PBPC Newsletter February 28, 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.
PBPC’S ACCOUNTABILITY BLOG UNDERSTANDS THERE ARE NO UNICORNS OR MAGIC WANDS, ONLY IMPROVEMENT
In this edition, our Accountability Blog tackles an article by Ars Technica questioning the viability of plant-based plastic alternatives. Just as we’ve seen time and time again, the author here treats perfect as the enemy of good, ignoring all of the benefits plant-based plastics have to offer in favor of the same old, argument that they are not perfect. As we’ve said before, PBPC is focused on the steps we can take toward advancing the circular economy, such as reducing our use of harmful traditional plastics, improving waste management infrastructure, and educating consumers on best disposal practices.
PBPC Accountability Blog: More Unicorn-Thinking in Ars Technica’s Piece on Bioplastics
CONGRESSMEN LAUNCH BREAK FREE FROM PLASTIC POLLUTION ACT
Should plastic manufacturers be responsible for the cost of recycling? That’s the proposal in a new bill introduced in Congress, called the “Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act.” It incorporates 10 measures, including a three-year pause on permits for new plastic plants, a ban on some single-use products and shifting the cost of recycling from taxpayers to plastic-producing companies. Plastic makers reacted furiously, as made clear in the stories below.
Houston Chronicle: Democrats’ Plastic Waste Bill Would Upend Industry
PLASTIC IS BREAKING RECYCLING – EXAMPLE # 427
A new report from Greenpeace examined the broad range of recycling codes in use for plastic (there are seven of them!) and then asked over 300 recycling centers how many of the different types they actually recycle. Not many, it turns out. Most centers only handle codes #1 and #2 – and those products are often bottles with shrink-wrapped labels, so they can’t be recycled easily. Many of these plastics that are not recycled are “going to end up in the landfill or incinerator, or just go straight into the environment,” said John Hocevar, who led the report for Greenpeace.
BIOPLASTIC DEGRADES FASTER THAN ORANGE PEELS IN ONE COMPOST STUDY
Wageningen University in the Netherlands recently investigated how compostable plastics behaved in the processing of food and garden waste. They found that compostable products made from PLA (a type of plant-based plastic) were found by scientists to break down faster than paper and orange peels after one composting cycle of 11 days. This not only applied to thin tea bags made of PLA, but also to the thicker plant pots. and toxic chemicals,” said one of the report’s authors.
WASH POST NAILS IT
Definitely check out this open letter to Americans about our dangerous plastics habit. It features a number of incredible statistics and some wonderful graphics, too.
Washington Post: Americans Dump 100 Plastic Bottles In Nature Each Year
GROCERIES EXAMINE SUSTAINABLE PACKAGING
Our grocery store shelves are lined with food wrapped in plastic. Worse, when that food either expires or is consumed, the packaging, often covered with food, is usually sent to a landfill, where the food emits methane – a powerful greenhouse gas. If packaging were plant-based and compostable, we could divert that food to compost, reducing greenhouse gases and creating a circular economy for packaging. Luckily, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 60% of the plastics used for packaging today could be replaced by plant-based plastics.
Here are two articles that look at how grocers and others are dealing with their packaging sustainability decisions.
Progressive Grocer: Rethink The Sustainability Of Packaging
Chain Store Age: Wegmans Reduces Packaging Waste In Meat Supply Chain
WALMART VS. AMAZON IN SUSTAINABILITY
An African proverb says that when elephants fight it is the grass that suffers. But when two corporate giants engage in a battle to see which is more sustainable, it may just be consumers and the environment that wins. The supply chains of thousands of products available at Amazon and Walmart touch every corner of the world. And if these corporations demand sustainable products, the world may very well follow.
SUSTAINABILITY & CAMPAIGN 2020
At least one poll has found that a presidential candidate’s stance on climate change will be a deciding factor for 77% of respondents in 2020. The survey was commissioned by Avocado Green Brands and conducted by OnePoll.
NEW BIOPRODUCTS AND SCIENCE THAT BLOW US AWAY
We love nothing more than to be impressed by the remarkable scientific and engineering minds who have dedicated themselves to helping solve the planet’s packaging and plastic problems. Here, one award-winning team is building bioplastics that continue to remove CO2 from the environment. (Of course, all plant feedstocks remove CO2 from the atmosphere before they are harvested, but these apparently don’t stop.) We also found a team building “bottles” from edible algae, a group that is turning a species of invasive crabs into biodegradable bioplastics, new bioplastic and biodegradable food packaging cling films, PVC made from tree oils and a story about major bottlers that are embracing paper bottles.
Fast Company: This Biodegradable Bioplastic Sucks Carbon From The Air
Food Ingredients First: Bioplastics Compostable Cling Films Unveiled