PBPC Newsletter June 18, 2020
FIGHTING COVID-19 WITH COMPOSTING
This week, Jessica Bowman, PBPC’s Executive Director, and Frank Franciosi, Executive Director of the U.S. Composting Council, co-authored a blog post examining the composting process in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The blog post aims to address questions consumers may have about the safety of handling compost for gardens and landscapes. USCC and PBPC explain that it is unlikely that COVID-19 is transferable in commercial compost piles produced by following established EPA procedures).
Joint Blog Post: Compost Fighting COVID-19
PPE MADE FROM PLANT-BASED MATERIALS
While plastics have been hailed by many as indispensable in our fight against COVID-19, we know that plant-based products offer virtually the same hygiene and safety benefits as traditional plastics, while also being better for the earth. Now, two different personal protective equipment (PPE) makers are highlighting their sustainable, plant-based products. First, read about PPE face shields made of paper and cellulose, from A Plastic Planet, Reelbrands and Transcend Packaging. Second, learn about the new, biodegradable masks from the BioProducts Institute at the University of British Columbia.
Daily Mail: Plastic-Free Coronavirus Visor Can Be Composted In Your Garden
Mashable: Biodegradable COVID-19 Face Masks
Rocky Mountain Goat: Researcher With McBride Ties Helps Design Biodegradable Mask
FAST FASHION: PBPC WEBINAR
PBPC recently co-sponsored a webinar with the Environmental Law Institute, “Innovative Solutions to Fast Fashion Challenges.” Jessica Bowman, PBPC’s Executive Director, presented on the webinar, sharing some of the opportunities plant-based products provide to incorporate more renewable materials in the fashion industry. Other speakers included a sustainability consultant to the World Bank, a best-selling author on style and fashion, and Associate Director of the Fashion Law Institute at Fordham Law School. If you missed it, you can watch it below.
PBPC Website: Innovative Solutions to Fast Fashion Challenges
PLASTIC POLLUTION IN OUR AIR, WATER & NAT’L PARKS
A ton of new stories are out about the omnipresence of plastic in our environment. As depressing and sometimes scary as they are, only by understanding the damage are we likely to be able to create change.
Washington Post: From National Parks To The Deep Sea, Plastic Pollution Is Showing Up Wherever Scientists Look
New York Times: Where’s Airborne Plastic? Everywhere, Scientists Find.
The Hill: More Than 1,000 Tons Of Plastic Is Deposited In Western Protected Areas Annually, Study Finds
Science Magazine: Plastic Dust Is Blowing Into U.S. National Parks—More Than 1000 Tons Each Year
Wired: Plastic Rain Is The New Acid Rain
Science Daily: Plastic In The Deep Sea: Virtually Unaltered After A Quarter Of A Century
TWO INCREDIBLE SURVEYS FOCUS ON OUR CAUSE
The awful environmental news above is likely driving these numbers. In the first poll, nearly 50% of Americans say they would never purchase from a company “if they learned they weren’t being as sustainable as possible” and 80% believe in the next ten years, “Every product on the shelves should be 100 percent sustainable.” The second poll is global research by Trivium Packaging, covering 15,000 respondents on three continents, 74% of whom say they would pay more for sustainable packaging.
PBPC MEMBER NEWS
BioPak’s CFO spoke recently about the importance of the circular economy; and Green Dot Bioplastics earned a top spot in the Extreme Tech Challenge, the world’s largest start-up contest addressing global challenges. Meanwhile Cargill, ADM and Roquette all released their 2019 sustainability reports, noting progress across a number of goals and establishing new pledges.
COMPOSTABLE COFFEE PODS LIFECYCLE ASSESSMENT
A new study is out examining the sustainability of compostable coffee pods, and it has some great news for producers. By comparing the sustainability of compostable coffee pods with that of recyclable pods, this study takes a hard look at the potential for environmentally friendly disposal of plant-based, compostable materials. We’re sure that Club Coffee, a PBPC member and manufacturer of compostable coffee pods, was glad to see this one!
CORPORATE PLEDGES & ADVANCEMENTS
Meanwhile, 50 companies signed an Ellen MacArthur Foundation pact on the circular economy, including PBPC members Novamont and PepsiCo. Ikea, the world’s largest furniture retailer, also partnered with our friends at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to improve circularity, working to become fully circular by 2030. Häagen-Dazs has removed its single-use plastic spoon from many products, saving around 126 tons of plastic, and pledges to produce 100% recyclable packaging by 2022. Check out Lenovo and Adidas’ work to incorporate recycled plastics, too.
Ellen MacArthur Foundation: Statement and Signatories
Edie: Ikea Launches Partnership With Ellen Macarthur Foundation
Talking Retail: Häagen-Dazs Launches Sustainability Drive
Pickr: Lenovo Recycles Plastic Bottles Into Enviro-Backpack
Adidas: Adidas And All Blacks Release Shoe Made with Ocean Plastic
Yahoo Finance examines how the twin surprises of lower crude prices and falling plastics prices are hitting the oil & gas sector, and the Financial Times adds its analysis on the demand side.
Yahoo! Finance: A Perfect Storm For Petrochemicals
Financial Times: Plastic Demand To Tumble Despite Its Importance In Covid-19 Battle
SCIENCE & FEEDSTOCK NEWS
Every day, scientists and innovators are cooking up new ways to turn renewable feedstocks into materials and products for consumers and businesses alike. This week, we take a look at cellulose four times stronger than steel, plastic bottles made from sugarcane, renewable waste residues and oils being used to create durable consumer goods, and more exciting new developments in the plant-based space.
Asian Scientist Magazine: Scientists Develop Cellulose-Based Plastic Substitute
Ars Technica: How To Make Plastic Bottles From Sugarcane And Captured CO₂
Forbes: A Conversation With Zymergen CEO Josh Hoffman
Bio Market Insights: High Performance Plastic from Sustainable Sources
ABC News: Safflower Oil Hailed As Replacement For Petroleum
Forbes: Genecis Transforms Wasted Food Into Biodegradable Products
Cause Artist: Milk Waste Into Fiber For Sustainable Clothing
Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory: Making Crops Carbon Negative
DUTCH LEAD WAY & OTHER NATION’S SUSTAINABILITY EFFORTS
New research by Circle Economy finds the Dutch economy is nearly one-quarter circular, while the rest of the world averages just 8.6 percent circular. The report identifies four sectors that can offer major circular improvements: construction, agriculture, energy, and manufacturing. Meanwhile, Israel has unveiled a “Green Deal” that, among other things, aims to create a more circular economy.
Fibre2Fashion: The Dutch Economy Is 24.5% Circular
Circle Economy: Full Report
Times Of Israel: Minister Unveils ‘Green Deal’
CHEMICAL RECYCLING OF PLASTICS – THE DEBATE
Plant-based products are growing in market share, but petroleum-based plastics will always be with us, so they need their own circular economy. Chemical recycling has been touted as one potential answer, but it sits at the center of a heated debate. As advocates for the circular economy, we’re keeping a close eye on these different perspectives.
Plastics News: Study: Chemical Recycling ‘Not The Answer’ To Plastic Waste
European Plastic Product Manager: Chemical Recycling Needs Faster Recognition And Legislation Review To Unlock Potential
Waste 360: Chemical Recycling Process Backed By City Of San José
Forbes: Chemical Recycling Won’t Solve The Plastic Crisis
NEW WORM NEWS
Finally, the update you’ve been waiting for – advances on the worms-that-eat-plastic front. Scientists have discovered a new larvae commonly sold at pet stores that may be the plastic-eating champion – beating out many of the others we’ve covered in these pages. This beetle larvae consumes eight times more polystyrene plastic than others and after three weeks consumed 70% of the polystyrene plastic given to them.