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PBPC Newsletter November 21, 2019


PBPC Newsletter

November 21, 2019

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.

JOIN US AS WE WELCOME PBPC’S NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Jessica Bowman recently joined PBPC as the leader of the organization, responsible for all facets of management and policy. We’re extraordinarily pleased to have someone with her trade association experience, policy credentials and science background as PBPC approaches our second year.

THINKING ABOUT THANKSGIVING 

Recently, Greenpeace released a report on corporations and plastics pollution and specifically addressed the use of bioplastics. While some of their discussion had merit, we believe their coverage of bioplastics fell short. We took out our red pen and went to work on our Accountability Blog to correct the record and add context to a number of their contentions.

PBPC Accountability Blog: Greenpeace Report Mark-up

FIRST ANNUAL NEW PLASTICS ECONOMY GLOBAL COMMITMENT PROGRESS REPORT PUBLISHED

Food, football, warm fires…what’s not to love about Thanksgiving? Not much, if you ask us! This year, as you celebrate family, friends, and turkey, we at PBPC ask that everyone give a moment’s thought to their plastic use, as well as where their food waste is going.

 

Every year, the average American produces roughly 239 pounds of food waste. That’s a lot of turkey! While we are a long way from eliminating food waste, we can help right now by being mindful of where our food waste goes. Consider your options for composting those unwanted leftovers, in addition to any compostable packaging or service ware, in order to keep it out of landfills and instead, contribute to the circular bioeconomy. Happy Thanksgiving!

TECHNICAL ADVANCEMENTS IN THE BIOECONOMY

Every day, hundreds of scientists around the world are working to build better, more sustainable products for the bioeconomy. In the following reports, researchers are improving upon environmentally friendly bioplastic by creating materials that more closely mimic the positive mechanical aspects of petroleum-based plastic, including its transparency and tensile strength. Meanwhile, researchers at the Department of Energy have created an absorbent material to improve efficiencies in bioproduct creation and extraction, which improves yields and helps generate a bioproduct of greater purity.

CONCERNS OVER BURNING PLASTIC

While this frightening New York Times story on the perils and health hazards of burning plastic begins in Indonesia, plastic incineration happens around the world, including here in the United States. We believe burning plastic is among the worst possible outcomes for our waste. Instead, these materials should be reused or recycled as a part of the circular economy.

INNOVATION IN THE BATTLE TO COLLECT PLASTIC POLLUTION

While ships crisscross the Great Pacific Garbage Patch to collect waste, other scientists are seeking solutions closer to shore. Now, a trash barrier has been installed in Amsterdam’s canals. Rivers and canals are a major source of ocean pollution, by some measures accounting for two-thirds of plastics. The Great Bubble Barrier in Amsterdam diverts waste – especially small pieces of plastic – to the side of a canal where it can be removed, collecting more than 80% of floating garbage.

THE PERILS OF OCEAN PLASTICS

When plastics are not collected at the mouth of canals and rivers, they end up in places like the islands of Hawaii and Midway Atoll. These were once a gorgeously-pristine natural environments and hosts to a thriving population of birds. No longer. The Associated Press writes that today, “Midway is littered with bird skeletons that have brightly colored plastic protruding from their decomposing bellies.”

HOW COMMERCIAL COMPOSTING WORKS

Effective industrial composting is an essential step to ensuring that bioplastics are disposed of properly and returned to the soil to create healthy compost. Meanwhile organic waste continues to dominate the average American landfill, making up 55% of the waste stream. That means effective and efficient commercial (or “industrial”) composting is an essential element to building a better circular bioecomony. In the following article, Earth911 explains the basics of composting.

THE PUSH FOR COMPOST LABELING

Trade publication Packaging Digest suggests that Americans needs better instructions on what is compostable, while end-of-life collection companies that sort materials need better labels to ensure they are categorizing materials properly. Two bills at the state level, one passed in Washington, and a second considered in California, aim to tackle these issues.

IMPROVING THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY FOR PLASTICS

We recognize there will always be some market demand for petroleum-based plastics. And whether the circular economy is funded by a tax in California or not, we must improve the lifecycle of plastics – ensuring they find value. The following stories offer examples of these efforts, from collection to recycling, and we applaud the programs working to ensure less plastic waste reaches our environment.

HAS YOUR COMPANY MADE THIS LIST?

We love to sing the praises of corporations who are making strides in sustainability. Do you know someone with a big announcement coming up? Make sure we hear about it, so we can offer our congratulations and support. For this issue, we want to tip our cap to Gap, McDonalds, Danimer Scientific, Genpak, Hyatt, Loop and L’OCCITANE.

ADVANCEMENTS IN SUSTAINABLE PACKAGING

Normally, we focus exclusively on plant-based feedstocks and we have plenty of those for you in the links below, including cassava, algae and mushrooms. But we couldn’t resist highlight this compostable plastic substitute made from fish waste. The impressive and creative innovation won an award from the James Dyson Foundation.



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