Monday 16 May 2016

Lunch at Capitol Hill with Plastics as the Honored Guest

A United States Senate office building was the site of an unlikely lunch gathering late last month, as lobbyists, union reps, lawmakers and corporate officials gathered on April 27th to announce the merger of an unexpected team, the Chemical Industry Labor-Management Committee.

This merger links the chemical industry to NABTU, the North America’s Building Trades Union and the ACC, the American Chemistry Council. The goal of this powerful group of dominant sectors is to collaborate and develop solutions that effect both sectors. Areas of interests to be addressed include, work-place safety mandates, regulatory issues, the delivery of quality insight to the public and government authorities on fracking and environmental issues.

The collaboration on the Hill brought discussion of plastics to the floor with interests on each side of the spectrum. Key players in the topic of discussion include the involvement of the construction sector with an extraordinary group of plastic products ranging from sidings, windows, insulation and pipes as well as, liquid natural gas being brought to the table as an area of interest, as it is an explosive motivator in the $164 billion investment that has been poured into the chemical industry at this point.

An invite to Capitol Hill was clearly well-structured and perhaps a bit overdue, as the plastic industry should have had a seat at the table long ago. Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas), said it best when he stated, “plastics make it possible.” These words uttered from the mouth of the man who represents The Texas 36th, which happens to have the highest number of chemical plants and refineries in the country. Add that to the motion of Bill Pascrell (D-New Jersey), to initiate a 15-cent per pound tax break for bio-based producers of plastics and most would agree that plastics has finally taken the floor at Capitol Hill.

Founding members of the collaborative team also include Calgon Carbon Corp., the Laborers’ International Union of North America, Albemarle Corp., the United association Union of Plumbers, Fitters, Welders and Service Techs and the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers.

Wednesday 23 September 2015

Plastic Waste in Our Oceans

Plastic Waste in Our Oceans

Everyone knows that plastic waste in our oceans is a problem – but do you really know just how bad that problem is? A widely reported study published in the Journal Science in early 2015 found that in 2010, eight million tons of plastic trash ended up in the ocean from coastal countries – that’s about five plastic bags per foot of coastline. Even worse, if current trends continue, by 2025 it will be ten plastic bags per foot of coastline, with 15.5 million tons of plastic trash entering our oceans annually.

Ocean plastic has already turned up literally everywhere. It has been found in the deep, deep sea and buried in Arctic ice. It has been ingested (with dire consequences) by at least 700 species of marine wildlife. In coral reefs, plastic bags easily wrap around coral heads, quickly “suffocating” and killing them. Fish and birds also quickly get trapped in plastic waste like the rings that hold cans together in a six-pack, and eventually die of starvation. According to the Los Angeles Times, about 200,000 of the 500,000 albatross chicks born each year on Midway Atoll, a wildlife refuge in the Pacific Ocean off Hawaii, die of starvation because their parents mistake plastic trash for food and end up feeding it to their chicks.

The problem isn’t going away anytime soon. According to the Research Triangle Institute, since water keeps the plastic cool and algae blocks ultraviolet rays, "every little piece of plastic manufactured in the past 50 years that made it into the ocean is still out there somewhere."

Clearly, the world is not going to stop producing plastics – the use of plastic in consumer products has become increasingly dominant, and production has steadily risen since the material was first put into wide use a half century ago. For example, in 2012, 288 million tons of plastic were manufactured globally.

So how do we save our seas? Better litter collection and systems to save plastic from entering the ocean in the first place could help, but would likely only make a dent in the problem. Changing the formulation of the plastics we manufacture to make them easily and quickly biodegradable is a much better solution, and it’s possible to do – in fact, EcoPoly Solutions Inc. has been a leader in biodegradation technology for years. EcoPoly Solutions Inc. already has an additive that makes plastic biodegradable when it’s added during the manufacturing process. This can also be customized for agricultural products to degrade for any designated timeframe.

Technology gave us this problem, and technology is what’s needed to solve it. However you look at it, making plastic products biodegradable should be priority #1 if we want to save our oceans (and our planet!) from choking to death on plastic waste.

Tuesday 16 June 2015

Plastic, Paper or Cotton: Which Bag is Better for the Environment?

The answer to the question is simple if you believe in science. The bag that is best for the environment would have the least negative impact upon the environment. A scientific assessment was completed by Environment Agency called a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). LCA is a standard method for comparing the environmental impacts of providing, using and disposing of a product or providing a service throughout its life cycle (ISO 2006). In other words, LCA identifies the material and energy usage, emissions and waste flows of a product, process or service over its entire life cycle to determine its environmental performance. The conventional HDPE bag had the lowest environmental impacts of the lightweight bags in eight of the nine impact categories. The bag performed well because it was the lightest bag considered. The lifecycle impact of the bag was dictated by raw material extraction and bag production, with the use of Chinese grid electricity significantly affecting the acidification and eco-toxicity of the bag. That’s right! The conventional High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) “plastic" bag had the least impact on the environment of all the bags considered in the study. But that's only considering using each type of bag only. For many eco-friendly people, the whole point is to reuse other types of bags to avoid the perceived environmental hazards posed by the conventional plastic bag. Fortunately, the study revealed how many times the alternatives to the conventional plastic bag would have to be reused to overcome their own negative impacts to the environment:
Here, we find that if a consumer only uses a conventional HDPE plastic bag once (example… to carry their groceries home before throwing the bag away), a paper bag would have to be reused 3 times, a heavy-duty plastic bag made from Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE) would have to be used 4 times, a plastic "bag-for-life" made of non-woven Polypropylene (PP) would have to be used 11 times, and a cotton (or canvas) bag would need to be re-used 131 times!!! The study reports that a canvas bag is expected to last for 52 trips. With that as a reference, a cotton/cloth canvas bag user does over twice the damage to the environment that a plastic bag using grocery shopper who throws away every plastic bag they get immediately after each shopping trip, as they will likely have to replace their more environmentally-destructive bag at least once long before they reach 131 uses! However, if a consumer reuses 100% of their conventional HDPE plastic bags (say as trash bags), the number of uses needed for the other bags to have a lesser environmental impact than the conventional HDPE plastic bag rises even more, which we see in the table above. For example, that re-usable canvas bag would need to be used at least 327 times to be less damaging to the environment! Wow! Uneducated or stubborn eco-friendly canvas bag users are over six times as destructive to the environment as the conventional consumers who simply re-use all of the plastic bags they get receive from the grocery store just one time. In Closing… Oxo-biodegradable bags have no significant difference (any differences were well under 1%) in environmental impact; due to similarity in functionality, weight, material content and production energy. However, in the case of litter, a comparison between a conventional HDPE bag and an oxo-biodegradable bag, the oxo-biodegradable bag is 75% better for the environment. If only those anti-plastic bag advocates cared more about the environment, perhaps they would do more research instead of making comments and claims based on emotion.... Reference Edwards, Chris and Fry, Jonna Meyhoff. Life Cycle Assessment of Supermarket Carrier Bags. Report SC030148.Environment Agency. A Life Cycle Assessment of Oxo-biodegradable, Compostable and Conventional Bags By Chris Edwards and Gary Parker. May 2012

Thursday 9 April 2015

A recent case was won for the Biodegradable Industry as a whole.

ECM BioFilms, Inc.d/b/a Enviroplastics International (“ECM”) was served a moral victory by Chief Administrative Law Judge D. Michael Chappell when the judge admonished his own administration for failing to prove that the term “biodegradable” meant that a product must be completely broken down within a year.  However, the company appealed the ruling to further exonerate their own claims before the full Federal Trade Commission as the plastics industry waits for answers.

In January of this year the case between ECM Plastics and the FTC was adjudicated by Chief Administrative Law Judge D. Michael Chappell of the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) over the claim made by ECM that their products were biodegradable in a landfill within five years.  The Judge handed down a mixed ruling citing that ECM had not substantiated that claim, but also that the FTC “Green Guides” had failed to prove their position based off of their definition that biodegradable meant that a product must be fully and completely biodegradable within a year. While the judge barred ECM from making any such claims regarding the time frame unless they are first substantiated with overwhelming evidence, he also held that the FTC failed to prove that the term “biodegradable” means that a product must be fully and completely biodegradable into the elements within a year.  ECM sufficiently proved before the court that the term “biodegradable” to consumers does not infer any particular period of time, as the FTC's Counsel attempted to assert, simply that it means the product had the capacity over time to decay and be rehabilitated into the elements.

What does this mean for companies who are creating biodegradable plastics? They are able to claim that their product will biodegrade as long as the company refrains from using time constraints that are not fully substantiated or has overwhelming scientific evidence to present regarding the period with which they claim a product will be completely degraded.

ECM's February appeal is surprising considering that they clearly had much of the decisions language in their favor when the judge questioned the FTC's own guidance on the use of the term “biodegradable”.  For other companies in the industry, (including the leader in biodegradable technology, EcoPoly Solutions) they are willing to take what they can get and see this as a step in the right direction.

“This is a huge case within our industry,” says a spokesperson for EcoPoly Solutions. “Watching the FTC get a slap on the wrist from their own judges was beyond surprising but more than that it really represented the future of how we are allowed to communicate with consumers.  I think that the judge recognized the evidence in our favor [biodegradable plastics industry] and made an educated and reasonable decision.”

Friday 2 January 2015

Farmers Making Better Environmental Decisions in 2015

Farmers Making Better Environmental Decisions in 2015

New Farmers are being introduced to DegriFilm daily. DegriFilm is a product that revolutionizes the way farmers harvest their crops. Unlike traditional methods such as laying down conventional plastics that must be removed eventually from the top soil, this biodegradable film reduces the impact on the environment and reduces the cost to farmers of having it removed.

Farmers are at the front lines of the environmental battle. From the pesticides they use, to the way they dispose of runoff water, Farmers are the target of both governmental and public scorn. But with so few products to choose from, farmers often don’t know where to turn to for assistance in finding environmentally friendly farming tools. Fortunately, DegriFilm from EcoPoly is the perfect tool for preventing damage to crops and the soil while at the same time delivering the nutrients that the ground needs.

How it Works

EcoPoly has created their DegriFilm in a manner that is fully customized for farmers to utilize. Regardless of your needs, EcoPoly is here to help farmers get the coverage they need without harming the environment. Just like other mulch films, DegriFilm does its job well, the only difference is that it is completely degradable.

By utilizing the power of technology, DegriFilm helps farmers achieve the results they are after without risking harm to the environment or losing out on a healthy crop. This one-time use mulch film is fully customized and the perfect way to take farming into the future. Consider DegriFilm for your business and discover how well it works for yourself! Make 2015 your year to save money and help the environment. 

Thursday 30 October 2014

Farmers Save Money without Sacrificing Quality with Innovative Solutions

Farmers Save Money without Sacrificing Quality with Innovative Solutions

The American agricultural business is one of the largest industries in the country, and through the years farmers have experienced their fair share of market changes. Everything from the rising costs of products to every-changing political regulations has put pressure on farmers to find cost-cutting solutions that actually work. Of course, identifying these challenges is paramount to finding a solution.

Agricultural Challenges

In addition to the previously mentioned challenges, farmers also must deal with environmental battles as well. While pesticides and technology drive many farming methods helping them to produce more crops, they can also harm the environment. Combined this with the cost of labor and elimination of mulch film disposal, and the pressure on farmers becomes abundantly clear.
A farmers produce is only as good as the cultivation methods and products he uses, and with better crops costing more to produce many farmers are left grasping at straws in order to save money. Obviously, these challenges add up to severe costs that are not easily negated. But there is a way for farmers to save money without sacrificing the quality of their crops.

The Solution

One of the easiest ways to save money, reduce your impact on the environment, and retain the quality of your crops is to use DegriFilm. DegriFilm helps farmers save money on both labor and on disposal costs through customizable solutions that fit their needs. DegriFilm is biodegradable and while it provides the same benefits of standard mulch cover, it goes a step further by completely breaking down and becoming part of the soil as an organic matter instead of requiring physical removal. 

Additionally, DegriFilm allows farmers to relax knowing that no burning or land-filling will be necessary.

Navigating through the agricultural business is no easy task, but it just got a lot easier with DegriFilm. 

Tuesday 8 July 2014

EcoPoly Solutions Inc. Announces their New Global Director of Sales

Media Contact: Kristan Dunkin

Ontario-based EcoPoly Solutions has announced Stephen T. Hofmann as it’s
new Global Director of Sales.

EcoPoly Solutions announces new Global Director of Sales

Ontario, Canada, July 1, 2014 – Today, EcoPoly Solutions Inc. officially announced the appointment of a new Global Director of Sales. Stephen T. Hofmann will be responsible for organizing and leading EcoPoly Solution’s global sales team.
Furthermore, in his new position as Global Director of Sales, Stephen T. Hofmann will be responsible for expansion of sales for EcoPoly’s DegriFilm and OxoElite additive on a global platform, as well as growing the global sales team, and strategy formation for sales operation.  In addition, Hofmann will handle international trade, USDA programs, UN agriculture initiatives, and overall government relations. 

“Stephen T. Hofmann has an exemplary work record. Stephen combines a sharp business acumen with an excellent technical mind,” said Derek Rynard, Chief Executive Officer of EcoPoly Solutions Inc. “We know he will be a great contributor and we look forward to welcoming him to EcoPoly Solutions as our new Global Director of Sales.”

Stephen Hofmann brings with him 20 years of experience in driving sales and global expansion. Hofmann’s work includes direct sales of sustainable products and business consulting in the fields of biodegradable plastics, helping to expand customer sales and growth. In addition, Hofmann spent 15 years as congressional and state legislative staff working on key agriculture programs.  Hofmann has a proven track record in the plastics industry and is the former president of the Oxo-biodegradable Plastic Alliance, an international association of sustainable plastic manufacturers and suppliers.  He has gained an excellent reputation for building relationships and maximizing the talents of the teams that he works with including some of the world’s largest companies. Further, Hofmann has also earned himself a reputation as being one of the top Washington, D.C. trade negotiators for international business and has a completely fresh perspective on growth for the company. 

About EcoPoly Solutions

EcoPoly Solutions is the only company globally to develop, manufacture and distribute biodegradable products. EcoPoly’s state of the art lab and manufacturing facility provides the tools necessary to customize biodegradable products, manufacture the customized products, distribute the products and provide ongoing product enhancement and testing services all under one roof. A full circle and complete relationship for helping businesses become more sustainable. EcoPoly is most recently known for closing the environmental loop for farmers by offering a biodegradable mulch film, DegriFilm. EcoPoly Solutions Inc. also understand the importance and obligation to provide this alternative and affordable solution to the plastic industries waste problems and accept the role with the integrity and respect it deserves.