The Latest News About SmartPlastic

SmartPlastic Founder Tim Murtaugh Interviewed by Bloomberg Radio

SmartPlastic founder Tim Murtaugh was recently interviewed on a “Bloomberg Market Minute” segment concerning the dilemma with plastic straws. SmartPlastic has recently introduced a fully biodegradable plastic straw in response to growing environmental concern and the banning of plastic straws in several cities. Liste...

SmartPlastic founder Tim Murtaugh was recently interviewed on a “Bloomberg Market Minute” segment concerning the dilemma with plastic straws. SmartPlastic has recently introduced a fully biodegradable plastic straw in response to growing environmental concern and the banning of plastic straws in several cities. Listen to the Bloomberg interview to better understand how SmartPlastic’s new technology fits into the equation.

SmartPlastic will introduce fully biodegradable plastic straws at Pack Expo 2018

SmartPlastic will once again exhibit their technologies at Pack Expo 2018 in Chicago’s McCormick Place on October 14-17. In addition to information about their full portfolio of sophisticated technologies, SmartPlastic will introduce the fully biodegradable plastic straw developed in partnership with Best Diamond Straws. The ...

SmartPlastic will once again exhibit their technologies at Pack Expo 2018 in Chicago’s McCormick Place on October 14-17. In addition to information about their full portfolio of sophisticated technologies, SmartPlastic will introduce the fully biodegradable plastic straw developed in partnership with Best Diamond Straws. The company will also announce a breakthrough oxygen scavenger technology. Designed to provide the benefits of a scavenger directly into plastic film, this technology is FDA approved for food packaging.

“Smart Plastic Technologies is proud of its position as one of the nation’s leading innovators of sophisticated technologies which improve the usefulness of plastics. Our new oxygen scavenger is designed to allow the removal of traditional devices and preservatives while extending the shelf life of food.” said Tim Murtaugh, CEO of SPT.

Smart Plastic Technologies, LLC, is a specialist in the development, production and marketing of unique additives for use in polymers which provide biodegradation, antimicrobial, antifungal, production tracing, film thickness reduction and an oxygen scavenger designed to extend the shelf life of food products.

 

Smart Plastic Announces New Oxygen Scavenger Additive

Smart Plastic Technologies, LLC, is a specialist in the development, production and marketing of unique additives for use in polymers which provide biodegradation, antimicrobial, antifungal, production tracing and film thickness reduction properties in finished products. The Company is pleased to announce the release of an Oxyge...

Smart Plastic Technologies, LLC, is a specialist in the development, production and marketing of unique additives for use in polymers which provide biodegradation, antimicrobial, antifungal, production tracing and film thickness reduction properties in finished products.

The Company is pleased to announce the release of an Oxygen Scavenger Additive. Developed by SPT with extensive independent testing, this FDA approved technology has now been released to the market. It is an innovative fresh food oxygen scavenging prolonger that extends the shelf life of fruit, meats, dairy and bakery products. Introduced into packaging film at a 1-3% inclusion it is economical and efficient. Its presence in film now allows the removal of all typical oxygen scavenger devices in packaging.

“Smart Plastic Technologies is very pleased to provide this sophisticated technology to the food packaging industry. It represents another innovative SPT technology developed in response to market need. The industry has embraced it with great enthusiasm.” said Tim Murtaugh, CEO of SPT.

Media Contact:
Tim Murtaugh
423-884-3627

Airport Security Trays Carry More Cold Germs Than Toilets, Study Finds

Airport security is there to protect you, but it may also give you the sniffles — or worse. To all the places and surfaces we’ve been warned are teeming with germs or bacteria — your pets, the subway seat, airplane cabins, the A.T.M. — add the airport security tray. The plastic trays — used at […]...

Airport security is there to protect you, but it may also give you the sniffles — or worse.

To all the places and surfaces we’ve been warned are teeming with germs or bacteria — your pets, the subway seat, airplane cabins, the A.T.M. — add the airport security tray.

The plastic trays — used at airport checkpoints around the globe and touched by millions of passengers as they drop shoes, laptops, luggage and other items into them to clear X-ray scanners — have been found to harbor a variety of germs, including the ones responsible for the common cold, according to researchers in Europe.

Read the Full Article on New York Times

Scientists from the University of Nottingham in England and the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare swabbed frequently touched surfaces at Helsinki Airport in Finland during and after peak hours in the winter of 2016 and picked up traces of rhinovirus, the source of the common cold, and of the influenza A virus.

They found traces on half the luggage trays, more than on any of the other surfaces they tested. None of these viruses were found on toilet surfaces at the airport, they said.

The findings, published in the journal BMC Infectious Diseases, could help improve public health strategies in the fight against the spread of infectious diseases worldwide.

The study could also help educate people on how the infections we try to avoid each winter spread, Jonathan Van-Tam, a professor of health protection at the University of Nottingham, said in an emailed statement on Wednesday.

Scientists say that a common technique for applying hand sanitizer, one recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is inferior to an alternative method with twice as many steps.

Many of the surfaces we touch on a daily basis harbor and can spread germs. These include mobile phones, kitchen sponges and even cute bathtub rubber ducks. But air travel is known to accelerate the worldwide spread of diseases such as the flu, released naturally, and potentially of others released intentionally.

By Palko Karasz

SmartPlastic cited in Plastics News

Smart Plastic Technologies LLC (SPT) says it has developed two products — an additive and a material — that cause plastic to rapidly degrade in response to businesses seeking alternatives to plastic straws, which may be used for only a matter of minutes yet litter land and waterways for eons. Best Diamond Plastics LLC in [&h...

Smart Plastic Technologies LLC (SPT) says it has developed two products — an additive and a material — that cause plastic to rapidly degrade in response to businesses seeking alternatives to plastic straws, which may be used for only a matter of minutes yet litter land and waterways for eons.

Best Diamond Plastics LLC in Chicago turned to the Knoxville, Tenn.-based company to come up with a solution for its fast-food customers, including McDonald’s, which has a goal of sourcing all packaging and straws from renewable, recycled or certified sources by 2025.

Founded 10 years ago on the city’s South Side, the minority-owned company has heard from other buyers of its polypropylene straws and stirrers like Wendy’s, Dairy Queen, Portillo’s and Jack in the Box.

“They’re all interested in a better mousetrap,” Best Diamond President Mark Tolliver said in a phone interview. “They want something all their customers will accept, not just some.”

Read the full article on PlasticsNews.com

The public outcry against single-use plastics continues to mount with drinking straws dubbed “the quintessential nonessential” and “plastic relics.”
Best Diamond Plastics LLC“Straws are dead center of the environmentalists’ target list. It’s something they see as a nonessential and a contributor to plastic litter in oceans and on the ground. We get that,” said Best Diamond CEO Mark Tolliver.

A YouTube video of a turtle with a straw lodged in its nose and images of shorelines awash with plastic and skeletons of sea birds with plastic-filled bellies are moving individuals, cities and corporations to action.

Starbucks will eliminate plastic straws at its 28,000 stores by 2020. The company designed a strawless PP lid for iced coffee, tea and espressos and will switch to paper or compostable plastic straws made from polylactic acid for Frappuccinos. The changes will eliminate the need to produce more than 1 billion plastic straws per year and discard them into a waste stream never really equipped to recycle the thin extruded products.

American Airlines is also on board. The airline will serve drinks with biodegradable straws or wooden stir sticks starting at airport lounges and then in November offer bamboo replacements on its 14,250 daily flights. The moves will reduce the airline’s plastics use by more than 71,000 pounds of per year.

McDonald’s is looking at several alternatives for its 37,000 stores in 100 countries. The company will switch to paper straws by 2019 in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The U.K. plans to ban all sales of single-use plastics as early as next year and synthetic straw sentiments are changing next door in Ireland, where the coastal town of Westport made a voluntary commitment to use biodegradable straws starting June 1.

McDonald’s is also testing plastic straw alternatives in Belgium and later this year will do the same in the United States, France, Sweden, Norway and Australia. And in Malaysia, the company will test out a plan to offer straws upon request only.

“We understand that recycling infrastructure, regulations and consumer behaviors vary from city to city and country to country, but we plan to be part of the solution and help influence powerful change,” McDonald’s spokeswoman Andrea Abate told Plastics News in an email.

McDonald’s was the first customer of Best Diamond, which opened in 2008 with five employees and has grown to 76. Tolliver is determined to keep his customers and employees while meeting demands from the public.

“I believe in preserving the planet. We only have one,” Tolliver said. “We’re trying to do everything we can to be a contributor to the solution as opposed to being a contributor to the problem. I’m sure there’s a solution that’s a win-win, and we’re looking to find it. I’m a cup half-full kind of guy.”

That’s where SPT comes in. Satisfying quality requirements for fast-food chains that serve a variety of hot, cold, foamy and frozen beverages while meeting eco-friendly expectations of the world seems like a tall order. However, SPT CEO Tim Murtaugh said in phone and email interviews that the challenge has been met in two ways that render plastic biodegradable.

A couple of options

SPT says it developed a bioassimilation additive that causes plastic to fully biodegrade when exposed to oxygen. It does its job in the open environment be it land or sea. The additive is a magnesium salt-based formulation that works in all plastics but PET, causing a typical straw to mostly break down within 18 months.

“Total biodegradation then occurs within approximately five years or less, very much the same as a leaf,” Murtaugh said. “The environmental factors have an effect; thus, it is not possible to claim that it will perform the same everywhere.”

SPT’s other new product, a material with a bio-based organic compound, replaces a variety of plastics like PP, Murtaugh said. It works only in composting environments, which require certain carbon-to-nitrogen ratios, temperatures and levels of moisture and oxygen. SPT says it complies with industry standards of the American Society for Testing and Materials, including a provision that calls for most of the carbon in plastics to be converted to gas within 180 days (ASTM 6400).

The material Starbucks is considering, PLA, is currently used to produce compostable plastics. But Murtaugh said it is expensive and, like SPT’s new material, only 
breaks down within the confines of composting facilities.

Tolliver is interested in both options but thinks the additive, which can be used to produce oxobiodegradable straws, might have wider appeal. In the presence of oxygen, he said, the additive causes the straws to break down to the point of not leaving any evidence of plastic in 24 months.

“You still have a good product that works for the customer, the end user, and also biodegrades similar to paper. It breaks down into biomass, carbon dioxide and water. I think it’s a great solution,” Tolliver said.

The additive has been approved by the Federal Drug Administration and adds less than half a penny to production costs.

Of SPT’s two alternatives for making plastic straws and other single-use products more palatable, Murtaugh said, “We anticipate the market will swing fully to the bioassimilation product within a year due to the superior technology.”

The additive has been sucking up a lot of attention from Best Diamond and other plastic straw producers whose needs extend beyond paper, stainless steel, glass, food-grade silicone, wheat, uncooked pasta and other options.

“We are in highly active conversations with some big players in both the straw production business as well as fast food because it not only works but it costs substantially less than paper or PLA,” Murtaugh said. “Paper costs a fortune and the carbon footprint is catastrophic to the environment. PLA is expensive and requires a composting environment to work.”

A straw made from PLA laying on the beach isn’t going to biodegrade, Murtaugh said.

“Ours will biodegrade laying on the beach, and it costs less than PLA or paper,” he said. “This is a real development milestone for the industry, and we’re very excited that we’re the guys that developed it.”

SPT’s additive is “programmable” in terms of the useful life of the finished product but works earlier if it “escapes” through an improper disposal stream, the company’s website says.

“Our customers tell us how long a useful period of time they want built into their product. We formulate accordingly,” Murtaugh said.

SPT explains the different stages of how the additive affects the product’s controlled useful life prior to natural degradation on its website.

“At a preplanned time, due to the metal salt and antioxidants in our formulation, the carbon-carbon bonds in the plastic’s molecular chains begin to break down,” the website states.

Antioxidants prevent the metal salt from reacting with oxygen until the preplanned time period is up, Michael Stephens, SPT’s technology director, explained in an email. Then, the antioxidants are no longer effective and the metal salt reacts with oxygen to create free radicals that attack the plastic’s carbon chain backbone, making smaller chain pieces. (The antioxidants also protect the magnesium salt during molding of the plastic). The carbon chains continue to fail and oxygen bonds with the carbon and produces CO2. The remaining molecular structure continues to shrink to smaller pieces, allowing microorganisms to access and “eat” the carbon and hydrogen. The plastic item deteriorates over a period of months.

“Actual biodegradation has commenced and the product is no longer truly a plastic,” the website explains. “Bioassimilation occurs similar to ordinary organic waste. The item will fully degrade until it becomes nothing more than CO2, water and biomass. The process can be accelerated by UV rays and heat. The additive contains no heavy metals and can be recycled.”

ASTM is considering a new standard to accommodate the additive technology, according to SPT.

“We developed it in response to demand for a straw, but it can be used in many other applications,” Murtaugh said. “Think of the lids on coffee cups and things of that nature. These are the companies we’re already talking to.”

Other considerations

Despite the anticipated appeal of the additive, SPT says it was important to develop a compost-compliant product, which Murtaugh says costs “slightly more.” Many cities enacting bans on single-use plastics like straws and utensils have adopted ordinances that allow recyclable or compostable plastic products and that essentially require compliance with the ASTM standard, Murtaugh said.

On July 1, Seattle became the first major U.S. city to ban plastic straws, utensils and cocktail picks at its 5,000 restaurants, bars and coffee houses. Only compostable plastic or paper straws can be given to customers. Some environmentalists are encouraging businesses and their patrons to pick paper straws. They too are pointing out that compostable straws don’t degrade in marine environments while noting that paper can dissolve in the ocean within hours.

Seattle and Starbucks also have had to address some backlash from people with disabilities. One woman, for example, who has cerebral palsy and limited use of her arms says she can only sip beverages with a bendable plastic straw because other materials collapse or aren’t flexible. Because of such concerns, Seattle is reiterating that there is an exception to the ban.

“We want to make sure it’s understood by food-service businesses that the ban does not apply to disposable flexible plastic drinking straws when needed by customers due to medical or physical conditions and for whom flexible compostable paper straws are unsuitable,” said Susan Fife-Ferris, director of solid waste planning and program management for Seattle Public Utilities, told local media.

Seattle also has temporary waivers valid through June 30, 2019, for disposable long-handled thick plastic soda spoons when required and used for thick drinks; metal foil, metal foil-faced papers and engineered composite papers used to wrap hot food, such as hamburgers and burritos; and portion cups that are 2 ounces or less if used for hot foods or requiring lids.

Failure to comply with the food service ware ordinance may result in a $250 fine.

Doing their best

Meanwhile, back at Best Diamond, Tolliver tries to keep up morale as he gives updates to employees.

“We’re not saying the sky is falling. We’re talking about the solutions we’re trying to put forth,” he said. “A lot of our employees have been here a long time and it’s kind of a family industry. I don’t know any other way to run a company. I’m not a big corporate guy. I just want to have something that provides positive returns for the people who are part of it.”

Tolliver started Best Diamond with partners and a commitment to the South Side, where crime, unemployment and poverty have been chronic problems. McDonald’s started ordering products right away.

“They wanted to be a part of trying to improve the area where they do business,” Tolliver said. “That’s one reason we were able to come together.”

Straws are a commodity, he added, and it doesn’t take a whole lot of capital to get into the business so there are a lot of players, especially in Asia.

“We started this business knowing it wouldn’t be a slam dunk. But I grew up on the South Side of Chicago. I’m accustomed to challenges,” Tolliver said. “We started the business to bring more jobs to the community and more importantly a message to the community that if you work hard, keep your nose to the grindstone and get an education, you can have positive outcomes.”

However, the message is drowned out a bit these days with so many people speaking out against plastic straws.

“Straws are dead center of the environmentalists’ target list. It’s something they see as a nonessential and a contributor to plastic litter in oceans and on the ground. We get that,” Tolliver said. “We want to provide a solution — a good one that solves the main problems of litter on the ground and in the ocean.”

Tolliver thinks SPT is onto something with the additive.

“I feel it can work and is viable, but not only does the solution have to be effective, it has to meet social requirements. People, in general, have to feel good about it,” Tolliver said. “We’re doing our best to put forth a solution that we think will be acceptable.”

Plastics News correspondent Michael Lauzon contributed to this report.

Fresh Del Monte Produce Recalls Vegetable Trays After 212 Get Infected By Parasites

More than 200 people in four states have been infected with an intestinal parasite after eating prepackaged vegetable trays sold by Fresh Del Monte Produce, federal authorities said. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 212 people in Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin had become ill with cyclospo...

More than 200 people in four states have been infected with an intestinal parasite after eating prepackaged vegetable trays sold by Fresh Del Monte Produce, federal authorities said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 212 people in Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin had become ill with cyclosporiasis as of Thursday.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
The parasite that causes this intestinal illness was found in 6 oz., 12 oz. and 28 oz. vegetable trays containing fresh broccoli, cauliflower, celery sticks, carrots and dill dip sold to select retailers in the above-mentioned states, as well as in Illinois and Indiana.

The veggie packs have a “best if enjoyed by” date of June 17, 2018, or earlier, according to a June 15 release by the Food and Drug Administration.

Symptoms from this outbreak were first reported on May 14, and the ages of victims range from 13 to 79 years of age, according to CNN.

Businesses that reportedly sold the tainted veggies include Kwik Trip, Kwik Star, Demond’s, Sentry, Potash, Meehan’s, Country Market, Food Max Supermarket and Peapod.

The parasites found in the veggie packs have been linked to various stomach illnesses and can also cause fever and fatigue, according to the The New York Times.

Symptoms of cyclosporiasis include watery diarrhea and frequent, sometimes explosive, bowel movements, which typically show up a week after people ingest food containing the parasite.

The number of outbreaks could continue to climb, according to University of Minnesota professor Michael T. Osterholm, a food-borne disease expert who said tracking the outbreaks will be challenging.

“By the time cases are detected, the product is long gone,” he told the Times. “It’s very hard to trace back.”

Osterholm said he suspected the actual number of cases was much higher than the 212 confirmed so far by health officials.

Although the illness can be treated with antibiotics, symptoms can last from a few days to a few months. In some cases, a patient who reports feeling better may get sick again.

Anyone who has consumed any of the recalled vegetable trays and developed symptoms should seek medical attention.

It is imperative that potential victims tell their doctors they may have been exposed to the parasite, as specific lab tests are required to diagnose the infection.

Del Monte Fresh Produce, which is a separate entity from Del Monte Foods, did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.

 

They’re Building the Straw of Tomorrow Now That Plastic’s Passe

Craig Graffius started EcoGlass Straws 12 years ago with three decades of glass-making experience and his vision for an alternative to the ubiquitous plastic straw. What he didn’t have was anyone clamoring for his product. Read Full Article on Bloomberg By Eliza Haverstock Today, his tiny four-person shop in Hood River, Oreg...

Craig Graffius started EcoGlass Straws 12 years ago with three decades of glass-making experience and his vision for an alternative to the ubiquitous plastic straw. What he didn’t have was anyone clamoring for his product.

Read Full Article on Bloomberg By Eliza Haverstock

Today, his tiny four-person shop in Hood River, Oregon, is gearing up to turn out 2,000 handcrafted glass straws an hour. That’s up from the current pace of 125 an hour, or 1,000 a day.

Craig Graffius in his workshop

Photographer: Terray Sylvester/Bloomberg

EcoGlass’s surging output underscores a wave of change sweeping through the supply chain as the straw emerges as a central symbol of the world’s plastic trash crisis. With consumers searching for greener options, companies from Starbucks Corp. to McDonald’s Corp. to MGM Resorts International are responding.

“Everybody’s got to find a replacement,” said Graffius, who has seen orders more than triple in the past year after a long struggle to convince buyers his wares were more than just a novelty. “We didn’t anticipate this happening. We were going to really hit the market.’’ But instead, “it’s hitting us.”

Plastic straws are just one example of how companies are being forced to adapt to changing public attitudes about the environment. For some, abandoning traditional plastic raises costs, threatens sales and forces uncomfortable conversations with customers. Others see an opportunity for new business with the rise in demand for alternatives.

Sea Turtle

The furor dates to a viral 2015 video of marine biologists pulling a straw from deep inside the nose of a sea turtle. Then in 2017 the “Strawless in Seattle” campaign motivated cities to take action. The public outcry escalated to the point McDonald’s, Starbucks and MGM have vowed to phase out their reliance on plastic straws globally. American Airlines Group Inc. said Tuesday it would replace plastic straws and stir sticks with more “eco-friendly” straw and bamboo options. Alaska Air Group Inc. said in May it would phase out single-use plastic straws.

A propane torch is used to polish the straws

Photographer: Terray Sylvester/Bloomberg

While straws account for just .03 percent of the 8 million metric tons of plastic that enters the ocean each year, according to a 2015 study, the disturbing images refocused the world’s attention on the problem.

“The anti-single-use-plastic movement is much bigger than those who identify as environmentalists,” said Maisie Ganzler, brand chief for Bon Appetit Management Co., a food-service chain that on May 31 said it would stop using traditional plastic straws. “When people see the photographic evidence of the amount of plastic pollution in our oceans and in the bodies of birds, fish, turtles and whales, it’s stomach-turning no matter what your politics are,” Ganzler said.

Biodegradable Option

In recent months, countries in Europe have begun announcing bans or limits. As of July 1, Seattle became the first major U.S. city to outlaw plastic straws, following similar measures by smaller towns along the East and West Coasts. Even where laws haven’t changed, the public outcry is pressuring companies to respond or risk alienating customers. That pressure travels up and down the supply chain.

Partially finished glass straws

Photographer: Terray Sylvester/Bloomberg

Best Diamond Plastics co-founder and President Mark Tolliver has grown his straw-making business to more than 70 employees from the five he started with in 2008, in large part thanks to his first major customer: McDonald’s. Now his 73,000 square-foot plant in Chicago churns out plastic implements for customers including five big fast-food companies.

Smart Plastic

Tolliver started talking with McDonald’s about more environmentally friendly options a few years ago as concerns about plastic trash gained traction. That sent him searching for a solution that wouldn’t turn his growing business upside down. Competing against a range of entirely different materials, such as glass, paper or metal, Best Diamond decided to stick with the material it knew best, but engineer it to quickly decompose.

Tolliver teamed up with Smart Plastic Technologies in Knoxville, Tennessee, where CEO Tim Murtaugh found success in recent years selling an additive that makes plastic grocery bags biodegradable, and has now adjusted the product to work for straws.

In the last six months, the drive for an alternative became more urgent as he heard from all five of his big fast-food customers. McDonald’s announced last month it would be replacing plastic straws with paper in the U.K. and Ireland by 2019, and would start testing substitutes in the U.S., as well.

Drawing Attention

Murtaugh says he’s seen a tenfold increase in inquiries for his additive so far this year, including from many larger companies. “We’ve drawn their attention, they’re impressed with our technology, and we are now in what I would call the final phase of conversation about it,’’ he said.

Many plastic substitutes come with their own set of environmental problems, said Murtaugh. Paper straws have more carbon emissions when the entire manufacturing process is considered, and plant-based bioplastics are tricky because they won’t break down if they’re not composted correctly, he said. Reuseable glass straws can be difficult to clean and are significantly more expensive up front.

Nonetheless, those products are also seeing demand surge in the wake of the plastic straw controversy.

Eco-Products Inc., which supplies food-service giants such as US Foods Holdings Corp. and Sysco Corp., has seen demand for its compostable straws double in the last six months.

When he was first getting EcoGlass off the ground, Graffius spent years traveling to craft shows and conferences handing out free samples of his glass straws to drum up business. But people still viewed them as a gimmick. “I spent a lot of money and I pretty much got nowhere,” he recalled.

Like ‘Silverware’

Graffius abandoned his marketing efforts and refocused on making his straws. He imports shatter-resistant glass from Germany and then hand-shapes and polishes it into smooth, dishwasher-safe drinking tubes “almost equal to the silverware that’s in your drawer.’’

He sells his straws direct through his company website and in bulk to a distributor, Foods Alive Inc., based in Angola, Indiana. Foods Alive repackages and sells the straws to several hundred retail stores, juice bars and consumers. The distributor has seen sales jump by 30 percent from last year, and now markets the EcoGlass product to individuals, too, packaged with a carrying case and cleaning brush, said Matt Alvord, one of the company’s founders.

‘Overwhelmingly Positive’

EcoGlass’s phone started ringing more often a couple years ago after the turtle video stirred more awareness about how plastic trash was harming the environment.

A local restaurant, Pelinti Pizza, is among the new customers stocking EcoGlass straws. Owner Gabriel Head says customers have been “overwhelmingly positive,” with many thanking him for providing an option other than plastic.

“People who care, get it,’ he said.

Meanwhile the glassmaker is hearing from new customers every day, ranging from hospitals to hotels, as the plastic backlash accelerates.

“It’s exciting,’’ Graffius said. His business started with a simple, environmentally friendly product that was ahead of its time, “and now everything’s catching up.”

SmartPlastic Technologies cited by Chicago Tribune in plastic straw issue.

From a South Side plastics factory to McDonald’s HQ, Chicago is on the front lines of anti-straw push READ FULL TRIBUNE ARTICLE Robert Channick Contact Reporter A growing movement against plastic straws is playing out in Chicago, with restaurants and museums banning the items, and a South Side straw factory urgently seekin...

From a South Side plastics factory to McDonald’s HQ, Chicago is on the front lines of anti-straw push

READ FULL TRIBUNE ARTICLE

Robert Channick
Contact Reporter

A growing movement against plastic straws is playing out in Chicago, with restaurants and museums banning the items, and a South Side straw factory urgently seeking an environmentally friendly alternative for slurping down a soda or chocolate shake.

The single-use plastic straw — colorful, functional and handed out in bunches — has suddenly shifted from consumer staple to scourge, projected by some critics to foul ecosystems for an eon.

Scores of Chicago-area restaurants have already shunned plastic straws, along with colleges and a number of cultural venues, such as the Shedd Aquarium. This spring, the White Sox became the first Major League Baseball team to ban plastic straws from their stadium.

Elsewhere, municipalities are taking action, with Seattle and Miami among U.S. cities that have restricted plastic straws. New York City is considering a similar ban.

The plastic straw pushback may be good news for environmentalists, but it doesn’t bode well for Best Diamond Plastics, a 10-year-old, minority-owned Chicago manufacturer whose primary business is supplying drinking straws to McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Portillo’s and other restaurant chains.

“It hasn’t really affected our business at this point,” said Mark Tolliver, 64, president of Best Diamond Plastics. “If that gains traction, if we don’t have a solution, then we’re going to have a significant issue.”

Generally not biodegradable or recyclable, hundreds of millions of plastic straws are used in the U.S. every day, ending up in landfills, littering the landscape or floating away. Environmentalists say seafaring straws are ingested by marine animals and are one of the top 10 pieces of garbage polluting the oceans.

At least 8 million tons of plastics leak into the world’s oceans each year, according to a 2016 report by the World Economic Forum. By 2050, there could be more plastic by weight in the world’s oceans than fish, according to the report.

A 2015 University of California at Davis study found plastic debris in a quarter of the fish sold for human consumption.

The tipping point for many was a 2015 YouTube video of marine biologists in Costa Rica removing a plastic straw that had become lodged up a sea turtle’s nose. More than 26 million views later, there has been a major shift in consumer sentiment against the once-heralded innovation.

Marvin Stone is credited with inventing the modern drinking straw, patenting a process in 1888 to wind paper into a tube, according to the Lemelson Center at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History. The advent of the plastic straw in the 1960s quickly supplanted the easily collapsed paper straw as the implement of choice in restaurants and other venues.

But the paper straw is back on the table, along with bamboo, metal and other materials, as the food service industry scrambles to find alternatives to plastic.

Chicago-based fast-food giant McDonald’s, one of the world’s largest users of plastic straws, isn’t quite ready to make the change. Shareholders voted down a proposal last month for McDonald’s to issue a report on the business risks of continued use of plastic straws, a call to action that the board considered unnecessary in light of ongoing packaging sustainability efforts.

“As part of our efforts towards this goal, we are working to find a more sustainable solution for plastic straws globally,” McDonald’s spokeswoman Andrea Abate said in an email Monday.

In U.S. markets that have restricted plastic straws, McDonald’s provides compostable straws in some places and straws upon customer request in others, depending on the regulations, Abate said.

She said McDonald’s is looking to have its straws come from renewable, recycled or certified sources by 2025.

McDonald’s straw supplier Best Diamond Plastics operates a 73,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in the Calumet Business Center in the Pullman community area on Chicago’s Far South Side. It has 76 employees, a big-name customer base and a major threat to its business model, said Tolliver, the company’s president.

“It would be a very negative situation for our company if the large quick-service restaurants decided they were no longer going to use plastic straws,” he said.

Tolliver, who grew up on the South Side, launched the company in 2008. While he has yet to lose any business as a result of the plastic straw pushback, he is facing growing concern among his customers.

“I haven’t had anyone call me up and say, ‘That’s my last order,’” Tolliver said. “But they are calling me up and saying, ‘We need to address this issue; this is something we are concerned about and we are looking for solutions.’”

 

Best Diamond is working with Smart Plastic Technologies, an 8-year-old Knoxville, Tenn., company with a north suburban Wheeling facility that produces an additive to make plastic biodegradable.

Approved by the Food and Drug Administration, the bioassimilation additive will make a plastic straw biodegrade within 18 months, said Tim Murtaugh, CEO of Smart Plastic.

“It causes plastic to biodegrade like paper,” Murtaugh said. “The stuff works.”

The additive, a manganese-based formulation, adds less than a half-penny on the dollar to the production cost, he said. Smart Plastic is working with “numerous supermarket chains” that use the additive in their plastic grocery bags to make them fully biodegradable.

 

Best Diamond has yet to use the additive, but is floating the idea with customers.

“We’ve already been talking to our customers about it,” Tolliver said. “They’re pretty interested in it.”

Many Chicago-area venues have already ditched plastic straws. Last year, the Shedd Aquarium launched a campaign to limit plastic straw use called #SheddTheStraw, which has gathered momentum and now includes more than 100 Chicago restaurants.

Inspired by a Shedd ballpark promotion, the White Sox decided to eliminate plastic straws in April, switching to paper straws at Guaranteed Rate Field. The team and its partners project the move will keep more than 215,000 plastic straws from being used this season.

“It seemed like a really good idea,” White Sox spokesman Scott Reifert said. “We took the plunge and we’ve gotten nothing but compliments from people.”

Reifert said the team switched to bottled soda several years ago, making some straws unnecessary and the transition a little easier. The ballpark serves only one beverage with a plastic straw — the Frozen Yard, which comes in a tall plastic glass.

“They haven’t yet found a paper straw that’s long enough,” Reifert said.

Bon Appetit, a California-based food service company, announced late last month that it was phasing out plastic straws at all 1,000 of its client cafes in 33 states, including sites at the University of Chicago, Art Institute of Chicago and west suburban Wheaton College.

The company plans to use up its existing supply of plastic straws while it secures a national distributor to supply paper straws to all of its locations. The changeover is projected to be completed by 2019.

“Certainly the worst thing to do would be to just throw away the plastic straws,” said Maisie Ganzler, chief strategy officer for Bon Appetit.

Plastic straw proponents remain. Lynn Dyer, president of the Foodservice Packaging Institute, an 85-year-old industry trade association, touted sanitary and convenience benefits, while warning against laws restricting their use.

“Food service operators and their customers should be able to decide whether or not they want to offer (or) use a straw,” Dyer said in an email. “Government — at any level — should not limit operator or consumer choice by banning these items.”

Scott DeFife, vice president of government affairs for the Plastics Industry Association, likewise argued against banning straws in response to environmental concerns.

“Straws don’t have a place in the marine environment,” DeFife said in an email. “However, the focus shouldn’t be on banning straws. Instead, we advocate for educating people about proper disposal and creating better infrastructure to modernize recycling. Our industry is full of ingenuity and innovation and wants to be a part of the solution.”

For Best Diamond Plastics, the straw solution needs to include some form of its namesake product, and time may be running out.

“We’re fighting an uphill battle,” Tolliver said. “We recognize that.”

Smart Plastic Technologies Announces Development of Antimicrobial Sports Bottle with Taico Design

(Knoxville, Tennessee) May 24, 2018- Smart Plastic Technologies, LLC, is a specialist in the development, production and marketing of unique additives for use in polymers which provide biodegradation, antimicrobial, antifungal, production tracing and film thickness reduction properties in finished products. The Company is please...

(Knoxville, Tennessee) May 24, 2018- Smart Plastic Technologies, LLC, is a specialist in the development, production and marketing of unique additives for use in polymers which provide biodegradation, antimicrobial, antifungal, production tracing and film thickness reduction properties in finished products. The Company is pleased to announce the completion of the development of an Antimicrobial Sports Bottle designed in cooperation with Taico Design. The bottle will be among the first such product available to consumers.

Taico Design leading national design and manufacturing company that specializes in items such as bottles, dispensers and plastic components.

“We are pleased to announce the successful development of this product with our project partner, Taico Design and look forward to the development of additional exciting products with them. Discussions are underway with national marketing organizations and we expect to have the Sports Bottle available to consumers this summer. This will be the first plastic antimicrobial sports bottle available at a fraction of the cost of aluminium.” said Tim Murtaugh, CEO of SPT.

Smart Plastic Technologies Announces Global Product Trials with Dole Produce

(Knoxville, Tennessee) May 24, 2018- Smart Plastic Technologies, LLC, is a specialist in the development, production and marketing of unique additives for use in polymers which provide biodegradation, antimicrobial, antifungal, production tracing and film thickness reduction properties in finished products. The Company is please...

(Knoxville, Tennessee) May 24, 2018- Smart Plastic Technologies, LLC, is a specialist in the development, production and marketing of unique additives for use in polymers which provide biodegradation, antimicrobial, antifungal, production tracing and film thickness reduction properties in finished products. The Company is pleased to announce the commencement of various SPT additive trials with Dole Produce. Additives to be tested include Bio-assimilation, Antimicrobial, Antifungal and Reducer. Trials are scheduled to occur in multiple countries in Latin America and the U.S.

Dole Food Company is a recognized global leader in the fresh produce industry. Dole’s worldwide team of growers, packers, processors, shippers and employees is committed to consistently providing safe, high-quality fresh fruit, vegetables, and food products, while protecting the environment in which its products are grown and processed.

“Smart Plastic considers this opportunity a reflection of our competence, reliability and technical expertise. We are thankful to Dole Produce for the opportunity and are proceeding with total confidence in the successful completion of these trials. This will lead to the further development of Smart Plastic Technologies being recognized as a leader in our industry.” said Tim Murtaugh, CEO of SPT.

Report shows a third of consumers prefer sustainable brands

London, UK – A new international study by Unilever reveals that a third of consumers (33%) are now choosing to buy from brands they believe are doing social or environmental good. Unilever study reveals a third of consumers are now buying from brands based on their social and environmental impact An estimated €966 billion op...

London, UK – A new international study by Unilever reveals that a third of consumers (33%) are now choosing to buy from brands they believe are doing social or environmental good.

  • Unilever study reveals a third of consumers are now buying from brands based on their social and environmental impact
  • An estimated €966 billion opportunity exists for brands that make their sustainability credentials clear

The study asked 20,000 adults from five countries how their sustainability concerns impact their choices in-store and at home. Crucially, it then mapped their claims against real purchase decisions, giving a more accurate picture than ever of what people are actually buying – and why.

As well as confirming the public’s high expectations of brands when it comes to having a positive social and environmental impact, the study’s findings uncover an unprecedented opportunity for companies that get it right. More than one in five (21%) of the people surveyed said they would actively choose brands if they made their sustainability credentials clearer on their packaging and in their marketing. This represents a potential untapped opportunity of €966 billion out of a €2.5 trillion total market for sustainable goods.1

The scale of this opportunity is also further borne out by Unilever’s own financial performance. Of its hundreds of brands, those such as Dove, Hellmann’s and Ben & Jerry’s, that have integrated sustainability into both their purpose and products delivered nearly half the company’s global growth in 2015. Collectively, they are also growing 30% faster than the rest of the business.

The study also suggests that the trend for purpose-led purchasing is greater among consumers in emerging economies than in developed markets. While 53% of shoppers in the UK and 78% in the US say they feel better when they buy products that are sustainably produced, that number rises to 88% in India and 85% in both Brazil and Turkey.

Keith Weed, Unilever’s Chief Marketing and Communications Officer says: “This research confirms that sustainability isn’t a nice-to-have for businesses. In fact, it has become an imperative. To succeed globally, and especially in emerging economies across Asia, Africa and Latin America, brands should go beyond traditional focus areas like product performance and affordability. Instead, they must act quickly to prove their social and environmental credentials and show consumers they can be trusted with the future of the planet and communities, as well as their own bottom lines.”

The study identifies two probable reasons for consumers’ greater focus on sustainable purchasing in emerging economies compared to developed markets. First is direct exposure to the negative impact of unsustainable business practices, such as water and energy shortages, food poverty and poor air quality. And second is the power of social norms. So, while Brazilian, Indian and Turkish people feel pressure from their family, friends and even their children to buy greener, more socially responsible products, this sense of social scrutiny is currently less prevalent in the UK and US.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE ON UNILEVER.COM

The Sustainability Imperative

It’s hard to ignore the siren call to protect the planet. Or to remain unmoved by those facing increasingly poor living conditions across the globe. As a result, many consumers have adopted more sustainable behaviors. Others are working for or supporting organizations dedicated to social and environmental change. Consumers are...

It’s hard to ignore the siren call to protect the planet. Or to remain unmoved by those facing increasingly poor living conditions across the globe.

As a result, many consumers have adopted more sustainable behaviors. Others are working for or supporting organizations dedicated to social and environmental change.

Consumers are trying to be responsible citizens of the world, and they expect the same from corporations. So when it comes to purchasing, they are doing their homework. Checking labels before buying. Looking at web sites for information on business and manufacturing practices. Paying attention to public opinion on specific brands in the news or on social media.

Key Influencers for Those Willing to Pay More

Among the 66% of global respondents willing to pay more, over 50% of them are influenced by key sustainability factors, such as a product being made from fresh, natural and/or organic ingredients (69%), a company being environmentally friendly (58%), and company being known for its commitment to social value (56%). Sales, and coupons didn’t even make the top five. For this group, personal values are more important than personal benefits, such as cost or convenience…

Read the full article on www.neilsen.com. 

 

We made plastic. We depend on it. Now we’re drowning in it.

 If plastic had been invented when the Pilgrims sailed from Plymouth, England, to North America—and the Mayflower had been stocked with bottled water and plastic-wrapped snacks—their plastic trash would likely still be around, four centuries later. If the Pilgrims had been like many people today and simply tossed their e...

 If plastic had been invented when the Pilgrims sailed from Plymouth, England, to North America—and the Mayflower had been stocked with bottled water and plastic-wrapped snacks—their plastic trash would likely still be around, four centuries later.

If the Pilgrims had been like many people today and simply tossed their empty bottles and wrappers over the side, Atlantic waves and sunlight would have worn all that plastic into tiny bits. And those bits might still be floating around the world’s oceans today, sponging up toxins to add to the ones already in them, waiting to be eaten by some hapless fish or oyster, and ultimately perhaps by one of us.

We should give thanks that the Pilgrims didn’t have plastic, I thought recently as I rode a train to Plymouth along England’s south coast. I was on my way to see a man who would help me make sense of the whole mess we’ve made with plastic, especially in the ocean.

Because plastic wasn’t invented until the late 19th century, and production really only took off around 1950, we have a mere 9.2 billion tons of the stuff to deal with. Of that, more than 6.9 billion tons have become waste. And of that waste, a staggering 6.3 billion tons never made it to a recycling bin—a figure that stunned the scientists who crunched the numbers in 2017…

 READ FULL ARTICLE FROM NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC
by Photographs by 

SmartPlastic announces global product trials with Coveris

(Knoxville, Tennessee) May 1, 2018- Smart Plastic Technologies, LLC, is a specialist in the development, production and marketing of unique additives for use in polymers which provide biodegradation, antimicrobial, antifungal and anticounterfeit properties in finished products. The Company is pleased to announce that it has reac...

(Knoxville, Tennessee) May 1, 2018- Smart Plastic Technologies, LLC, is a specialist in the development, production and marketing of unique additives for use in polymers which provide biodegradation, antimicrobial, antifungal and anticounterfeit properties in finished products. The Company is pleased to announce that it has reached an agreement with Coveris for the development of a range of additive products designed for global applications in various climactic locations. SPT additives being tested include Bio-assimilation, Anti-microbial, Anti-fungal and Reducer.

As a leading international manufacturing company, Coveris is dedicated to providing solutions that enhance the safety, quality and convenience of products we use every day. In partnership with the most respected brands in the world, Coveris develops vital products that protect everything from the food we eat, to medical supplies, to the touch screen device in our pockets, contributing to the lives of millions every day.

“We are honoured to have the opportunity to work with Coveris. We see this as an important milestone in the continued development of Smart Plastic Technologies as a leader in our industry.” said Tim Murtaugh, CEO of SPT.

Americans told to toss romaine lettuce over E. coli fears

READ FULL ARTICLE PHOENIX (AP) — U.S. health officials told consumers to throw away any store-bought romaine lettuce they have in their kitchens and warned restaurants not to serve it amid an E. coli outbreak that has sickened more than 50 people in several states. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expanded i...

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PHOENIX (AP) — U.S. health officials told consumers to throw away any store-bought romaine lettuce they have in their kitchens and warned restaurants not to serve it amid an E. coli outbreak that has sickened more than 50 people in several states.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expanded its warning about tainted romaine from Arizona, saying information from new illnesses led it to caution against eating any forms of the lettuce that may have come from the city of Yuma. Officials have not found the origin of the contaminated vegetables.

Previously, CDC officials had only warned against chopped romaine by itself or as part of salads and salad mixes. But they are now extending the risk to heads or hearts of romaine lettuce.

People at an Alaska correctional facility recently reported feeling ill after eating from whole heads of romaine lettuce. They were traced to lettuce harvested in the Yuma region, according to the CDC.

So far, the outbreak has infected 53 people in 16 states. At least 31 have been hospitalized, including five with kidney failure. No deaths have been reported.

Symptoms of E. coli infection include diarrhea, severe stomach cramps and vomiting.

The CDC’s updated advisory said consumers nationwide should not buy or eat romaine lettuce from a grocery store or restaurant unless they can get confirmation it did not come from Yuma. People also should toss any romaine they already have at home unless it’s known it didn’t come from the area, the agency said.

Restaurants and retailers were warned not to serve or sell romaine lettuce from Yuma.

Romaine grown in coastal and central California, Florida and central Mexico is not at risk, according to the Produce Marketing Association.

The Yuma region, which is roughly 185 miles southwest of Phoenix and close to the California border, is referred to as the country’s “winter vegetable capital.” It is known for its agriculture and often revels in it with events like a lettuce festival.

Steve Alameda, president of the Yuma Fresh Vegetable Association, which represents local growers, said the outbreak has weighed heavily on him and other farmers.

“We want to know what happened,” Alameda said. “We can’t afford to lose consumer confidence. It’s heartbreaking to us. We take this very personally.”

Growers in Yuma typically plant romaine lettuce between September and January. During the peak of the harvest season, which runs from mid-November until the beginning of April, the Yuma region supplies most of the romaine sold in the U.S., Alameda said. The outbreak came as the harvest of romaine was already near its end.

While Alameda has not met with anyone from the CDC, he is reviewing his own business. He is going over food safety practices and auditing operations in the farming fields.

E. coli outbreak possibly linked to Panera Bread in NJ

READ FULL ARTICLE At least six cases of E. coli in New Jersey may be tied to a local restaurant and are being investigated, health officials said Thursday. “The Warren County Health Department and state Health Department are investigating a cluster of E. coli cases” potentially from “local Panera Breads,”...

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At least six cases of E. coli in New Jersey may be tied to a local restaurant and are being investigated, health officials said Thursday.

“The Warren County Health Department and state Health Department are investigating a cluster of E. coli cases” potentially from “local Panera Breads,” said Sarah Perramant, public health epidemiologist in Warren County, as quoted by NJ.com.

Perramant cautioned that Panera Bread has not been definitively determined to be the source.

A manager at the Phillipsburg, N.J. Panera restaurant being eyed declined to comment to NJ.com.

Fox News’ email to the Panera Bread parent company press site was not immediately answered.

The state Department of Health said they are looking into a “cluster” of cases in four counties: Hunterdon, Middlesex, Somerset and Warren.

How your plastic water bottle could be harbouring more germs than a DOG BOWL

Tests on water bottles were carried out by Minneapolis-based fitness website Treadmill Reviews. It found harmful bacteria such as E.coli lurking on the refillable water containers. Read Full Article Tests found water bottles were harbouring dangerous germs like E.coli Some had more harmful bacteria than a dog bowl, toy or a toil...

Tests on water bottles were carried out by Minneapolis-based fitness website Treadmill Reviews. It found harmful bacteria such as E.coli lurking on the refillable water containers.

Read Full Article

  • Tests found water bottles were harbouring dangerous germs like E.coli
  • Some had more harmful bacteria than a dog bowl, toy or a toilet seat
  • Slide-top types found to be the worst and those with a straw the best 

Most gym-goers make regular trips to the water cooler armed with a plastic bottle, happy they’re doing their bit for the environment while keeping hydrated.

But while quenching your thirst after pounding the treadmill is a vital part of any workout, it turns out you could actually unwittingly make yourself sick.

New research has discovered these plastic water bottles can harbour more germs than a toilet seat.

In fact, slugging from the same refillable vessel was found to be ‘many times worse than licking your dog’s toy’.

Tests revealed thousands of moisture-loving bacteria crawling all over the spouts and caps.

Research by TreadmillReviews.net lab-tested 12 refillable water bottles that had been used by athletes over the course of a week.

In fact, the average person’s water bottle was found to have over 300,000 colony forming units of bacteria.

Perhaps most surprising, most of these germs were the most harmful types – known as gram negative rods – such as E.coli and salmonella.

There were a host of bacteria linked to skin infections, pneumonia as well as blood poisoning.

 SO WHICH FAIRED BEST AND WORST? 

Slide-top versions had the highest germ content, with more than 900,000 colony-forming units per square centimeter (CFU/sq) cm on average.

They had the most gram-positive cocci, which have been linked to skin infections, pneumonia and blood poisoning.

Squeeze-top bottles were next with 162,000 CFU/sq cm while screw-top containers had around 160,000 CFU/sq cm.

Meanwhile, straw-top bottles were by far and above the winners with only 25 CFU/sq cm.

It is thought it could be because water drips to the bottom of the straw rather than sticking around to attract moisture-loving germs.

Those found at the tops of straws were ‘mostly harmless.’

‘Based on our test results, we suggest opting for a straw-top bottle, both for the low prevalence of bacteria and the lack of harmful germs,’ the fitness website said.

While no tests were performed on re-using standard shop-bought mineral water bottles, the results suggest there would be a similar high level of germs.

The Missouri-based website says stainless steel vessels are a better choice than plastic.

It also recommends running bottles through the dishwasher or handwashing thoroughly after every use.

 

 

World’s largest collection of ocean garbage is twice the size of Texas

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a collection of plastic, floating trash halfway between Hawaii and California, has grown to more than 600,000 square miles, a study published Thursday found. That’s twice the size of Texas. Read Full Article Winds and converging ocean currents funnel the garbage into a central location,...

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a collection of plastic, floating trash halfway between Hawaii and California, has grown to more than 600,000 square miles, a study published Thursday found. That’s twice the size of Texas.

Read Full Article

Winds and converging ocean currents funnel the garbage into a central location, said study lead author Laurent Lebreton of the Ocean Cleanup Foundation, a non-profit organization that spearheaded the research.

First discovered in the early 1990s, the trash in the patch comes from around the Pacific Rim, including nations in Asia and North and South America, Lebreton said.

The patch is not a solid mass of plastic. It includes about 1.8 trillion pieces and weighs 88,000 tons — the equivalent of 500 jumbo jets. The new figures are as much as 16 times higher than previous estimates.

The research — the most complete study undertaken of the garbage patch — was published Thursday in the peer-reviewed journal Scientific Reports.

 “We were surprised by the amount of large plastic objects we encountered,” said Julia Reisser of the foundation. “We used to think most of the debris consists of small fragments, but this new analysis shines a new light on the scope of the debris.”

The study was based on a three-year mapping effort by an international team of scientists affiliated with the Ocean Cleanup Foundation, six universities and an aerial sensor company.

Sadly, the Pacific patch isn’t alone. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is the largest of five such trash collections in the ocean, Lebreton said.

Scientists work with the European Space Agency to take photos of the garbage patches from space.

No governments have stepped up to clean the trash, which is in international waters, so it’s up to privately funded groups such as the Ocean Cleanup Foundation to take the lead in getting rid of the garbage.

There’s a sense of urgency, said Joost Dubois, a spokesman with the foundation.

“It’s a ticking time bomb of larger material,” Dubois said. “We’ve got to get it before it breaks down into a size that’s too small to collect and also dangerous for marine life.”

Since plastic has been around only since the 1950s, there’s no way of knowing exactly how long it will last in the ocean. If left alone, the plastic could remain there for decades, centuries or even longer.

“Unless we begin to remove it, some would say it may remain there forever,” Lebreton said.

 

ABC News: Diver films wave of plastic pollution on scale ‘never seen before.’

A diver who filmed a huge “slick” of plastic floating in clear waters at a popular dive spot in Indonesia said he has “never seen anything like this scale” of ocean pollution before.  (READ FULL ARTICLE) In a video uploaded to social media, diver Rich Horner is seen swimming through masses of floating pl...

A diver who filmed a huge “slick” of plastic floating in clear waters at a popular dive spot in Indonesia said he has “never seen anything like this scale” of ocean pollution before.  (READ FULL ARTICLE)

In a video uploaded to social media, diver Rich Horner is seen swimming through masses of floating plastic garbage at a dive spot usually frequented by manta rays which come to get cleaned.

Although the dive site lies off the coast of Nusa Penida — a small island with low population — there is a stretch of only 20 kilometres of water separating Nusa Penida from the island of Bali and its capital Denpasar.

“Plastic straws, plastic baskets, plastic bags, more plastic bags, plastic, plastic, so much plastic!” Mr Horner wrote on Facebook.

“Surprise, surprise there weren’t many mantas there at the cleaning station today. They mostly decided not to bother.”

Mr Horner said the level of plastic at that site varied throughout the year, and there was no plastic visible during the dry season but random clouds and slicks appear during the wet season.

He said this trash in the footage had cleared by the next day.

A new study by researchers from Australia, Italy and the US have found tiny plastic particles are a particular threat to “filter-feeding” animals like the manta rays near Bali, which can swallow up to 90 pieces every hour.

Murdoch University lead researcher Elitza Germanov said microplastics — particles smaller than five millimetres long — contain toxic chemicals that, if ingested, could alter biological processes in the animals, such as growth, development and reproduction.

“We are still trying to understand the magnitude of the issue,” Ms Germanov said.

“Microplastic contamination has the potential to further reduce the population numbers of these species, many of which are long-lived and have few offspring throughout their lives.”

A diet of plastic

Once this trash ends up in the ocean and is swept up by currents, it is virtually irretrievable.
Exposed to saltwater, sunlight and heat, larger plastic pieces will eventually break down into smaller and smaller bits.
Marine filter-feeders like mantas, whales and whale sharks are at risk because of their feeding habits. They swallow thousands of cubic metres of water per day, to capture plankton and other tiny organisms floating in the sea.

Ms Germanov, who is in the final stages of a PhD project through Murdoch University, is focusing on plastic pollution in manta ray feeding grounds around the coastline of Nusa Penida and Komodo National Park in Indonesia.
“Plastics are definitely on the menu here,” she said.
Welcome to a (plastic) island paradise

A remote and uninhabited island wilderness in the South Pacific is literally a garbage dump and these photos prove it.

“Our first results indicate that the mantas ingest 40 to 90 pieces of microplastics per hour.”

With the help of a team of local researchers from Udayana University in Bali, she is also collecting samples of egested material and stomach contents of the animals to study their exposure to plastic-associated toxins.
In a last step, the team is conducting a social study, quizzing local communities on their awareness around the issue.

“Raising awareness of this issue in communities, among governing bodies and industries could help to change behaviours around the production, management and use of plastics,” Ms Germanov said.

Tourism could drive change

Janis Argeswara, a marine science student at Udayana University, said she was shocked about the manta rays swimming in a “pile of trash”.
“Bali’s economy depends heavily on tourism for income,” she said.

“If the mantas disappear off Nusa Penida, people here wouldn’t know what to do.”

Large ocean species attract thousands of wildlife enthusiasts to tourism destinations such as Indonesia every year.

They also make up a large part of Australia’s tourism dollars.
And while the waters of South-East Asia are some of the worst affected in terms of plastic waste, rubbish is also entering Australian waters.

Researchers have long found a microplastic hot spot near the World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef, which is famous for its whale shark encounters.

“Plastic beads in facial scrubs and toothpastes, which are too small to be filtered during water treatment, are another factor for the pollution,” Ms Germanov said.

Many of the species at risk from microplastics are endangered already.

The world’s largest fish, the whale shark, is listed as vulnerable on the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, with only 7,000 remaining species in 2016.

With a decreasing current population trend, manta rays have also been designated a threatened species.

“I just really want to make a fuss about this and draw attention to these amazing creatures, knowing that they are important to tourism, so that these countries consider protecting their assets,” Ms Germanov said.

Smart Plastic introduces new REDUCER product

Smart Plastic introduces new REDUCER product (Wheeling, Illinois) September 25, 2017 – Smart Plastic Technologies, LLC, a specialist in the development, production and marketing of unique additives for use in polymers which provide biodegradation, antimicrobial, antifungal and anticounterfeit properties in finished product...

Smart Plastic introduces new REDUCER product

(Wheeling, Illinois) September 25, 2017 – Smart Plastic Technologies, LLC, a specialist in the development, production and marketing of unique additives for use in polymers which provide biodegradation, antimicrobial, antifungal and anticounterfeit properties in finished products, is pleased to announce the release of their new additive branded as “Reducer”.

The product is designed to maintain the property strengths of plastic while allowing for a thickness reduction of up to 25%.

“This proprietary product has been developed in direct response to market demand. It will reduce both the amount of resin required to manufacture heavy plastic films while also substantially reducing shipping costs for the end users. We have received serious interest from more than one global player in both the agriculture and construction industries. We are excited to be able to offer a proprietary solution to customer needs.” said a company spokesperson.

Topco Associates makes decision to increase business volume with Smart Plastic

Topco Associates makes decision to increase business volume with Smart Plastic (Wheeling, Illinois) September 25, 2017 – Smart Plastic Technologies, LLC, a specialist in the development, production and marketing of unique additives for use in polymers which provide biodegradation, antimicrobial, antifungal and anticounterf...

Topco Associates makes decision to increase business volume with Smart Plastic

(Wheeling, Illinois) September 25, 2017 – Smart Plastic Technologies, LLC, a specialist in the development, production and marketing of unique additives for use in polymers which provide biodegradation, antimicrobial, antifungal and anticounterfeit properties in finished products, is pleased to announce that Topco has informed the Company’s management team of their decision to substantially increase their volume of business with SPT. It is anticipated this will occur during the last quarter of 2017.

Topco Associates LLC is a privately held $5 billion company that provides innovative business solutions for its food industry member-owners and customers.

Topco is currently supplying bags with the SMART additive to some of their members. Those include Price Chopper, Harp’s Foods, King Kullen, Laurel Grocery and Affiliated Foods Midwest. This decision is expected to more than double that volume.

Smart Plastic introduces new Bio-assimilation additive

Smart Plastic introduces new Bio-assimilation additive (Wheeling, Illinois) September 9, 2017 – Smart Plastic Technologies, LLC, a specialist in the development, production and marketing of unique additives for use in polymers which provide biodegradation, antimicrobial, antifungal and anticounterfeit properties in finishe...

Smart Plastic introduces new Bio-assimilation additive

(Wheeling, Illinois) September 9, 2017 – Smart Plastic Technologies, LLC, a specialist in the development, production and marketing of unique additives for use in polymers which provide biodegradation, antimicrobial, antifungal and anticounterfeit properties in finished products, is pleased to announce the introduction of their newest additive technology, Bio-assimilation. The product will be sold under the “REDUCER” brand.

Based on the theories of Oxo-biodegradation, this technology provides a breakthrough and guarantees 100% biodegradation of plastics which include this additive.

“With our team’s extensive experience in the development and perfection of the science of bio-degradation, this represents a hard-earned breakthrough in the technology of controlled degradation of plastics. For years sceptics have doubted that the old oxo-biodegradable technology did not produce 100% biodegradation. Our new Bio-assimilation provides complete biodegradation, resulting in nothing other than water, oxygen and biomass…. dirt. And, it is totally recyclable. We are very excited to release this product. It’s another example of the growth of our Company.” stated Dick Frost, V.P. Sales for Smart Plastic.

Smart Plastic opens offices in Knoxville, Tennessee

Smart Plastic opens offices in Knoxville, Tennessee (Wheeling, Illinois) September 9, 2017 – Smart Plastic Technologies, LLC, a specialist in the development, production and marketing of unique additives for use in polymers which provide biodegradation, antimicrobial, antifungal and anticounterfeit properties in finished p...

Smart Plastic opens offices in Knoxville, Tennessee

(Wheeling, Illinois) September 9, 2017 – Smart Plastic Technologies, LLC, a specialist in the development, production and marketing of unique additives for use in polymers which provide biodegradation, antimicrobial, antifungal and anticounterfeit properties in finished products, is pleased to announce the opening of the Company’s second location in Knoxville, Tennessee.

“This location was chosen as it is where our V.P. Sales, Dick Frost lives with his family. Virtually all sales related details will be managed from this location while production management will remain in our Wheeling location. It’s another example of the growth of our Company. We are very thankful” stated Dick Frost, V.P. Sales for Smart Plastic.

Smart Plastic introduces new Antifungal product

Smart Plastic introduces new Antifungal product (Wheeling, Illinois) September 1, 2017 – Smart Plastic Technologies, LLC, a specialist in the development, production and marketing of unique additives for use in polymers which provide biodegradation, antimicrobial, antifungal and anticounterfeit properties in finished produ...

Smart Plastic introduces new Antifungal product

(Wheeling, Illinois) September 1, 2017 – Smart Plastic Technologies, LLC, a specialist in the development, production and marketing of unique additives for use in polymers which provide biodegradation, antimicrobial, antifungal and anticounterfeit properties in finished products, is pleased to announce the release of their new Antifungal additive.

The product is designed to control bacteria and fungi with particular focus on algae and fungi such as M. Piriformis and P. Roqueforti. Presence of the additive in packaging will increase food shelf life plus allow brands to remove preservatives from the food for a cleaner ingredients label.

“We have received serious interest from more than one global player in the foods industry. This product will mark a major milestone in the growth of the Company. We are excited to be able to offer a proprietary solution through this innovation in food packaging” said Mike Ricciari, CEO of Smart Plastic.

Smart Plastic Technologies Announces Attending Pack Expo

Smart Plastics Technologies is pleased to announce that they will be attending the Pack Expo. Their booth number is 6842 Lower South Hall....

Smart Plastics Technologies is pleased to announce that they will be attending the Pack Expo. Their booth number is 6842 Lower South Hall.

Smart Plastic Opens Sales Operation in 7 Latin American Countries

(Wheeling, Illinois) September 9, 2017 Smart Plastic Technologies, LLC, a specialist in the development, production and marketing of unique additives for use in polymers which provide biodegradation, antimicrobial, antifungal and anticounterfeit properties in finished products, has completed its strategy to establish sales repre...

(Wheeling, Illinois) September 9, 2017 Smart Plastic Technologies, LLC, a specialist in the development, production and marketing of unique additives for use in polymers which provide biodegradation, antimicrobial, antifungal and anticounterfeit properties in finished products, has completed its strategy to establish sales representation in 7 countries which will provide market exposure throughout Central and South America.

Those countries include Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Brazil.

“We have worked closely with Varcomsa, our Latin America partner over the past year to successfully establish this strong network of representation. We are already seeing the results and look forward to the continued development of business in this dynamic market. Our thanks to Varcomsa for their efforts and cooperation.” Said Dick Frost, Vice President of Sales.

Smart Plastic Technologies Announces Multi-location Caribbean Sales Representation Agreement with Cruzan Creations

Smart Plastic is pleased to announce it has reached a multi-location Caribbean sales representation agreement with Cruzan Creations. Cruzan has established business and governmental relations throughout the Caribbean and will introduce Smart brand products throughout the region. “We have previously worked with the principles o...

Smart Plastic is pleased to announce it has reached a multi-location Caribbean sales representation agreement with Cruzan Creations. Cruzan has established business and governmental relations throughout the Caribbean and will introduce Smart brand products throughout the region.

“We have previously worked with the principles of Cruzan for a period of time and understand their unique business position throughout the Caribbean islands. We consider this an excellent opportunity and look forward to developing a mutually beneficial relationship.” Said Dick Frost, Vice President of Sales.

Great Pacific Garbage Patch

  The area of increased plastic particles is located within the North Pacific Gyre, one of the five major oceanic gyres in the Pacific. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, also described as the Pacific trash vortex, is a gyre of marine debris particles in the central North Pacific Ocean discovered between 1985 and 1988. It [&h...

 

The area of increased plastic particles is located within the North Pacific Gyre, one of the five major oceanic gyres in the Pacific.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, also described as the Pacific trash vortex, is a gyre of marine debris particles in the central North Pacific Ocean discovered between 1985 and 1988. It is located roughly between 135°W to 155°W and 35°N and 42°N. The patch extends over an indeterminate area of widely varying range depending on the degree of plastic concentration used to define the affected area.

It is thought that, like other areas of concentrated marine debris in the world’s oceans, the Great Pacific garbage patch formed gradually as a result of ocean or marine pollution gathered by oceanic currents. According to a 2011EPA report, “The primary source of marine debris is the improper waste disposal or management of trash and manufacturing products, including plastics (e.g., littering, illegal dumping) … Debris is generated on land at marinas, ports, rivers, harbors, docks, and storm drains.

Estimates of size

The size of the patch is unknown, because large items readily visible from a boat deck are uncommon. Estimates of size range from 270,000 square miles (about the size of Texas) to more than 5,800,000 sq. mi (0.4% to 8% of the size of the Pacific Ocean), or, in some media reports, up to “twice the size of the continental United States”. Such estimates, however, are conjectural given the complexities of sampling and the need to assess findings against other areas. Further, although the size of the patch is determined by a higher-than-normal degree of concentration of plastic debris, there is no standard for determining the boundary between “normal” and “elevated” levels of pollutants to provide a firm estimate of the affected area.

In August 2009, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography/Project Kaisei SEAPLEX survey mission of the Gyre found that plastic debris was present in 100 consecutive samples taken at varying depths. The survey also confirmed that, although the debris field does contain large pieces, it is on the whole made up of smaller items that increase in concentration toward the Gyre’s center, and these ‘confetti-like’ pieces are clearly visible just beneath the surface. The Great Pacific garbage patch has one of the highest levels known of plastic particulate suspended in the upper water column. Unlike organic debris, which rapidly biodegrades, the photodegraded plastic disintegrates into ever smaller pieces while remaining a polymer. This process continues down to the molecular level. As the plastic flotsam photodegrades into smaller and smaller pieces, it concentrates in the upper water column. As it disintegrates, the plastic ultimately becomes small enough to be ingested by aquatic organisms that reside near the ocean’s surface. In this way, plastic may become concentrated in neuston, thereby entering the food chain.

Effect on wildlife and humans

Some of these long-lasting plastics end up in the stomachs of marine animals, and their young, including sea turtles and the black-footed albatross. Midway Atoll receives substantial amounts of marine debris from the patch. Of the 1.5 million Laysan albatross that inhabit Midway, it is believed nearly all are likely to have plastic in their digestive systems. Approximately one-third of their chicks die, and many of those deaths are due to being fed plastic from their parents. Approximately twenty tons of plastic debris washes up on Midway every year with five tons of that debris being fed to albatross chicks. While eating their normal sources of food, plastic ingestion can be unavoidable or the animal may mistake the plastic as a food source. Research has shown that this plastic marine debris affects at least 267 species worldwide.

Cleanup research

The Goldstein et al. study compared changes in small plastic abundance between 1972–1987 and 1999–2010. The follow-up study compared changes in small plastic abundance between 1972–1987 and 1999–2010 by using historical samples from the Scripps Pelagic Invertebrate Collection and data from SEAPLEX, a NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer cruise in 2010, information from the Algalita Marine Research Foundation as well as various published papers. In 2016, plans were in the concept stage to create floating Oceanscrapers, made from the plastic found in the Great Pacific garbage patch. In June of that year, The Ocean Cleanup project launched a prototype boom, nicknamed Boomy McBoomface, off the coast of the Netherlands in the North Sea, with the intention that if tests with the 100 meter prototype go well plans to develop a 100 kilometer long scaled up version that would then be deployed in the Pacific would go forward.

What can we do?

While efforts to clean up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch are necessary and admirable, should we not be also focusing on preventing it from occurring in the first place? To ignore proven methods to control future plastic litter while pursuing methods of removing it once discarded across both land and sea is paramount to leaving the barn door open with a well-rehearsed plan to chase the horse once escaped. A simple truth must be addressed; despite well-meaning politicians and environmentalists, individuals are not going to properly dispose of all plastic items. Hence the need to CHANGE THE PLASTIC, NOT THE CULTURE.

It is a proven fact that the use of SMART OXO BIODEGRADABLE ADDITIVE can have a dramatic and immediate impact on the reduction of future plastic litter. It is 100% scientifically proven to cause the degradation of plastic resulting in full biodegradation to biomass, much the same as paper or a leaf…..not reduction to polymer filaments but fully biodegraded plastic. We invite you to join us in our efforts to control plastic litter. This is a problem we can solve as a society. For information please contact us at www.sptweb.com

A Report on the Carbon Footprint of Plastic Bags

A review of the Life-Cycle Analysis on Common Plastic Bags In February 2011, The UK Environment Agency published a report, Life Cycle Analysis on Carrier Bags. An assessment across all types of carrier bags Conventional plastic Hydro-biodegradable plastic Oxo-biodegradable plastic Cotton/Jute Paper   The UK Environment Agen...

A review of the Life-Cycle Analysis on Common Plastic Bags

In February 2011, The UK Environment Agency published a report, Life Cycle Analysis on Carrier Bags.

An assessment across all types of carrier bags

  • Conventional plastic
  • Hydro-biodegradable plastic
  • Oxo-biodegradable plastic
  • Cotton/Jute
  • Paper

 

  • The UK Environment Agency study shows how plastic bags* are the most environmentally friendly.
  • If these were banned, it would be worse for the environment as the alternatives to plastic bags have a higher Global Warming Potential.

 

Click here to read this news article >>

The Efficacy of Oxo-biodegradable Technology

Considerable controversy is attached to the subject of oxo-biodegradability. Even describing this oxidative process as bio-degradable can cause an explosive reaction on the part of hydro-biodegradable technology advocates. For the one or two readers that are not familiar with the oxo-biodegradable technology let me briefly descr...

Considerable controversy is attached to the subject of oxo-biodegradability. Even describing this oxidative process as bio-degradable can cause an explosive reaction on the part of hydro-biodegradable technology advocates.

For the one or two readers that are not familiar with the oxo-biodegradable technology let me briefly describe the process.

A masterbatch (additive contained in a pellet of polyolefin) is introduced at the processing stage of a petro-chemical derived plastic material. The inclusion rate is small being 1%. Thus, the impact on processing parameters and finished material properties is negligible.

The additive typically consists of a transition metal salt and stabilisers. The salt has a catalytic action that causes a free radical reaction causing chain cleavage, in turn leading to the creation of hydroperoxides which are precursors to complete bio assimilation –these include esters, alcohols, aldehydes and carboxylic acids. The stabilisers retard this action under the elevated temperatures of processing and in the environment –typically geared to match the required time scale of functionality of the finished packaging item.

There are several papers and test results that confirm the biodegradability of these materials.  Click here to read the rest of this news article >>

Topco Authorizes Use of SMART Oxo-Biodegradable Additive in All Durabag Production

Topco Authorizes Use of SMART Oxo-biodegradable Additive In All Durabag Production (Wheeling, Illinois) October 27, 2016- Smart Plastic Technologies, LLC, a specialist in the development, production and marketing of unique additives for use in polymers which provide biodegradation, antimicrobial, antifungal and anticounterfeit p...

Topco Authorizes Use of SMART Oxo-biodegradable Additive In All Durabag Production

(Wheeling, Illinois) October 27, 2016- Smart Plastic Technologies, LLC, a specialist in the development, production and marketing of unique additives for use in polymers which provide biodegradation, antimicrobial, antifungal and anticounterfeit properties in finished products, is pleased to announce that existing customer Topco Associates has authorized its plastic bag supplier, Durabag, to immediately include SMART Oxo-biodegradable additive in all bags produced for Topco members.

Topco Associates LLC is a privately held $5 billion company that provides innovative business solutions for its food industry member-owners and customers.

With the exception of one California based member, the agreement provides for the exclusive use of the SPT Oxo-biodegradable additive in all carrier bags produced by Durabag for Topco members. Topco provided approximately 10 billion carrier bags to their members in 2015. Production of the bags will be staged on a producer-based basis which will provide a steady increase of business to SPT.

“We are pleased to have reached this milestone so rapidly. We look forward to moving on to the next Topco producer in the immediate future. Soon, the SMART logo will appear on tens of millions of plastic shopper bags.” said Mike Ricciardi, CEO of SPT.

Smart Plastic Technologies Announces Latin American Sales Representation Agreement with Varcomsa

Smart Plastic Technologies Announces Latin America Sales Representation Agreement with Varcomsa (Wheeling, Illinois) October 17, 2016- Smart Plastic Technologies, LLC, a specialist in the development, production and marketing of unique additives for use in polymers which provide biodegradation, antimicrobial, antifungal and anti...

Smart Plastic Technologies Announces Latin America Sales Representation Agreement with Varcomsa

(Wheeling, Illinois) October 17, 2016- Smart Plastic Technologies, LLC, a specialist in the development, production and marketing of unique additives for use in polymers which provide biodegradation, antimicrobial, antifungal and anticounterfeit properties in finished products, is pleased to announce that it has reached a multi-national sales representation agreement with Varcomsa of Guatemala.

Varcomsa is a member of a family of commercial enterprises with locations in Guatemala, Colombia, Venezuela, Costa Rica and Panama. Sales representation will occur in all locations. Varcomsa will introduce SMART brand products to a range of industries.

“We have known the principles of Varcomsa for many years and are pleased to have the opportunity to work with them.” said Mike Ricciardi, CEO of SPT.

How much oil is used to make plastic?

SHOULD OIL BE DRILLED FOR THE PRODUCTION OF PLASTIC? It is often stated that oil is drilled for making plastic. This is not correct. How much oil is used to make plastic? Although crude oil is a source of raw material (feedstock) for making plastics, it is not the major feedstock for plastics production in […]...

SHOULD OIL BE DRILLED FOR THE PRODUCTION OF PLASTIC?

It is often stated that oil is drilled for making plastic. This is not correct. How much oil is used to make plastic?

Although crude oil is a source of raw material (feedstock) for making plastics, it is not the major feedstock for plastics production in the United States. Natural gas is used for process heat in the production of precursor chemicals and plastics and as a feedstock for those precursor chemicals.

The primary feedstock for U.S. petrochemical crackers are hydrocarbon gas liquids (HGL), of which 82% were by-products of natural gas processing.

Plastics are produced from natural gas, feedstocks derived from natural gas processing, and feedstocks (Naphtha) derived from crude oil refining.

Petrochemical feedstock naphtha and other oils refined from crude oil are used as feedstock for petrochemical crackers that produce the basic building blocks for making plastics.

Every barrel of crude oil extracted contains a range of materials suitable for different applications. The major components derived are petroleum and diesel oils – naphtha- which is the precursor to plastic production- is a minor component- depending on region -around 3-4% of the total.

Recycling Oxo-Biodegradable Plastics

It’s ok to recycle Oxo-Biodegradable (but not biobased) plastic On 18th  November, European Plastic Converters (“EuPC”) published a Report on recyclability of biodegradable plastics by the Austrian Transfercenter für Kunststofftecknik GmbH (“TCKT”). The Oxo-biodegradable Plastics Association requested an analysis of...

It’s ok to recycle Oxo-Biodegradable (but not biobased) plastic

On 18th  November, European Plastic Converters (“EuPC”) published a Report on recyclability of biodegradable plastics by the Austrian Transfercenter für Kunststofftecknik GmbH (“TCKT”). The Oxo-biodegradable Plastics Association requested an analysis of this report by the Roediger specialist laboratory at Stellenbosch, South Africa, and the analysis is now published on the OPA website at http://www.biodeg.org/files/uploaded/Roediger%20on%20EuPC%205%20Dec%20’13.pdf

The Roediger analysis concludes that the TCKT report is confused, and that “it needs to be clearly understood that there are two very different types of biodegradable plastic products:

  1. “Compostable” – (also loosely known as “bio-based plastics” or “bioplastics”)

and  designed according to EN13432 to biodegrade in industrial composting, and

  1. Oxo-biodegradable – made from petroleum-derived polymers such as PE and PP, containing special ingredients (which do not include “heavy-metals”) designed according to ASTM D6954 to degrade and biodegrade in the open environment leaving no harmful residues.

TCKT tested four samples, of which three were bio-based and compostable. Only one of them (DEG2) was non-biobased and degradable, but it is not properly described. It is not therefore known what type of polymer was used, how old the sample was, nor which additive had been included in the polymer, nor at what concentration within the polymer. There is no explanation as to how the author assessed whether DEG2 was biodegradable. Roediger laboratories’ conclusion is that:

  1. The TCKT report confirms that bio-based “compostable” plastics can NOT be safely recycled together with oil-based plastics in a post-consumer waste stream, but
  2. There is no reason to change their view after extensive tests in 2012 that plastic products made with oxo-biodegradable technology may be recycled together with conventional oil-based polymers without the need for separation and without any significant detriment to the newly-formed recycled product.

Roediger points out that “oxo-biodegradation is defined by CEN in TR15351 as “degradation resulting from oxidative and cell-mediated phenomena, either simultaneously or successively”  and that “Whilst described in the TCKT report as “oxo-fragmentable,” and sometimes described in non-scientific literature as “oxo-degradable” this describes only the first or oxidative degradation phase. These descriptions should not be used for material which degrades by the process of oxo-biodegradation defined by CEN, and the correct description is

“oxo-biodegradable.”

The Roediger report notes that “Oxo-biodegradation of polymer material has been studied in depth in many scientific studies, most recently at the Technical Research Institute of Sweden and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. An independently peer-reviewed report of the work was published in Vol 96 of the journal of Polymer Degradation & Stability (2011) at page 919-928. It shows 91% biodegradation in a soil environment within 24 months, when tested in accordance with ISO 17556.”

For further information, contact info@biodeg.org

Greenpeace: Every single piece of plastic ever made still exists.

From the moment we wake up in the morning and brush our teeth, to when we watch TV at the end of the day, plastic is all around us. So much so that it can be hard to imagine leaving the supermarket without at least one item that isn’t in a plastic container. It hasn’t […]...

From the moment we wake up in the morning and brush our teeth, to when we watch TV at the end of the day, plastic is all around us. So much so that it can be hard to imagine leaving the supermarket without at least one item that isn’t in a plastic container.

It hasn’t always been like this. In fact, there are people alive today that were born in an almost plastic-free world. Imagine going to the beach and not finding a single piece of washed up plastic trash.

What, in the course of history, caused such a change?

Read the rest of the article by Greenpeace International’s Diego Gonzaga here >>

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