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.

REFS

Published on eco-business.com

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

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.

REFS

Published on eco-business.com

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.”

REFS

Published on brightvibes.com

Rome Trials Recycling Plastic Bottles in Exchange for Transit Cash

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.

REFS

Published on foodanddrinkbusiness.com.au and written by Doris Prodanovic

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

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.

REFS

Published on resource-recycling.com

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.”

REFS

Published on handelsblatt.com 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

REFS

Published on Finance Yahoo

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

REFS

Published on thestar.com.my

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 velosophy.cc

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.

REFS

Australians Convince New Zealand To Build First Recycled Plastic Plant

Australian packaging company Pact Group has received a $3 million Government grant to set up the first 100 per cent recycled plastic food packaging plant in New Zealand.

Environment Associate Minister Eugenie Sage said while recycled plastic was available in New Zealand, about 20 per cent was made with new plastic to comply with the food packaging safety standards.

The recycled plastic packaging from the plant, to be built in Auckland, would be used across 10 products, including meat, bakery and produce.

Sage said the plant was a response to China’s decision stop importing plastic waste from countries around the world, including New Zealand, for processing.

“We need to tackle our waste in New Zealand, we’ve had a record of sending them offshore. China’s National Sword initiative has highlighted that we need to build more reprocessing infrastructure in New Zealand,” Sage said.

CLOSING REMARKS

  • What are you thinking? Are the kangaroos ripping off the Kiwis?
  • Come on! The New Zealanders are not that naïve …or are they?

REFS

This article was published on stuff.co.nz

Australasian Recycling Label Celebrates First Anniversary

As the Australasian Recycling Label celebrates its first anniversary, APCO CEO Brooke Donnelly reflects on the success of the recycling education program to date and shares what to expect next for the campaign.

Australia is a country of proud and passionate recyclers. Yet research consistently demonstrates that Australians want more information about how to recycle correctly.

A Global Recycling Day report developed by Nestle and Planet Ark found that while an overwhelming majority of Australians (96 per cent) are eager to recycle, 94 per cent of people still put one or more non-recyclable items in their recycling bin.

And with more than 200 Australian recycling labels currently in circulation, it’s easy to understand why consumers don’t always get it right.

To tackle this challenge, in 2018 Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) joined forces with Planet Ark and Packaging Recycling Evaluation Portal (PREP) Design to launch the Australasian Recycling Label (ARL) – a nationwide labelling scheme to help consumers better recognise how to recycle products effectively.

The evidence-based system provides simple instructions about how to correctly dispose of each individual packaging component when people need it most, in those few seconds when they are deciding what bin their package goes in.

It’s been one year since we delivered the program to our APCO members and the scheme has much to celebrate, with overwhelming support from both government and industry.

In September 2018, the Hon Melissa Price, Minister for the Environment, officially launched the program at an APCO industry event in Melbourne.

I’m delighted to confirm there are now more than 200 Australian businesses committed to the scheme.

A huge thank you to our industry champions who have adopted the label and are leading the way for other businesses in their sector.

A comprehensive program

The true power of the ARL lies in its evidence-based approach. For a business to adopt the label, they first need to join the Packaging Recycling Label Program, a free scheme available to all APCO members, and measure their packaging’s recyclability using PREP.

It’s a unique analysis tool that enables companies to assess whether packaging is recyclable in the kerbside system or the REDcycle program.

To ensure PREP’s determinations are as accurate as possible, in 2018 APCO formed the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), a group of experts from across the value chain in recycling and packaging.

Working in partnership with the TAC is the Marketing Advisory Committee, a team representing businesses, retailers, recycling industry and local and state government.

The next phase of the label

In 2019, we will be taking the ARL to its next phase with two new updates.

The first is a recycled content label to help drive consumer awareness and demand for recycled content products.

The second is a compostability label to provide much needed clarity and leadership in the compostable/biodegradable space.

We have a range of projects underway to support these updates and work through the challenges involved.

These include trials to confirm which certified organic materials can be processed in Australia’s organics recycling facilities.

This is alongside a research paper to understand best practices for recycled content labels internationally and consultation activities to ensure robust stakeholder feedback.

I’d particularly like to commend Unilever for its leadership in the recycled content space, partnering with Planet Ark and APCO to lead consumer testing around the integration of a post-consumer recycled (PCR) call out within the ARL.

These findings will be integral to the roll out of the ARL across PCR packaging.

Part of a bigger picture

The ARL is one part of a much bigger program of work currently being delivered by APCO and our partners to bring to life the 2025 National Packaging Targets.

Education is a critical piece of the puzzle, and the program will help drive greater industry participation and transparency about their packaging recyclability.

To keep driving the success of the label, we need engagement and support from right across the supply chain.

Clive Stiff
CEO, Unilever Australia & New Zealand

“As a consumer goods company, we are acutely aware of the consequences of a linear take-make-dispose model and we want to change it. It is clear that urgent action is needed on multiple fronts. We want to help build a circular economy in which we not only use less plastic, but also ensure the plastic we do use can be reused, recycled or composted. We are proud of our landmark rHDPE move and for being one of the first companies to voluntarily sign up to the ARL, but no business can create a circular economy in isolation. Creating a local market and demand for all types of recycled plastic is critical and heavy lifting is needed from all players involved – suppliers, packaging converters, brand owners, policy makers and retailers, collectors, sorters and recyclers.”

Jacky Nordsvan
Packaging Specialist, Nestle

“Nestlé made a commitment to implement the ARL on all locally made products by 2020 as it fully aligns with our ambition to have 100 per cent recyclable or reusable packaging by 2025. Clear labelling on our products plays a really important role in helping make sure our consumers don’t waste their waste, but feel confident in what they can recycle. Implementing the ARL, while challenging at times, has resulted in many positives for Nestlé, largely centred around making us think outside the box and be more innovative with packaging design. I encourage other organisations to adopt the scheme. I have no doubt they will also find the process brings forth many positives for them.”

Alejandra Laclette
Recycling Label Program Manager, Planet Ark Environmental Foundation

“There has never been a better, nor more urgent, time for brands to adopt the Australasian Recycling Label. Research shows that the first place consumers look for packaging disposal information is the package itself. If we want to collectively succeed in processing the country’s packaging, it is vital to provide accurate disposal information that reflects the infrastructure that we have.”

To find out how you can join other leading businesses in the Packaging Recycling Label Program, contact APCO at packagingcovenant.org.au.

REFS

This article was published on

Hidden Problem with Australia’s Recycling Plan

Australians are diligent when it comes to recycling — but there’s a big problem with our current scheme, and its environmental impact is huge.

Now our recycling is being knocked back by China and Indonesia, is it time to face the truth about recycling?

I recycle. Of course I do. I’m not an environmental vandal. That’s what I always told myself anyway. But recent news from the recycling industry has me wondering. Is recycling any good at all?

A big shipping container of Australian plastics has been rejected by Indonesia. The Indonesian authorities have decided it is contaminated, and they are shipping it back to us. A big diesel-chugging cargo ship will bring it back to Australia. Not very environmentally friendly.

CRISIS

The recycling industry has always been hard to make work.

Even with free inputs it certainly doesn’t pay for itself. The only way to make recycling viable is to ship products offshore to places where labour is cheap.

But then, last year, China stopped taking the world’s recycling.

And suddenly the world had to face a great surplus of recyclables and the reality that to keep recycling out of landfill was going to cost a lot of money.

Recycling is now being stored in a lot of places in the hope we soon find a solution.

And now Indonesia is rejecting our recycling too. Things seem to be going from bad to worse.

THE ENERGY CYCLE

I have to say, this is not what I imagine when I drop my empty milk bottles in the recycling bin.

I imagine a clean green future for them, not being shipped halfway around the world and then sent back again.

It makes you wonder if the environmental cost of recycling is worth it.

The answer to that question depends a lot on what substance you’re talking about.

When it comes to saving energy, recycling aluminium is very good.

Aluminium uses a lot of energy to make the first time but not much to recycle. You can recycle it infinite times. You should definitely recycle aluminium.

Paper is good to recycle too. When you recycle paper, you save about half the energy of making it for the first time.

But plastic is different. Plastic doesn’t take much energy to make the first time.

And it uses a lot of energy to recycle. A truck has to come and get it from your house, and then it goes on a ship to Asia.

And then they sort it out on a conveyor belt, and finally they melt it down.

All that uses energy, and even then, plastic can only be recycled once. They make it into fleece clothing or railway sleepers. Food grade plastic is all fresh and new.

There’s only a sliver of energy saving in recycling plastic, although it does still reduce the amount going to landfill. (The debate over whether we’re actually short of spaces to put landfill is a whole other issue.)

BUT DOES IT *MAKE* US WASTE?

The costs of recycling are high. Recycling uses a lot of energy and money that we could spend on other environmental programs.

But the biggest cost of recycling could be in making us relax. The hierarchy goes like this: reduce, reuse, recycle. Reducing how much we use is far, far better for the environment than using something and recycling it.

Nobody wants to waste resources. The problem is recycling doesn’t feel like wasting things, even though it might only be a few per cent better than throwing things out.

Boston University researchers Monic Sun and Remi Trudel have found when you know in advance you can recycle, you waste far more.

THE EXPERIMENT

They did an ingenious experiment to prove this. The researchers got students and told them they were being asked to sample juice.

One by one, they put each student in a room with four different kinds of juice and a lot of plastic cups.

Twenty-four students went into a room with only a rubbish bin, and 25 students went into a room with only a recycling bin. And the researchers counted how many cups they used.

The only difference between the two set-ups was the presence of the recycling bin for half the students, so this experiment was a good way to test if the ability to recycle makes people more wasteful.

The students who went into a room with only a rubbish bin didn’t always choose a new plastic cup for every type of juice. Many of them re-used the same cup for multiple juices. The average number of cups they used was 2.7.

But the students who saw the recycling bin used new cups with wanton abandon. The average number of cups they used was 3.48. In other words, they almost all used a new cup for every type of juice.

The researchers ran another experiment to check. Again they split students into two groups. This time they asked them to wrap a gift in a room that had either only a rubbish bin or a recycle bin. The ones in the room containing a recycling bin used more paper to wrap the gift.

Together, this seems to raise the question of whether knowing we are able to recycle plastic might make us more wasteful. Now that China is not taking our recycling might be a good time for us to check our behaviour.

Did we end up with all that stuff because we knew we’d feel OK about recycling it later? If so, the biggest cost of recycling could be its most hidden one: the way it makes us relaxed about buying all that packaging.

REFS

This article was published on news.com.au

BASF Chemcycling Products

  • BASF’s partners in the ChemCycling project: Jaguar Land Rover, Storopack, Südpack and Schneider Electric
  • Promising pilot phase, but continued technological and economic challenges as well as need for regulatory development.

More and more companies from the plastics industry are working on improving the recyclability of plastics and thus helping to create a circular economy.

One way that BASF is contributing is the ChemCycling project: At the end of 2018, the company first used pilot volumes of a pyrolysis oil derived from plastic waste as a feedstock in its own production.

At a press conference in advance of K 2019, the world’s largest trade show for the plastics and rubber industry, four partners have showcased the first prototypes that were created during the pilot phase of the project.

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), a leading automotive manufacturer, developed a plastic front-end carrier prototype for its first electric SUV, the I-Pace, out of Ultramid® B3WG6 Ccycled Black 00564.

“As part of our commitment to accelerate closed loop manufacturing across our operations, we are always looking for advances in technology that will help to reduce waste,” said Craig Woodburn, Global Environmental Compliance Manager at JLR. “The ability to convert consumer waste into safe, quality parts for premium products through the ChemCycling process is an important step in advancing our ambition to deliver a zero-waste future.”

Storopack, a globally active supplier of protective packaging and technical molded parts, used Styropor® P Ccycled to make insulation packaging for temperature-sensitive pharmaceutical products as well as boxes for transporting fresh fish and protective packaging for electronic devices.

“We were particularly impressed by the fact that Styropor® P Ccycled can be used in food packaging. There are already various recycling options for Styropor, and ChemCycling helps raise the recycling share even further,” said Storopack’s Chairman of the Management Board, Hermann Reichenecker.

Storopack and BASF are thus forging a new path in the circular economy.

Südpack, a leading producer of film packaging in Europe, produced a polyamide film and a polyethylene film that were processed into specially sealed packaging for mozzarella. Until now, multi-layer packaging has usually been considered to be only recyclable to a limited extent.

“Film packaging must fulfill important roles: product protection, hygiene and shelf life while using a minimum amount of plastics. That is why it is made up of several materials and layers with various properties and barriers. Through innovations such as ChemCycling we come closer to solving the problems associated with recycling of flexible packaging,” said Johannes Remmele, Managing Partner of Südpack.

Schneider Electric, a leader in the digital transformation of energy management and automation, manufactured a circuit breaker from chemically recycled Ultramid®.

“We actively assess the ability of secondary raw materials, such as recycled plastics, to meet our demanding quality standards, and stringent industry regulations and norms. We rely on BASF expertise to demonstrate the end-to-end sustainability benefits while offering an appealing cost. We are hopeful this experimentation with BASF will open room for more circular innovations in Energy Management and Distribution,” said Xavier Houot, Schneider Electric’s Senior Vice President Group Environment, Safety, Real Estate.

“The pilot projects with customers from various industries show that products made with chemically recycled raw materials exhibit the same high quality and performance as products made from primary materials. ChemCycling, which uses a mass balance approach to mathematically allocate a share of the recycled material to the final product, can help our customers to achieve their sustainability goals,” said Jürgen Becky, Senior Vice President Performance Materials.

The certified products are indicated with the addition of “Ccycled” to their name. The prototypes presented at the press conference are part of the ongoing pilot phase of the ChemCycling project.

Potential for increasing share of recycled material

“With the ChemCycling project, BASF is aiming to process pyrolysis oil derived from plastic waste that currently cannot be recycled, such as mixed or contaminated plastics. If we are successful in developing the project to market readiness, ChemCycling will be an innovative complement to existing processes for recycling and recovery to solve the plastic waste problem,” said Stefan Gräter, head of the ChemCycling project at BASF.

The significant potential of chemical recycling was confirmed by the consulting firm McKinsey in a December 2018 study: If established recycling processes are combined with new ones such as chemical recycling, the experts believe that a 50% reuse and recycling rate for plastics worldwide can be reached by 2030 (today: 16%).

The share of chemical recycling could then rise from 1% currently to around 17%, which is equivalent to recycling of around 74 million metric tons of plastic waste.

Technological, economic and regulatory challenges

To move from the pilot phase to market roll-out, however, various issues will need to be resolved.

The existing technologies for transforming waste plastics into recycled raw materials must be advanced and adapted for the use at industrial scale, in order to ensure the consistently high quality of the pyrolysis oil.

BASF is currently investigating various options for supplying the company’s Production Verbund with commercial volumes of pyrolysis oil in the long term.

Besides the technical issues, economic aspects also play a role.

For chemical recycling to find acceptance in the market, regulators must also recognize the process officially as recycling.

Within this framework, they have to define how chemical recycling and mass balance approaches can be included in the calculation of recycling rates required by law.

Responsible use of resources

“Our ChemCycling project is a good example of how BASF is working with partners on solutions to the key challenges of the 21st century,” said Dr. Andreas Kicherer, sustainability expert at BASF.

Besides ChemCycling, BASF is involved in many other projects and initiatives that strengthen the idea of the circular economy and prevent plastics from entering the environment.

For example, BASF’s product portfolio includes ecovio®, a certified compostable plastic partly based on renewable raw materials. BASF is a member of the World Plastics Council and takes part in two Ellen MacArthur Foundation programs.

At all of its sites worldwide, BASF implements “Operation Clean Sweep,” an international initiative of the plastics industry aimed at preventing the loss of plastic pellets into the environment.

Furthermore, at the beginning of 2019, BASF joined forces with around 30 other companies to found the Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW).

In the coming five years, this initiative wants to invest up to $1.5 billion in various projects and partnerships, mainly in Asia and Africa.

There are four main focus areas: developing infrastructure for waste collection, promoting innovative recycling methods, education and engagement of various groups and cleanup of concentrated areas of plastic waste in the environment.

REFS

K 2019 – New products from plastic waste: BASF customers showcase prototypes made from chemically recycled material

 

Owner of NatureWorks Goes Into Recycling

Joint construction of a recycling plant in Thailand to be considered.

Hard, 2 July 2019 – ALPLA and PTT Global Chemical (GC) will collaborate on a feasibility study for the construction of a recycling plant in Thailand.

The companies announced the plan at the Circular Living Symposium 2019 – Upcycling Our Planet in Bangkok at the end of June.

ALPLA develops and produces innovative plastic packaging solutions worldwide and has been active in recycling for more than 25 years.

With two of its own recycling plants in Austria and Poland and joint ventures in Germany and Mexico, the plastics converter has since become a preferred partner for PET recycling.

Now, ALPLA and PTT Global Chemical (GC) are currently investigating the prospects of further activities in Thailand.

GC serves as PTT Group’s chemical flagship. The company has committed to the principles of the circular economy with the aim of always optimising the use of resources.

Examples of its commitment include the development of bioplastics as an alternative type of plastic and the implementation of effective waste management systems.

GC will work with ALPLA to conduct a study on investing in the first high‐quality circular plastic recycling plant in Thailand, including materials such as rPET and rHDPE.

We will make a decision in the third quarter of this year after reviewing the results of the study,’ said Supattanapong Punmeechaow, President and CEO of GC.

Excellent quality

The demand for recycled plastics is growing, including in Southeast Asia. ‘In particular, excellent quality of recyclates plays a big role,’ says ALPLA Regional Manager Bernd Wachter, adding: ‘We have expertise in the manufacture of food‐grade recyclates and we are experts in the processing of these materials into new packaging. Together with GC, we could implement a flagship initiative for the country and the entire region.

Ambitious targets for 2025

In 2018 ALPLA signed the Global Commitment of the New Plastics Economy, an initiative of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation together with the United Nations Environment Programme.

ALPLA set a target to expand its recycling activities, with an earmarked investment of 50 million euros. Moreover, all packaging solutions should be fully recyclable by 2025.

The volume of processed post‐consumer recycled materials is to rise to 25 per cent of total material usage.

CLOSING REMARKS

  • Thailand is a great country and it has been pushing for economic growth in the Bio-Economy.
  • However, this decision seems to be a bit different.
  • PTT is a state-oil company. Do you think their strategic vision is very consistent?
  • Is PTT operating solo or are they controlled by the Thai Government and/or Parliament?

INTERESTING LINKS

Collaboration is key to Solving Black Plastic Recycling Challenge

Plastics Recycling Charity, RECOUP, have been leading a cross-industry forum to address the barriers and improve the recycling of black plastic packaging.

A new published report provides the latest position and the progress which has been made since the forum was set up at the end of 2017. It represents genuine and open collaboration from RECOUP members across the plastic packaging supply and recycling chain.

It was clear from the Forum’s inception that while pressure was growing, research and developments so far had not led to any practical improvements in the recyclability of black plastic.

It was accepted by all concerned that to do nothing was not an option and a variety of solutions were explored. The need for recyclability was further recognised through recent DEFRA consultations with the expectation that unrecyclable packaging placed on the market could be subject to higher taxes in future years when compared to recyclable items.

The forum focused on the sorting and reprocessing of black and other undetectable coloured plastic packaging. The work established that there are a number of solutions either available or in development including use of transparent packaging or alternative detectable colours, use of detectable black pigments, and development of sorting technology for the existing carbon black packaging.

Stuart Foster, RECOUP chief executive commented: “Despite the inevitable politics and positioning behind issues such as black plastic packaging recycling, our role at RECOUP is to bring the various groups and stakeholders together to make practical steps forward.

I hope we have helped to avoid knee jerk reactions to the challenge of improving plastic recycling potential, and instead have turned ambitions and collaborative thinking into actual long term solutions.”

The report highlights a range of ongoing individual and collective actions, which is expected to cut the undetectable black packaging coming into the market by 2/3 by the end 2019.

Given one solution is detectable black pigment, it also appears that specifically excluding or highlighting black packaging as a problem colour will no longer be valid.

Paul East, RECOUP packaging technologist and project leader added: “We appreciate it can take time to deliver the changes needed to improve recyclability, but there is no reason why all plastic packaging can’t adopt the basic principle that it must not inhibit the sorting or recycling process, as part of the design specifications. As shown in the new report, removing or coming out of black in favour of a transparent pack or detectable colour has been seen as the quickest solution in many cases, and therefore most popular.

To balance this, the report also includes the potentially important role of black and darker plastic as a base colour as we move towards the requirement for greater recycled content.”

Although some of the work is still ongoing, the report provides an overview of the options, including details of a range of independent projects undertaken in 2019.

The full report is available to download on the RECOUP website http://www.recoup.org This and many other hot topics will be discussed and debated at the next RECOUP Plastics Recycling Conference which will be held at KingsGate Conference Centre, Peterborough on 26 September.

REFS

Collaboration is key to solving black plastic recycling challenge

Chemical Recycling Will Make Australia Plastic Neutral

Imagine a technology that could soon make Timor-Leste the first plastic neutral economy in the world. A breakthrough technology that turns plastics back into oil is now commercially viable, with the potential for 80 plants throughout Australia and work under way in the UK and Canada.

According to the chief executive officer of Licella, Dr Len Humphreys, the tools for a “truly circular economy” are now available.

Humphreys has spent several years working alongside Professor Thomas Maschmeyer to bring their chemical recycling technology to the point of commercialisation.

Licella owns the patented rights of the Catalytic Hydrothermal Reactor (or Cat-HTR) platform developed by the duo, which is capable of chemically recycling end-of-life plastics (including plastic currently deemed non-recyclable) and other materials back into oils (where the plastics came from originally), using water as the change agent.

This synthetic oil can be used to produce new plastic, fuels and chemicals – reducing waste and creating a new source of revenue.

The technology could soon help the Timor-Leste become the first plastic neutral economy in the world.

In May this year, the government of Australia’s near neighbour signed a memorandum of understanding at the University of Sydney with Mura Technology (a joint venture between Licella Holdings and UK renewables investors Armstrong Energy) for the development of a $US40 million chemical recycling plant.

There’s huge potential for the technology

Humphreys says there’s huge potential for the technology, with the opportunity to build as many as 80 plants in Australia.

He says the chemical recycling technology is also generating “huge amounts of global interest.”

The first commercial CAT HTR plant for end of life plastics is under development in Wilton in the UK by RENEW ELP, backed by renewable investors Armstrong Energy.

In Canada, the company has teamed up with pulp and paper producer Canfor Pulp to integrate the technology platform into mills to produce biofuels from residue streams.

Humphreys says the company has “all the foundations laid to grow nationally and internationally – helped along by Timor Leste going plastic neutral.”

Traditional plastic recycling fails to capture much of the value of the material

Many plastics are typically not recycled using existing practices, and most end up in landfill, oceans or are incinerated “at great expense”.

“And once you’ve recycled a plastic bottle two or three times, that plastic starts to degrade,” Humphreys says.

“As it degrades, it can no longer be physically recycled.

“What we can do is, we can chemically recycle that back into oil to be made into new plastics – the next generation of plastic bottles.”

We don’t need to be scared of fossil oil – there’s nothing wrong with plastics… the problem is we throw it all away

This cycle can continue endlessly and is therefore a “true circular economy.”

“We don’t need to be scared of fossil oil – there’s nothing wrong with plastics… the problem is we throw it all away,” Humphreys says.

“So we just need to look at it in a different way – it’s a resource and something we can use again and again.”

Framed as a “bridging technology to a lower carbon future”, the technology is capable of creating a renewable biocrude with over 80 per cent carbon intensity reduction.

A hard slog to get there but now things are heating up for Licella

It wasn’t an overnight success story, Humphreys told The Fifth Estate. It’s taken $75 million and over a decade to bring the technology to the point it’s at today.

“We’ve ironed all the hiccups out and are now commercialising it.”

iQRenew was set up by the company to operate Material Recovery Facilities in Australia, combining the chemical recycling technology alongside physical recycling in the one plant so that 100 per cent of plastics can be captured and recycled.

The company started out in 2017 by building a demonstration plant at Somersby, on the NSW Central Coast, which was supported by a $1 million grant from the federal government to accelerate its commercialisation.

Since then interest in the technology has exploded.

In Australia he says there’s also pressure to improve recycling capabilities.

“Now that China is saying no [to most overseas recyclables], we’re now having to invest and change our habits to do tertiary and secondary recycling.”

How the chemical processing technology works

The Cat-HTR process uses water at high pressure and high temperature to cause chemical transformations.

The chemical process unzips polymers and converts them back to the chemicals in which they came, including liquids such as waxes, diesel and petrol and gases such as ethylene (a raw ingredient to make new plastics).

There are already other ways to convert plastics into oil, including pyrolysis, but this process is more stable and requires significantly less energy for a higher yield.

It also takes just 20 minutes, and there’s no repolymerisation, so the new products don’t become solid again.

Cat HTR does not require external hydrogen, which is important according to Professor Thomas Maschmeyer. Instead, hydrogen is taken from the water and moved into the products, saving a “huge amount of cost, complexity, and greenhouse gas emissions.”

The technology has the potential to bring down landfill costs for waste producers. Valuable products are created form waste products, and customers can then buy recycled oil at prices comparable to virgin oil.

Water is also recycled during the process, resulting in a “closed loop of recycled water”.

REFS

This article was published on thefifthestate.com.au and written by Poppy Johnston

The chemical recycling technology that might unlock a plastic neutral Australia

Australian Trains Will Use Rail Sleepers Made From Plastic Waste

Trains travelling through Melbourne will run on railway sleepers made from recycled plastic as part of an 18-month trial.

The “Duratrack” sleepers are made from a mix of polystyrene and agricultural waste, including cotton bale wrap and vineyard covers from across Australia.

The 200 recycled sleepers, installed near Richmond station on Monday, have a potential lifespan of 50 years, are half the cost of traditional timber sleepers and require less maintenance, the state government said on Monday.

REFS

This article was published on dailytelegraph.com.au

Vic trains to use recycled rail sleepers

Mondi Develops New Recyclable PP Film for Food Packaging

Mondi, an Austria-based paper and packaging solutions provider, has unveiled a recyclable polypropylene (PP) film to pack fresh and processed foods.

The recyclable packaging material is suitable for the thermoforming of flexible films for modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) and vacuum packaging.

According to Mondi, the new, coextruded packaging material features a web at the top and bottom as well as an internal barrier layer.

Both webs have been certified by The Aachen, Germany-based Institut cyclos-HTP, the Institute for Recyclability and Product. The organisation independently certified that the webs have the highest qualification ‘Class AAA’ in recyclability.

In addition to increasing the shelf life of products, including meat and cheese, the new packaging material will help to reduce the product’s carbon footprint by 23% compared to existing conventional structures.

Mondi Consumer Packaging EcoSolutions project manager Thomas Kahl said: “Mondi’s view is that packaging should always be fit-for-purpose, paper where possible, plastic when useful, and sustainable by design.

“The challenge with this project was to maintain the functionality that is key to such applications, including excellent oxygen and moisture barriers, and high puncture resistance, while also enhancing the package’s recyclability. The latter factor was vital as Mondi continues to support the principles of a circular economy.”

The latest development of thermoformable food packaging meets the requirements of the ‘New Plastic Economy’ global initiative, which is striving toward a more sustainable economy.

In March, Mondi announced four new commitments to tackle plastic waste as part of the launch of first New Plastics Economy Global Commitment report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

REFS

This article was published on packaging-gateway.com

Mondi develops new recyclable PP film for food packaging

Coca-Cola Issues Bold Recycled PET Strategy

As part of The Coca-Cola Company’s journey towards a World Without Waste, we’re announcing that – in partnership with Coca-Cola European Partners – GLACÉAU Smartwater bottles will be made from 100 per cent recycled plastic (rPET) by the end of the year.

And we’re on track to double the amount of rPET used in all our other plastic bottles by early next year too.

GLACÉAU Smartwater is the the third largest on-the-go bottled water brand in Great Britain, and we will be moving the entire range in both 600ml and 850ml servings into plastic bottles made from 100 per cent recycled PET plastic.

This will save more than 3,100 tonnes of virgin plastic per year.

At the same time, we’re continuing to work with local reprocessors to double the amount of recycled PET used in all of our plastic bottles, across our portfolio of drinks, to at least 50%.

These new packs will start to be introduced in early 2020 and makes Coca-Cola the largest user of recycled PET plastic in Great Britain.

Together, these initiatives will ensure that more than 23,000 tonnes of virgin plastic will no longer be used by the business in Great Britain in 2020.

But that’s not all we’re doing: Sprite has some big changes coming, too. From September 2019, plastic Sprite bottles will transition from green to clear, making them far easier to recycle into new bottles.

This will, in turn, increase the supply of rPET available, and stimulate the development of a circular economy.

Sprite bottles will also move to include 50% rPET next year, as part of the work to double the recycled content in bottles across all of our brands.

We’re pleased to see these steps welcomed by DEFRA. Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey said: “Congratulations to Coca-Cola on making this significant step to help our natural environment. These initiatives, including using more recycled plastic in their bottles, set a fine example to other large businesses and we hope that others follow suit.

“We all have a responsibility to our environment. Through our landmark Resources and Waste Strategy the government is committed to going further and faster to reduce, reuse and recycle for a more circular economy.”

Marcus Gover, Chief Executive of WRAP, has also welcomed the news: “Coca-Cola was one of the founding members of The UK Plastics Pact and it’s great to see them announce developments which demonstrate progress towards the Pact’s targets.

A bottle made from recycled plastic uses 75% less energy, and changing colour from green to clear may be subtle to the public but enables that plastic to be used for a multitude of purposes and significantly increases its value.

“We’re also pleased to see design changes which give people extra nudges to do their bit to help drive up recycling. If we are to transform the way we use, make and dispose of plastic, then we all have a role to play.”

“Using more recycled plastic is a critical element of our sustainable packaging strategy,” says Coca-Cola Great Britain General Manager Jon Woods, “as it reduces the amount of virgin material used in our packs. None of this is easy and I am proud of the teams’ work to ensure we are on track to move to at least 50% recycled PET plastic on all of our bottles in 2020.

“Our new Smartwater bottle shows we can go further. But that requires more packaging to be collected so that more can be reused to make new bottles.

That’s why we support the planned reforms of the current recycling system in Great Britain and are calling for the introduction of a well-designed deposit return scheme for drinks containers, which we believe will reduce litter and increase the quantity and quality of material reprocessed in this country.”

We have a strong track record of investing in recycled PET and began using recycled PET in our bottles in the 1990’s. Over the last decade we have supported the development of many recycling plants around the world, including the UK’s only bottle reprocessing plant in Lincolnshire, which we helped to build and has been providing the recycled material used in our bottles since it opened in 2012.

This support continues with significant recent investments in new enhanced recycling technologies which allow a wider range of waste plastics to be used to make new bottles.

The news is our latest action, marking two years since we launched our sustainable packaging strategy – in which we set out an ambition to work with others to ensure that all our packaging is recovered so that more can be recycled and none ends up as waste.

REFS

Smartwater, Rpet, And Clear Plastic: How Coca-cola Great Britain And Coca-cola European Partners Are Moving Closer To A World Without Waste

Hellmann’s Commits to 100% Recyclable Plastic Food Packaging

Mayo brand company plans to spread the use of recycled plastic packaging to more than 200 million bottles and jars by 2020 with a goal of 100% recyclable, 100% PCR-content packaging.

Major food and beverage brands continue an industry-wide movement into sustainable packaging usually with specific targets and within overarching corporate-wide sustainability goals. One of the latest is Hellmann’s, a Unilever brand based in Englewood Cliffs, NJ, that announced in April that by 2020, all mayonnaise and mayonnaise dressing plastic PET containers sold in U.S. retail stores would be made from recycled plastic materials as part of the company’s ongoing commitment to advance sustainable packaging.

The recycled plastic packaging is rolling out now, beginning with Hellmann’s mayonnaise and mayonnaise Dressing squeeze bottles, to be followed by Hellmann’s jars by the end of 2019. More than 200 million Hellmann’s bottles and jars will be impacted, and the new containers will feature How2Recycle label and artwork that highlights the brand’s commitment to using recycled plastic.

“Switching to recycled plastic has a positive impact on the environment by reducing the amount of bottles sent to landfills and lowering greenhouse gas emissions,” says Benjamin Crook, senior director, dressings & condiments, Unilever. “At Hellmann’s we strive for sustainability in all that we do, including helping customers make a responsible choice while still enjoying the products they love.”

This is the first step for Hellmann’s to move its portfolio of products toward fully recyclable bottles and jars that are made from 100% post-consumer recycled (PCR) materials. The brand’s commitment is one way the brand is delivering on the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, the company’s blueprint for sustainable growth. Specifically, Hellmann’s efforts will support the company’s goal of ensuring 100% of plastic packaging will be designed to be fully reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.

The entire lineup of Hellmann’s mayonnaise and mayonnaise dressing jar and squeeze containers are made with recycled plastic: 15oz, 24oz, 30oz, 36oz, 48 oz and 64 oz. for jars; and 5.5oz, 11.5oz, 20oz, 25oz for squeezable plastic dispensers, Crook informs Packaging Digest.

Bottles, jars and caps

In addition to PET bottles, the company plans to use recycled content in its polypropylene caps.

“We are actively researching ways to ensure 100% of our plastic packaging is recyclable and made from 100% recycled materials,” Crook explains. “As we work towards our goal, we are also developing technologies that improve the recyclability of our packaging. We have committed resources and people to get the job done as we do our part to meet Unilever’s goal of ensuring 100% plastic packaging will be designed to be fully reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.”

As with some moves toward more sustainable resources for primary packaging, there are tradeoffs.

“As a result of the recycling process, our new packaging will have a slightly darker tint compared to the previous packaging, but it performs exactly the same as our standard packaging,” Crook discloses. “We’re excited that consumers can make a responsible choice while still enjoying the products they love.”

Notably, the retail pricing of the products will remain unaffected by the packaging changes.

The company has lined up vendor sources for the packaging that it declines to identify. “We work with a variety of partners to ensure we have enough high-quality recycled materials to meet demand,” Crook offers. “The recycled materials we use in our packaging are safe and cleared for food-contact use by the FDA.”

Crook will neither affirm or deny the company’s interest in bioplastics, saying “we are actively researching new plastic packaging innovations as we work towards ensuring 100% of plastic packaging is recyclable and made with 100% recycled materials.”

New label and Loop involvement

The new containers will also feature the How2Recycle label that clearly and graphically simplifies summarizes on-package recycling instructions for consumers (for more information, see How2Recycle label is growing—here’s who, why and how, published February 2019).

“Our Hellmann’s mayonnaise and mayonnaise Dressing jars and bottles will have new bottle wrapper artwork highlighting our commitment to using recycled plastic,” Crook explains. “These containers will state: ‘Bottle [or jar] made with 100% recycled plastic, because it’s the right thing to do.’ The front of all packsLoop reusable packaging shopping platform launches in the U.S. will also display one of the following messages: ‘100% recycled bottle’ or ‘100% recycled jar.’

Unilever is also developing reusable packaging innovations in an effort to reduce single-use plastics as part of TerraCycle’s Loop platform (for more information, see Loop reusable packaging shopping platform launches in the U.S., published June 2019). Premium skincare brand REN Clean Skincare, Hellmann’s, Love Beauty and Planet, Love Home and Planet and Seventh Generation will trial new reusable packaging made from aluminium and glass, according to the company.

“At Hellmann’s, we’re excited to be one of nine Unilever brands participating in the Loop program,” says Crook. “Loop is a win-win for consumers and businesses, and of course, for the planet. We are thrilled to be involved and to continue to encourage others to join the movement. We look forward to working with our partners to develop reusable packaging for the everyday products consumers love.”

The company will be measuring the recyclable plastic packaging program’s progress in the months ahead.

“Switching to recycled plastic has a positive impact on the environment by reducing the amount of bottles sent to landfills and lowering greenhouse gas emissions,” Crook says. “We look forward to tracking the impact of our recycled plastic packaging especially as we look to implement even more changes to improve the recyclability of our packaging.”

hellmann recycled food packaging
hellmann recycled food packaging

CLOSING REMARKS

  • Unilever is a Dutch company and a world leader in the food industry.
  • Unilever should have been a leader in sustainability: they’re Dutch … they’re first movers, take fast decisions, learn from their mistakes, go to the essential but they go for the cheapest option.
  • Sustainability doesn’t always go cheap. Resulting in the fact that Unilever are the backbenchers when it comes to sustainability.

REFS

This article was published on http://www.packagingdigest.com

Hellmann’s commits to 100% recyclable plastic food packaging

 

Petcore Europe Working Groups Improving Pet Tray Circularity

The first semester of 2019 has been a busy one for the PET industry. Next to the Petcore Europe Conference 2019 in February and policy events in the European Parliament, Petcore Europe has also been looking for solutions in its PET Thermoforms Recycling and ODR (Opaque and difficult to recycle PET) Recycling Working Groups. With successful meetings (participation of 45+ companies in each working group) the stage is now set to continue working on circular PET.

On 30 April, Petcore Europe welcomed more than 45 people to a new PET Thermoforms Recycling Working Group meeting focusing on tray to tray recycling trials, mono-material barrier films, de-lamination technologies, digital watermarks and design for recycling. One of the discussed trials was lead by Klöckner Pentaplast with involvement of Valorplast (sorting) and Wellmann International (washing trials). The case study showed that rPET flake from food trays can be extruded into new PET rigid film, which can then be thermoformed back into pots, tubs or trays enabling tray to try recycling.

In order to improve the outcome of the working group and align the PET tray industry, three chairs from industry leaders are now in charge of developing the strategy for PET thermoforms recycling. Ana Fernandez from Klöckner Pentaplast, Paolo Glerean from Aliplast and Nicolas Lorenz from Paccor are leading the group towards a circular economy. For the second half of the year, the objective is clear. Further bigger trials are needed – the attractiveness of recycling PET trays has to be always confirmed and improved – Petcore Europe therefore calls for all converters to support this activity and invest in common trials.

Also Petcore Europe’s ODR Working Group has been active. On 28 May, the task force leaders presented the ongoing work to more than 40 participants during a webinar focusing on sleeves and labels, improved collection and sorting including the HolyGrail project, eco-modulation (green dot fees) in different EU countries and many more. In addition, Fabrizio Di Gregorio from Plastics Recyclers Europe presented the Recyclass platform, its three pillars: the test protocol development, Design for Recycling and the Recyclass tool. The focus for the rest of the year will be on improved design for recycling, digital watermarks, perforated sleeves and end applications for recycled ODR material.

REFS

Petcore Europe Working Groups Improving Pet Tray Circularity