Plastics Technology

JUL 2018

Plastics Technology - Dedicated to improving Plastics Processing.

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Suddenly Envision had a "light-bulb moment." Says Lewis, "If we can go into communities and intercept plastic before it reaches the beach or shorelines, we can overcome all those obstacles that were preventing us from helping people who want to use ocean plastic. Getting it before means we don't have quality problems." Envision chose to go straight to at-risk areas around the world to recover the plastics before they enter the ocean. At-risk areas are defined as places where there's no formal waste system in place for a population living around 30 miles from the coastline. The key is to intercept the plastic before it reaches the beach or enters a waterway. The company partnered with those on the ground in the at-risk communities to gather HDPE packaging. Envision created a proprietary scorecard to qualify the on-the-ground partners. For example, the partners must abide by set environmental, safety, social and human-rights standards. Envision goes on-site to make sure they know how to properly sort the plastic and load it into containers. Haiti is one of the countries Envision is working with and there are about 9000 registered collectors who are paid to gather the HDPE material. This showcases that the ocean-bound plastic initia- tive benefits more than just the ocean, Lewis says. Envision also has a third-party auditor that goes in every country to verify that the collectors are complying with its standards. THE PROCESS Envision tracks the mate- rial all the way through and immediately inspects the bale when it is received, with no compromise on bale specifications that Envision requires for PCR material gathered from the U.S. Envision keeps the ocean-bound plastic separate from its domestic PCR supply to continue to trace it. After that, it is handled just like standard PCR reprocessing: After bale breaking and hand sorting to ensure there aren't contaminants, the material is ground into flake, which then passes through an exten- sive washing process. From there, the material is extruded, filtered and pelletized to eliminate all contaminants. The final step is putting the material through Envision's patented devolatilization process to remove odor and absorbed chemicals. The ocean-bound material comes out a very high quality and doesn't have an odor, Lewis says. The material even has a new name: OceanBound Plastic. "All the obstacles we had before—the bad quality, gray color—are eliminated with this process," Lewis says. One recent development for Envision is a bottle produced from 100% ocean-bound content, a reported world's first. The bottle is made entirely from Envision's OceanBound Plastic and features a silver metallic, pearlescent-effect finish. Envision collaborated with materials designer and colorant supplier Techmer PM, Clinton, Tenn. (techmerpm.com), and blow molder Classic Containers, Ontario, Calif. (classiccontainers.com), make such a product possible. Steve Loney, director of market development for Techmer PM, said that Primal Group, a brand that provides natural personal- care products, was launching a new product range and wanted the bottles to convey a message of sustainability by repurposing waste material. "They basically wanted to create a 100% ocean- bound plastic bottle," Loney says. "In the past, it hadn't been 100% ocean-bound, but we were able to overcome some challenges to produce this beautiful silver metallic bottle." Techmer PM faced several obstacles, as Primal Group wanted a specific color and reflective finish on the bottle, designed for their new plant-science-inspired personal-care range, ViTA. Typically, an extrusion grade of polyethylene would be needed in the masterbatch as a carrier for the colorant. "But that wasn't an option in this case because of wanting a truly 100% ocean-bound package," Loney says. "We made some design changes and manu- facturing changes for us to overcome it." The high-viscosity OceanBound Plastic supplied by Envision Plastics is a fractional-melt resin that makes it difficult to incorporate the colorant's metallic particles without shearing them and ruining the ultimate visual effect. Working with officials at Envision's Chino, Between 4.8 and 12.7 million metric tons of plastic entered the ocean in 2010 from people living within about 31 miles of the coastline. 30 JULY 2018 Plastics Technology PTonline.com In 2017, Dell launched the first laptop packaging trays with 25% recycled ocean-plastic content. Photo: Dell OCE AN PL A S TIC S

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