Plastics Technology

JUL 2018

Plastics Technology - Dedicated to improving Plastics Processing.

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poorly managed municipal solid waste on land, with about 50% coming from growing economies that do not have systems in place to collect and manage the waste. There are many companies partnering with governments and nonprofits to prevent waste from reaching the ocean. One big initiative looking to tackle plastic debris specifically from Southeast Asia is Closed Loop Ocean, of which ACC is a partner. Closed Loop Ocean, an initiative of Closed Loop Partners, N.Y.C. (closedlooppartners.com), in partnership with Ocean Conservancy of Washington, D.C. (oceanconservancy.org), is designed to fund waste infrastructure solutions in Southeast Asia, with a focus on invest- ments to improve collection, sorting and recycling markets, particularly across the plastics value chain. At the Our Ocean 2017 conference, Ocean Conservancy and its partners— including the Trash Free Seas Alliance, Closed Loop Partners, ACC, PepsiCo (Purchase, N.Y.), 3M (Maplewood, Minn.), Procter & Gamble (Cincinnati), and the World Plastics Council—announced an initiative to raise more than $150 million for a new funding mechanism to prevent plastic waste from leaking in to the ocean. "It's an exciting time in this space, as there is a lot of interest and motivation to do something," Russell says. "Folks are looking to address this urgent need." And there is plenty of movement happening in this area— most particularly, efforts that seek to extract value from the waste plastic. You might have seen the terms "ocean-bound plastic" or "recycled beach plastic," which are general terms to describe the processes to make a new product out of plastic that was captured before it reached the ocean. It's not just a feel-good initiative—though there is that component—or a question of impressive technological break- throughs, which have indeed been achieved; these companies are also seizing a business opportunity on the sustainability front. The concept is proven but the demand needs to follow for this to become a sustainable business. CAPTURING OCEAN-BOUND PLASTIC In 2011, Method, a San Francisco cleaning-products maker, joined forces with HDPE recycler Envision Plastics, Atlanta (envisionplastics.com; oceanboundplastics.com), to produce pro- totype bottles out of a novel and new plastic material, ocean PCR (post-consumer recycle). A year later, Method launched its liquid-soap bottles made from 100% post-consumer HDPE, 10% of which was collected from the beaches of Hawaii. The package captured the imagination of the world. Sandra Lewis, director of business development with Envision Plastics, says the company received all kinds of outreach from people wanting to produce their own ocean-plastic product. "How sad is it that everyone is so excited and wanting to participate, and I had to keep telling them no, over and over again," she says. But while the Method package was a proof of concept that the material from the beach could be repurposed into a package, there's a host of obstacles that come with it. The Method process was limited by collection, processing and degradation issues from the plastic that was gathered on the beach itself. In addition, because of the different types of plastic mixed together, ocean plastic is a gray resin, which can be limiting in the packaging market that often seeks colors. It seemed like this might be a one-off project for Envision. But then Envision consid- ered a study by the University of Georgia that researched how much mismanaged plastic waste is making its way from land to the ocean. The study found between 4.8 and 12.7 million metric tons (10.6 to 28 billion lb) of plastic entered the ocean in 2010 from people living within about 31 miles of the coast- line. In addition, it emerged that the mismanaged waste and solid- waste disposal was the biggest contributor. For instance, developing nations like Haiti don't have trash disposal. So, any plastic disposed of within 30 miles or so of the coastline will probably end up in the ocean. "It's an exciting time in this space, as there is a lot of interest and moti- vation to do some- thing. Folks are looking to address this urgent need." @plastechmag 29 Plastics Technology The world's first bottle using Envision's proprietary OceanBound Plastic at 100% content. The container sports a silver metallic, pearlescent- effect finish made possible with compounding expertise by Techmer PM. Trash as Value

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