• WOOD SPONGE: Material Technology

    Oil spills and industrial discharge into water bodies are common phenomena. Even though water and oil are immiscible, separating the two components to restore the purity of water bodies can be challenging.

    To tackle this long sustained issue, researchers have developed sponges made out of wood that selectively absorb oil. These sponges are reusable.

    With a spring-like lamellar structure, these sponges can be repeatedly squeezed without structural failure.

  • Aptar Transforms Market with SimpliCycle™ Valve Solution

     

    Aptar’s SimpliCycle™ valve is made from a TPE material with a low density that allows the valve to float, so it is easily separated from the PET stream, and then ultimately recycled within the PP/PE olefin stream.

    “Aptar is committed to using sustainable materials to create innovative flow control solutions that engage consumers and help them establish a deeper connection with their favorite brands,” Susan DeGroot, director of product marketing, said. “Our SimpliCycle™ TPE valve is one example of how we are continuously offering products that help meet both our company’s and customers’ sustainability goals while delivering on the product features the world has come to expect with Aptar valve dispensing.”

    In 2019, Aptar signed the Ellen MacArthur New Plastics Economy Global Commitment and joined the World Business Council for Sustainable Development as part of its commitment to a circular vision in which plastic never becomes waste.

    “Our partnerships with world organizations, like the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, demonstrates the commitment we have to eliminate, circulate, and innovate to meet our 2025 goals,” DeGroot added.

    By 2025, Aptar has committed to take action to eliminate problematic or unnecessary plastic packaging; take action to move from single-use toward reuse models where relevant; have 100% of its plastic packaging be reusable, recyclable or compostable; and find solutions to increase recycled content across all plastic packaging used.

    The SimpliCycle™ TPE valve offers recyclability while still maintaining all of the same advantages of Aptar’s standard and Swimming® Silicone valves, including high repeatable performance and slit versatility to fit a wide variety of applications for food, beverage, and other product applications around the world.

    Maximum flow control combined with clean dispensing ensures consumers get precise amounts of product when and where they want it – avoiding drips, leaks, or spills. SimpliCycle™ is an all-in-one solution.

  • Pepsi, Nestlé, and Bacardi are all using this new plastic-like packaging that’s compostable anywhere

    A new bottle in development for Bacardi looks like ordinary plastic. But if it ends up in a landfill or the ocean—or a backyard compost bin—the material will completely biodegrade. Called PHA, or polyhydroxyalkanoate, the plant-based material will soon start showing up in all kinds of packaging on store shelves.

    PepsiCo is working on a compostable chip bag made from the material. Nestlé is working on a biodegradable water bottle. Genpak is creating biodegradable food containers. PSI is making compostable film packaging; CPG is making compostable produce bags. UrthPact and WinCup already have PHA drinking straws in the market.

    “We know that with single-use plastic, one of the big issues is that compared to what gets collected, there is a lot of material that ends up in the environment,” says Rodolfo Nervi, the global vice president of sustainability at Bacardi. “So one of our objectives was to find a polymer that was, at the end of life, fully biodegradable.” The company, which aims to be plastic-free by the end of the decade, is also working on a paper bottle that uses PHA as a lining. While “biodegradable” plastic isn’t new, other options have to go to industrial composting facilities to break down (and even then, they create challenges for composters). PHA is different: it can break down without any specialized equipment.

     

    The material’s primary ingredient is canola oil. “Plants absorb carbon dioxide, and we take the carbon out of those plants in the form of vegetable oil,” says Steve Croskrey, CEO of Danimer Scientific, the manufacturer that developed the material. “We feed that to bacteria, who convert that carbon into PHA and store it as an energy reserve. And we extract that polymer from inside the cell wall and make the plastic item out of it. So let’s just say you make a straw, and it gets accidentally thrown in a lake somewhere. When the bacteria in that lake find it, they eat it because it’s a preferred food source for bacteria. When it breaks down, it returns to carbon dioxide and water, and it’s just a big loop.”

    Danimer, which has been working on the material for more than a decade, recently finished scaling up its industrial facilities to begin large-scale production. (The company also recently announced a merger agreement with Live Oak Acquisition Corp. and plans to go public.) For new product types, creating new packages will take some time—Bacardi, for example, will work with the manufacturer to tweak the packaging so that it has the needed specifications to hold alcohol. It expects that it will take until 2023 before the bottles are ready to roll out. But as Danimer creates each type of packaging, it can later replicate the approach for other brands with similar products. “Once you’ve done it once, it can be applicable to other folks as well,” says Croskrey. Bacardi plans to share its solutions with competitors, including details such as how to use PHA inside the lining of caps.

    Some environmental advocates are skeptical. “Unfortunately, these packaging alternatives are not the silver bullet that companies want us to believe,” says Ivy Schlegel, a research specialist at Greenpeace USA. “They require access to composting options that provide the conditions needed to break the material down, and don’t biodegrade the same in every environment. They can contaminate recycling streams if not disposed of properly. . . . We are not going to solve the plastic pollution crisis by swapping out one throwaway material for another. Companies need to focus on fundamentally rethinking how they are bringing products to people, prioritizing reuse and refill solutions.”

    Still, Croskrey says that if someone doesn’t have access to backyard or curbside composting, the material can be thrown away, because it will break down in landfills, unlike fossil-based plastic. If a small amount of PHA packaging ends up in the recycling stream, it can be recycled along with PET. The company says its products have passed the TUV Austria Marine Certification standards, which indicate it will break down if it ends up in the ocean.

    Bacardi, which does use reusable packaging in some markets and which relies on glass for most of its bottles—turning to plastic only for some products, such as mini bottles for airplanes, where weight is a critical issue—plans to partner with other brands to ensure that PHA bottles are handled responsibly. Its paper bottle, which reduces the amount of PHA used, will be both compostable and recyclable. A rush of other companies will follow, as others try to find alternatives to their current packaging. “In the last two to three years, we’ve seen huge upticks in interest,” Croskrey says.

     

     

  • Pioneering digital watermarks for smart packaging recycling in the EU – AIM, the European Brands Association, launches cross-value chain initiative to drive circular economy goals

    One of the most pressing challenges in achieving a circular economy for packaging is to better sort post-consumer waste by accurately identifying packaging, resulting in more efficient and higher-quality recycling. Digital watermarks may have the potential to revolutionise the way packaging is sorted in the waste management system, as it opens new possibilities that are currently not feasible with existing technologies. The discovery was made under the New Plastics Economy programme of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, which investigated different innovations to improve post-consumer recycling. Digital watermarks were found to be the most promising technology, gathering support among the majority of stakeholders and passing a basic proof of concept on a test sorting line. The branded goods industry has now stepped in to facilitate the next phase as cross-value chain initiative under the name “HolyGrail 2.0”, which will take place on a much greater scale and scope. This will include the launch of an industrial pilot in order to prove the viability of digital watermarks technologies for more accurate sorting of packaging and higher-quality recycling, as well as the business case at large scale. “The 3 key ingredients here are innovation, sustainability and digital, combined to achieve the objective of the Green Deal towards a clean, circular and climate neutral economy”, outlines Michelle Gibbons, Director General at AIM. “It is terrific to see such enthusiasm from across the industry and to be able to unite such expertise from the complete packaging value chain, from brand owners and retailers to converters, EPR schemes, waste management systems, recyclers and many more. Collaboration is the way forward to achieve the EU’s circular economy goals.” Digital watermarks are imperceptible codes, the size of a postage stamp, covering the surface of a consumer goods packaging. They can carry a wide range of attributes such as manufacturer, SKU, type of plastics used and composition for multilayer objects, food vs. non-food usage, etc. The aim is that once the packaging has entered into a waste sorting facility, the digital watermark can be detected and decoded by a standard high resolution camera on the sorting line, which then – based on the transferred attributes – is able to sort the packaging into corresponding streams. This would result in better and more accurate sorting streams, and thus consequently in higher-quality recyclates, benefiting the complete packaging value chain. Next to this “digital recycling passport”, digital watermarks also have the potential to be used in other areas such as consumer engagement, supply chain visibility and retail operations.

  • Master of the millimeter

     

    Many people think of a hammer and screwdriver first. The apprenticeship has little to do with the workbench at home. Hendrik Schulte, apprentice at Röchling in Haren, and Egzon Berishaj, who successfully completed his apprenticeship at the beginning of 2020, share experiences from the apprenticeship at their workplace and explain what makes the tool mechanic a future-oriented profession and for whom it is not at all suitable .

    When it comes to training as a “tool mechanic”, you first have to dispel a prejudice that is in your name. While toolmakers used to make common tools such as hammers, saws and files to equip handicraft businesses, there is now something completely different behind the apprenticeship in modern industrial companies.

    Today the tool mechanic manufactures complex and technically sophisticated tools of all kinds for industrial series production. Hendrik Schulte knows that too. He has been completing his apprenticeship at Röchling since 2018. The plastics processor from Haren uses various processes to produce sheets, profiles and machined components made of plastic. The company uses modern precision tools for industrial processing, such as drawing, pressure, stamping and forming tools as well as compression molds.

    “As a tool mechanic, I am learning to manufacture the tools that are used in our production exactly according to the required specifications,” explains Hendrik. It is very important that the components function reliably. Because: without tools there is no production, without production no products!

    Demanding profession
    The tasks of the tool mechanic are therefore varied and technically demanding. In his apprenticeship, Hendrik learns everything about the professional planning, manufacture and repair of tools. “To do this, I read technical drawings, learn how to operate processing machines such as drilling, turning and milling machines, and how to program CNC systems. I really enjoy it. I have always wanted to work practically, ”says the 21-year-old.

    Above all, accuracy plays an important role. In order for tools to function reliably, they have to meet high precision requirements. Tool mechanics check the dimensional accuracy of workpieces down to a hundredth of a millimeter. If you are interested in the training, you should bring a lot of care along with technical understanding and manual skills. “An important part of our work is working precisely according to drawings and tolerances,” emphasizes Egzon Berishaj, who has already completed his training at Röchling. “Only those who work precisely are able to manufacture tools precisely.” Thumbs up? This is out of the question for tool mechanics!

    At Röchling, you start this training after graduating from the metal technology vocational school. However, high school graduates have also opted for this training in recent years due to the good professional prospects. In any case, it is particularly important to be interested in scientific subjects such as mathematics and physics.

    After successful training, the career prospects are very good. With their technical know-how, tool mechanics are important specialists in industrial series production. At Röchling, they are therefore used in many areas in which plastics are further processed by machining, and they are therefore very easy to take over and use. With some professional experience, there is also the option of further training to become a master craftsman or technician.

  • ACG Acquires Significant Stake in Mumbai-based IQGEN-X


    The investment is aimed at augmenting R&D and IP in drug development
    The funds infusion will enable IQGEN-X to fast-track research on existing ANDAs and also setup a cGMP pilot facility in addition to the already existing R&D facility.

  • Australia’s first pet food packaging recycling program launched

    Australians spend more than $12 billion annually on their pets. With limited recycling options available for pet owners, many of the pet products purchased will end up in landfill. 

     “Open Farm is committed to raising the bar on the way we feed our pets,” Open Farm co-founder and CBO Jacqueline Prehogan said.

    “From our ethically sourced ingredients to our strict quality standards, our goal is to provide a product pet parents can trust to give their pets the premium nutrition they need to keep them happy and healthy. 

    “Part of this commitment also means giving pet parents better choices when it comes to their impact on farm animals and the environment.”

    “Every year, Australians produce 130,000 tonnes of plastic that will eventually find its way into our land, oceans and waterways,” added Jean Bailliard, general manager of TerraCycle Australia and New Zealand.

    “For the responsible pet owners out there, participating in the Open Farm Recycling Program is a great way to minimise your pet’s impact on the planet.”

    Pet owners wishing to join the program are encouraged to sign up through the TerraCycle website where they can also download a free shipping label.

    As an added incentive, for every kilogram of Open Farm packaging sent to TerraCycle, collectors will earn a small donation toward the Australian charity of their choice. 

  • NUTRI SCORE – SIGNALS WITH GREAT EFFECT

    The Leuphana University of Lüneburg and the Nordakademie, University of Applied Sciences, have investigated consumer decision-making within their research work on consumer behaviour. In fact, consumers can be manipulated by having the “Nutri-Score” food traffic light on the packaging. The research tested in detail the role of different packaging features. According to Prof. Dr. Stefan Schaltegger, chairman for sustainability management at the Leuphana University of Lüneburg, the experiment was used to find out which representations on food packaging help to implement personal preferences for healthier and more sustainable eating.

    “Nudges” as “boosters The researchers have concluded that even small “nudges” – such as the Nutri Score – work and people who are very concerned about sustainability already react to them and decide to choose the healthier variety more often. By contrast, people who like to eat unheatlhier disregard this information. In research round about 500 test candidates were tested. The nudging concept, which originates from the economist Richard H. Thaler and the lawyer Cass Sunstein, was the starting point for this study. The main question is how to consolidate behaviour without prohibition or economic incentives. Despite the statement by Dr. Holger Petersen, Professor of Business Administration with a focus on sustainability management, that only little has changed, sustainability- and health-oriented consumers can be supported with a revised design of food packaging. Currently, the Nutri Score can already be found on individual foods in France and Germany. The Nutri Score is only yet a recommendation from the government and is not a mandatory statement.

    No food manufacturer is obliged to label their products with the Nutri-Score. NOVEXX Solutions offers a wide range of labelling systems for the precise and reliable placement of self-adhesive labels of any productshape or surface. Especially our XLS labelers are particularly suitable for use in the food industry. A wide range of applicator variants for all requirements and surfaces, extremely robust and designed for continuous use. For more information on labelers please click here or contact us via the contact formular.

    NOVEXX Solutions offers a wide range of labelling systems for the precise and reliable placement of self-adhesive labels of any productshape or surface. Especially our XLS labelers are particularly suitable for use in the food industry. A wide range of applicator variants for all requirements and surfaces, extremely robust and designed for continuous use.

    For more information on labelers please click here or contact us via the contact formular.

  • Vinyl Institute of Canada launches Hospital Medical Recycling Pilot - PVC123Su

    The partnership welcomes St. Joseph's Health Centre and Humber River hospital in Toronto as the leads for the pilot. Collection begins September 15th, 2020, through to March 31st, 2021. Additional hospitals are expected to join the program this year. "Life saving devices are made from PVC. Our industry has been recycling since the1980's, and we are excited to add hospitals to our growing list of recyclers in Canada" said Vinyl Institute of Canada's President & CEO, Aiñe Curran. "As healthcare providers, it is our duty to mitigate environmental impacts of health care provision" said St. Joseph's Anesthesiologist Dr. Ali Abbass who has been recycling PVC devices for several years. Norwich Plastics, a leader in PVC recycling, will oversee the logistics of the collected materials and their conversion into new products -- such as hoses, tubing, automotive supplies, and sound-dampening products as a few examples. Tribu Persaud, of Norwich Plastics, explains that "Vinyl's straightforward recyclability is important to this project, and we expect to divert at least 80,000 pounds of recyclable PVC from landfills from this pilot. Vinyl is a multi-tasking material -- it's valuable, functional, and durable which makes it a perfect resource for recycling." "We are pleased to support the Vinyl Institute of Canada's PVC 123 Program, which aims to safely recycle used medical plastics. Innovative Canadian projects like this one are crucial in keeping plastic waste in the economy and out of the environment," said the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change. Laurie Thomas, Director of the Perioperative and Endoscopy programs at Humber River in Toronto, one of Canada's most technologically advanced hospitals, will outfit 20 operating rooms and 5 Endoscopy suites, as well as the Post Anesthetic Care Unit, and Surgical Day Care with PVC collection receptacles. Ms. Thomas explains that "It's vital for all institutions to recycle where possible, and if we can show people that a fast paced and complex hospital environment can recycle, then we all can…it's a great message for Humber River Hospital to cultivate." Vinyl Institute of Canada Chairman, Veso Sobot notes the "PVC123" recycling pilot is a true innovation not only for the vinyl industry and hospitals, but a great leadership model for the entire plastics industry in Canada".

  • Nexen Announces New Engineered Solutions Brochure

    Vadnais Heights, MN – October 26, 2020 – Nexen Group, Inc., a leading manufacturer of precision motion control components, power transmission, and web tension control products, is pleased to announce its new brochure: Engineered Solutions. The brochure highlights Nexen’s capabilities and products, which are presented by motion control application:

    Holding a load during production and power-off applications: servo brakes, ball screw brakes, guide rail brakes, and rod locks

    Linear positioning: rack and pinion system

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