Solutions? Bio Plastics, Plastic Recycling, Circular Supply Chains, Using Less … great article by #LaurieParkerby gearedforgreen June 10, 2018 cardboard boxes circular supply chain decoating technology eco apparel eco brand marketing eco supply chain Exxon gearedforgreen packaging plastic plastic raw materials plastic recycling plastic resins Proctor & Gamble recycling social partnerships sustainable packaging sustainableshopping
IN A WORLD THAT CAN SEEM overwhelmed by potentially eternal plastic waste, are biodegradables the ultimate solution? Probably not. But it’s complicated. The industry is still debating what “biodegradable” actually means. And some plastics made of fossil fuels will biodegrade, while some plant-based “bioplastics” won’t.
Biodegradable plastics have been around since the late 1980s. They initially were marketed with the implied promise that they’d somehow disappear once they were disposed of, just as leaves on the forest floor are decomposed by fungi and soil microbes. It hasn’t quite worked out that way.
Biodegradables don’t live up to their promise, for example, in the dark, oxygen-free environment of a commercial landfill or in the cool waters of the ocean, if they should end up there. You can’t throw them in your backyard compost either. To break down, they require the 130-degree heat of an industrial composter. Many industrial composters accept only plastics that meet certain standards, ensuring they will leave no fragments behind that can harm the environment or human health. And if you throw some biodegradables in with recyclables, you might ruin the latter, creating a mix that can no longer be relied on to make durable new plastic. In 2015 the United Nations Environment Program wrote off biodegradables as an unrealistic solution that will neither reduce the amount of plastic flowing into the oceans nor prevent potential chemical or physical harm to marine life. It concluded that the label “biodegradable” may actually encourage littering.
Some engineers are looking for ways around these obstacles. Jenna Jambeck and her colleagues at the University of Georgia’s New Materials Institute are using polymers synthesized by microbes to make packaging they hope will compost readily and biodegrade in the ocean. Corn chip bags are their first target.
It’s a tall order. Even the best biodegradable product won’t magically disappear. A plastic container robust enough to carry a gallon of milk can’t decompose like paper. A flowerpot, one of Polymateria’s experimental products, could take up to two years to dissolve if tossed in a ditch, Dunne concedes. Biodegradables, some critics say, don’t address the fundamental problem: our throwaway culture.
“What is it that we are promoting?” asks Ramani Narayan, a Michigan State University chemical engineering professor. “Throw it away, and eventually it will go away?” The more responsible approach, he says, is a “circular economy” model, in which everything is reused or recycled and “any ‘leakage’ into the environment, whether biodegradable or not, is not acceptable.”
China is providing motivation. For nearly three decades it has bought about half the world’s recyclable plastic. But this year it called a halt to most scrap imports. Recyclables are now piling up in the countries that generated them. “We hope it will push towards more circular management.”
To learn more about this National Geographic article by #LaurieParker and GearedforGreen sustainability, recycling, raw material, circular supply chain services, please contact us at:
It’s an exciting time to be in the Plastics Recycling Equipment Business. For innovative equipment dealers and process developers, there’s more opportunity than ever…if you are willing to grow outside of the box.
Today’s plastics sustainability climate is ripe with innovation. Along with growing pressure from environmental organizations and within our plastics industry itself, there are mounting initiatives all across North America driving plastics recycling growth.
Eco supply chains are connecting Brands and Plastics Manufacturers with Waste Collectors, Plastic Recycling firms and Sustainable Raw Material suppliers, to create transparent connected Closed Loop supply chains. It isnt a passing fad. Circular Supply Chains are increasingly becoming the norm across our plastics industry and in many other industry sectors globally. Companies are working collaboratively across the supply chain to their own benefit but this collaboration is also driving growth, profitability, and innovation that benefits our entire plastics industry.
Eco supply chains are also creating significant opportunities for new and used equipment dealers that know where to find used equipment and have access and expertise in plastics recycling equipment, especially used recycling equipment. There is tremendous value having used plastic recycling equipment expetise!
Traditionally dealers buy and sell used plastic recycling equipment, and benefit on the profit margins they earn on (one time sales). The more one time sales they produce, the more annual revenue created.
Today dealers are also connecting in eco supply chains and leveraging their expertise and resources to create (ongoing long term revenue).
As example, an innovative growing plastic recycling firm developed proprietary technologies to recycle challenging “hard to recycle” plastic waste. They plan to scale their business to 100 million pounds annual plastic recycling. This innovation offers substantial growth opportunity! The innovative plastic recycling firm already owns and has the core equipment and technology in operation, however in order to scale to 100m, they need to add ancillary equipment over time such as grinders, shredders, metal separation, conveyors, wash tanks, silos, etc. This used equipment is out there and available in the market, often sitting idle or in inventory, and equipment dealers have the expertise to get it.
The challenge.. How does innovative plastic recycling firm add this ancillary equipment and at the same time manage their financial resources when they are starting out?
The answer.. Connecting in an eco supply chain whereby used equipment dealers provide the ancillary equipment “in partnership” with innovative plastic recycling firms and share the revenue of the business together.
This eco supply chain approach benefits everyone in the supply chain. Used equipment doesn’t sit idle waiting for a sale. Dealers leverage their expertise and resources for a piece of the action. Innovative plastics recycling firms gain access to much needed ancillary equipment without having to put up money. Equipment dealers earn ongoing revenue beyond the value of the used equipment. By connecting in an eco supply chain, equipment dealers and innovative plastic recycling firms (de-risk) together. Partners in an eco supply chain share revenue. Plastic recycling rates climb.
To learn more about how you can leverage your used equipment resources and expertise and develop long term revenue connecting in an eco supply chain, contact #GearedforGreen.
By Daniel Schrager, President at GearedforGreen 888-398 (GEAR) 4327 firstname.lastname@example.org, www.gearedforgreen.com
Eco supply chains
4. An example – How Circular Eco Supply Chains increase value and drive plastic recycling, innovation, and overall sustainability for the plastics industryby gearedforgreen March 20, 2018 ACC circular supply chain eco apparel Exxon gearedforgreen plastic raw materials plastic resins plastics Proctor & Gamble recycling social partnerships sustainable packaging
Plastic Manufacturer (Alpha) generates a difficult to recycle plastic scrap material, yet wants to increase Plastic Recycling & decrease Plastic Disposal. Why? Because they care about our environment and they care about their economic bottom line.
(Alpha) makes pet or polypropylene or some other grade of plastic sheet or film that’s challenging to recycle because it’s either heavily printed, colored, coated, or laminated with polyethylene or nylon or PVDC or some other surface contaminant.
Alpha wants to recycle their industrial plastic scrap however… because their scrap is challenging to recycle or reuse, the value of the scrap is low and/or there are limited, fluctuating, unreliable recycling markets.
(Alpha) connects in a gearedforgreen eco supply chain, which connects (Alpha) with Innovative Recycling & Technology Company (Bravo )and with a strong Plastic Manufacturer (Foxtrot) that purchases Recycled Grade Plastic Resins. All 3 companies are now connected together.
1st benefit of an eco supply chain is technology-innovation. Utilizing patented proprietary plastic decoating technologies, (Bravo) is able to remove all the surface coatings off the plastic sheet and films, including laminates, heavy inks, coatings, etc., bringing the plastic scrap back to its original virgin clear or white quality without causing any heat history or degradation, providing a cost effective way to transform this plastic scrap from “challenging to recycle plastic scrap” to “reliable high quality plastic resin”.
2nd benefit of an eco supply chain is connected transparency for recycle grade plastic scrap. For many major brands…making their plastic products and packaging more sustainable is a top priority and increasing their use of recycled sustainable plastic raw materials and reducing their dependence on virgin plastic raw materials made from natural gas and petroleum is a very important part. (Foxtrot) switches from virgin to sustainable recycled raw material by connecting in our gearedforgreen eco supply chain to ensure a consistent reliable repeatable quality, ongoing raw material availability, and to have full open access and transparency throughout the supply chain, from the origin source (Alpha) where their plastic raw material originated from, straight through to the technologies and cost per pound to create their sustainable raw material at (Bravo). In a time when “consumers care & communicate”, connecting a supply chain Alpha-Foxtrot-Bravo helps ensure long term sustainability.
3rd benefit of an eco supply chain is the connection itself, and the reliability and consistency of material, quality, and price that a connected eco supply chain provides. Everyone in manufacturing knows.. consistency and repeatability at scale is essential. By connecting in an open transparent eco supply chain, (Alpha supplier) is connected to (Bravo technology-converter) and connected to (Foxtrot resin customer) together. This connection through the eco supply chain creates beneficial eco partnerships.
* Eco Partnership Benefit #1. Sustainable Raw material streams can be “contracted” which creates long term market stability for suppliers, consistent feedstock for converters, and reliable raw material supply for customers. It’s also easier to invest capital in sustainability initiatives when you can rely on long term consistency.
* Eco Partnership Benefit #2. Manufacturers using recycled sustainable plastic resins can be assured of consistent repeatable quality since the raw material supply, recycling process, lab and specifications all remain consistent.
* Eco Partnership Benefit #3. Raw material pricing can be indexed which creates long term stability and economic fairness throughout the eco supply chain as resin markets fluctuate up and down. Indexed pricing can be very impactful in establishing long term eco partnerships that ensure fair prices for raw material plastic scrap suppliers, converter fees, and end use customers, as resin prices adjust up & down overtime.
To learn more about gearedforgreen eco supply chains and how they can help enhance your plastics sustainability initiatives, please contact us at email@example.com
By Daniel Schrager, President at GearedforGreen 888-398 (GEAR) 4327 firstname.lastname@example.org, www.gearedforgreen.com
WE ALL KNOW DOING GOOD MAKES US FEELS GOOD. SO IN 2018 LETS ALL DOUBLE OUR EFFORTS TO ACHIEVE “ZERO PLASTICS WASTE” AND SHOW IT… SO WE CAN ALL FEEL GOOD!
Among our GearedforGreen missions is helping clients make and use plastic products more sustainably from inside-out, and show them ways to leverage their sustainability in their markets to build more sustainable purposeful brands, to educate stakeholders, and to share the “feel good” with their employees, customers & supply chain partners. Showing your sustainability matters!
In 2017 our clients made great internal sustainable strides! Some achieving zero plastic waste in their operations ♻ others achieving 100% use of recycled plastic resins as replacements instead of prime virgin materials in their products ♻. This year we had clients participate in new “Social Partnerships” using ocean collected plastic resins in their products ♻ and we had clients optimize & reuse their plastics packaging materials to use less raw material and recover what they wasted. ♻ In 2017 we had clients and supply chain partners connect in closed Loop plastic recycling programs and in GearedforGreen Toll Reuse circular supply chains to reuse their own plastic waste materials back into their own products. ♻ This year our clients implemented end-of-use take-back programs to re-collect, recycle, and repurpose their own plastics products after use in the market, and many of our clients started using sustainable American made industrial products and corporate branded eco apparel and uniforms for their own everyday operations.
Looking back .. In 2017 our clients made a difference!
We hear from clients all the time, how sustainability has added a common purpose & pride shared between their employees and helped strengthen their corporate culture.
People feel good doing good!
We cannot say it enough… “There is a significant difference between internal sustainability in our products, packaging, and operations, versus external sustainability that touches, teaches & inspires our customers and employees”. You can’t preach external sustainability without doing the work internally, but … external sustainability matters a lot if you want to educate & inspire employees and customers and build a more socially purposeful brand.
“We must never underestimate the importance of inspiration”
To help make sustainability more impactful for our clients, to help move the needle with respect to top line revenue and brand value, we focus on helping clients implement programs that share our clients sustainability stories with those that matter most to them, to connect their sustainability efforts from inside-out. “Sharing our Sustainability isn’t about self-promotion… it’s about connecting and creating bonds with people that care and matter”.
It’s been well documented by industry leading brands including Unilever, Proctor and Gamble, and many others … that Communicating your Sustainability helps build stronger bonds between businesses, brands, supply chain partners, and customers, and has a positive impact on sales and revenue.
So in 2018 let’s all double efforts together to connect sustainability from inside-out and SHARE THE ❤♻
By Daniel Schrager, President at GearedforGreen 888-398 (GEAR) 4327, email@example.com, www.gearedforgreen.com
Why China Plastics Ban can lead to greater innovation, investment, and sustainable manufacturing in the USAby gearedforgreen October 23, 2017 ACC cardboard box reuse cardboard boxes Dow eco apparel eco supply chain gearedforgreen packaging plastic raw materials plastic recycling plastic resins Proctor & Gamble recycling social partnerships sustainableshopping
Some see the China plastics ban as a huge problem, others see it more as a long term opportunity. We see the proverbial pet bottle as 1/2 full.
1st came the Green Fence… a warning shot. Now the National Sword. Both cool names btw… kudos to China. The China policies (limiting) imports of plastic scrap materials is having a profound change to the plastics recycling eco system here in the USA and around the world. The question is equally WHY and WHAT NOW?
WHY? – We’ve all heard lots of complaints, confusion, and disagreement to the new China National Sword policy, some related to short notice of these new scrap import restrictions, others related to lack of clarity about what recyclables are banned or allowed and for how long. Truth be told, we all saw it coming or should have because it was kind of … “Wild West”.
Irrespective of the impacts the “Sword” is having on our scrap and recycling markets here in the USA, it seems clear the Chinese government is concerned that (garbage) is being willfully sent to their country disguised as recyclables. An official of the Ministry of Environmental Protection told the press in July that “the problem of foreign garbage is loathed by everyone in China.” And the press reports also indicate that a recent documentary, PLASTIC CHINA, alleging the health and environmental harms of imported plastics for recycling, spurred Chinese officials to take action.
SO WHAT NOW ?- The world is very much a connected marketplace and still represents enormous opportunity to trade recyclables and sustainables on a global basis, but what we trade .. where we trade.. how we trade .. are changing along with population growth and environmental issues. More people = more consumption = more products = more waste.
America for the most part has maintained status quo continuing to make products with poor end of use options and exporting much of our plastic waste around the world thinking cheaper labor is a solution. It isn’t. Today 90% + of all plastic products used in the USA find their way to landfills or worse, oceans, beaches, etc. Obviously we haven’t yet implemented a strong solution.
It’s important (we) see the forest through the trees, and adapt. When we say (we) we mean product and packaging manufacturers, and consumer brands, retailers, and consumers, along with solid waste, recycling, and raw material professionals.
Everyone in the USA supply chain involved in making, selling, using, and recycling plastic products have good reason to be concerned. China imports about 30 percent of the plastic waste collected for recycling in America. When China stops buying plastic scrap from America and across the world, it creates a glut here in the USA and as supply-demand dictates, commodity prices drop, leading to reduced recycling rates, increased landfill disposal, and more companies leaving the industry because they can’t make money.
The China National Sword policy is no doubt a problem today… but the important discussion we need to have is … what effect will it have long term and will it ultimately drive innovation, investment, and sustainable manufacturing here in the USA ?
THE PROBLEM ISN’T JUST A USA PLASTICS RECYCLING PROBLEM… IT’S A USA INDUSTRY SUPPLY CHAIN PROBLEM!
It impacts us all up & down the supply chain, including plastic products and packaging manufacturers that create all the plastic products that are causing all this waste, major brands using plastics to make & package their products, retailers selling all this stuff, and consumers buying all this stuff. It also includes the solid waste management, recycling, and raw material companies that collect and recycle plastic waste after it is all used and that supply sustainable or non sustainable raw material to make plastic products.
We are all part of the circular economy (the eco supply chain) and we are all part of the circular solution! We ourselves have the ability to solve the problem of plastic waste … if we work together!
For those interested in going circular to collaborate to find better ways to make plastic products & packaging more sustainably and to take better responsibility together for these products at end of use, we’d ❤ to talk and find ways to collaborate together.
By Daniel Schrager, President at GearedforGreen 888-398 (GEAR) 4327, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.gearedforgreen.com
WE ALL KNOW DOING GOOD MAKES US FEELS GOOD. WE NEED TO “SHARE OUR SUSTAINABILITY” SO OUR CUSTOMERS FEEL GOOD TOO!
One of our 5 primary missions at GearedforGreen is helping clients that manufacture plastic products to operate more sustainably from inside-out, and show them ways to leverage that sustainability in their market in order to build more sustainable purposeful brands and share the “feel good” with their customers.
Our clients have made tremendous internal sustainable strides… achieving zero plastic waste in their operations, using recycled plastic resins & other sustainable raw materials instead of all prime plastics, participating in “Social Partnerships ” using ocean collected plastic resins in their products and packaging, optimizing, reducing & reusing their packaging, implementing closed Loop Circular Collaborations within our eco supply chain, measuring their carbon footprints, implementing take-back programs to recycle and re-purpose their products after use in the market, and using sustainably made products and corporate logo eco apparel and uniforms in their own everyday operations. Our clients are making a difference! We here it from them all the time, how sustainability has added a common purpose & pride shared between employees and how it’s helped strengthen corporate culture. They feel good doing good!
To make sustainability even more impactful for our clients, moving the needle on top line revenue and brand value, we must find ways to share our sustainability stories with our customers in the market, to connect our internal sustainability efforts with our customers. We must “Share our Sustainability” !
It’s been well documented by the industry leaders such as Unilever, Proctor and Gamble, and many many other manufacturers and brands… that Communicating our sustainability effectively helps build stronger bonds between our businesses & brands, supply chain partners, and our customers, and positively impact sales and revenue.
For those who dare to make a difference and want to SHARE THE ❤ ♻, please contact GearedforGreen.
Big Brands should consider buying plastic scrap themselves. Here’s why.. Here’s how..
It’s a debate worth having. A great way to significantly expand plastic recycling is by expanding circular economies with circular supply chains that include Big Brands focusing on economic and environmental sustainability.
A circular economy will help ensure plastic scrap materials maintain economic value, have consistent markets, and importantly, a recollection process for used plastic products and packaging once they reach end of use in the market.
GearedforGreen works with many private and public recyclers across the country who want to get more involved in stronger circular collaboration with end user markets. In an eco-supply chain, recyclers collect consumer and industrial plastic scrap materials on a local level, which get sold to regional processors and compounders who convert scrap into hi-quality plastic resins (sustainable raw materials), then sold to national manufacturers making all kinds of new plastic products, looped back again to recyclers at end of use. From start to end everyone involved in the circular eco supply chain is connected.
Eco-supply chains enable local, regional and national businesses involved in recycling and sustainability to collaborate stronger and transparently working together rowing in the same direction. Scrap is connected to raw material, connected to new products, connected to consumers, looped back connected to recyclers in a continuous process.
Without circularity, companies involved in collection, processing and compounding “go it alone”, struggling with up and down plastic scrap prices, lack of markets for many kinds of plastic materials, and an over reliance on export markets. Circularity gets everyone in the supply chain teaming up together and helps maintain pricing and cost transparency which benefits the supply chain as a whole.
We can minimize these challenges and increase & improve plastics recycling markets when Big Brands take lead, connecting in circular eco supply chains. Big Brands are themselves the biggest consumers of plastic raw material. Big Brands across markets like Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Ford, Nike, Budweiser, L’oreal, Gillette, and so on, should stop selling off their own plastic scrap they generate in their own operations, and instead do an about face, connecting in circular eco-supply chains and becoming significant plastic scrap buyers instead.
Why ??? Big Brands make lots of plastic products and use lots of plastic packaging, hence they buy lots of plastic resins to make products. Big Brands consume hundreds of millions of pounds of new virgin plastic resins including polyethylene, polypropylene, polyester, and other grades, purchased through non sustainable supply chains from producers like Dow Chemical, Exxon Mobil, Sabic, BASF, Chevron Phillips, and so on, made from petroleum and natural gas.
By shifting to buying plastic scrap and participating in a more sustainable circular eco supply chain, scrap becomes a more prominent part of the plastic raw material stream for Big Brands.
Here’s how.. Instead of paying Exxon Mobil etc. for virgin resin, Big Brands buy plastic scrap direct in the open market and pay Processors and Compounders to produce recycled grade plastic resins. Today recycled plastic resins can be made to many specifications, even FDA compliant. By approaching plastic scrap and raw material sourcing from the top down, Big Brands can help increase plastic recycling rates, manage raw material cost, and take greater responsibility for products they make by creating closed loop circularity.
Big Brands carry big leverage because of supply demand. Supply demand dictates the more plastic products we make and sell, the more demand there is for virgin or recycled plastic resins. It’s a matter of choice which kind of raw materials we buy.
A modest shift reducing virgin resin consumption and increasing recycled resin consumption can make a tremendous sustainability shift for several reasons.
1st, it creates larger more consistent markets for recycled plastic resins which creates demand, which helps moderate pricing and adds more pricing transparency down the line which ultimately helps increase recycling rates.
2nd, it creates an environment ripe for innovation and investment. As Big Brands get more involved in circular eco supply chains collaborating with recyclers, processors and compounders, everyone will invest more resources which leads to greater innovation, improved processes, higher quality, etc.
3rd, it creates the closed loop infrastructure necessary for Big Brands to ultimately take greater responsibility for products they make once they reach end of use in the market. It also facilitates increased consumer engagement and participation in recycling contributing to increase recycling rates. When Big Brands integrate consumer sustainability incentives with education, consumers start to take ownership of their sustainability efforts which creates even stronger bonds between Big Brands and consumers, which can also equate to increased sales.
It’s a debate worth having, but from our perspective, circularity and eco supply chains will enhance sustainability and increase plastic recycling rates down the line.