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North America: Issue 3

A unique attribute of selling items made from Ingeo biopolymer is the ability to promote the feedstock advantages at the “beginning-of-life” of the material or to promote compostability at the “end-of-life.” We know that not all disposable food serviceware items will end up in a compost facility, but that doesn’t mean there’s still not an advantage to choosing serviceware made from Ingeo.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Non-Renewable Energy Use

Ingeo Eco-Profile 2015

The newest Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) for Ingeo was published in the June 2015 edition of Industrial Biotechnology. This most recent LCA incorporates a change to the commonly used GaBi6.3 database which includes updates to the data of process inputs like electricity, natural gas, and chemical and fertilizer production.

At the end of the day, what does this all mean? Even if Ingeo-based food serviceware ends up in a landfill, you can still promote how the production of Ingeo emits fewer greenhouse gases and consumes less non-renewable energy compared to commonly used plastics such as polystyrene (PS) or polyethylene terephthalate (PET). For all the details, please visit the NatureWorks eco-profile webpage.

What About the U.S. Composting Infrastructure?

Q&A WITH NATUREWORKS’ TIM GOODMAN

Grant Braasch Tim Goodman

Grant Braasch Tim GoodmanTim Goodman, NatureWorks Cradle-to-Cradle Manager, brings decades of experience to NatureWorks from the recycling and compost industries. He is actively involved in many initiatives to help expand the compost infrastructure in the U.S. I sat down with Tim to ask him what’s new in this area.

GB: Tim, why do you believe composting is poised for growth in the U.S.?

TG: States are pushing for higher and higher landfill diversion, sometimes in excess of 75%, and it will take more than just increasing recycling rates to hit these targets. The latest EPA data indicates that yard trimmings and food waste together make up over 28% of municipal solid waste. Increased composting will be a critical component to reaching the landfill diversion targets.

GB: Are there many compost facilities in the U.S. today that accept food waste and compostable food packaging?

TG: The Institute for Local Self Reliance conducted a survey last summer that identified almost 350 composters who accept food waste and many of those also accept compostable packaging. However, we know there’s a lot of work to do to get more composters willing to accept compostable packaging. BioCycle Magazine has developed a tool findacomposter.com to help locate composting facilities in your area and they are continuing to refine this to further identify those sites that accept compostable packaging.

findacomposter.com

GB: What are some of the things you’re working on now to help increase the number of composters who accept packaging?

TG: I’m a board member for both the US Composting Council (USCC) and the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI). At the USCC, we’re working toward greater acceptance of food waste and compostable plastics by the composters and also expanding membership to include more composters and more compostable product companies. At the BPI, we’re working to expand certification programs and increase collaboration with other industry associations and composters to drive more composting programs and infrastructure development.

GB: Is anything happening now with any of the other industry associations?

TG: Yes, the Foodservice Packaging Institute (FPI), through its Plastics Recovery Group, has just started working with Cascadia Consulting to develop a demonstration project to show how to incorporate compostable packaging, including both paper and plastic, into a food waste only composting facility. Hopefully more initiatives like this will help more composters understand how accepting compostable serviceware can increase the total amount of food waste they receive. We’re also participating in a Washington State based stakeholder group, led by the City of Seattle and Cedar Grove Compost, which is focusing on finding ways to reduce contamination in food waste streams destined for composting sites.

GB: What is the best thing that distributors of compostable serviceware can do to help grow the composting infrastructure?

TG: Get involved and become active in industry groups such as BPI and FPI. Ensure that the compostable serviceware you sell is BPI certified or at least meets ASTM standards D6400 and/or D6868. Talk to composters to better understand the challenges they face with plastics of all kinds. From the composters’ perspective, they are manufacturing facilities trying to produce a high quality, high value commodity – compost – and that is foremost in their minds. It is the bread and butter of their business. If your municipality is looking at food waste diversion programs through composting, get involved locally to help educate decision makers and composters the value that compostable serviceware can bring to a program.

Green Sports Alliance Partnership

Many of our distributor partners have found that the sports world presents a great opportunity for compostable food serviceware. The Green Sports Alliance (GSA) does more than any organization to promote more sustainable practices across all sports. Membership in this organization has grown in just a few short years to represent over 300 members, 142 sports teams, 151 venues, from 11 different leagues and 14 countries.

In May, the Alliance and NatureWorks announced a new partnership that offers Alliance members enhanced access to NatureWorks’ expertise in developing cost-competitive waste diversion programs. Educational webinars, discussion panels, supporting case studies, and workshops on topics such as bioplastics, composting, and diversion success strategies at sports venues and events are some of the synergies we’re working together on.

One outcome of our new partnership was the June GSA webinar hosted by NatureWorks titled “Food Waste Solutions: Donate what you can, compost the rest,” which included discussions with Sissy Burkhart from the Pittsburgh Pirates, Christina Reeves from the Minnesota Wild, and Carla Castagnero from AgRecycle.

To receive a copy of the webinar slide deck or inquire about webinar partnership opportunities, email Operations Manager, Natalie Nishitani. To join the next Green Sports Alliance webinar on August 26th, register here

Innovation Takes Root - The Second Decade

Innovate Takes Root

The fifth biennial Innovation Takes Root Ingeo biopolymer users' forum will be held March 30 to April 1, 2016, at the Orlando World Center Marriott, Orlando, FL. The 2016 forum will illustrate the latest developments in the market based on new product introductions and developments in applications, processing, and converting, amidst a broader context on what is happening around the world from a policy, legislative, and societal perspective.

Discounted early bird registration opens in October. Follow us on Twitter and check out the ITR website frequently for program announcements. We welcome interested parties to submit speaking topics for consideration to the Program Committee. Please submit your ideas to Jim Nangeroni, Program Co-Chair ITR 2016.

Food serviceware Divider

Events

AASHE 2015 Conference & Expo Minneapolis, MN Oct. 25-28
(Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education)

Doug Kunnemann of NatureWorks and Michael Gulich of Purdue University will be co-presenting on October 27 in a session titled The Road to Zero Waste: A Tale of a Stadium Compost Pilot.

Questions?

There may be questions that come from your customers that you don't always know how to answer. I'm here to be a resource for those situations. 

If you have a question you're asked often and aren't sure how to respond, let me know and we'll try to help out.

Grant Braasch
NatureWorks
foodserviceware@natureworksllc.com