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Ingeo News: Vol 15, Iss 8

September 2020

New US Plastics Pact Aims for 100% Reusable, Recyclable, or Compostable Plastic by 2025

The new US Plastics Pact, a collaborative effort organized by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, The Recycling Partnership, and the World Wildlife Fund is partnering with 850+ organizations to work collectively toward scalable solutions tailored to the needs and challenges within the US landscape. The vision aims to ensure plastics never become waste by eliminating the plastics we don't need, innovating to ensure the plastics we do need are reusable, recyclable, or compostable, and circulating all the plastic items we use to keep them in the economy and out of the environment.

By bringing together businesses, government entities, non-governmental organizations, researchers, and other stakeholders, the US Plastics Pact promises to deliver a step change toward a circular economy, enabling companies and governments to meet impactful targets by 2025 that they could not meet on their own. View the Plastics Pact network here.

More than 60 Activators have joined the US Plastics Pact, representing each part of the supply and plastics manufacturing chain. By joining the pact, they agree to deliver these four targets:

  1. Define a list of packaging to be designated as problematic or unnecessary by 2021 and take measures to eliminate them by 2025. ​
  2. By 2025, all plastic packaging is 100% reusable, recyclable, or compostable. ​
  3. By 2025, undertake ambitious actions to effectively recycle or compost 50% of plastic packaging.
  4. By 2025, the average recycled content or responsibly sourced bio-based content in plastic packaging will be 30%. ​
Read the press release here.

US Dept. of Energy Releases 'Plastics for a Circular Economy Workshop: Summary Report'

In December 2019, NatureWorks' Shannon Pinc took part in the US Department of Energy's Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) and Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) public workshop held in Denver, CO called Plastics for a Circular Economy. This workshop was held as a part of the Plastics Innovation Challenge, of which NatureWorks is a part. She presented on the amount of food waste in the municipal solid waste stream and how compostable packaging can play a significant role in diverting this waste to composting facilities. From this workshop, came the report, Plastics for a Circular Economy: Summary Report, which was released recently from the DOE. Read the report.


Sustainability in 3D Printing

The latest NatureWorks webinar explored 3D printing and sustainabilityPrinting Consciously: Considering Sustainability in 3D Printing took place on August 18th and covered how 3D printing can be a part of the circular economy highlighting the importance of decoupling from petrochemical feedstocks and criteria for after-use scenarios like composting and mechanical recycling.
       
Industry experts and hosts, Dan Sawyer and Deepak Venkatraman, also explain how NatureWorks has been undertaking R&D projects to show how closed-loop material can be collected, cleaned, and blended with post-industrial material to make high quality PLA for resin and filaments. Check out the great follow-up article about the webinar in Industrysourcing from Plastics News Asia.



Using Compostable Bags for Quality Compost

new report from the Witzenhausen Institute and the University of Bayreuth shows compostable bags are a suitable option for organic waste collection because they completely disintegrate and reduce plastic contamination. The field tests in the study reflect eight different biowaste treatment plants with an upstream fermentation stage to identify any film plastics and compostable film particles.

The study shows that the use of compostable plastic bags for biowaste collection would lead to a significant reduction in plastic particles in the compost if these bags were substituted. 

European Bioplastics welcomed the study and said, “The study adds very important data to a discussion which, so far, has almost exclusively been conducted emotionally and in absence of any scientific facts.” Read more.


3D Printed Ingeo Door Pull for COVID-19 Response at UW-Stout

The University of Wisconsin - Stout has one of only two ABET-Accredited Plastics Engineering programs in the US and faced with the impacts of the global pandemic, UW-Stout student, Jake Thomas, a senior engineering technology major from Northfield, MN, developed a door pull prototype when his dad suggested something like that would nice to have where he worked (Jake and his father with prototypes pictured at right).

Jake used his personal 3D printer to make and then refine the prototype using Ingeo PLA filament. News of his idea spread and the university decided it would be a great item to make on campus at the UW-Stout plastics lab as part of the "Made at Stout" program and then give to returning students this fall. (PLA printed door pulls pictured below.)

Considering the volume of door pulls needed for students on the UW-Stout campus, it became clear that printing them would be time and labor-intensive, so the team began planning to scale-up using injection molding. After confirming Ingeo injection molding grades gave the needed physical properties, Dr. Wei Zheng, Plastics Engineering Program Director, and Adam Kramschuster, Plastics Engineering Professor, reached out to NatureWorks to support the scale-up with a donation of material to be used in production. NatureWorks responded by donating injection molding resin for the team to develop the mold to make enough devices to use in the fall. The team is confident that they will be able to scale-up and mass produce the devices to help enable a lower-risk reopening.

  • Learn more about 3D printing with Ingeo biopolymer here.
  • Learn more about student opportunities in Plastics Engineering at University of Wisconsin-Stout here.



PARTNER UPDATES

FLEXIBLE PACKAGING

Novamont donates compostable bags to Big Y stores in Connecticut
When the demand for shopping bags increased during COVID-19, CT-based Novamount North America donated Mater-Bi compostable bags to Big Y supermarkets, including their hometown store in Mystic, CT. Not only did the partnership promote more sustainable bag choices, but also how individuals can do food scrap composting at home. Learn more about Novamont's donation in their video.

NATUREWORKS & INDUSTRY NEWS

RECENT EVENTS

If you missed the Printing Consciously: Considering Sustainability in 3D Printing webinar, you can now view it in its entirety on the NatureWorks YouTube channel. Dan Sawyer and Deepak Venkatraman tackle the question of how 3D printing can be a part of the circular economy and environmental impacts of biobased vs. petrochemical-based filament. Tune in!


Great Coffee without Compromise: Designing High Performance Compostable Coffee Pods with Ingeo | Recorded September 9, 2020
Presenters: Donavon Kirschbaum, Applications Engineer, Joshua Weed, Senior Scientist & Technology Admin Lead, and Flavio Di Marcotullio, Global Industry Manager from NatureWorks



UPCOMING EVENTS

RISE | September 23 - 30, 2020 | Virtual Conference
On Wednesday, Sept. 30th, NatureWorks' Director of Fibers and Nonwovens, Robert Green, will present, "Driving Production Efficiency and Performance in N95 Face Masks".                         
                 

SPC Advance Virtual | September 29 - 30 | Virtual Conference
NatureWorks' Shannon Pinc will be a table leader for the roundtable discussion: How can brands and suppliers work with municipalities and composters to plan for the future of compostable packaging?
                 
          

Green Sports Alliance 10th Annual Summit | October 13 - 14 | Virtual Conference
NatureWorks is the proud sponsor of Green Sports Alliance's Summit with a focus on environmental and social justice issues the sports industry will face over the next decade. Don't miss CEO & President, Rich Altice, who will speak during the welcome event!         


We're Growing!

Join a fast-growing, ever-evolving team of professionals. Join NatureWorks!

Available Job Opportunities:

Technology Intern | Minnetonka, MN
The NatureWorks Technology Internship program provides science and engineering students with the opportunity to combine classroom-based education with practical work experience in a leading industrial organization.
Responsibilities: 
  • Work closely with technical mentors at the professional, senior, and fellow level.
  • Assist with fundamental research and development.
  • Assist with product and application development.
  • Assist with manufacturing process development
  • Craft, vet, and execute experimental designs and/or mathematical models.
  • Collect, analyze, and report data with scientific significance.
  • Document and present project findings to co-workers.
  • Manage effectively communications and collaborate with internal stakeholders

Keep up with ALL of our available job opportunities on our Careers page.