PBPC Newsletter July 1, 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.
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JOIN US FOR SUSTAINABLE PACKAGING DISCUSSIONS
This Thursday (July 2) Jessica Bowman, PBPC’s Executive Director, will be participating in a sustainable packaging symposium, hosted by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE). Jessica is scheduled to appear twice, first speaking about plant-based packaging opportunities and challenges at 1 PM, and then later appearing on a panel about novel packaging solutions, at 3:20 PM.
AlChE: Schedule And Sign-Up
PBPC BUSTS PLASTICS INDUSTRY MYTHS
A recent Bloomberg article took a look at the plastic industry’s positioning of itself as a hero in the fight against COVID-19. In the latest edition of our media advocacy blog series, we examine Bloomberg’s coverage and dispel the false choice offered by the legacy plastics industry. Check out our post to see why we don’t have to sacrifice sustainability for hygiene.
PBPC Accountability Blog: Plant-Based Plastics Should Be Part of the COVID-19 Fight
POLICY TAKES CENTER STAGE
In the past two weeks, we’ve seen a deluge of plastic and plant-based policy matters hit Washington — from legislation and hearings to activity concerning the EPA. Packaging Gateway examines recent House legislation to address plastic waste and recycling. Plastic News highlights the recent Senate hearing on recycling, and The Hill offers an op-ed that opposes the current focus on recycling. And three new members join the Biogenic CO2 Coalition’s efforts to ensure the EPA treats agricultural feedstocks fairly when it comes to carbon emissions.
Packaging Gateway: What Is the New US Plastic Waste Reduction And Recycling Act?
Plastics News: Legislation Would Boost Federal Plastics Recycling R&D
Plastics News: Senators Argue On Plastic Bans, But Note ‘Failure’ Of Recycling
The Hill (Op-Ed): The Insanity of Plastic Recycling
Biogenic CO2: Press Release
It has been an impressive couple of weeks for our members, who continue to earn awards, announce new sustainability measures, and develop new packaging solutions. Among the highlights: Green Dot Bioplastics earned recognition in the Extreme Tech Challenge and Tate and Lyle described their use of sustainable finance.
Green Dot Bioplastics: Featured As Part of the Extreme Tech Challenge
Cargill: Joins the Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping
Novamont: Developing Cellulose-Based Packaging
PepsiCo: 2019 Sustainability Report
Tate and Lyle: Highlights Its Use of Sustainable Finance
Twin Rivers Technologies: 2019 Sustainability Report and New Sustainability Website
RETURNING NUTRIENTS TO THE LAND
Recently, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation hosted an impressive three-day workshop on our food systems and how to ensure the return of organic nutrients to the soil, an issue near and dear to our hearts. Among other highlights, the discussion included the Nutrient Upcycling Alliance (NUA), which targets organic waste streams for transformation into fertilizers. In a similar vein, PHYS examines how agriculture, including the farming of feedstocks such as corn, soy, and sorghum, can be made carbon neutral while also increasing yield.
FRUITS & VEGETABLES ABSORB MICROPLASTICS DURING GROWTH
Apples, carrots, lettuce, broccoli, potatoes, and pears have all been found to contain microplastics, according to the BBC, which examines two related studies. Researchers believe microplastics are carried by rain and then absorbed through the roots of the plants, which is a frightful prospect.
BBC: Microplastics: Is There Plastic In Our Fruit And Veg?
WASH DISHES? NEVER AGAIN
One Japanese company is offering chopsticks and dishware that are completely edible – and even flavored. Options come in shrimp cracker, onion, purple sweet potato, and grilled corn flavors. This piece from Timeout examines many of the ways Japan is seeking to reduce its waste, including 7-Eleven selling rice balls wrapped in bioplastic paper.
Timeout: These Eco-Friendly Plates Are Edible
THIS IS ACTUALLY PRETTY IMPORTANT…
…But it defies an easy headline. Injection molding sounds boring, but it is a critical manufacturing process used to create nearly everything, from toys to packaging to coffee capsules. Now, two companies from two different continents are offering new, plant-based solutions for injection molding. The first, from Belgium, is not only made from renewable resources, but it’s certified to be compostable at home. The second is from NEC Corp of Japan, and its product, NeCycle, breaks down in the natural environment within four years.
Cellulose is one of the basic building blocks derived from plants and used to make the products we love. Now, researchers at South Dakota State University are making it even easier and more efficient to produce. The scientists at SDSU have found a more cost-effective method to break down agricultural and forestry waste products – “solubilizing cellulose” – so that it can be more easily extracted. Then, they created a biodegrable film with the new process.
News Wise: Making Biodegradable Plastics From Cellulose
COVID & PLASTICS: SAFETY, GOALS, BANS & WASTE
The coronavirus continues to drive news. Here’s the latest round-up. First, a study that makes clear reusable containers are not a threat. Next, The Wall Street Journal looks at how the virus impacted sustainability and recycling goals. After that, Germany steps up to the plate with a major plastic ban. And finally, Fast Company reports on the COVID-related waste already reaching our oceans.
Eco-Business: Reusable Containers Don’t Increase Risk of Virus Transmission, Say Scientists
VICE: Scientists: Reusable Containers Are Safe
The Wall Street Journal: How Coronavirus Complicated the Quest For A Greener Plastic
Associated Press: Germany Bans Single-Use Plastic Straws, Food Containers
Fast Company: Coronavirus Waste Is Filling Up Our Oceans