Plastic taints most bottled water, study finds – Tiny plastic bits contaminate bottled water sold around the world, a new study finds. For now, scientists can only guess at the source of the plastic – Plastic taints bottled water

Plastic taints bottled water Plastic taints bottled water Plastic taints bottled water Plastic taints bottled water Plastic taints bottled water Plastic taints bottled water Plastic taints bottled water Plastic taints bottled water Plastic taints bottled water

Plastic taints most bottled water, study finds

Researchers don’t know whether drinking the microplastic bits might pose health risks
SHARON OOSTHOEK

 Plastic taints bottled water

In recent tests, bottled water from nine countries contained tiny plastic bits. The microscopic pieces may come from a variety of sources including cosmetics, clothing and packaging materials.
YANIK88/ISTOCKPHOT

Tiny plastic bits contaminate bottled water sold around the world, a new study finds. For now, scientists can only guess at the source of the plastic. Whether ingesting it might pose any risk also remains unknown.

Researchers tested more than 250 bottles of water. They came from nine countries and were sold under 11 different brands. These included Nestle Pure Life, Aquafina, Dasani, Evian, San Pellegrino and Gerolsteiner. Plastic turned up in 93 out of every 100 of the bottles.

Each tainted liter (almost one quart) held an average of 10 particles wider than a human hair, along with 300 smaller particles. But some bottles contained more — thousands of the floating specks. These really tiny bits are often referred to as microplastic fibers.

Many of these particles “are small enough to be transported through our bodies and end up in our organs,” says Sherri Mason. She is a chemist at the State University of New York in Fredonia.

Mason and her team tested the water on behalf of Orb Media, a nonprofit journalism group based in the United States. Orb Media’s partners include the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). Both of those outlets published stories about the research last month. To date, the results have not yet been peer reviewed or published in a scientific journal. The researchers did, however, post details of their study online March 14.

A continuing problem

Plastic pollution in the environment is nothing new. Tiny bits of plastic have turned up in rivers, lakes and oceans. Finding them has been easy. Figuring out their source has been harder.

Microplastics in water can come from larger pieces of plastic that break down in landfills and oceans. Sunlight and ocean waves also help break up pieces of plastic. Even clothes can shed microplastics. Fabrics such as fleece and nylon are made from plastic. When washed, they shed bits of plastic lint. It travels from the wash water down household drains and eventually into rivers, lakes and oceans.

Other microplastic beads go in some toothpastes and skin-care products. These beads help scrub away tooth plaque and dead skin cells. Then they, too, wash down the drain.

The most common type of plastic that Mason and her team found in bottled water was polypropylene (Pah-lee-PROH-puh-leen). This is the same type used in bottle caps. They also found bits of nylon and polyethylene terephthalate (Pah-lee-ETH-uh-leen Tair-eh-THAAL-ayt), also known as PET. PET is the main plastic used in water bottles.

So how do they get into bottled water? Once plastic bits go down the drain, it will wash into — and then out of — water treatment plants (because they were not designed to filter the plastics out). These facilities release their water into rivers and the ocean. Some of that water may move into groundwater, which some companies use for bottled water. Other companies may use city tap water. And earlier studies had found plastic bits could come out in tap water. The source of that plastic, too, might be contaminated lakes or rivers.

The new study is the first to find microplastics in bottled water, its authors say. In fact, Mason notes, her team found at least twice as many particles in bottled water as earlier tests had found in tap water.

Scientists aren’t sure what ingesting the tiny bits of plastic might do to our health. “But we know it probably isn’t good,” Mason says.

Plastics are made from many types of chemicals. There isn’t yet enough research to know how many of these might affect human health. After all, they were never designed to be eaten. Plastic also acts like a sponge, soaking up many types of chemicals. For example, pesticides and other toxic compound have been found in plastics floating in the ocean. So plastic particles might ferry such pollutants into bottled water, too.

Dyes mark the plastic

Andrew Mayes is a chemist in England at the University of East Anglia, in Norwich. This is the largest study of bottled water he says he’s ever seen. “The main message from the study is that microplastics are all around us,” says Mayes. And, he adds, they “are getting into everything we eat, drink and probably breathe.”

Mayes helped to develop the method Mason and her team used to detect the microplastics. He has now reviewed how Mason’s group did its research and agrees with its findings.

Here’s what they did. They added a dye known as Nile Red to the bottled water. That dye sticks to plastic surfaces. (Some of the dye stuck to the insides of the bottles, too.) When viewed under blue light, the dye will glow. The researchers then poured the bottled water through a special type of paper. Water flows right through it, but larger molecules such as plastic get caught on the paper’s surface. The researchers put that paper under a microscope and shone a blue light on it. Then they counted the glowing plastic bits.

Story continues below image.

 Plastic taints bottled water
If you look closely at the bottle on the right, you can see bright specks. Those are tiny bits of floating plastic. They were labeled with a dye that glows under a certain wavelength of light.
Orb Media

“It’s a bit like the glow-in-the-dark stars many kids have on their ceilings,” says Mason. “We counted the bright spots.”

The new study doesn’t say where the plastic bits in bottled water are coming from, Mayes notes. But it’s possible, he says, that they come from the bottle caps or the bottles themselves during processing and packing.

Mason worries that more and more plastic is turning up in the environment. Part of the problem, she says, is that we use a lot of disposable plastic. Plastic bags, bottles and straws are the major culprits.

“Say ‘no’ to straws, because they suck,” Mason recommends. “And don’t use plastic bags for wrapping sandwiches. There are reusable products you can use instead.”

Power Words

(for more about Power Words, click here)

average     (in science) A term for the arithmetic mean, which is the sum of a group of numbers that is then divided by the size of the group.

cell     The smallest structural and functional unit of an organism. Typically too small to see with the unaided eye, it consists of a watery fluid surrounded by a membrane or wall.

chemical     A substance formed from two or more atoms that unite (bond) in a fixed proportion and structure. For example, water is a chemical made when two hydrogen atoms bond to one oxygen atom. Its chemical formula is H2O. Chemical also can be an adjective to describe properties of materials that are the result of various reactions between different compounds.

environment     The sum of all of the things that exist around some organism or the process and the condition those things create. Environment may refer to the weather and ecosystem in which some animal lives, or, perhaps, the temperature and humidity (or even the placement of components in some electronics system or product).

filter     (in chemistry and environmental science) A device or system that allows some materials to pass through but not others, based on their size or some other feature. (in physics) A screen, plate or layer of a substance that absorbs light or other radiation or selectively prevents the transmission of some of its components.

journal     (in science) A publication in which scientists share their research findings with experts (and sometimes even the public). Some journals publish papers from all fields of science, technology, engineering and math, while others are specific to a single subject. The best journals are peer-reviewed: They send all submitted articles to outside experts to be read and critiqued. The goal, here, is to prevent the publication of mistakes, fraud or sloppy work.

landfill     A site where trash is dumped and then covered with dirt to reduce smells. If they are not lined with impermeable materials, rains washing through these waste sites can leach out toxic materials and carry them downstream or into groundwater. Because trash in these facilities is covered by dirt, the wastes do not get ready access to sunlight and microbes to aid in their breakdown. As a result, even newspaper sent to a landfill may resist breakdown for many decades.

media     (in the social sciences) A term for the ways information is delivered and shared within a society. It encompasses not only the traditional media — newspapers, magazines, radio and television — but also Internet- and smartphone-based outlets, such as blogs, Twitter, Facebook and more. The newer, digital media are sometimes referred to as social media. The singular form of this term is medium.

microplastic     A small piece of plastic, 5 millimeters (0.2 inch) or smaller in size. Microplastics may have been produced at that small size, or their size may be the result of the breakdown of water bottles, plastic bags or other things that started out larger.

microscope     An instrument used to view objects, like bacteria, or the single cells of plants or animals, that are too small to be visible to the unaided eye.

molecule     An electrically neutral group of atoms that represents the smallest possible amount of a chemical compound. Molecules can be made of single types of atoms or of different types. For example, the oxygen in the air is made of two oxygen atoms (O2), but water is made of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom (H2O).

nylon     A silky material that is made from long, manufactured molecules called polymers. These are long chains of atoms linked together.

organ     (in biology) Various parts of an organism that perform one or more particular functions. For instance, an ovary is an organ that makes eggs, the brain is an organ that makes sense of nerve signals and a plant’s roots are organs that take in nutrients and moisture.

particle     A minute amount of something.

peer review    (in science) A process in which scientists in a field carefully read and critique the work of their peers before it is published in a scientific journal. Peer review helps to prevent sloppy science and bad mistakes from being published.

pesticide     A chemical or mix of compounds used to kill insects, rodents or other organisms harmful to cultivated plants, pets or livestock; or unwanted organisms that infest homes, offices, farm buildings and other protected structures.

plaque     (in dental medicine) A biofilm, or community of bacterial species, that grows on teeth and other surfaces in the mouth.

plastic     Any of a series of materials that are easily deformable; or synthetic materials that have been made from polymers (long strings of some building-block molecule) that tend to be lightweight, inexpensive and resistant to degradation.

polyethylene     A plastic made from chemicals that have been refined (produced from) crude oil and/or natural gas. The most common plastic in the world, it is flexible and tough. It also can resist radiation.

polyethylene terephthalate     A commonly used type of plastic, usually referred to simply as PET. It can be produced as strong, stable fibers for use in making clothing. It also is the basis of many plastic beverage bottles (such as milk jugs) and semi-hard food packages (often used for produce). When used in fabrics, it’s simply known as polyester. To identify these plastics in goods other than clothing, they tend to carry a labeled on the bottom or side with the number 1 surrounded by the triangular “chasing arrows” symbol and the acronym PET or PETE below the triangle.

polypropylene     The second most common plastic in the world. It is tough and durable. Polypropylene is used in packaging, clothing and furniture (such as plastic chairs).

toxic     Poisonous or able to harm or kill cells, tissues or whole organisms. The measure of risk posed by such a poison is its toxicity.

United Kingdom     Land encompassing the four “countries” of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. More than 80 percent of the United Kingdom’s inhabitants live in England. Many people — including U.K. residents — argue whether the United Kingdom is a country or instead a confederation of four separate countries. The United Nations and most foreign governments treat the United Kingdom as a single nation

Citation

Report : S.A. Mason et al. Synthetic polymer contamination in bottled water. March 14, 2018 (online).

Journal:​ T. Maes et al. A rapid-screening approach to detect and quantify microplastics based on fluorescent tagging with Nile RedScientific Reports. Vol. 7, March 16, 2017. doi: 10.1038/srep44501.

Related Topics

INSIGHT: Something in the water for the plastics industry – Earlier this month,  journalism nonprofit Orb Media released a study on plastic bottles that added to the current landfill of negative press about consumer polymers and how the western world handles their disposal – Water plastics industry polyethylene terephthalate PET Water plastics  

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Sinopec raised MEG prices in April by USD162 per tonne – China China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (Sinopec), the largest oil refining company in Asia, increased the April contract prices of monoethylene glycol (MEG) in the eastern regions of China by 1,020 yuan (CNY) or USD162 per ton – Sinopec MEG prices April

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Sinopec raised MEG prices in April by USD162 per tonne

Sinopec MEG prices AprilMOSCOW  – China China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (Sinopec), the largest oil refining company in Asia, increased the April contract prices of monoethylene glycol (MEG) in the eastern regions of China by 1,020 yuan (CNY) or USD162 per ton compared to the level of March, ICIS source in the company said.

Thus, the April prices of the company’s MEG in East China are set at CNY8,500 or USD1,349 per tonne, the source said.

The company manages four MEG plants with a total capacity of 1.84 million tons per year.

Spot prices of MEG increased significantly in China in April; on April 20 amounted to CNY8 250-8 650 per ton, whereas on April 2 they were CNY7 250-7 370 per ton.

MEG is one of the main raw materials for the production of polyethylene terephthalate (PET).

According to the ICIS-MRC Price Review , the ruble’s exchange rate against the dollar and euro and rising PET prices in China continue to put pressure on the cost of the material in the European market. Prices for Russian granules grow very fast. In the Russian market, the deficit of PET is increasing. Many processors who buy the material on the spot were not ready for such a sharp rise in prices and took a wait-and-see attitude.

Sinopec Corp. is one of the world’s largest integrated energy and chemical companies. Business Sinopec Corp. includes oil and gas exploration, production and transportation of oil and gas, refining, petrochemical production, production of mineral fertilizers and other chemical products. By the volume of oil processing capacities of Sinopec Corp. occupies the second place in the world, the volume of ethylene capacity – the fourth.

mrcplast.ru

Author:                Anna Larionova

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-Europe MEG spot prices play catch up after steep Asia gains – European monoethylene glycol (MEG) spot prices are playing catch up to the recent price surges in the Asia market – Europe MEG spot prices

-Prices of MEG in Asia rose again – Price proposals for monoethylene glycol (MEG) continued to grow in the Chinese market this week, as market sentiment became more optimistic amid the near-term outlook for the situation in the polyester market – Prices MEG monoethylene glycol Asia

-European MEG sellers emboldened by Asian rebound as April talks continue -The European monoethylene glycol (MEG) initial April contract decrease fell short of original expectations, but the latest rebound in Asia seems to have renewed European sellers’ confidence in the spot market – European MEG Asian April

-The initial price for MEG in Europe for April deliveries fell by EUR20 per tonne – The initial contract price of monoethylene glycol (MEG) in Europe for April deliveries was agreed at the level of EUR965 per tonne, which is EUR20 per ton lower than the March contract prices – Price MEG Europe April

-China’s MEG up in anticipations of better supply-demand for Q2 – China’s MEG market has remained rangebound for around two weeks, and domestic spot prices shivered around 7,000yuan/mt – China MEG prices market

-Prices MEG in the US may fall in April  – It is expected that prices of monoethylene glycol (MEG) in the US will decline in April due to a weakening of demand between peak seasons – Prices MEG USA April 

-AFPM ’18: EQUATE’s US MEG plant begins construction phase – CEO – AFPM 2018 EQUATE USA MEG

-Sabic reduced the April price of MEG by USD55 per tonne – Sabic, the largest Saudi petrochemical company, has lowered the contract price of monoethylene glycol (MEG) to supply material to the Asian market in April at USD55 per tonne compared to the March price level – Sabic April price MEG

-MEGlobal lowered the April contract price of MEG in Asia by USD80 per tonne – MEGlobal, the world leader in the production of monoethylene glycol (MEG) and diethylene glycol (DG), set the April contract price for MEG for Asia at USD1,100 per tonne – MEGlobal April contract price MEG Asia4

-China polyester to drive MEG, but oversupply fears – China polyester MEG oversupply – Robust demand from polyester production in China is expected to drive the Asian monoethylene glycol (MEG) market in the first half of 2018

 

 

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China domestic PE to stay firm on reduced supply, better demand – China’s domestic polyethylene (PE) prices are expected to be supported throughout the second quarter by improving demand amid tighter spot supply – China domestic PE polyethylene

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China domestic PE to stay firm on reduced supply, better demand

 Source:ICIS News

SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s domestic polyethylene (PE) prices are expected to be supported throughout the second quarter by improving demand amid tighter spot supply.

China domestic PE polyethylene

On 20 April, linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) prices were assessed at Chinese yuan (CNY) 9,550/tonne ($1,516/tonne) EXWH (ex-warehouse) east China, up by 3.2% from 27 March, according to ICIS data.

Over the same period, prices of low density polyethylene (LDPE) rose by 5% to CNY9,975/tonne EXWH east China, the data showed.

China domestic PE polyethylene

Spot availability in April is limited due to a concentration of plant turnarounds, as well as unplanned shutdowns. Inventory will decline further with more plants due to shut for maintenance.

Naphtha-based PE and polypropylene (PP) inventories at domestic producers were recorded at around 800,000 tonnes last week, down from more than 1m tonnes in mid-March, according to ICIS data.

Suppliers have been raising offers in view of improving demand.

Demand from downstream cable and packaging film production has been robust, an east China-based trader said.

Meanwhile, some traders were stocking up on cargoes ahead of the expected cut in China’s value-added tax (VAT) on the manufacturing sector in May to 16% from 17%.

“The cut in VAT may lead to a short-lived increase in PE buying momentum. Margins will widen to some extent if we stock up in April and sell them in May,” a trader said.

The PE price uptrend, however, has deterred some downstream buyers, which retreated to the sidelines. Some market players noted that the recent decline in LLDPE futures may weigh down on the spot market.

On 20 April, the September 2018 LLDPE contract at the Dalian Commodity Exchange (DCE) closed at CNY9,130/tonne, down 1.62% from the previous day.

Meanwhile, supply may get a boost at the end of the month, when CNOOC and Shell Petrochemicals Co (CSPC) is due to begin production at its 700,000 tonne/year PE plant in Huizhou, Guangdong province. But the start-up schedule is still fluid, according to company sources. The unit is currently undergoing trial runs.

Traders may raise their import volumes from the Middle East amid an open arbitrage window, as Chinese domestic prices spiked in the second half of April, market sources said.

LLDPE cargoes were offered on 19 April at $1,160/tonne CFR (cost & freight) China, lower by $75/tonne compared with the ex-warehouse price in east China, according to ICIS data.

China domestic PE polyethylene

($1 = CNY6.30)

Focus article by Lucy Shuai

Picture: Ningbo-Zhoushan port in Zhejiang province, China. (Source: ImagineChina/REX/Shutterstock)

By Lucy Shuai
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EMEA petrochemicals outlook, w/c Apr 23 – The European ethylene market looks stable as the recent length has cleared following a spate of exports to Asia – EMEA petrochemicals outlook

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EMEA petrochemicals outlook, w/c Apr 23

London (Platts)-

The European ethylene market looks stable as the recent length has cleared following a spate of exports to Asia.

OLEFINS

For propylene, early expectations for the May contract price are mixed, with some market participants expecting a rollover but others predicting an increase on the back of stronger feedstock prices.

The European butadiene market remains tight, with market sources attributing this to both good demand and limited crude C4 availability. However, sellers are continuing to seek export opportunities.

Meanwhile, contract price negotiations are expected to get underway in earnest this week. The continuing gap between spot and contract price levels is already a talking point in the market.

POLYMERS

EMEA petrochemicals outlook The polyethylene market in Europe looks to fairly stable with a perception among some participants that the bottom has now been reached for LDPE. Sentiment is expected to improve owing to the seasonal rise in volumes.

As for polypropylene, demand is picking up in Europe after an unusually quiet start of the month, and as market players try to secure material before the propylene contract price settlement for May.

Large price increases in Asia and the upcoming high-demand season in Europe look set to underpin European PET prices. Imports from Asia remain uncompetitive because of the price rises. Feedstock PTA production has been affected due to outages in Europe, which is expected to impact PET availability in May.

In the polystyrene and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene markets, expected price decreases in May are likely to limit buying activity for the rest of April. However, some concerns for availability have crept up for May-June as inventories at converters are heard to be low.

In addition, imports are expected to remain limited as offers from Asia are uncompetitive, in light of the bearish outlook for prices in May-June.

AROMATICS

European styrene prices are expected to ease amid an improvement in supplies globally. In addition, imports from the US will continue to loosen fundamentals, keeping the market backwardated. In the feedstock benzene market, plentiful supplies have kept prices disconnected from the bullish energy complex.

There is limited upside to benzene prices, although production in the downstream styrene market is set to rise in Europe with plants coming back online. Toluene and MX demand remains weak for prompt dates as downstream TDI and PTA plant outages persist.

While bids have been seen for May dates in recent trading sessions, it remains to be seen whether May selling interest surfaces this week.

METHANOL/AA

Planned ongoing and upcoming turnarounds both within and outside of Europe remain the main talking point in the European methanol market, as the market prepares for production stoppages throughout the second quarter.

Good demand levels, typical of the season, have been further supported by these preparations. Downstream, European acetic acid prices near seven-year highs rose further last week to Eur800/mt FD NWE on persistent global supply tightness.

Europe-based traders in acetic acid have also been seeking June volumes in a market normally typified by prompter trading, seller sources said Thursday, as market participants seek to secure and lock down volumes further out.

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-MEGlobal lowered the April contract price of MEG in Asia by USD80 per tonne – MEGlobal, the world leader in the production of monoethylene glycol (MEG) and diethylene glycol (DG), set the April contract price for MEG for Asia at USD1,100 per tonne – MEGlobal April contract price MEG Asia4

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Are there suitable materials for making biodegradable plastic besides corn and sugarcane? – Dear EarthTalk: What are suitable materials for making biodegradable plastic besides corn and sugarcane? Is pineapple or peanut suitable? – Suitable materials biodegradable plastic corn sugarcane

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Are there suitable materials for making biodegradable plastic besides corn and sugarcane?

Suitable materials biodegradable plastic corn sugarcane Dear EarthTalk: What are suitable materials for making biodegradable plastic besides corn and sugarcane? Is pineapple or peanut suitable?
– 
Yu Hong Yap, Malaysia

Biodegradable plastic is defined as any form of plastic that can break down into its constituent components in the environment within days, weeks or months without leaving behind potentially toxic residue. The term bioplastic refers to any form of plastic derived from organic or plant-based materials rather than petroleum, regardless of whether it can break down (biodegrade) easily in the environment. Thus, the two terms are not necessarily the same, although many use the terms interchangeably.

The most common iteration of bioplastic, so-called PLA (polylactic acid) plastic, is typically derived from corn or sugarcane—and is biodegradable. Since we know how to grow these food crops so well, using the minimal amount of land for the highest yield, we can create bioplastic pretty efficiently. But given still exploding global human population numbers and more hungry mouths to feed, many wonder if it makes sense to take away land that could be used to grow food to make more plastic, even if it is biodegradable.

To avoid wasting food crops to make plastic, researchers have pioneered new formulations of biodegradable plastic derived from feedstock not suitable for food or feed, such as wood, wheat straw, bagasse, corn cobs, palm fruit bunches, switch grass and waste vegetable oil. In Europe, the Mars candy company is using potato waste in its biodegradable wrappers for Snickers bars. Likewise, there’s no reason why pineapple or peanut couldn’t work as a feedstock—though market conditions usually dictate that such products fetch a higher price as food, especially since they don’t have to be processed as they would if they become bioplastic.

Yet another even more futuristic category of bioplastic feedstock uses algae or even carbon dioxide or methane waste to produce biodegradable plastic. These so-called “third generation” or “nextgen” feedstocks do double duty by both creating biodegradable plastic and removing pollutants that would otherwise contribute to climate change or eutrophication (an excessive buildup of nutrients in waterways that causes a dense growth of plant life and death of animal life from lack of oxygen).

While biodegradable plastic is hardly commonplace yet on store shelves, there are actions consumers can take to move things along. Encourage manufacturers to switch to biodegradable plastics and stop buying products made with conventional plastic. Sign the Earth Day Network’s petition to end plastic pollution.

While no one can reasonably argue against replacing conventional plastics with biodegradable ones, researchers from the UK’s University of Portsmouth and the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory accidentally developed an enzyme that breaks down conventional plastic into its constituent parts. This discovery could revolutionize recycling and be a Godsend for marine and terrestrial ecosystems beset by plastic waste.

“We can all play a significant part in dealing with the plastic problem,” says the University of Portsmouth’s John McGeehan. “But the scientific community who ultimately created these ‘wonder-materials’, must now use all the technology at their disposal to develop real solutions.”

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-IIT produce biodegradable packaging from artichokes – The Smart Materials research team at the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT), led by Athanassia Athanassiou, in collaboration with Genoa’s Wholesale market management company (SGM), and Ascom Confcommercio, presented in Berlin a circular economy project –IIT biodegradable packaging artichokes

Bio-lutions turns agricultural waste into biodegradable packaging – Biolutions agricultural waste biodegradable packaging

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The benefits of sustainable manufacturing – Modern resins used for plastic injection molding are something of a miracle of engineering. Strong, durable and colorful, plastics are employed to make useful products of every possible description – Benefits sustainable manufacturing plastic injection molding

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The benefits of sustainable manufacturing

by: Gordon Styles
Benefits sustainable manufacturing plastic injection molding

Modern resins used for plastic injection molding are something of a miracle of engineering. Strong, durable and colorful, plastics are employed to make useful products of every possible description. Earth Day 2018 on April 22 reminds us that there is a downside to the misuse of plastics, both for ourselves and all the other creatures with which we share this planet.

Benefits sustainable manufacturing plastic injection molding

Our safety and environmental practices may meet legal requirements, but we don’t think that’s good enough. As a manufacturer, it’s important that you take steps to continuously improve services and efforts that benefit the communities you work in. Let’s explore some benefits of sustainable manufacturing.

PLASTEC East puts the latest plastics innovations on display from new materials and additives to rapid prototyping and injection molding. Source from leading suppliers and network with thousands of industry experts who can help advance your projects.

To meet international safety and environmental regulations, it’s important to offer a world-class incoming materials inspection service. This allows manufacturers to make sure they get exactly the materials that were ordered, not a substitute or, even worse, a fake. Sadly, fraudulent materials exist in the supply chain. Not only will these materials fail to meet a manufacturer’s requirements but using them can be unsafe and even void a company’s own regulatory compliance, for example, for RoHS certification in Europe.

Benefits sustainable manufacturing plastic injection molding

At Star Rapid, we constantly work to cull out any non-conforming materials and the suppliers who provide them. Non-standard materials may contain corrosive ingredients that will damage equipment when processed, as well as release toxic fumes. The sooner manufactures can report suspect suppliers, the sooner they will be closed down, which benefits the overall supply chain.

To ensure your manufacturing team is not exposed to hazardous chemicals, it’s essential to stay in compliance and meet certifications like ISO 14001 and BS OHSAS 18001.

Creating processes to reduce waste

Managing every step of the production process and using only best practices avoid costly and wasteful mistakes. This includes weighing and mixing of pigments, drying, careful machine set-up and final processing.

Benefits sustainable manufacturing plastic injection molding

At Star Rapid, we operate in an environment with high humidity much of the year. Unfortunately, some plastics are very good at absorbing moisture. If the plastic pellets become contaminated with moisture, they will not melt or inject properly, the process will be uncontrollable and the parts will be ruined. Damaged parts are not just bad for business—they become wasted material that must be effectively handled.

Manufacturers in high-humidity environments must operate within a climate-controlled facility. In our facility, we also have dedicated stainless-steel drying hoppers at every machine to safeguard the quality of the parts created. This step helps to standardize the process and keep defective material out of the waste stream.

Recycling and reusing

As a manufacturer, efficiency is always a priority. However, there is always some scrap left over, usually from the sprue/runner system of the plastic injection mold. Although unavoidable, this scrap doesn’t need to be just thrown away.

At Star Rapid, we segregate all of our plastic scrap according to major types—nylon, PE, PP, UHDP, styrene and so forth. These materials are then sent to a licensed recycler to be reused. Wherever possible, material is re-ground back into plastic pellets and used again with no loss in functionality—a notable benefit of thermoforming resin. Recycling and reusing saves money, energy, natural resources and keeps unnecessary plastic out of the environment.

Benefits sustainable manufacturing plastic injection molding

Working toward a sustainable future

3D printing has proven to be a very efficient production method as it creates a smaller carbon footprint since there is less waste and it requires less energy.

There are also many promising developments on the horizon for new types of materials to supplement or even replace plastics as we know them, like vitrimers. As they become more commercially viable, manufacturers should be curious about researching their use and putting them to work on the manufacturing floor for the next rapid prototyping or low-volume manufacturing order.

Gordon Styles is the founder and president of Star Rapid, a provider of rapid prototyping, rapid tooling and low-volume production services. Utilizing his background in engineering, Styles founded Star Rapid in 2005 and under his leadership the company has expanded to 250 employees. With an international team of engineers and technicians, Star Rapid combines advanced technologies—such as 3D printing and multi-axis CNC machining—with traditional manufacturing techniques and high-quality standards. Prior to Star Rapid, Styles owned and managed the United Kingdom’s largest rapid prototyping and rapid tooling company, STYLES RPD, which was sold to ARRK Europe in 2000.

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Polymer Solutions acquires Phoenix Chemical – Polymer Solutions Group acquired Phoenix Chemical Co. Inc. in February as part of an effort to strengthen its position in the soft floor market and to broaden the reach of its product line, according to its president and CEO – Polymer Solutions Phoenix Chemical

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Polymer Solutions acquires Phoenix Chemical

Polymer Solutions Phoenix Chemical

CALHOUN, Ga.—Polymer Solutions Group acquired Phoenix Chemical Co. Inc. in February as part of an effort to strengthen its position in the soft floor market and to broaden the reach of its product line, according to its president and CEO.

Based in Calhoun, PSG is a leading manufacturer of specialty polymers and additives and a portfolio company of venture capital firm Arsenal Capital Partners. It offers niche solutions serving customers in the rubber, wood, consumer, construction and medical industries. The acquisition of Phoenix Chemical was the latest in a string of purchases for PSG, which has eight manufacturing facilities and now employs more than 500 people in Georgia, Ohio and England.

Phoenix Chemical is a specialty chemical manufacturer and distributor focused on the carpet, textile, water treatment, and household, industrial and institutional chemicals markets. The acquisition allows PSG to gain further in-house knowledge in the formulated chemical systems area that allows for enhanced processes, performance and protection for its products, President and CEO Mike Ivany said.

“PSG and Phoenix were strong players in the carpet protection market and in soft floor covering and hard surfaces, and this acquisition gives us really strong technologies in this space and an incredible group of knowledgeable professionals,” said Ivany, adding that about 100 new employees came to PSG as part of the acquisition with no layoffs. Phoenix Chemical President John Bryant also remained in a leadership role.

“Our goal is to build a platform that provides compound solutions and enhanced benefits across such market verticals as construction and the rubber manufacturing (mostly tire) industries,” Ivany said.

Polymer Solutions Phoenix Chemical

Mike Ivany

PSG is a manufacturer of specialty polymers and additives for the rubber, wood, consumer, construction and medical industries. PSG was formed by Arsenal Capital Partners in 2015 with the acquisition of Peach State Labs in Rome, Ga.

Flow Polymers in Cleveland; Sasco Chemical in Albany, Ga.; and Alkon Solutions in Leeds, England, were added in 2016 as part of an acquisition push. And in July 2017, the firm acquired Michelman Inc., a major supplier of release agents to the engineered wood market.

These acquisitions also have led PSG to build on its internal chemistry expertise, Ivany said, which has led to further expansion in the rubber market. The combined knowledge has given the company the ability to develop unique chemistry combinations for construction and other industries that have applications in the rubber market and allow PSG to offer more products.

One example is the manufacturing of silica as opposed to the use of carbon black filler. This trend is occurring because of the need to reduce rolling resistance and improve wet traction within the industry, Ivany said. Branded as SureMix by PSG, the company is building a new plant in Albany that will manufacture the filler. It is expected to be finished by the fourth quarter of 2018 and will include nearly 20,000 tons of capacity at the site of the former headquarters of Sasco.

That investment in silica filler represents a significant growth opportunity for the company, Ivany said.

“We feel like we have put together some really high-performing companies and continue to grow each of the core businesses,” the executive said.

SureMix was developed for tire and rubber component manufacturers to reduce mixing time and processing costs; increase green compound shelf life; reduce energy consumption; increase silica loading or surface area; lower rolling resistance; and enhance tire handling and wet grip.

Details of the Phoenix acquisition were not released, and while Ivany declined to share specific revenue figures, he did say PSG has experienced double-digit revenue growth over the past few years that have been further enhanced with the aforementioned acquisitions. “But organically we have (seen) double-digit growth as well,” Ivany said.

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-British biotechnology – Industrial biotechnology (IB) is the process of using natural resources to create new chemicals and ingredients; taking micro-organisms and enzymes to generate industrially useful products in a growing range of sectors, including biofuels, chemicals, textiles, food and drink -British biotechnology

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