Methane-derived bioplastic finds packaging applications

Volume 9, Issue 4

In This Issue:

  • Picking the right green claims
  • RENEWABLE

    Methane-derived bioplastic finds packaging applications

    Dell and The Body Shop are working to commercialize packaging made of AirCarbon polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA), a bioplastic Newlight Technologies produces from methane

    Read More >
  • Picking the right green claims
  • RECYLCING/RECYCLED CONTENT

    NWNA Debuts brand in 100% rPET bottle

    Nestle Waters North America (NWNA), Stamford, CT, debuts 700mL and 1L 100% recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET) bottles for resource® Natural Spring Water.

    Read More >
RENEWABLE >

Methane-derived bioplastic finds packaging applications

 

Dell, Round Rock, TX, and The Body Shop, part of L’Oreal, Clichy, France, are working to commercialize packaging made of AirCarbon polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA), a bioplastic Newlight Technologies, Los Angeles, CA, produces from methane.

Both firms are the first in their industries to commit to commercial applications of the carbon-negative material. Packaging made from AirCarbon bioplastic reverses the impact of climate change by replacing materials traditionally made from oil with one made from a greenhouse gas that otherwise would become part of the air everyone breathes.

“Caps and containers can be more than caps and containers; they can be a part of how we create a better world,” says Mark Herrema, CEO of Newlight Technologies.

At Dell the first AirCarbon-based packaging are the packaging sleeves around Latitude series notebooks. “Introducing greener packaging at a lower cost per unit than traditional oil-based plastics is good for the environment and Dell’s bottom line,” notes Herrema. Dell is piloting AirCarbon packaging in the United States during the fourth quarter of 2015, and plans to extend its use globally for both packaging and products. Previous Dell packaging innovations includes bamboo and wheat straw that generated a source reduction of 20 million pounds and saved $18 million. Dell also is the first to use UL-Environment-certified closed-loop recycled plastics in the manufacture of computers. For more information, visit www.newlight.com, www.dell.com, www.thebodyshop-usa.com.
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RENEWABLE >

Biopolymer begins second decade

As it enters its second decade of world production, Ingeo™ polylactic acid (PLA) generates lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and consumes less energy during manufacture than any other commonly used plastic.

An independent peer-reviewed article, “Life Cycle Inventory and Impact Assessment Data for 2014 Ingeo™ Polylactide Production,” published in the June 2015 edition of Industrial Biotechnology, confirms the numbers for the corn-derived bioplastic from NatureWorks, Minnetonka, MN.

The article by Erwin T.H. Vink, environmental affairs manager, and Steve Davies, public affairs director, NatureWorks, documents the energy and GHG inputs and outputs of the Ingeo production system and the revised 2014 Ingeo eco-profile. The article also addresses the calculation and evaluation of a comprehensive set of environmental indicators as well as topics such as land use, land use change and water use.

Brand owners and researchers can use this life cycle assessment data via an Environmental Benefits Calculator developed by NatureWorks. The online calculator provides an intuitive interface from which manufacturers and brands can input product data details and receive instantaneous feedback on the environmental impact of the materials they are using.

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The revised eco-profile (the cradle-to-polymer life cycle inventory data), which is based on the latest version of Thinkstep’s (PE INTERNATIONAL) GaBi LCA software and database, follows the ISO 14040 and 14044 standards.

The Industrial Biotechnology peer review actually constitutes a second level review of the latest Ingeo eco-profile. Before the article was written, Thinkstep, one of the world’s leading life cycle assessment consultants, reviewed the work and concluded that NatureWorks’ Ingeo calculations and data were scientifically and technically valid and consistent with ISO 14040 and 14044 standards.

Cradle-to-gate greenhouse gas emissions
In the chart, GHG emissions (including biogenic carbon uptake) for Ingeo manufacture are compared with emissions resulting from the manufacture of other polymers produced in the United States and Europe, using the latest available industry assessments for each. The numbers represent the totals for the first part of the life cycle of the polymers, starting with fossil or renewable feedstock production up to and including the final polymerization step. For more information, visit www.natureworksllc.com
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RECYLCING/RECYCLED CONTENT >

NWNA Debuts brand in 100% rPET bottle

Nestle Waters North America (NWNA), Stamford, CT, debuts 700mL and 1L 100% recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET) bottles for resource® Natural Spring Water. With the launch, resource water becomes one of the first premium natural spring water brands to offer a 100% rPET bottle nationwide.

“At resource, we believe that using rPET can help increase recycling rates by focusing attention on the value of recycling,” explains Debora Fillis Ryba, senior manager of sustainability at Nestlé Waters North America. “Nestlé Waters has a strong history of sustainable innovation and product stewardship advocacy, and the 100% rPET bottle aims to continue that legacy by increasing awareness of closed-loop recycling.”

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The adoption of a 100% rPET container launch is part of the company’s long-standing mission to focus attention on the importance of recycling. The company is committed to increasing the PET beverage bottle recycling rate to 60 percent by 2018 and is working closely with policy stakeholders nationally and locally to help reach this goal.

“Bottle-to-bottle recycling is one of the most effective ways to reduce landfill waste, reduce the carbon footprint, conserve natural resources and control the environmental impact of sourcing and creating new packaging,” reports Leon Farahnik founder and chief executive officer of CarbonLITE Industries LLC, Los Angeles, CA, one of the largest producers of food-grade, post-consumer rPET in the world.

“Currently under one-third of PET materials in the U.S. are recycled and brands such as resource, with their commitment to 100% rPET packaging, represent a pivotal shift in the industry to improve recycling standards among corporations and consumers.”

For more information, visit www.resourcewater.com, https://nwnasourceblog.com/.
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RECYLCING/RECYCLED CONTENT >

Cost of recycling-friendly label drops

The SpearRC pressure-sensitive label for polyethylene terephthalate (PET) containers qualifies as recycling friendly and costs less than earlier generations of recycling-compatible labels. Produced by Constantia Flexibles Labels Division, Vienna, Austria, using clear, white or metallized film and a proprietary adhesive, the label can be printed with an ultraviolet or gravure process and applied on existing pressure-sensitive labelers.

Labels rank as a major cause of contamination in the PET recycling stream. Adhesives don’t remove cleanly during the wash process and/or inks bleed and dye the plastic. Under development for more than a decade, the label is recognized by the Association of Postconsumer Plastics Recyclers (APR), Washington, DC, as fully compatible with the PET recycling process. In addition, it’s been conditionally approved by the European PET Bottle Platform, a voluntary industry initiative that provides PET bottle design guidelines for recycling, evaluates PET bottle packaging solutions and technologies and facilitates understanding of the effects of new PET bottle innovations on recycling processes. For more information, visit www.cflex.com.
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RECYLCING/RECYCLED CONTENT >

Logo promotes recycling

Concrete Cow Brewery, Milton Keynes, U.K, launches cans that tell consumers Metal Recycles Forever. It’s the first commercial use of the logo, endorsed by members of Metal Packaging Europe, Brussels, Belgium. Cans are supplied by Rexam PLC, London, U.K., a global can maker.

The logo, which is available in 15 languages, unifies the fragmented environmental messages and claims currently encountered in the marketplace. It’s part of a behavioral change campaign, intended to inform consumers about the inherent recyclability of metal packaging and encourage them to recycle more. As a permanent material, metal can be recycled practically infinitely and supports development of a circular economy. It also enjoys one of the highest recycling rates in Europe, at 73%.

“For us, the can in which we package our beer is a key marketing tool, which has to capture the personality and the soul of our brand,” says Dan Bonner, owner of Concrete Cow Brewery. “By displaying the Metal Recycles Forever logo on our can, we emphasize the role our consumers can play through recycling. And we make it clear that sustainability is important for us, and is in line with our own values.”

“We’re delighted that Concrete Cow has decided to use the logo and see this as an extremely positive step,” says Matthew Rowland-Jones, European sustainability manager for Rexam. “We are now focusing on encouraging more of our customers to include the symbol on their cans, in a bid to change consumer attitudes to recycling. As Europe’s largest beverage can maker, we have a responsibility to support and encourage consumers to recycle their cans,” he explains.

For more information, visit www.rexam.com, www.metalpackagingeurope.org.
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RECYLCING/RECYCLED CONTENT >

Conference focuses on recycling

Re|focus Recycling Summit & Expo has been scheduled April 25-27, 2016, at the Rosen Shingle Creek Conference Center and Hotel in Orlando, FL. Meeting co-sponsored by SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association, Washington, DC, and the Plastics Environmental Division of the Society of Plastics Engineers, Bethel, CT, helps brand owners and processors achieve environmental goals. All funds generated from the Re|focus Summit & Expo will be reinvested into the industry’s recovery and sustainability efforts. For more information, visit www.RefocusSummit.org
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SOURCE REDUCTION >

Verallia lightweights contour bottle

In Spain, a market where returnable soft drink containers are common, Verallia, Madrid, Spain, has produced 170 million of a lighter version of Coca-Cola’s iconic contour bottle. Verallia purchased most of Coca-Cola’s existing stock of returnable bottles to melt the glass and produce new containers.

The lightweighted design means Verallia produces 1.2 containers for every recycled bottle, saving both energy and raw materials. In addition, the capacity of the bottle has increased from 200ml to 237ml, further reducing the weight of the container per liter of soft drink. For more information, visit www.verallia.com.
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SOURCE REDUCTION >

Downgauged neck foil wins award

A downgauged aluminum neck foil for Chang Beer wins an Alufoil Trophy in the Resource Efficiency category during the 2015 competition organized by the European Aluminium Foil Association, Düsseldorf, Germany. Since the 1990s the thickness of the neck foil from Constantia Flexibles Labels Division, Vienna, Austria, has continually declined from 13 micrometers to 10.5 micrometers, then 9.5 micrometers and now 8.8 micrometers.

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The 8.8-micrometer neck foil for the beer from Thai Beverage Plc, Bangkok, Thailand, not only offers 8% material savings versus its 9.5-micrometer predecessor, but also downstream advantages during the returnable glass wash process since the thinner foil completely dissolves in the caustic bath and extends the wash efficiency up to 10%. As sodium hydroxide needs to be replaced regularly to maintain cleaning effectiveness, any extended use is a savings for breweries. In addition, the thinner foil generates more labels per batch, reducing transport and storage costs.

The foil is lacquered on one side and rotogravure-printed, embossed and partially de-embossed, perforated and die-cut into individual labels. Inks and coatings also dissolve in the caustic solution without any residuals. Speaking for the Alufoil Trophy judges, Jean-Paul Duquet, global packaging eco design manager at Bel Group, Paris, France, comments,

“This is a clever and well thought out development.”

For more information, visit www.cflex.com, www.alufoil.org.
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SUSTAINABLE EFFORTS >

Consumers worry about food waste, but underestimate impact

According to a national survey sponsored by the American Chemistry Council, Washington, DC, 70% of Americans say they are bothered by the amount of food wasted in the United States, but fewer than half understand packaging can play a significant role in minimizing food waste.

Even fewer (15%) make the link between food waste and adverse impacts on the environment. Yet according to the U.S. EPA, wasted food is the most prevalent material in landfills and contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions. Food waste also squanders the resources used in production.

The April 2015 survey about attitudes toward food waste and packaging, conducted by TNS Global, New York, NY, revealed that 76% of households say they throw away leftovers at least once a month; 53% pitch leftovers weekly and 51% admit they throw away food they bought but never used. The cost is high. Survey respondents estimated wasting $640 in household food each year—but U.S. government figures put the total closer to $900.

Nevertheless nearly all survey respondents (96%) say they take one or more steps to prevent food waste, such as eating leftovers and avoiding over-buying perishables. But far fewer, 46%, say they actively use packaging to keep food from spoiling. However, plastics can play a significant role in minimizing food waste by providing a barrier to oxygen, light, temperatures, moisture, microbes and other factors that lead to spoilage. “This survey demonstrates that we must raise awareness of the negative impacts of wasted food and the positive role lightweight packaging can play in prevention,” says Steve Russell, vice president of plastics at the American Chemistry Council, sponsor of the Plastics Make it Possible® initiative. “Improving the way we protect and preserve foods can help consumers save money, get more food to people who need it, and significantly reduce our environmental footprint,” he concludes. For more information, visit www.plasticsmakeitpossible.com.

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