new applications for natural fiber and wood-plastic composites (NFC and WPC) are GreenBente24 – boat from 80% renewable materials, LignoLoc – collated wooden nails, and a fully bio-based pedestrian bridge.GreenBoats (DE): GreenBente24 – boat from 80% renewable materials. Usually, mass produced boats are made of fossil-based resins, glass fibers and plastic foam. By contrast, GreenBente24 from GreenBoats is made from 80% out of renewable materials like flax, cork and bio-based epoxy resin. The GreenBente24 has the same weight and stiffness as a standard boat. The boat achieves a 80% reduction of carbon footprint compared to other options, is thermally recyclable and has a particularly pleasant living climate.▲ GreenBente, which took the first place of "The Biocomposite Award 2017", is made from 80% renewable materials like flax, cork and bio-based epoxy resin (© GreenBoats) Raimund Beck Nageltechnik GmbH (AT): LignoLoc – Collated wooden nails. Nails made from wood are one of the oldest known fasteners in the world, thus Raimund Beck Nageltechnik GmbH (AT) has initiated the next evolution stage LignoLoc – collated wooden nails for use with pneumatic nailers. This new technology requires no pre-drilling; offers maximum holding power due to a natural welding effect with the base wood and offers new application fields for domestic beech wood veneer and can replace steel nails in many applications.Eindhoven University of Technology (NL): Fully bio-based pedestrian bridge. A fully bio-based pedestrian bridge, the first in the world, has been realised at the Eindhoven University of Technology (NL). After a successful load test (5,0 kN/m2), the bridge was installed by the company NPSP bv (NL). Flax and hemp fibres provide the strength for the bridge, combined with a bio-based epoxy resin. Polylactic acid (PLA) bio-foam provides the core. The production method was vacuum-infusion: layers of natural fibres were glued around a laser-cut shape of bio-foam.       Followings are the rest 3 nominees who missed the honor of award regrettably.BASF SE & Sonae Arauco Deutschland AG (DE): 3D mouldable Medium-Density Fibreboard (MDF). The innovative 3D mouldable MDF provides the furniture industry with a new wood-based material. It is a thermoplastic processable and storage-stable composite which can be produced on existing MDF production lines. In contrast to standard thermoset boards, it offers post-mouldability and surface structuring of the composites on standard equipment in short cycle times. Due to the increased mouldability of the composite, new design options are possible. The resin system is offered formaldehyde free.G.S. Stemeseder GmbH (AT): GS Stratos® passive – sandwich window scantling system. Stratos® passive – sandwich window scantling system by G.S. Stemeseder GmbH (AT) is a combination of a foamed PP and wood composite material with solid wooden elements. The system was developed for the building of passive house windows. Through the reduction in density of approximately 50%, the required specific heat conductivity and Uf-value of ≤ 0.8 W/m2K were achieved. The components are produced with standard machinery and tools of the wood industry and are certified combustible.OWI GmbH (DE): Injection moulded school seat shell. OWI GmbH (DE) launched an injection moulded school seat shell. The polypropylene (PP) and wood-based granulates were developed by Linotech GmbH (DE). The chair combines properties such as positive haptics – comfortably soft and warm to the touch – and standard PP chair requirements in terms of flex behaviour, notch impact strength and staple taking properties for upholstery, and stress load cycles without breakages.Source: https://www.kunststoffe.de/en/news/overview/artikel/biocomposite-of-the-year-2017-awarded-4961064.htmlhttp://biocompositescc.com/award
관리자 2017-12-28
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The biocomposite production in Europe is estimated to amount to 410,000 tons in 2017, according to nova-Institute.Over 30 compound companies produce and trade 80,000 tons of granulate with wood and natural fibers in Europe. In addition to the common petrochemical plastics PE, PP, TPE and PVC, biopolymers such as Bio-PE, PLA, PBS, PBAT or PHA are utilized.Depending on the target application, wood flour, wood fibers, cellulose fibers, bast fibers such as hemp, flax, jute or kenaf, but also bamboo, cork or the fibers of the sunflower seed shells are used.The overall annual growth rate of the European biocomposite production is about 3% which is roughly in line with the average growth of the plastics market.▲ Growth of biocomposites in different applications.Much higher growth rates of up to 30% have been identified in various innovative application fields of biocomposites. These application fields range from technical applications over furniture to consumer goods that are produced mainly with injection molding, 3D and other production methods like roto molding.Furthermore, in the area of traded granulates the overall growth rate has also been substantially higher as the average (15%).The full market report will be first presented at the Biocomposites Conference Cologne (BCC) in Germany) on December 6-7. Organized by nova-Institute, the conference is expected to host 300 participants from 30 countries as well as more than 30 exhibitors.Source: CPRJ Editorial Team (AL)Link: https://www.adsalecprj.com/Publicity/MarketNews/lang-eng/article-67028576/tc-en_CPRJ_EN_20171122/NewsArticle.aspx
Ms. Park 2017-11-24
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By Tom Szaky  ▲ Coca-Cola's PlantBottle is an example of a durable bioplastic (rather than a biodegradable bioplastic), meaning it will last like a traditional PET bottle, but that it is also recyclable.   Finding solutions for the world’s plastic problem is an uphill battle. Manufacturers and consumers alike are now accustomed to products and packaging made lighter, less costly and more convenient by plastic, the iterations of which have only grown more complex. As it stands, we are manufacturing approximately 300 million tons of plastics across the world every year, and this number continues to grow.   The scope of the world’s plastic problem goes beyond straining Earth’s finite resources; it is also a waste management issue. It is estimated that up to 129 million tons (43%) of the plastic used per year is disposed of by landfill or incineration, and approximately 10 to 20 million tons of plastic ends up in the oceans.   Rethinking all aspects of the plastics supply chain in terms of full lifecycle, from sourcing to end-of-life, is the key for manufacturers and major brands aiming to design into a more circular plastics economy. Driven by demand for more sustainability and positive environmental impacts in consumer packaged goods (CPGs), there is a growing industry for bioplastics—plastics made from plant biomass, such as corn.   One argument in support of increased use of bioplastics is mainly that the raw materials used to generate it are more sustainably sourced than petroleum-based plastic. Abundant availability of raw materials for manufacturing bioplastics place less strain on resource supply, as well as cause less strain to the earth from sourcing processes. Drilling for oil to use for petroleum-based plastic may disturb land and ocean habitats, and is a major source of emissions and airborne byproducts.   Bioplastics can be broadly broken down into two categories: durable and biodegradable. For instance, the PlantBottle is a durable bioplastic alternative to traditional PET bottles made by Coca-Cola. Made with up to 30% ethanol sourced from plant material, the PlantBottle won’t decompose, but it can be recycled with traditional PET containers and bottles. It is important to note that this is an outstanding example, as not all bioplastics are recyclable.   Of the many bioplastic varieties currently on the market or in development, no variant has attracted more attention than those dubbed “biodegradable.” Biodegradable bioplastics, like increasingly popular PLA (polylactic acid), are exactly as they sound: in theory, they break down naturally in the environment or may be composted. This is unique, as the vast majority of plastics today will never break down. Petroleum plastics may degrade into smaller and smaller pieces, but most won’t decompose or be absorbed by the surrounding environment.   Where bioplastics theoretically are an answer to our dependence on fossil fuels to manufacture the plastics the world demands, biodegradable bioplastics are meant to be a solution for the world’s plastic waste problem. However, in most cases, biodegradable bioplastics will only break down in a high-temperature industrial composting facility, not your average household compost bin. Plus, these are not recyclable.   This wouldn’t be as much of a concern if we had a great composting infrastructure, but we don’t. With only about 200 industrial composting facilities in the United States and 50 million tons of organic waste still ending up in landfills across the country each year, we are ill-equipped to adequately compost any meaningful volumes of biodegradable plastic. In fact, many operational industrial composting facilities today won’t even accept PLA and other biodegradable plastics—they are seen as contamination risks.   A better solution might be to place the focus on durable bioplastics that are made from plant materials, but can still be recycled. This way, the valuable energy and material inputs can be kept in the production cycle longer. It also makes far more sense to build a bio-based plastic that fits into our existing infrastructure, rather than building an entirely new biodegradable plastic composting infrastructure from scratch.   If we hope to truly make durable bioplastics as viable as they could be, we will need to start curbing the demand for plastics overall. With less demand, the market will be in a far better place to meet demand with more contained impacts to the environment. How do we reduce the demand for plastic? When manufacturers and major brands commit to packaging designs that are more durable and made to last, consumers have the opportunity to make more sustainable purchasing decisions.   http://www.packagingdigest.com/sustainable-packaging/how-sustainable-are-biodegradable-and-plant-based-plastics-2017-05-30  
Ms. Kang 2017-06-12