SK Chemical Sells Biofuel Unit to Focus on Materials and Life Science

South Korea’s SK Chemical Co. has agreed to sell its biofuel unit to local private equity fund Hahn & Company to put more resources into its eco-friendly materials and life science business.

The Kospi-listed company announced in a Thursday regulatory filing that it signed a contract to sell its entire biodiesel and bio-heavy oil business to Hahn & Company for 380 billion won ($321.1 million).

SK Chemical said it will use the proceeds to strengthen its core businesses including high-performance materials and life science with an aim to achieve more sustainable growth in the future.

SK Chemical has been ramping up R&D efforts and production of its self-developed polycyclohexylenedimethylene terephthalate (PCT), which is often called super engineering plastic for its high-strength and heat-resistance properties. PCT is widely applied to electronics and automotive industries. The company places a high bet on its copolyester PCT, which is free of bisphenol A (BPA), one of several environmental endocrine disruptors.

The company has also been making significant investments in biopharmaceutical business. It developed a dementia treatment patch SID710 in 2010 to offer a novel drug delivery alternative for elderly dementia patients who have difficulty swallowing their medication. The drug was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last November.



SK Chemical to sell biofuel unit to focus on materials and life science

CorrBoard Harnesses Organic Waste to Produce Corrugated

CorrBoard Bioenergy (CB Bio) has invested £5.5m in building a sustainable energy generation facility fuelled by organic waste to power the manufacture of corrugated sheet board.

CB Bio is a joint venture between packaging and display trade specialist Swanline Group and paper-based packaging producer McLaren Packaging.

The CB Bio Scunthorpe facility, which can be operated remotely to maximise uptime, will produce carbon-neutral corrugated material for use at Swanline and McLaren’s manufacturing plants in Staffordshire and Port Glasgow.

It has the capacity to divert 25,000 tonnes of biological waste from landfill.

The plant is expected to substantially offset Swanline and McLaren’s own carbon footprints, via the excess energy fed to the National Grid and returned to them in carbon credits, and power the carbon-neutral manufacture of corrugated sheet board.

The organic waste fuelling the plant is partly sourced from Swanline and McLaren’s packaging users which require compliant food waste disposal. CB Bio is certified to process Category 2 and 3 animal by-product wastes and vegetable food waste.

The plant’s by-product, pasteurised and certified to PAS 110, is suitable for use as a fertiliser.

Nick Kirby, chief executive of Swanline Group, said: “CB Bio is a bold statement to our customers who genuinely want to procure corrugated packaging with strong ecological credentials. This is a timely venture providing greener solutions and industry-leading benefits for consumers of paper-based packaging.”

The plant is modular in construction, meaning output capacity can be increased in the future.


CorrBoard harnesses organic waste to produce corrugated

Rural Leaders Petition President Trump to Uphold Biofuel Promise

A broad coalition of biofuel and farm advocates have sent a letter to the White House last week calling on President Trump to fix a flawed proposal from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which “fails in its mission to reinvigorate farm economies and reopen biofuel plants across America’s heartland.”

Continue reading Rural Leaders Petition President Trump to Uphold Biofuel Promise

Turning Plastic Bottles into Prosthetic Limbs

Researchers have created a lightweight prosthetic limb from discarded plastic, which they say could save healthcare providers millions and help tackle pollution.

The artificial limbs were made by grinding down plastic bottles and spinning the grains into polyester yarns which were heated to produce a light, sturdy substance that could be easily moulded.

Continue reading Turning Plastic Bottles into Prosthetic Limbs

This New Resource Aims To Help Clear Up Recycling Confusion

A US-based online repository provides ready-to-edit labels and posters to help reduce waste sorting confusion. But even as the new resource encourages recycling, its funders have faced criticism for profits that depend on environmental damage.

Can a cardboard cereal box go into the office paper recycling bin? How about a shiny magazine insert? And which plastics are OK: No. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7?

It can be a baffling world for those who want to avoid putting all of their waste into the trash can. DIYSigns, a new online repository of ready-to-edit labels and posters that can be used to provide visual cues for proper sorting into multiple bins, aims to help reduce the confusion.

Created by The Recycling Partnership, a Virginia-based nonprofit funded by corporations, trade associations and other entities, DIYSigns is free with an email sign-up. It provides templates to help people understand what kinds of items can be put into different kinds of recycling containers — in the form of curbside labels, office labels, posters, dumpster signs and drop-off signs. Accessing the tool opens a series of folders containing more than 50 designs.

In the U.S., cities typically determine which materials can be recycled, sometimes with input from state governments. DIYSigns enables businesses, communities, schools and others to create a customised visual guide to what can be recycled tailored to their local context.

Visuals help illustrate what kinds of items are allowed to call the recycling bin home. Users can select simple outlines of material types or choose branded icons, such as a Dasani water bottle to represent plastics or a Cheerios box to denote paper and cardboard. The recognisable brands are mostly products made by companies who give money to The Recycling Partnership.

The Recycling Partnership funders include Coca-Cola, General Mills, ExxonMobil, Keurig Dr Pepper, PepsiCo, Target, Amazon, the American Chemistry Council and others. But even as they encourage recycling, some of these companies have faced criticism for profits that depend on environmental damage.

“[W]hile privately fighting against more responsibility, some of these same corporations also tout their million dollar donations to industry funded non-profits including Keep America Beautiful and the Recycling Partnership as proof of their good intentions around recycling,” writes Gina Wu Lee, founder of sustainability advocacy group The Upcyclers Network. “But digging deeper, are these donations a ruse to shift the costs for recycling to consumers and governments and avoid their own culpability?”

While The Recycling Partnership’s DIYSigns aims to help reduce the environmental impact of materials like plastic, funder ExxonMobil is expanding its plastic production. Keurig Dr Pepper is fighting a lawsuit that alleges the beverage company misled consumers by claiming its single-serve “K-Cup” coffee pods are recyclable when, in reality, most recycling facilities can’t isolate the small plastic cups from the rest of the waste stream.

Meanwhile, Amazon has moved toward mailing more products in plastic packaging that can choke up processing facilities when people throw them into recycling bins. Target uses similar packaging, according to The Washington Post.

This dynamic highlights a big question for waste disposal: Does the solution lie in recycling, or should we focus more on not producing waste in the first place?

Whatever the answer, local recycling programmes are struggling to ensure consumers properly sort materials and keep contamination levels down, especially in the wake of China’s decision to sharply restrict waste imports. As some cities curtail their recycling efforts, proper sorting could help improve the situation.


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This new resource aims to help clear up recycling confusion


Coca-Cola in Europe Signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration

The Coca-Cola Company and its two leading European bottling partners – Coca-Cola European Partners and Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company – have jointly signed the European Commission’s Circular Plastics Alliance declaration, underlining their commitment to using more recycled packaging across Europe.

Continue reading Coca-Cola in Europe Signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration

Trump Orders Biofuel Boost in Bid to Temper Farm State Anger

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump, seeking to tamp down political fallout in U.S. farm states essential to his re-election, has ordered federal agencies to shift course on relieving some oil refineries of requirements to use biofuel such as corn-based ethanol.

Continue reading Trump Orders Biofuel Boost in Bid to Temper Farm State Anger

Method to Customize Microbes for Better Biofuel Production

Scientists at the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have demonstrated a method to insert genes into a variety of microorganisms that previously would not accept foreign DNA, with the goal of creating custom microbes to break down plants for bioenergy.

Microbes are the most abundant life forms on earth. They influence the growth of plants, digest food in the human gut, transform pollutants in the environment, and perform a host of other functions that affect everyday life.

Researchers at the DOE Center for Bioenergy Innovation (CBI) at ORNL are harnessing the power of microbes to turn non-food biomass like corn stalks, switchgrass and poplar into biofuels and bioproducts. To increase the efficiency of the conversion process, microbes are needed that can break down cellulose and ferment it into biofuels in a single set of reactions. Dubbed consolidated bioprocessing (CBP), this approach improves the economics of biofuels production.

Though the CBI team has demonstrated the feasibility of consolidated bioprocessing, they need better microbes to achieve greater yields of biofuels. The target: microbes that eat cellulose to produce desired fuels and thrive in high-temperature environments without oxygen.

Enhancing or introducing target traits in these more unusual microbes can be challenging. There are few tools available for engineering non-model microbes, and the organisms have developed defense mechanisms that can foil attempts to insert new genes.

Forging signatures

Meant to ward off viruses, these defense mechanisms guard microbes against unintentionally copying foreign DNA. To distinguish their own DNA from others, each microbe places a methyl group on a handful of specific DNA sequences. These methylated sequences are unique to the organism and act like a signature. Special enzymes called restriction enzymes patrol the cell and chew up any DNA that lacks methyl groups on the signature sequences.

Guss and his team have demonstrated a way to leverage this defense system to coax microbes into accepting bioengineered DNA as their own.

Using two sequencing methods, the scientists first identified a microbe’s signature sequences and the enzymes that methylate them. Then they expressed the enzymes, known as methyltransferases, in a common laboratory microbe, E. coli. With the right methyltransferases in place, E. coli are able to make copies of DNA with the expected methylation patterns, ensuring the target microbe would accept and use the new DNA.

The researchers recently published their method and the results of the experiment validating that the gene they inserted into Clostridium thermocellum ATCC27405—a CBP organism that has been challenging to transform—actually functions as anticipated. They have had similar success with ten other species and counting. These species were previously unamenable to genetic engineering.

Guss foresees many benefits of this rapid domestication method for applied and basic research, especially in identifying gene function. With this approach, scientists can remove or over express genes of interest in microbes to determine how that affects the organisms’ traits. In addition to bioenergy, the method can be employed in biomedical and other fundamental research.

“What Adam and his team have done is to remove one of the major stumbling blocks to transforming these organisms,” CBI Chief Scientist Brian Davison said. “This opens the door to take these microbes with really tough-to-replicate traits and be able to tune them to do more of what we want, such as increasing biofuel yields.”


Method to customize microbes for better biofuel production

US and Egypt Launch Strategic Energy Dialogue

CAIRO, EGYPT – Today, Egyptian Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Tarek El-Molla, Egyptian Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy Mohamed Shaker and U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette launched the U.S.-Egypt Strategic Energy Dialogue, which will facilitate closer government and private sector cooperation on energy between the United States and Egypt.

The Strategic Energy Dialogue between the two countries focuses on all energy aspects and latest technologies including both oil and gas development, as well as cooperation in the electricity field. The launch of the Dialogue was initiated through the recent meeting between President El Sisi and President Trump, and furthered by U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry’s bilateral engagements during his recent visit to Egypt.

Through this Dialogue, the U.S. and Egypt will cooperate on a number of shared areas of interest across the energy sector, including but not limited to enhancing energy trade, clean coal technology, carbon capture utilization and storage, bio-economy, energy efficiency and renewable energy, green building technologies, smart grids and energy capacity building.

The launch of this Dialogue also underscores the continued U.S. support for the East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF) and Egypt’s role as a regional energy hub. In this historic time of Egypt’s energy development, the United States government and the U.S. private sector are looking forward to strengthening their cooperation with Egypt to enhance its energy security, ensuring benefits for the region.


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US and Egypt Launch Strategic Energy Dialogue

Honda Reveals The Price of its E Electric Car

It’ll start at £26,160 pounds or around $32,000 in basic trim.

Honda’s E electric car is officially here and the production model has kept nearly all the charm and gadgets of the original concept. At the same time, Honda has unveiled pricing and specs for the urban EV, and that’s where things get interesting.

As the company revealed last week, the Honda E will be available in Europe (and not the US, I’m sorry to say) with a 137-mile range, making it more of a city runabout than a highway cruiser.

That’s down to a smallish 35.5 kWh battery, making it more competitive with EVs like the Renault Zoe than the Tesla Model 3. The Honda E supports chargers up to about 75 kW (Honda didn’t say exactly how much) that will let you charge from 10 to 80 percent in about 30 minutes.

For urban and suburban use, it should be a kick to drive. The Honda E’s electric motor delivers up to 152 horsepower and 232 foot-pounds of torque, meaning it should accelerate like a demon given the EV’s small size.

If you’re looking more for economy, it’ll also come in a cheaper 134 horsepower flavor that will still be relatively quick.

Inside, the E will be a futuristic car, as Honda has managed to retain most of the fun stuff from the original concept. Rather than side mirrors, it will have a camera mirror system with two six-inch screens mounted (legally for the US) at the extreme left and right side of the EV.

That’s a first “in the compact segment,” Honda said in a press release, and gives the car smoother lines, better aerodynamics and an improved driver field of view.

Other features carried over from the concept include the flush pop-out door handles and a five-screen, full-width digital dash. That includes dual 12.3-inch LCD touchscreens in the front that act as primary infotainment displays.

It’s also equipped with Honda’s Personal Assistant that will let you control certain functions by saying “OK Honda.” You’ll also get the My Honda+ smartphone application, with features like charging point navigation, remote climate control and vehicle condition reports.

Now for the rub. The Honda E will cost £26,160 in the UK for the 134 horsepower version, including the UK’s EV rebate (£29,660 without the rebate) rising to £28,660 (or £32,160 pre-rebate) for the more powerful model. (It’ll also be available on finance starting from £299 per month.)

That translates to a starting price of about $32,000, or $35,500 for the high-end model, with rebates included, or $36,700 and $39,800 before rebates.

By way of comparison, the Renault Zoe costs about £26,000 before the rebates but comes with a much larger 52 kWh battery and 182 mile range. The Nissan Leaf, meanwhile, is £36,000 with a 62 kWh battery, pre-rebate.

Honda is demanding a bit of a premium for what is essentially a city runabout, given the battery size. It’s no doubt hoping that the buyers will be attracted to the cute styling and futuristic tech, but there’s a reason that both Renault and Nissan increased battery life over the last few years.

Still, there’s a ton of public interest in this car, so a lot of people will be very interested in how it sells when it orders open in early 2020. The Honda E will start to ship later in summer 2020.

Honda E Electric Car
Honda E Electric Car


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Honda reveals pricing for its lovable E electric car

VW First Electric Car

Volkswagen took the wraps off its ID.3 electric vehicle — one that will be available in Europe and starts at roughly $33,000 for the base model — just ahead of the Frankfurt Motor Show yesterday.

Why it matters: The compact EV, which will start deliveries in mid-2020, could be a big step toward production of moderately priced battery-powered cars for a mass market.

“Everything about the ID.3, from its size and styling to its battery range and pricing, is aiming for the mass-market category,” TechCrunch notes.

It’s the first vehicle built on VW’s electric modular production platform.

That’s the system that Ford, under a recent agreement with VW, plans to use for building 600,000 EVs for delivery in Europe over the next 6 years.

What they’re saying: IHS Markit analyst Tim Urquhart, in a note, says the stakes are very high for the German automaker.

“VW needs the ID.3 to present a compelling choice for buyers that would never before have even considered buying an EV, a true electric people’s car,” he said.

Urquhart also notes that the 4-door hatchback is the tip of the spear for VW’s “hugely ambitious” EV strategy, so it “needs to be ‘right’ straight out of the box,” without quality glitches.

Meanwhile, the auto news site Jalopnik calls it “likely their most significant car in decades.”

Of note: While it’s not for sale in the U.S., the automaker plans to start selling an MEB-produced ID Crozz, a crossover vehicle, here next year (and more info seems to be trickling out this morning).

By the numbers: The vehicle’s battery options start at 45 kilowatt hours (kWh) with a range of 205 miles.

There’s also a 58 kWh version with a 260-mile range, and a 77 kWh battery pack that provides up to about 342 miles of range, VW said.

What’s next: There’s plenty on display — from production-ready cars to concepts — at the show that opens this week, including the production-version of the Honda E.

VW first electric car ID3
VW first electric car ID3


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Volkswagen makes its move in the electric vehicle race

Biofuel Plan Faces Fresh Backlash From US Agriculture

US agricultural trade groups on Friday told the Trump administration a proposed biofuel reform package falls short of expectations, four sources familiar with discussions said, complicating plans the administration had for presenting the proposal to President Donald Trump.

Trump was expected to meet with Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Agriculture officials on Friday afternoon to discuss the proposal meant to assuage farmers angry about biofuel blending exemptions given to oil refineries, a separate source said. Trump has found himself in a political bind as he looks to appease two of his most prized constituencies — Big Oil and Big Corn — to again propel him into the presidency next year.

The proposed plan would include an increase to biofuels requirements for 2020 of 1 billion gallons (3.8 billion liters), sources said.

The plan already faced backlash during a conference call the USDA held early Friday with biofuels advocates to detail plans, sources said. The agricultural industry wants the administration to force larger refineries to make up for the exempted gallons through a process called “reallocation,” but it has not committed to that yet, the sources said.

“Plants are closing now. Farmers are going bankrupt now. The biofuel industry made it clear that restoring the exempted gallons by 2020 is the only way to stop the bleeding,” said a biofuel source familiar with the call. “Anything short of that is going to face united opposition, which means the president won’t want to show his face in Iowa.”

The meeting on Friday afternoon was initially expected on Thursday evening but was pushed back, a source said. The White House declined to comment for this story.

Trump has promised to deliver a “giant package” to US farmers related to ethanol, in response to ire from US farmers and biofuels advocates over 31 exemptions regulators have given to oil refineries to free them of requirements to blend biofuels.

Biofuels advocates, including Republican senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst from Iowa, weighed in on the issue on Twitter on Friday.

“Know this @EPA and @USDA: the only good deal for Iowa farmers is one that upholds the intent of the RFS,” Ernst said.

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) requires refineries to blend increasing volumes of biofuels into their fuel each year. Small facilities under financial strain can be exempted, and Trump authorized the EPA to grant 31 waivers to small refineries in August, far more than the Obama administration had typically granted.

The draft plan under consideration would include a previously discussed increase of 500 million gallons for conventional biofuels, largely corn-based ethanol, as well as an additional 500 million gallons for advanced biofuels like biodiesel for 2020, sources said. It would also include an addition to the biodiesel mandate for 2021 of 250 million gallons.

That increase would help address “excess waivers,” which have also harmed biodiesel and soy farmers, according to a document seen by Reuters that details the proposal.

An EPA spokesperson declined to confirm or comment on the plan on Thursday but said the agency will continue to consult on the best path forward for the program.

The latest proposal has already drawn criticism from the oil industry.

Additionally, officials at companies including Ergon Inc, Sinclair Oil Corp and San Joaquin Refining Co Inc wrote in a letter to Trump on Friday that small refineries that demonstrate economic hardship created by compliance costs are entitled to an exemption.

West Virginia legislature leaders sent a joint letter on Friday to the White House, saying, “We fear the Administration may lose sight of the importance of protecting small refineries which are critical to the US energy infrastructure and the manufacturing jobs they provide throughout the country.”

Since the waivers were granted, farmers and biofuel producers have voiced swift opposition. A coalition of labor unions that supports the biofuels industry sent a letter on Friday to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, urging the administration to stop issuing excess waivers.


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Biofuel plan faces fresh backlash from US agriculture

EU Threatens Indonesia About Retaliating Against Biodiesel Duties

JAKARTA: European Union representatives to Indonesia on Thursday challenged a plan to impose duties on European dairy goods in retaliation for the bloc’s duties on palm biodiesel, warning such action would violate World Trade Organization rules.

Indonesia’s Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita said on Aug 9 he was recommending to an inter-ministerial team a 20%-25% tariff on EU dairy products as the appropriate response to the EU’s plan to impose 8% to 18% countervailing duty on biodiesel from Indonesia.

The EU biodiesel market is worth an estimated €9 billion euros (US$10 billion) a year, with imports from Indonesia worth about €400 million, the European Commission said last month.

Indonesia’s total dairy and egg imports in 2018 were worth US$1 billion, trade ministry data showed, with most dairy imports coming from Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Europe.

“What the WTO does not allow, absolutely forbidden by the WTO regulation, is retaliation, which is what’s suggested in this case of dairy products,” the EU’s head of trade for Indonesia, Raffaele Quarto, told a briefing.

“In addition to that, if you see declaration of Indonesian importers that use dairy products from the EU, they pointed out it will damage the Indonesian economy to have this kind of measure,” Quarto said.

Charles-Michel Geurts, the head of the EU delegations to Indonesia, also noted problems with shipments of European spirits into Indonesia in the past six months amid suspicion this was linked to the biodiesel issue.

European spirit makers this year said they faced difficulties exporting drinks to Indonesia.

An Indonesian trade ministry official said there were delays in granting import licences for spirits from Europe but denied this was related to the dispute over palm oil.

“We are both members of WTO, we have rules of the game between partners,” said Geurts.

Indonesia’s director general of foreign trade at the trade ministry and the ministry’s spokesman declined to comment on Thursday.

The EU countervailing duties are another blow for Indonesia, the world’s biggest palm oil producer, after the bloc said that palm oil should not be included as a renewable transport fuel due to deforestation to make way for plantations.

Indonesia and Malaysia, the world’s second biggest palm oil producer, have repeatedly said the European measures against the edible oil industry are discriminatory.


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EU warns Indonesia about retaliating against biodiesel duties

McDonald’s Goes Electric Car

The fast-feeder is catering to growing number of electric-vehicle drivers in the country.

In Sweden, McDonald’s is catering to the growing numbers of electric car drivers by turning its classic Golden Arches restaurant signs into signposts letting people know where they can charge their vehicles.

The company has charging stations at 55 restaurants in the country, making it the largest restaurant chain for electric car charging. Ultimately it wants to offer the service at every drive-thru restaurant. Responding to a survey in which 48 per cent of people said it was difficult to find out where charging stations were located, McDonald’s is now making them even more prominent.

Created via agency Nord DDB, the first signs have been installed by McDonald’s restaurants in Mjölby and Munkedal. In addition to the current price for charging, the signs also display the prices of Big Macs and Happy Meals, gas-station style.

“McDonald’s has a strong history of being involved in the development of charging infrastructure along Sweden’s roads,” said Christoffer Rönnblad, marketing director at McDonald’s Sweden in a statement. “More and more people are choosing to travel by electric vehicles, and we want to be a part of this trend by inspiring good choices. Our sign is a new and fun take on a classic way of doing just that.”


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In Sweden, Golden Arches now double as signposts for electric car charging

PetroBio Commissioned to Convert Energy Production from Natural Gas to Renewable Bio Energy

Swedish engineering company PetroBio has been commissioned to convert the energy production at the Dutch tomato grower Zonnekreek Tomato from natural gas to renewable bio energy.

Earthquakes and tremors as a result of natural gas extraction in the Dutch city of Groningen, (one of the world’s largest gas fields) has led the Dutch government to implement a total gas extraction stop by 2030 as well as introducing a programme giving substantial economic incentives to businesses converting from old-style fossil fuels to renewable energy.

The escalating need for more environmentally friendly energy production gives PetroBio a boost in Europe. Not only in the Netherlands, but also in other European countries investing in incentive programmes to promote renewable energy.

“PetroBio’s traditional market has been mainly the Nordic countries but since merging with the Belgian biofuel company VYNCKE in January 2018 the opportunities to take market shares in Europe have increased significantly”, says Per Carlsson.

Via VYNCKE´s European customer base PetroBio were able to establish contact with the Dutch pellet manufacturer Maartens and the tomato grower Zonnekreek Tomato. Maartens is responsible for funding and contracting the entire combustion equipment. The project is partly financed by the Dutch government as part of the incentive programme to encourage businesses to switch from combusting natural gas to biofuels. Zonnekreek Tomato also commit to buy energy from Maartens for the next twelve years, energy which is more efficient and more profitable than the one utilized today.

Greenhouse operations are common in the Netherlands and we are looking to find similar projects together with Maartens, says Per Carlsson.

The plant in Holland is planned to be up and running at the end of 2019.


Published on and written by Naomi Holliman

PetroBio commissioned to convert Zonnekreek Tomato from natural gas to renewable bio energy

Oil Industry Urges Trump Administration to Dismiss Biofuel Industry Wish List

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The American Petroleum Institute on Tuesday urged the Trump administration to reject proposals floated by U.S. farmers and ethanol producers to boost ethanol demand, the latest development in the clash over biofuel policy.

President Donald Trump last week said his administration was planning a “giant package” related to ethanol that would please U.S. farmers angry that many more oil refiners have been freed from obligations to use the corn-based fuel.

Trump is counting on support from both farmers and the oil industry in next year’s presidential election.

“We are deeply concerned by the RFS (Renewable Fuel Standard) policy changes the White House is currently considering,” said Frank Macchiarola, API’s vice president of downstream and industry operations, during a press call on Tuesday. “We hope the administration walks back from the brink of what would be a disastrous political decision that potentially hurts American drivers.”

The Renewable Fuel Standard requires refiners to blend biofuels like ethanol into their fuel, but allows the Environmental Protection Agency to grant waivers to financially troubled small facilities. The EPA announced in August a decision to grant 31 waivers to refineries under the Small Refinery Exemptions program, enraging farmers and ethanol producers who said the move undermines biofuel demand.

Since then, groups including the corn lobby and the Renewable Fuels Association have urged the administration to redistribute waived volumes from the exemptions into future biofuel volume mandates, a proposal API opposes.

“It is simply unfair for the burden of additional volume requirements to essentially be placed on the backs of those parties that have made decisions along the way to be able to comply with the law in the first place,” Macchiarola said.

The API late Friday submitted comments to the EPA on the proposed 2020 RFS volumes. API’s top concern is the ethanol blend wall, or the maximum amount of ethanol that can be blended into gasoline. Most U.S. gasoline contains 10% ethanol.

Separately, soybean associations from eight states including Nebraska, Missouri and Georgia sent a letter to Trump on Tuesday, saying the refinery exemptions were adding to farmers and biodiesel producers’ recent financial hardships. The group asked Trump to direct the EPA to make up for lost volumes caused by the exemptions.


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Oil industry urges Trump administration to dismiss biofuel industry wish list

Singapore Zero-Waste Plan To Raise Recycling Rates From 22 to 30 Per Cent By 2030

The rich, convenience-oriented city-state is the first in Southeast Asia to introduce producer responsibility laws to tackle a sobering waste problem. But as its only landfill fills up, does Singapore’s Zero Waste Masterplan go far enough?

The Singapore government has launched an eagerly awaited masterplan to tackle the city-state’s acute waste problem, with new targets set to reduce the burden on the island’s only landfill site and create circular economy opportunities around packaging, electronic and food waste.

The Zero Waste Masterplan, launched on Friday, aims to reduce the amount of incinerated rubbish sent to Pulau Semakau by 30 per cent per person by 2030. At current rates, the purpose-built trash island is projected to be full by 2035.

Other targets include increasing the country’s overall recycling rate—which has been largely flat since 2012—from 60 per cent in 2018 to 70 per cent by 2030.

Within that target, the government hopes to increase the domestic recycling rate, which includes household waste, from 22 per cent in 2018 to 30 per cent by 2030, and the non-domestic recycling rate from 74 per cent in 2018 to 81 per cent by 2030.

Singapore incinerates most of its waste, which has increased from 4.7 million tonnes in 2000 to 7.7 million tonnes in 2018. Singapore residents get through an estimated 13 plastic bags a day, and throw away the equivalent of 147 iPhones worth of e-waste every 10 seconds.

Speaking to Eco-Business on the sidelines of the event, Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR), said the masterplan would “significantly” increase the lifespan of Semakau, but did not reveal a new date for when she expects the landfill to be full.

Commenting on Singapore’s new waste targets, Louis Ng, Member of Parliament and a prominent environmentalist, said he was pleased “we finally have reduction targets and not just recycling targets,” but stressed the need to tackle the root of the problem and ways to address the city-state’s “throw-away culture”.

He told Eco-Business: “I hope we can continue to focus on reducing our waste and also remember the other “R”s namely ‘refuse’ and ‘reuse’ and have even more ambitious reduction targets. Our future and survival will depend on our zero waste efforts and we need to increase our efforts urgently.”

We believe that closing the plastic loop domestically is an area where economic and environmental opportunities lie.

Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources

The S$40 million ‘splash from trash’

The driving force behind Singapore’s waste reduction plan is the Resource Sustainability Act, which makes companies more responsible for the waste created after consumers have used their products.

The first measure is mandatory reporting for companies that produce or use packaging by next year. Aside from reporting how much packaging they use, companies need to produce a plan for reducing their packaging footprint.

By 2021, firms that produce the most hazardous type of waste—e-waste—will be subject to Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) regulations, which oblige firms to collect post-consumer waste, then recycle it. While common in developed Asian countries such as Japan and South Korea, Singapore’s EPR law is the first in Southeast Asia.

An EPR law for packaging is slated for 2025 or earlier, and companies will need to segregate food waste by 2024.

Khor said the masterplan presented Singapore with a potential S$40 million (US$29 million) economic opportunity to “make a splash from trash” and become a regional leader in circular economy solutions, with 30,000 “high-value” jobs to be created from the local recycling industry by 2025.

She pointed to a new recycling facility opened by e-waste recycling firm Tes-Amm to extract lithium from electric vehicle batteries as an example of how waste can be treated as a resource.

Khor added that China’s decision to ban waste imports, made at the start of 2018, had meant that countries like Singapore had to think harder about how to manage their own waste.

“We believe that closing the plastic loop domestically is an area where economic and environmental opps lie,” said Khor, who added that the National Environment Agency had studied how Singapore could develop its nascent plastic recycling industry.

Singapore also plans to beef up its circular economy capabilities by investing S$45 million on research into circular solutions, and S$25 million on research into waste-to-energy solutions. One area of interest is how to reuse incineration ash, known as NEWSand, to divert it from Semakau.

Lee Wei Yang, deputy director, environmental policy division, MEWR, stressed the importance of extending the life of Semakau. “We don’t have the option of moving our city to another island,” he said, referring to neighbouring Indonesia’s plan to relocate its capital from Jakarta to East Kalimantan. “This is all the space we have.”

We have more than a decade [before Semakau landfill is full]. Why [are the targets] so tame?

Dr Martin Blake, strategic advisor, Blue Planet Environmental Solutions

A wasted opportunity?

The masterplan was welcomed by some business owners. Zhang DiSong, the managing director of recycling firm Anaergia, said the plan would create a waste value chain that has not existed before in Singapore. “In the past, we didn’t have [waste] feedstock. Now we can trade in it,” he told Eco-Business.

Others said the plan did not go far enough to address a waste crisis in the making.

Referring to the aim of reducing the amount of trash sent to landfill by 30 per cent per person by 2030, Dr Martin Blake, strategic advisor to Singapore-based waste management firm Blue Planet Environmental Solutions, said that for a country like Singapore—with a strong ability to regulate effectively—a 75 per cent reduction target would not be too ambitious.

“We have more than a decade [before Semakau is full]. Why [are the targets] so tame?” he said.

On Singapore’s domestic waste recycling target of 30 per cent by 2030, Blake noted that with the targeted increase of less than one percentage point a year, and with Singapore’s population projected to increase from 5.6 million now to 6.5 to 6.9 million by 2030, there would be barely any overall increase in recycling.

The blue bin blockage

The absence of trash segregation in households is the major obstacle to budging Singapore’s poor domestic recycle rate, Blake said.

Singapore residents, 80 per cent of whom live in high-rise buildings, throw their trash down garbage chutes, and place recyclables, unseparated, into blue recycling bins on the groundfloor.

Since recyclables are thrown in the blue bins together, many items are contaminated by food or liquid and can no longer by recycled. Newly designed bins will carry clearer instructions for how to recycle properly.

Kim Stengert, chief of strategy communication and external relations for green group World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Singapore, said that Singapore’s blue bin recycling model was “challenging”.

Stengert pointed to his country of birth, Germany, home to the world’s highest domestic recycling rate, where there are separate bins for different types of recyclables, and rules and fines in place to enforce proper recycling behaviour.

“In Germany, if your waste is contaminated, the garbage people won’t pick it up,” he said.

Singapore has launched a public awareness campaign called ‘Recycle Right‘ to encourage residents to use the blue bins properly. Some 40 per cent of recyclables placed in the blue bins are contaminated.


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The Ugly Truth About Biofuels

It is a truth (almost) universally acknowledged that the world needs to stop consuming so many fossil fuels–and to do so in a big hurry–if we are to have any hope lowering global carbon emissions in time to curb catastrophic climate change and to meet the goals set by the Paris climate agreement. In fact, according to an alarming 2018 study by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in order to prevent global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial averages within this century, worldwide carbon emissions need to decrease by 45 percent by 2030 and be slashed all the way down to zero by the middle of the century–no easy feat.

There are a huge number of alternative energy sources, from zero-emissions nuclear to solar and wind, and the world of renewable energy technology grows more diverse and advanced all the time. One of these alternative energies, however, may not be as clean or renewable as you may think.

Biofuel seems like an obvious replacement for fossil fuels. It can be easily substituted for traditional fossil fuels without the cumbersome necessity of revamping the energy systems we already have in place. Take ethanol, for example, which you have already been using to fuel your car, as it is required by the government to be mixed into your gasoline. This is the beauty of biofuel–it’s so compatible with our current way of living, you may not even have known you were a biofuels user.

This is also, however, exactly what’s wrong with biofuel. It doesn’t change a system that is clearly broken, dirty, and unsustainable. In many ways it’s just the same as the fossil fuels that we are so very problematically dependent upon. Like fossil fuels, biofuels need to be combusted, and therefore, like fossil fuels, biofuels (despite their very green-sounding name and eco-friendly connotation) create carbon emissions.
Related: Analysts Cut WTI Oil Price Forecast Again

Yes, biofuels create less carbon than traditional fuels when they are burned, but this is not the whole story of biofuels’ carbon footprint. “Clean Technology” news site AZoCleantech reports that, “ the production of biofuels often involves using land already being utilized as farmland. This leads to deforestation, as more land is sought in order to keep up with the increasing demand for food worldwide. Indirectly, the production of biofuels actually increases CO2 levels because it reduces the number of trees transforming the toxic gas into oxygen. This is the first point which reveals biofuels to be a non-renewable source of energy.”

Furthermore, the biofuel supply chain largely relies on traditional fossil fuels, further rendering any emissions saved by the burning of the actual biofuels themselves moot. “From growth of ingredients through to transportation,” AZoCleantech goes on to say, “non-renewable energy sources are key to biofuel manufacture. Further to this, greenhouse gases are emitted at different stages of production, due to the burning of fuel used in farming, the production of fertilizers used on the crops, burning fuel during transport, and more. Meaning that while biofuels may emit fewer greenhouse gases when burned and are that they are produced from renewable products (such as corn and soybeans), these positives are dramatically outweighed by the negative impact of greenhouse gases being produced as an indirect effect of biofuel production, as well as the dependence on fossil fuels along the supply chain.”

While biofuel has enjoyed a fair amount of support from the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the United Nations has actually already acknowledged that biofuel, in many cases, does more harm than good. In the past, the UN has even tried to discourage the United States to reduce the country’s own biofuel production, which is itself a very sizeable industry backed by the country’s powerful corn lobby, because it is exacerbating the global food crisis. As Forbes has reported in the past, “Biofuels increase food prices (plus the volatility of those prices) and therefore don’t have many of the positive benefits for humanity claimed by proponents. In fact, the UN has asked the U.S. to suspend its biofuel mandates because it was exacerbating the food crisis: a child dies from hunger every 10 seconds. For the U.S. and the world, 48 million Americans live in poverty, and over 80% of the globe is undeveloped, so the rising competition between ‘fuel and food” is a moral issue.’”


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Petrochemical Companies form Cracker of the Future Consortium and Sign R&D agreement

Companies to explore electrical cracking to potentially reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Six petrochemical companies in Flanders, Belgium, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, and the Netherlands (Trilateral Region) today announce the creation of a consortium to jointly investigate how naphtha or gas steam crackers could be operated using renewable electricity instead of fossil fuels. The Cracker of the Future consortium, which includes BASF, Borealis, BP, LyondellBasell, SABIC and Total, aims to produce base chemicals while also significantly reducing carbon emissions. The companies have agreed to invest in R&D and knowledge sharing as they assess the possibility of transitioning their base chemical production to renewable electricity.

Base chemicals, which include ethylene, propylene, butadiene and BTX, are produced in steam crackers and mainly transformed into plastics. These are used for lightweight components in vehicles, improving passenger safety and comfort and reducing fuel and emissions. Plastic packaging saves and preserves food from field to table. Overall, polymers make a major contribution to resource and energy efficiency and positively impact society.

Polymers will always be needed, especially in emerging, renewable energy-related technologies, where they are crucial, for instance for wind turbines, solar panels and batteries. The chemical industry has been at the forefront of those innovations and will continue to deliver solutions for a more sustainable future.

Steam crackers represent the principal opportunity for reducing the industry’s greenhouse gas emissions. One option currently under consideration is to electrically heat the cracking furnaces, rather than rely on fossil fuels.

Using electricity produced from renewable sources would significantly reduce cracker emissions. The key challenges in developing electricity-based cracker technology are ensuring that the chosen emissions reduction solution is technologically and economically feasible compared to the current process; that it fits into a future low-carbon value chain; and that it can be implemented in time to meet policy targets. Assuming these challenges are met, developing and implementing electricity-based cracker technology will help the sector maintain sustainable operations while reducing the carbon footprint of its products.

Following the signature of the agreement, the members of the consortium have begun exploring and screening technical options. If a potential technical solution is identified, the parties will determine whether to pursue joint development project(s), including R&D activities that could include a demonstrator for proof of concept in the case of base chemicals.

Trilateral Strategy

The collaboration is a direct result of the Trilateral Strategy for the Chemical Industry drawn up by the North Rhine-Westphalian, Flemish and Dutch ministries of economic affairs and the industry associations VCI (Germany), Essenscia (Belgium) and VNCI (Netherlands) to boost the sustainability of the chemical sector. The Trilateral Strategy to “become the world ́s engine for the transition towards a sustainable and competitive chemical industry cluster” was presented to the European Commission (link) in late 2017. Three tables have been set up to elaborate strategy: Energy, Infrastructure and Innovation.

The Innovation Table has three key success factors: technical innovations to enable the energy- and feedstock transition, digital transformation to enhance competitiveness, and framework conditions to enhance innovation through cross-border cooperation.

Chemical Cluster

The trilateral region of the Netherlands, North Rhine-Westphalia and Flanders was a logical choice as a European starting point, since the combined region is the largest chemical cluster in the world with annual revenue of €180 billion and 350,000 jobs.

The six members of the Cracker of the Future Consortium, chaired by the Brightlands Chemelot Campus, aim to create innovative value propositions in developing sustainable technologies together in line with competition law.

‘This is a unique collaboration that aims to reduce our industry’s carbon footprint for the betterment of society as a whole, ” says Bert Kip, Chair of the Trilateral Innovation Table and CEO of Brightlands Chemelot Campus. “It demonstrates the commitment of our industry to collectively seek technological solutions to minimize greenhouse gas emissions from our operations. We are proud to have taken this first step together and look forward to the successes that lie ahead.”


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India Launches First Test Plant to Convert Plastic Waste to Diesel Fuel

Plastic waste has become a major environmental catastrophe. According to the UN Environmental Programme (UNEP), five trillion single-use plastic bags are used worldwide every year. About 60% of that plastic ends up landfills or the natural environment, ultimately returning into the food cycle and causing severe environmental and health consequences.

India has announced that single-use plastic would be completely phased out by 2022. It has also announced several research projects to recycle plastic waste into useful applications.

The first of its kind in India, the Indian Institute of Petroleum (IIP) under the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology has developed the technology to convert plastic waste to diesel.

The first demonstration plant in the country to convert plastic waste to diesel has been launched in Dehradun, in the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand. The plant can convert 1000 kilograms of plastic waste to 800 litres of diesel daily. IIP will make the oil available to government agencies regularly.

The diesel is automotive grade, meets specifications for use in vehicles and can be directly used to fuel cars, trucks and power generators. The raw material used is polyolefin waste, which accounts for approximately 70% of total plastics consumed.

The salient features of the project are that it is capable of producing diesel, gasoline (petrol) or aromatics along with LPG, through environmentally-friendly processes and it is economically viable.

“We have partnered with a local non-government organisation, that is working with communities, commercial entities and ragpickers to develop an effective waste plastic supply chain,” Dr Anjan Ray, Director of Indian Institute of Petroleum told Sputnik.

Dr Ray said, after six to nine months of regular operations and data generation, IIP plans to set up similar plants in India’s metro cities, which generate vast quantities of plastic waste.

IIP had also developed a technology to produce Bio Jetfuel, and the first commercial flight using a mix of Bio Jetfuel and Aviation Turbine Fuel was operated between Dehradun and New Delhi in August 2018. The Indian Air Force has also started using Bio Jetfuel, and the first flight – of an AN-32 aircraft flew during the Republic Day Parade on 26 January 2019, using Bio Jetfule produced at IIP.


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India Launches First Test Plant to Convert Plastic Waste to Diesel Fuel


Trump To Unveil Biofuel Plan Soon

DECATUR, Ill. (Reuters) – President Donald Trump is likely to announce a plan that aims to mitigate the impact of waivers granted to oil refineries on biofuel demand in the next couple of weeks, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said on Wednesday.

Speaking at a news conference on the sidelines of the Illinois Farm Progress Show, Perdue said Trump would like to deliver the news himself to farmers and indicated that he could visit the state.


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Water Hyacinth as Wonder Source of Biofuel

This invasive plant was reviled for clogging rivers but now it’s helping provide cleaner energy and protect health

It is 9am on the shores of Lake Victoria’s Winam Gulf in Kenya’s Kisumu county. Tourists are arriving on the beach in droves, preparing to spend the day sunbathing and taking boat rides. Behind them, enormous marabou storks on spindly grey legs are pacing the beach, waiting for scraps.

Nearby, a group of women scan the horizon, looking for the fishing boats that will soon arrive with their daily catch.

But there’s something else on the horizon too, a sheet of water hyacinth pulled over the surface of the lake. The leaves of the floating plant extending like an oversized green shag carpet, rolling gently in the wind.

“We hope that the boats arrive before the hyacinth covers this area, [because] it will be difficult for [the fishermen] to access the dry land and bring us fish,” says Elizabeth Keita, a fishmonger in the village of Dunga, as she eyes the bobbing green sheet in the distance.

Water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes), an aquatic plant native to South America, first appeared in countries in Africa in the early 1900s. Scientists there dubbed it the “world’s worst aquatic weed”, after it spread from the Cape in the early 1900s and started clogging up major dams and rivers.

In east Africa, the nefarious invader arrived with Belgian colonists in Rwanda, who liked the look of its glossy leaves and delicate purple flowers floating in their garden ponds.

But by the 1980s, it had slipped out of Rwanda via the Kagera river and made its way downstream to Lake Victoria.

There, with no natural predators and perfect temperature conditions, the plant began gobbling up open space, choking off fishing routes and providing a new habitat for disease-carrying mosquitoes. But for women like Keita, it has meant dwindling income, as the boats that once brought silver lake fish to shore by the hundreds struggled to navigate the clogged waters.

But water hyacinth isn’t her only headache. Like most women here, to smoke the fish she buys, Keita must gather huge quantities of firewood, sometimes walking as far as 10km each way to collect enough kindling to complete her work. And each day as she cooks, she breathes in the thick, grey woodfire smoke.

“I have had chest complications a number of times in the last years,” says Keita, who is chairperson of the local fishmongers’ association.

About three out of four families in Kenya depend on wood or charcoal to cook their daily meals, and the rate is even higher in rural areas, Kenya’s latest demographic and health survey shows.

Using solid fuels like these for cooking increases indoor pollution. The World Health Organization estimates that about 14,300 Kenyans die annually from conditions linked to indoor air pollution – most of which is caused by cooking and heating sources, the most recent estimates released in 2009 show.

Outside Keita’s home on the shores of Lake Victoria, piles of cleared water hyacinth left to rot were a common site. But buried in those decaying waxy leaves was a renewable energy gold mine.

It turns out the floating plant isn’t just good at being abundant – its foliage also contains a high ratio of carbon to nitrogen. It’s a magic combination that has captivated researchers’ imaginations since as early as the 1980s when, across the world, they began to explore its potential as a biofuel. Just about 4kg of the dried plant was enough to cater for a large family’s daily energy needs, early research predicted.

In 2014, Nigerian academics announced they had got better yields of the gas when they mixed the plant with sanitised chicken manure. A few years later, Kenyan scientists confirmed what their Nigerian peers and others had already found: animal dung worked to power charge the process of converting the weed into gas. In India, scientists took this idea and ran with it, mixing water hyacinth with the more famous Cannabis sativa, the same family of plants that marijuana comes from, as a proposed answer for periodic shortages of cow dung.

In 2018, the technology came to Dunga promising a two-for-one solution to the dual menaces of the water hyacinth and dependence on firewood. The community received two donated biogas digesters – machines that would transform a mix of water hyacinth and cow dung into biogas for cooking, as well as material for other household tasks such as incubating chicks and purifying water.

The “digesters” work a bit like a stomach. Food goes in one end – think of it as a mouth – and over the next 20 to 30 days, it ferments and breaks down, giving off gas that comes out the other end. From there, the clean-burning gas is piped to the point of use, just like traditional domestic gas.

Currently, there are about 50 of these biogas digesters slated for Kenya. In Dunga, some are connected to multiple family stoves so that altogether they produce enough gas to serve about 60% of the village’s population.

Kenya’s Biogas International company installed the stoves in partnership with the pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca and the University of Cambridge’s Institute for Sustainability.

The project will test whether biogas can provide an effective alternative to firewood and charcoal in rural Kenyan communities.

The programme is only months old but, anecdotally, it seems to be working. Keita says the members of her fishmongers’ association are already getting sick less often. And because they don’t have to devote hours a day to walking long distances to collect firewood, they’re making more money as well.

Kanyiva Muindi is an epidemiologist and air pollution research fellow at the African Population and Health Research Centre in Nairobi. She says families who switch to the smokeless cooking method could expect fewer respiratory issues and even some forms of cancer because where there’s smoke, there’s PAHs – polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, a carcinogen released during burning of certain materials such as wood, corn cobs or cow dung, researchers recently reported.

Women, young girls and children are particularly vulnerable because they spend so much time in the kitchen or outside over cooking fires. Worldwide, scientists are still exploring whether PAHs are linked to pockets of high rates of oesophageal cancer in the country.

How much better the biogas stoves will be for the community’s health still needs more research, says Dominic Kahumbu Wanjihia, Biogas International’s chief executive. But unless the price of the digesters drops, it’s pretty clear that most communities will never be able to afford the machines, which sell for about $750.

Kanyiva says affordability is a challenge worth addressing, given the huge health and environmental dangers posed by “dirty” fuels such as wood, charcoal and kerosene. If biogas could become affordable on a large scale, she says it “would be life-changing for millions on the African continent and beyond”.

For Keita, meanwhile, one unexpected benefit of the stoves has been the way they have changed her view of water hyacinth. For years, she had regarded it as little more than a menace. But now, she says, “the hyacinth is becoming a useful resource!”


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New Electric Car Battery Can Be Recharged in Six Minutes

A NEW battery technology which is being prepared for commercialisation which will allow for mobile phones and electric car recharging to drop to six minutes.A new battery technology company is preparing to commercialise new technology which could lead to rapid charging times.

Echion Technologies, the Sawston-based battery specialist born out of Cambridge University, is looking to bring the battery tech to both smartphones and electric cars. The firm claims that the recharging times could drop to as little as six minutes. Currently, rapid charging times are around 45-minutes or in some exceptions 30-minutes for a decent amount of range.

This is significantly longer than it takes to top up a petrol or diesel car.

If this technology could be commercialised then it could revolutionise travel on the go allowing cars to be extremely quickly charged up.

The new technology involves graphite with a new material says, Dr Jean De La Verpilliere who won’t reveal exactly what it is but it could be compound, reports Cambridge Independent.

Verpilliere created a material that could be used in lithium batteries two years ago when he also founded Echiom.

The focus of the company is on high performance materials innovations for lithium and n lithium-ion battery technology.

According to the report, materials are simply ‘dropped in’ to a lithium battery infrastructure.

“The powders are the central component of a lithium battery,” Jean says.

“This is a new kind of powder which allows you to recharge in six minutes, not 45 minutes. This includes a car, so your electric car is almost as easy to charge as it is to refuel conventionally.”

“The problem with the usual powders is that when you fast-charge them they can cause an explosion. With the new material – which I can’t tell you any more about – it will accept fast-charging with no safety hazard, unlike graphite.”

Currently, the company, who has benefited from some funding by Cambridge Enterprise, can produce 1kg of powders a day, which is equivalent to the amount needed for a car battery.

However, the company said it is working on scalability to enable higher volumes to be produced.

“We’re working on methods to make powders which are scaleable and where 1,000 tonnes could be made quite easily in factories,” says Jean.

“We have a prototype now and are moving towards commercialisation early next year.

“The tests have to be validated beforehand.”

Newable’s investment director Alex Sleigh said: “As an investment team, we felt the product that Echion was producing was superior to anyone else in the market, particularly with regards to the time required to charge the batteries.

“Furthermore, the support that Echion received from a world-class institution in the form of Cambridge Enterprise gave us huge confidence, allied to our view that the majority of autonomous vehicles in the future will be powered by battery technology.”


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Trump Orders Biofuel Boost in Bid to Temper Farm State Anger

President Trump, seeking to tamp down political fallout in U.S. farm states essential to his reelection, has ordered federal agencies to shift course on relieving some oil refineries of requirements to use biofuel such as corn-based ethanol.

Trump and top Cabinet leaders decided late Thursday they wouldn’t make changes to just-issued waivers that allow small refineries to ignore the mandates, but agreed to start boosting biofuel-blending quotas to make up for expected exemptions beginning in 2021. The outcome was described by four people familiar with the matter who asked not to be named before a formal announcement could be made.

The decision was reached after a flurry of White House meetings this week on the issue, which divides two of Trump’s top political constituencies: rural Americans and the oil industry. With the move, Trump is largely siding with farmers, ethanol producers and political leaders in Iowa that have accused the president of turning his back on the industry.

But the administration’s shift risks blowback in Pennsylvania and other battleground states, where blue-collar refinery workers have held rallies to push for relief from U.S. biofuel quotas they say are too expensive. The largest coalition of U.S. building trades unions on Thursday warned Trump that changing course on exemptions would betray the president’s “campaign promise to protect every manufacturing job.”

“President Trump is committed to ensuring our country not only continues to be the agricultural envy of the world, but also remains energy independent and secure,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said.

Administration officials agreed to the broad contours of a renewable fuel plan, including further moves to encourage the use of E15 gasoline containing 15% ethanol, beyond the 10% variety common across the U.S. E15 could be dispensed alongside conventional ethanol blends at filling stations, under the drafted changes.

Under the tentative plan, the Environmental Protection Agency also will give a 500-million-gallon boost to the amount of conventional renewable fuel, such as ethanol, that must be used in 2020. A separate quota for biodiesel, typically made from soybeans, would get a 250-million-gallon increase.

Additionally, the administration will enhance a program meant to expand U.S. fueling infrastructure and get more ethanol into the system. The EPA will adopt an Agriculture Department assessment of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with renewable fuel, and will expand environmental credits encouraging automakers to produce “flex-fuel” vehicles that can run on high-ethanol gasoline.

The EPA has drawn intense criticism for its Aug. 9 decision to exempt 31 refineries from 2018 biofuel-blending requirements. Although federal law authorizes the waivers for small refineries facing an economic hardship, the number of those exemptions has surged during the Trump administration, and biofuel producers say they are being handed out too freely.

The backlash has been most severe in Iowa, the nation’s top producer of ethanol and the corn used in its manufacture. It is also crucial for Trump’s reelection; the state twice voted for Barack Obama before voting to send Trump to the White House in 2016.

Trump’s Democratic challengers have seized on the issue, with front-runner Joe Biden accusing the president of lying to farmers and abandoning a campaign promise to “unleash ethanol.”

However, EPA officials and oil industry leaders say the waivers haven’t harmed domestic ethanol demand and blame a glut of the product for suppressing prices. Trump’s trade war with China has exacerbated the industry’s economic challenges. As with U.S.-grown agricultural products, including soybeans, ethanol faces retaliatory tariffs in China.

Against the backdrop of tariffs, the exemptions delivered another blow to the U.S. Midwest, where guaranteed domestic ethanol demand helps provide a floor of support for corn farmers and buttresses swings in commodity prices. Ethanol refining accounts for about 40% of U.S. corn consumption.

American “agriculture has a problem if ethanol doesn’t do well,” Green Plains Inc. chief executive officer Todd Becker said in a telephone interview on Thursday. The Omaha-based company created a political action committee last month, and Becker told analysts in May that Green Plains plans to “engage” 2020 U.S. presidential candidates on ethanol policies.

Becker said he “can’t fault” Trump for getting tough on China, but the combination of the trade war and small refinery exemptions was causing too much pain. “You don’t fight China and then give out SREs,” Becker said. “Farmers are furious now.”

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue had urged the White House to rescind some of the recently issued waivers — at least those for refineries tied to “big” oil companies — according to an Aug. 20 memo obtained by Bloomberg. EPA officials successfully argued that would be illegal.

Instead, Trump directed the agency to increase biofuel quotas to make up for the exemptions, a so-called reallocation that will effectively boost the burden for larger refineries that are not eligible to win waivers. The EPA will start incorporating expected exemptions into annual biofuel quotas beginning with 2021.

Oil industry leaders blasted the tentative agreement on Friday, saying it would do little for U.S. farmers while hurting domestic refiners.

“Reallocation would be a major hit to fuel manufacturers in Pennsylvania and Ohio — and refinery workers across the country — with zero benefit to ethanol,” said Derrick Morgan, a senior vice president with the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers. “Those celebrating will ultimately be foreign biofuel producers whose biodiesel is being imported to help meet mandates.”

The EPA typically sets each year’s biofuel blending requirements by Nov. 30 of the preceding year, except for biodiesel quotas, which are set two years in advance. Under the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard program, there’s a specific mandate for biodiesel, but the soybean-based product can also be used to satisfy an implied 15-billion-gallon quota for conventional renewable fuel.

Frank Macchiarola, a vice president at the American Petroleum Institute, called the drafted plan a “rushed, arbitrary policy.”

“We hope the administration walks back from the brink of a disastrous political decision that punishes American drivers,” Macchiarola said. “Bad policy is bad politics.”

Although the tentative plan was meant to assuage biofuel allies, it’s not clear it was having the intended effect Friday, amid industry skepticism the EPA would follow through on the agreement. Iowa officials are preparing to visit Washington for a formal rollout of the policy changes.

Biodiesel industry advocates say they can produce more fuel — and the Trump administration needs to take that into account.

“With a level playing field in biodiesel trade in 2018, domestic producers increased output by several hundred million gallons,” said National Biodiesel Board spokesman Paul Winters. “We can continue to do so — as long as EPA stops using RFS waivers to destroy demand and put biodiesel producers out of business.”


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Paros to Become First Plastic Waste-Free Island in the Mediterranean

The popular island of Paros wants to become the first plastic waste-free island in the Mediterranean with vehicle the Clean Blue Alliance, an initiative of Common Seas, an organisation that seeks the reduction of plastic waste and the plastics pollution in sea.

Common Seas initiative, ‘Clean Blue Alliance,’ supports islands in accelerating their source-to-sea solutions, with the aim of eliminating plastic. The project is evidence-based and solutions-oriented as it identifies and supports local enterprises that reduce and reuse plastics.

This innovative initiative is a collaboration between ground-breaking Paros local businesses, the World Wildlife Fund Greece and the Cyclades Preservation Fund. Clean Blue Paros is empowering and supporting the residents of Paros and the island’s visitors, in order to enhance their understanding of their plastic ecosystem, as well as identify and invest in the solutions that will have the biggest impact in reducing the plastic items most commonly found in their seas. Together they will all support and contribute to a lasting reduction of plastic waste on the island.

Paros Mayor Markos Koveos said that the first step is to phase out plastic straws by next summer, ahead of the EU ban planned for 2022. “We are encouraged by the businesses’ who have already committed to support Clean Blue Paros. They are already acting to reduce plastic-use and better manage plastic waste; such as offering incentives for customers using refillable cups and providing alternatives to plastic straws. We will continue to support the growth of conservation and ecological awareness in Paros.”

The agreement reached, also constitutes a significant move towards the adoption of the EU’s strategy for ‘Plastics in a Circular Economy’, that aims to ‘protect the public and the environment from plastic pollution whilst fostering growth and innovation.’ Clean Blue Paros will continue to collaborate closely with Paros Municipality and the island’s locals and visitors to turn Paros into a more sustainable, circular economy that will make it a world leader in plastic-waste free living.

With their ‘Investigate, Intervene, Influence’ methodology, Clean Blue Paros is carrying out research to thoroughly understand Paros’ plastic ecosystem, in order to identify the opportunities that could stop plastic entering into its waters.

This summer they will support the local community with the development of anti-plastic initiatives that will have a long-term effect. Together with local experts, they have developed guidance and created a dynamic toolkit to support a plastic-waste free Paros, that will also attract environmentally-aware tourists and investors. These sustainable proposals and measures can be adopted on both a national and international level and inspire replication and scaling in other islands and countries.


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Rome Trials Recycling Plastic Bottles in Exchange for Transit Cash

The city of Rome unveiled three test machines around metro stations where passengers can drop plastic water bottles, receiving five cents apiece through a scan on their phones.

According to Rome’s transportation authority ATAC, the money goes to passengers’ accounts in partner apps MyCicero or Tabnet, which can be redeemed for public transportation.

ATAC President Paolo Simioni said on Wednesday that “in a period in which cryptocurrency is talked about, we have plastic currency. Substantially, it’s a system in which one recycles, we build customer loyalty and citizens’ virtuous behaviour is rewarded.”


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Rome Trials Recycling Plastic Bottles in Exchange for Transit Cash

Why Consumers Avoid Electric Cars?

Like technology fans itching to try the latest and greatest, electric-car owners are early adopters. EV sales remain paltry in the US despite tax credits and other discounts, but a new study aimed to uncover the major factors the internal-combustion engine reigns supreme.

According to the latest findings from Autolist, the reasons aren’t that shocking. Electric cars’ overall range, their price compared to a traditional car and charging infrastructure are the top reasons why consumers shun an EV. The time it takes to charge an electric car and an overall lack of knowledge rounded out the top five reasons why consumers aren’t interested in an electric vehicle.

Electric cars often have a higher priced attached to them as they are not at a price parity with vehicles powered by an internal-combustion engine. It’s not exactly known when electric vehicles will reach that price parity, either.

What’s perhaps most interesting about the survey are the realistic expectations consumers have when it comes to price. When asked what kind of range they’d expect from a $35,000 EV, most agreed between 250 and 300 miles was acceptable. That largely falls in line with the market today with most mainstream electric cars priced around $37,000 before tax credits or local incentives. Think the Chevrolet Bolt EV, Hyundai Kona Electric and upcoming Kia Soul EV. In fact, the majority of respondents (69%) said they support credits, incentives and other perks from the federal and local governments.

Where things fall off is the upper end of the spectrum. When asked what kind of range a $70,000 EV should provide, the popular answer was more than 500 miles. No electric car on sale provides such a range figure, even the most expensive models from Tesla, Audi and even upcoming models.

It’s clear the biggest boon to EV adoption will be general education if consumers’ expectations already match the reality of mass-market EVs. Although the sample size of 1,500 respondents was relatively small, it does provide a snapshot of consumers at large and their feelings. The more consumers understand electric cars, the more likely they’ll be to purchase one — over half said an EV would be their primary vehicle if they purchased one today.


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Canada May limit Plastic Waste Exports

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna says she has asked her department to look at what else Canada can do to reduce the amount of Canadian garbage that is ending up overseas.

As recently as Aug. 1, McKenna’s officials said Canada would not ban the export of recyclable plastics because it could affect the economies of countries that have recycling industries.

They cited similar policies in Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

Last week Australia began moving to ban plastic waste exports entirely and now Canada appears to be opening the door to doing more to halt exports.

McKenna says she is pushing her department to look at ways Canada can do more to stop Canadian plastics from ending up on foreign shores.

She says her government has already shown leadership at home, moving to ban many single-use plastics and force plastics producers to take more responsibility for their products.


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Canada open to putting more limits on exports of plastic waste, McKenna says

Recyclable Film That Can Replace Metallic Coatings in Food Packaging

Metallic coatings in food packaging are often difficult to recycle, but UK researches have developed a new transparent film that could replace some metallic layers.

Reported in peer-
reviewed journal Nature Communications, the new films can be produced using a cheap, environmentally friendly process and provide a similar level of food protection to the metallic layers, while also being full recyclable.

Multi-material composites which include metallic layers offer an essential barrier for food preservation, and is an industry standard approach to achieving necessary gas barrier performance. But these layers are difficult to separate and recycle.

University of Oxford Professor Dermot O’Hare and colleagues have created synthesised thin films made from nanosheets of layered double hydroxides – a fully inorganic material – which are developed in a process that only needs water and amino acids.

They are similarly impermeable to oxygen and water vapour as regular metallic coatings, while being transparent and mechanically robust. The films are also synthentic, meaning its composition is fully controllable.

Researchers are still ensuring the development of the films can be as cost effective as aluminium vapourisations. The new films have met several safety standards for contact with food but further testing is being undertaken before they can be used in packaging.


Published on and written by Doris Prodanovic

Recyclable and replaceable: film that can replace metallic coatings in food packaging developed

EU Imposes Duties on Indonesian Biodiesel

The European Commission had launched an anti-subsidy investigation in December following a complaint by the European Biodiesel Board

THE European Commission on Tuesday imposed countervailing duties of 8 per cent to 18 per cent on imports of subsidised biodiesel from Indonesia, saying the move was aimed at restoring a level playing field for European Union (EU) producers.

“The new import duties are imposed on a provisional basis and the investigation will continue with a possibility to impose definitive measures by mid-December 2019,” the EU executive said in a statement.

Last week Indonesia’s trade minister said he would recommend to an inter-ministerial team a 20 to 25 per cent tariff on EU dairy products in response to the EU targeting the country’s biodiesel, adding that he had asked dairy product importers to find sources of supply outside the 28-nation bloc.

The EU duties are another blow to Indonesian biodiesel producers after the bloc said in March that palm oil should be phased out of renewable transportation fuels due to palm plantations’ contribution to deforestation.

The European Commission, which coordinates trade policy for the EU, launched an anti-subsidy investigation in December following a complaint by the European Biodiesel Board.

It said its investigation showed that Indonesian biodiesel producers benefit from grants, tax benefits and access to raw materials below market prices.

The EU biodiesel market is worth an estimated nine billion euros (S$13.92 billion) a year, with imports from Indonesia worth about 400 million euros, it said.

Indonesia Biofuels Producers Association (APROBI) chairman MP Tumanggor told Reuters that companies impacted by the anti-subsidy duties will likely be forced to renegotiate their contracts with buyers in the EU and it may reduce 2019’s biodiesel exports.

“We initially targeted 1.4 million tonnes exports this year to Europe, that will not be reached,” Mr Tumanggor said, adding that exports may only reach around one million tonnes.

He said the group is in consultation with the government to respond to the duties decision by the EU.

Indonesian officials did not respond to requests for comment from Reuters on the countervailing duties decision.

In a separate report, Indonesia’s Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry said biodiesel with 30 per cent palm diesel blend passed a series of cold temperature tests this week as the government aims to increase the palm content in biodiesel early next year.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo said earlier this week he wants the so-called B30 standard to be adopted in January next year, up from the current B20 standard which contains a 20 per cent blend of palm fatty acid methyl ester (FAME).

Mr Widodo said the higher blend of palm in biodiesel should be able to address the problem of high energy imports and slowing global demand for palm by increasing domestic consumption of the vegetable oil.

The energy ministry said a number of passenger cars were tested in Java’s highland region where they were left in cold temperatures for up to 21 days.

“The start ability test results show that the cars can be started normally. This proves that the B30 flows well in the engine even though it has been left for 21 days in cold conditions,” Dadan Kusdiana, head of the research department at the energy ministry said in the statement. The B30 fuel is expected to go through more tests until October.

Energy ministry estimates that consumption of FAME could increase by more than 50 per cent next year with the implementation of the B30 standard. Indonesian palm oil exports are under pressure after the European Union said palm should be phased out from transportation fuels in its market due to its contribution to deforestation, while India, the world’s top vegetable oil buyer, has imposed an import tax on palm oil. REUTERS


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Plastic Shipments to India Stall as Ban Draws Near

Recovered plastic has largely stopped flowing from the U.S. into India, which until recently has been among the top importers of the material.

The curtailment in material movement comes as the South Asian country prepares to implement an all-out ban on scrap plastic imports this month.

The Indian government in March announced its plan to ban scrap plastic imports, later indicating the ban would take effect Aug. 31. The ban is proposed to cover most plastics under the 3915 tariff code, including PET, PE, PP, PS and more.

The announcement sent shockwaves through the industry, because India is a major destination for U.S. material. The country was the second largest importer of U.S. scrap plastic during the first six months of 2019, bringing in 156 million pounds. June is the most recent month for which trade figures are available.

Since that highly publicized initial announcement and a subsequent clarification of the implementation date, there has been little news of the plastic ban. But in the intervening months there have been numerous indications the ban is still set to take effect later this month. Meanwhile, scrap plastic traders say the movement of material to India has stopped in preparation for the new restriction.

“There has been no change in the stance,” said Rakesh Surana of scrap plastics brokerage Gemini Corporation N.V. “Because of this, all the exports out of U.S.A. or Europe to India of plastic scrap have come to a standstill,” because it takes between 30 and 45 days for containers to reach India.

Stakeholders adjust for end-of-August ban

In May, the Indian government continued to stress its upcoming plastics policy changes. In a press release describing the Indian delegation’s activities at the Basel Convention meeting in Geneva, the Indian Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change praised the Basel countries for expanding regulations on global scrap plastic shipments. The Indian delegation was involved in negotiating the agreement to amend the Convention, the release stated.

“India has already imposed a complete prohibition of import of solid plastic waste into the country,” the release added, referencing the upcoming ban.

In June, shipping companies began to make adjustments as the Aug. 31 enforcement date came on the horizon. APL stopped accepting loads of scrap plastic moving from any country to India. Hapag-Lloyd issued an alert reiterating the Indian policy changes. The company announced that it would cut off shipments of “solid plastic waste” into India after July 10.

Sources told Resource Recycling the policy is still slated for an end-of-August implementation date. Scrap plastic shippers have received instruction that containers should reach the Indian ports by Aug. 20 at the latest, Surana of Gemini Corporation said, to enable the shipments to clear customs before Aug. 31.

As the ban approaches and shippers adjust accordingly, several key elements of the Indian policy remain unclear. Scrap plastic traders say it’s not certain whether post-industrial plastics or clean regrind will be banned, or whether the restriction is only covering baled, post-consumer material.

For the time being, however, clean regrind is still going to the country, traders say, and it’s mostly the baled scrap plastic that has been impacted, according to information shared by Steve Wong, executive president of the China Scrap Plastics Association (CSPA).

If that material is allowed to continue, it would be “more or less the same as the Basel Convention amendments,” Wong said. Uncontaminated loads of scrap plastic, sorted by resin rather than mixed together, are generally acceptable under the Basel guidelines.

India joins a growing regulatory movement

Over the past year and a half – the time since China’s scrap plastic import ban took effect – countries across Southeast Asia have enacted various restrictions on recycled plastic coming into their countries. And more recently, a growing number of these countries are shipping inbound plastic back to its source, which is frequently North America.

Although each Southeast Asian nation’s import restrictions have been slightly different, they are driven primarily by skyrocketing plastic import volumes that followed China’s ban. The influx of material has led to greater attention to contamination, particularly when the importing country does not have adequate infrastructure to dispose of that contamination.

These issues have built significant public pressure on governments to take action.

“There’s not a single day that we don’t see plastic scrap in the media,” Wong said.


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Lidl Sets Up its Own Recycling Operations in Germany

The owner of discount supermarkets Lidl and Kaufland has charged into waste management despite the downfall of a big industry player, Duales System.

Where there’s a supermarket, there’s trash, and in a highly developed country yearning to dispose of that trash ecologically, that means opportunity.

The Schwarz Group, Germany’s largest retailer who owns Lidl and Kaufland supermarkets, has built up its own waste management group and is busy adding recycling to the mix. That business is called PreZero, formed after Schwarz took over another disposal firm, Tönsmeier, last year and merged it with its own activities to create Germany’s fifth-largest player in the sector.

Prozero, which already has annual revenue of €500 million ($572 million), has a near-term target of €750 million per year, just from trash collection. If it gains a foothold in recycling, revenues will be higher still.

German law forces producers and retailers to pay a charge on the packaging that ends up as consumer waste, from milk bottles to the parcel bags that online retailers use to ship books. The government hopes that the levy will ultimately reduce waste and boost the recycling rate. Meanwhile, the waste companies licensed to collect and recycle these materials get a cut of the levy, plus whatever profit they can glean from reprocessing.

Tapping a national obsession

Thanks to a deep-seated love of order, Germans are very good at sorting plastic, glass, cardboard and paper into the right bins, generating mountains of waste for recycling. The country’s top five waste management firms – market leader Remondis, along with Veolia, Suez, Chinese-controlled Alba and PreZero – collected €6.2 billion in revenue last year (see graphic below).

Schwarz enjoys an unusual advantage for a newcomer: It can start with its own trash. By processing the refuse of its large retail chains, the company is expecting annual fees of €100 million. Pending official approval of its recycling business, expected by 2021, PreZero can tap into that market.

The move is not without financial pitfalls. Last year, one of the big recycling specialists, Duales System Deutschland, went bankrupt. Because many companies dodged the packaging tax, DSD ended up processing a lot of trash that wasn’t paid for. Privately-owned Remondis, which has bought DSD pending antitrust approval, will surely be hoping that a new register and penalties for free riders will prevent similar mishaps in future.

Schwarz, however, shrugs off the potential danger. “We have great financial strength thanks to the Schwarz Group, and we intend to use it,” says Dietmar Böhm, managing director of PreZero. The unit will invest more than €100 million this year in recycling, including construction of two new sorting sites.

What about Aldi?

This unlikely incursion into the trash business by a food retailing group has competitors worried. “Lidl and Kaufland have tremendous purchasing power,” says Eric Rehbock, head of recycling industry association BVSE, who fears a distortion of competition. The grocery chains could compel their suppliers to use PreZero, he added.

Some are already looking to see what Aldi, a rival supermarket giant, will do. The discount chain pays recycling licenses to the tune of €90 million, almost equal to Schwarz’s.

Industry experts says Schwarz’s move will be tricky for management. “Waste disposal is very complex and isn’t part of a retailer’s core business,” notes Haluk Sagol, an expert at Inverto, part of the Boston Consulting Group.

At the same time, Inverto calculates that retailers, through their unique position in the recycling system, could shave one-fifth off the cost of waste disposal. So Schwarz may be on the right track. “It’s an innovative if gutsy move,” says Sagol, “that still has to prove itself.”


Published on and written by Florian Kolf and Christoph Schlautmann

Poland Spring and The Recycling Partnership Help Consumers Answer “Can I Recycle This?”

#NotTrash Instagram campaign is first activation between Poland Spring and The Recycling Partnership to help residents recycle more, better

Less than 30% of plastic bottles are currently recycled in the U.S.[1] And less than half of recyclables in U.S. homes get recycled by consumers[2]. Poland Spring® Brand 100% Natural Spring Water is teaming up with The Recycling Partnership to tackle one of the core reasons for low recycling rates: consumer confusion.

Starting this month, Poland Spring and The Recycling Partnership, a nonprofit organization dedicated to transforming recycling for good in communities across the country, are launching their first Instagram recycling hotline to help to answer the common question, “Can I recycle this?” Consumers can post a photo of the item in question on their Instagram feed or in their stories tagging #NotTrash and @PolandSpringWtr to ask for help. Poland Spring and The Recycling Partnership will get back to them with an answer.

Yumiko Clevenger-Lee, Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Nestlé Waters North America said:

“Consumers are at the heart of everything we do and that means we are constantly listening to them to understand their needs and preferences. What we’re hearing is that consumers are concerned and confused about plastic bottles. So, we’re working on innovations like our recently launched and nationally available Poland Spring ORIGIN in a 100% recycled plastic bottle. And we’re taking it a step further by working with organizations like The Recycling Partnership to help remove some of the confusion about recycling.”

Poland Spring is donating $150,000 to The Recycling Partnership to help improve curbside access to recycling and inspire more Americans to recycle more, better. From August 12 to August 23, in partnership with Z100’s nationally-syndicated “Elvis Duran and the Morning Show,” every time listeners post a photo on Instagram stories or their feed of them recycling an emptied bottle with the cap on or post a question relating to what can be recycled, and tag #NotTrash and @PolandSpringWtr, Nestlé Waters North America will donate an additional dollar per post to The Recycling Partnership up to $25,000. The promotion will air across the radio show’s network of 75 affiliate stations nationwide.

“We are thrilled Poland Spring is joining The Recycling Partnership, and we’re excited about our collaboration on the #NotTrash campaign,” said Keefe Harrison, CEO of The Recycling Partnership. “Consumers play a critical role in reducing waste and improving markets for recyclable materials by recycling properly. Debunking common recycling myths empowers residents to do their part to recycle better, which improves their local recycling programs, helps create a healthier U.S. recycling system, and is good for the planet.”

Using recycled plastic helps keep plastic out of landfills, oceans, and waterways, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions compared to using virgin plastic[3]. Poland Spring and parent company Nestlé Waters North America are committed to leading the industry in the use of recycled plastic.

Poland Spring’s current packaging, which is made from PET plastic, is already 100% recyclable. In June, the brand made the industry-leading commitment to convert all its individual-sized still water bottles to 100% recycled plastic by 2022.

The conversion has started already, with their 1 Liter and 1.5 Liter still water sizes being made with 100% recycled plastic. The brand is also expanding How2Recycle labels across all of its packaging, to remind consumers to empty the bottle, replace the cap, and recycle when they’re done. This is another way Poland Spring has been helping to alleviate confusion, and help make recycling easier.

In addition to packaging innovations, Nestlé Waters North America also supports recycling infrastructure through investments with organizations like the Closed Loop Fund to help increase recycling capabilities throughout the U.S.

David Tulauskas, Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer at Nestlé Waters North America said

“We’re on a mission to eliminate the ‘single’ from ‘single-use’ plastics. When valuable plastic like PET is not recycled, it can’t be broken down and reused to make new products, which is a waste of money and resources. On the other hand, as more consumers recycle their PET bottles, they increase the number of bottles that can be made with bottles and reduce the need for virgin plastic. Working with partners like The Recycling Partnership helps to make recycling as convenient as possible for consumers.”

To learn more about Poland Spring’s sustainability efforts


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Plastic Bottles to Pay for Bus Ticket in Indonesia

Jakarta: Dozens of people clutching bags full of plastic bottles and disposable cups queue at a busy bus terminal in the Indonesian city of Surabaya – where passengers can swap trash for travel tickets.

The nation is the world’s second-biggest marine polluter behind China and has pledged to reduce plastic waste in its waters some 70% by 2025 by boosting recycling, raising public awareness and curbing usage.

The Surabaya scheme has been a hit in the city of 2.9 million, with nearly 16, 000 passengers trading trash for free travel each week, according to authorities.

“This is a very smart solution. It’s free and instead of throwing away bottles people now collect them and bring them here, ” explains 48-year-old resident Fransiska Nugrahepi.

But they must be cleaned and cannot be squashed.

There is a steady stream of people squeezing past sacks full of recyclables to deposit plastic in four bins behind the small office and claim their tickets.

Franki Yuanus, a Surabaya transport official, says the programme aims not only to cut waste but also to tackle traffic congestion by encouraging people to switch to public transit.

“There has been a good response from the public, ” insists Yuanus.

“Paying with plastic is one of the things that has made people enthusiastic because up until now plastic waste was just seen as useless, ” he added.

Currently the fleet consists of 20 near-new buses, each with recycling bins and ticket officers who roam the aisles to collect any leftover bottles.

Authorities said roughly six tonnes of plastic rubbish are collected from passengers each month before being auctioned to recycling companies.

Nurhayati Anwar, who uses the bus about once a week with her three-year-old son, said the trash swap programme is changing how people see their throwaway cups and bottles.

“Now people in the office or at home are trying to collect (rubbish) instead of just throwing it away, ” the 44-year-old accountant said after trading in several bottles for a free ride.

“We now know that plastic is not good for the environment – people in Surabaya are starting to learn.”

Other parts of Indonesia, an archipelago of some 17, 000 islands, are also trying to tackle the issue.

Bali is phasing in a ban on single-use plastic straws and bags to rid the popular holiday island of waste choking its waterways, while authorities in the capital Jakarta are considering a similar bylaw to rid the city of plastic shopping bags. — AFP


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Trash for tickets on Indonesia’s ‘plastic bus’

Nestle Makes Bikes With Nespresso Capsules

Nespresso is partnering with Swedish bike brand Vélosophy to produce a stylish bicycle made from recycled aluminum coffee capsules, demonstrating both brands’ commitment to a circular economy.

1000 limited edition RE:CYCLE bikes made from over 300,000 recycled Nespresso Arpeggio capsules will be available from August 12, sold exclusively on Vélosophy’s ecommerce platform

Aluminium is one of the world’s most valuable resources, because it can be re-melted and reused infinitely. Designed to highlight the potential of recycling Nespresso’s aluminum capsules, RE:CYCLE encourages consumers to consider how they can make a positive impact.

Jean-Marc Duvoisin, CEO of Nespresso, said: “Through our collaboration with Vélosophy, we’re illustrating to coffee lovers the potential of recycling their aluminum Nespresso capsules. By using recycled capsules to make beautiful bicycles, Vélosophy brings sustainability and style together to create a truly meaningful experience, bringing to life the importance of recycling.

“We have been inspired by working with Vélosophy, and I hope the RE:CYCLE bicycle inspires people to recycle,” Jean-Marc Duvoisin added.

Jimmy Östholm, CEO and Founder of Vélosophy, said: “We created Vélosophy with a clear purpose: to have a positive impact on the world. This purpose drives everything we do, from our promise to give a bike to a schoolgirl for every Vélosophy we sell, to producing our stylish city bikes from recycled aluminum.”

“I see in Nespresso a strong commitment to sustainability, which is why this has been the dream partnership. We are proud to have co-created a bike that takes on the future. It is beautifully designed, responsibly sourced and sustainably produced,” he added.