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PBPC Newsletter November 5, 2019


PBPC Newsletter

November 5, 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.

PBPC RESPONDS TO WHITE HOUSE BIOECONOMY RFI

In September, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) issued a request for information from interested parties on the U.S. Bioeconomy. The RFI’s intent was to inform notable gaps, vulnerabilities, and areas to promote and protect in the U.S. Bioeconomy that may benefit from Federal government attention.

Understanding that that the principles of Circular Economy and Bioeconomy are inextricably linked, we at the Plant Based Products Council seized the opportunity to provide input on this important topic, highlighting a number of opportunities for the Federal government to expand the U.S. Bioeconomy and supporting infrastructure. We believe that the embrace of these concepts will reinforce a values-based ecosystem that expands and reinforces the U.S. Bioeconomy’s potential to pioneer new technologies and create new markets that will transform the U.S. into the global leader of the 21st Century Green Economy. Click the link below to read our full submission.

PBPC RESPONSE: OSTP BIOECONOMY RFI

 

THE LATEST FROM OUR ACCOUNTABILITY BLOG – GREENPEACE

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

Recently, The Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the UN Environment Programme published the first annual New Plastics Economy Global Commitment progress report at the Our Ocean Conference in Oslo. The report provides an unprecedented level of transparency on how almost 200 businesses and governments are reshaping the plastics system. Highlights from the report include virgin plastic use reduction announcements by (PBPC member) PepsiCo, Unilever, and Mars, Incorporated, a call for more businesses and governments to sign the commitment and continue to raise the ambition level, and more.

PBPC is proudly a signatory of the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment and continues to seek out pathways for the advancement of the circular economy.

RECYCLING PLAN ENDORSED BY OUR FRIENDS AT MACARTHUR

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a thought leader and important organizer in the push for a new plastics economy, endorsed a plan by the Recycling Partnership. The groups share PBPC’s goals of addressing systemic issues in the U.S. recycling system and catalyzing the transition toward a circular economy for packaging. Called the “The Bridge to Circularity,” the roadmap offers no single solution to a circular economy, instead calling for a set of concrete actions based on three distinct issues currently undermining the U.S. recycling industry.

The Recycling Partnership: First-Ever U.S. Circular Economy Roadmap

 

AN IMPORTANT STEP TOWARD SAVING THE OCEANS

Waste Management Inc., the nation’s largest trash hauler has announced it will no longer ship plastic waste overseas. Greenpeace confirmed the policy change. Waste Management joins a growing movement among the nation’s trash collectors to address the plastic waste problem here at home, in an attempt to reduce the amount of waste routed to our oceans.

 

PROMOTING COMPETITION AND SCIENCE IN THE BIOECONOMY

In a scene ripped from the TV show Shark Tank, McDonald’s and Starbucks hosted sustainable packaging businesses as they pitched their products for an eco-friendly alternative to disposable coffee cups that can also be mass produced.  The event was part of a broader partnership with Closed Loop Partners, which pursues sustainable investments.

 

STEPS FORWARD IN THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY FOR PLASTICS

Two pieces of good news about the chemical recycling of plastics. In the first, researchers in Sweden were able to recover 100% of carbon from plastic waste by steam cracking. This method uses steam and heat to break down organic molecules into their hydrocarbon components. Once in gas form, the carbon can be recovered to create virgin plastic again. In the second story, a laboratory in France takes PET plastic waste and mixes it with water and enzymes, then heats and stirs. Soon, the enzymes decompose until they can then be separated, purified, and used to make new plastic that’s identical to virgin material.

 

CONCERNS OVER THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY FOR PLASTICS

We strongly support the circular economy advancements in the articles above. But, challenges remain. Says the Association of Plastics Recyclers, “The biggest issue is that our collection infrastructure is based on 1970s and 1980s technology. Our infrastructure is woefully lacking and woefully behind the packaging stream that we have today. Plastic recyclers operate at about 60% capacity today. We can recycle a lot more material. We can’t get it. We can recycle anything if it’s collected and sorted properly.” PBPC agrees. The following stories also site the fact that demand is outstripping supply and inputs for chemical recycling processes noted above are expensive.

 

COMPANIES EARNING RECOGNTION FOR SUSTAINABILITY COMMITMENTS

What do Jay-Z, Fiji Water, Clorox, DuPont and Dove soap all have in common? Last week, they got recognition for their commitments to sustainability. Jay-Z’s VC is now backing a cellphone case maker utilizing plant feedstocks, and DuPont Biomaterials is launching a biobased fabric for active wear. Active wear has traditionally been made from petroleum-based inputs.

 

PRODUCT ADVANCEMENTS

Ever since Henry Ford became obsessed with soy as a car-manufacturing ingredient – Mr. Ford built a car with soy plastics in 1941 – the soybean has had a quirky link to the auto industry. Now, Goodyear Tire & Rubber plans to replace petroleum-derived processing oils with soybean oil in its tires. Meanwhile MIT teams are addressing plastic waste issues and winning multiple awards for their efforts in creating new materials.



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