PBPC Newsletter April 8, 2020
Welcome to the Plant Based Products Council Newsletter! Read on for the latest in PBPC news and activities, as well as some of the amazing innovations, trends, and developments happening right now in the sustainability and bioeconomy world! If you missed our last edition, check it out using the link below.
HOW COVID 19 IMPACTS THE DEBATE
Forbes recognizes what we in the bioplastics industry already know: that plant-based products help protect and promote hygiene just as well as petroleum-based products. Their article examines the role sustainable products can play in saving lives. Meanwhile, the plastics industry has pivoted, attempting to take advantage of the global crisis to push back on plastic bans. China, too is facing challenges related to plastic bans, as noted by Bloomberg Law.
Forbes: Coronavirus Crisis Shines Light On Sustainability In Global Pharma And Medical Supply Chain
New York Times: In Coronavirus, Industry Sees Chance To Undo Plastic Bag Bans
The Guardian: Rightwing Think Tanks Use Fear Of Covid-19 To Fight Bans On Plastic Bags
Gizmodo: The Plastics Industry Is Trying To Cash In On The Covid-19 Pandemic
Bloomberg Law: China’s War On Garbage Faces A Major Coronavirus Setback
NEW VIDEO FROM PBPC
We created this brief video to explain how replacing traditional plastics with plant-based products will help reduce greenhouse gases, strengthen rural economies and solve our plastic crisis. Feel free to share it with your friends and family and re-post it across your social media channels.
PBPC’S NEWEST MEMBERS
We’re launching a new, semi-regular feature to highlight the latest companies to join our cause. Those featured below joined us in March and we’re excited to have so many new businesses seeking plant-based solutions to some of our planet’s most pressing environmental challenges. PBPC’s total company membership now stands at over 80 and continuing to grow. If you’re not already a member, you can contact us here to join: https://pbpc.com/join/
Agri-Tech Producers converts cellulosic biomass, like wood chips and bio-crops, into clean and renewable energy.
Green Dot Bioplastics is a full-service bioplastics company operating a product development lab which creates biobased and compostable materials, utilizing feedstocks such as starch and wood.
mountainFLOW eco-wax makes the world’s only plant-based wax for snow skis, a much better alternative for the environment than its petroleum-based competitors.
Novamont operates biorefineries and research centers around the world to create compostable bioplastics, biodegradable cosmetic ingredients, biolubricants and bioherbicides.
Sutherlin Santo utilizes organic, biodegradable polymer gels in 3D bio-printing. The company’s Bio.Scales product won a Lexus Design Award this year. Full PBPC Member Roster: https://pbpc.com/members/
PBPC MEMBERS MAKING WAVES
PBPC members have been making waves in the media lately. First, Loliware earned the spotlight in a look at how algae (aka seaweed, kelp), is an increasingly-popular feedstock for plastic-substitutes in packaging and products. Loliware straws, like many seaweed products, are compostable, degrading in both land and water. Next, we have an announcement made by PBPCfounding member Archer Daniels Midland of sweeping new sustainability targets, including a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 25% by 2035. Finally, Primitives Biodesign made headlines for their development a compostable bioplastic product that can respond to the environment and detect safety issues.
GreenBiz: Not Just Biofuels: Algae’s Next Wave
Press Release: ADM Advances Sustainability Commitments with Ambitious New Plan to Curb Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Energy Consumption
Bio Market Insights: Compostable packaging developed to detect ‘off food’
PLANT-BASED ADVANCES IN SUSTAINABILITY
The scientists, researchers, and engineers behind our industry continue to amaze. Among the incredible and important achievements worth your time: (1) the combination of starch and cellulose to make a bioplastic that is biodegradable in seawater (2) a new approach to plant-based 3D printing inks which allow scientists to adjust the final product’s elasticity from soft and pliable to hard casings, (3) a look at the seaweed industry of bioplastics – beginning with the waterborne farmers of Indonesia (4) how one group in Chile is turning fruit waste into bioplastic and (6) a new feedstock crop perfect for areas of the UK that are unsuitable for growing food.
AGRINEWS: Recovering Phosphorus From Corn Processing Can Help Reduce Groundwater Pollution
Phys.org: Researchers Create Water-Degradable Plastic Combining Starch And Cellulose
Phys.org: Printing Complex Cellulose-Based Objects
Eco-Business: Seaweed Over Plastic: Indonesia’s Race Towards Sustainable Packaging
FreshFruitPortal: New Bioplastic Made From Fruit Residue Developed In Chile
Bio Market Insights: New Seed-Based Miscanthus Can Be A Feedstock For Biochemicals
NPR & FRONTLINE INVESTIGATE THE PLASTICS INDUSTRY
Among other shocking findings: “The industry’s chief lobbying group at a crucial time in the late 80’s and 90’s, says the major plastic makers knew that there wasn’t enough infrastructure for recycling to amount to much, but the strategy was simple: ‘If the public thinks the recycling is working, then they’re not going to be as concerned about the environment,’ he says.” Take a moment to read the whole thing.
EXPLORING PLASTICS’ CONTIRUBTION TO GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS
For those of us who live and breathe sustainability, the links between plastic production and emissions are clear. But ask the average consumer about the plastic problem, and they’re apt to think of plastic waste in the ocean. This piece walks readers through the clear linkages between the creation of plastic and its impact on our climate.
Green Biz: Why Plastics Are Also A Climate Issue
TOWARD MORE SUSTAINABLE PACKAGING – AN IN DEPTH LOOK
Packaging Today, based in the UK, offers a long-form piece on systemic, cross-value chain approaches to more sustainable packaging. This lengthy but worthwhile article examines the challenges ahead, from wrappers to resins to recycling, and offers numerous steps that should be considered across the lifecycle of consumer goods.
Packaging Today: The Drive Toward Sustainability In Packaging—Beyond The Quick Wins
CAN BACTERIA HELP SOLVE THE PLASTICS CRISIS?
German researches have isolated a bacteria “capable of degrading some of the chemical building blocks of polyurethane” – a common form of plastic that is especially difficult to manage during its end of life. Polyurethane is used in our running shoes, diapers, sponges and as foam-style insulation, but it is difficult to recycle or destroy through incineration, as it is designed not to melt. As a result, it ends up in landfills, leaching toxic chemicals, some of which are carcinogenic. The bacteria, meanwhile, use the plastic as a source of carbon, nitrogen and energy, degrading the plastic in the process.
RECYCLER CALLS FOR TAX ON VIRGIN PLASTIC
At least one recycling CEO has suggested the best way to ensure more recycling of materials is to place a 20 percent tax on virgin resin. “You automatically make recycled resin a player and an economical decision,” said the president and CEO of North Carolina-based Resource Material Handling and Recycling Inc. He suggested the plastic industry is “pumping up” production of low-cost virgin plastics since China quit accepting plastic for recycling, which puts the U.S. recycled market in a “dire situation.”
Plastics News: Post-Industrial Plastics Recyclers Seek Public Attention