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Engineering Materials
Bioplastic Injection Molding Grade Is Compostable
6/19/2013

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BASF's Ecovio F Mulch is a flexible biodegradable film, with a structure similar to that of naturally occurring polymers so it can be plowed under and broken down by microorganisms.
Source: BASF
BASF's Ecovio F Mulch is a flexible biodegradable film, with a structure similar to that of naturally occurring polymers so it can be plowed under and broken down by microorganisms. Source: BASF

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Ann R. Thryft
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Re: I like the direction this is heading
Ann R. Thryft   7/24/2013 11:29:21 AM
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The thing to remember about petro-based oil, plentiful and easy or not, is that it not only causes new CO2 emissions when burned, as do biofuels, but does not first sequester new CO2 in the environment, as plant-based biofuels do before they become biofuels. In fact, it re-releases old carbon that had already been sequestered for a really, really long time. Growing more plants to temporarily sequester new carbon before then releasing it as fuel may not decrease environmental CO2 by a lot, but it sure stops the increase, and that's why biofuels are called carbon neutral. Alternative energy like solar is also called carbon neutral since it doesn't produce any carbon to start with.

Cabe Atwell
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Re: I like the direction this is heading
Cabe Atwell   6/27/2013 11:02:49 PM
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I agree, the article was very informative on the differences between the two bioplastics and I foresee them being widely used in the near future. Not out of popularity among the 'green' crowds but out of necessity due to the demand for oil and other dwindling resources. Easy oil is gone, is it not?

C

Elizabeth M
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Re: I like the direction this is heading
Elizabeth M   6/27/2013 4:55:02 AM
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Thanks for that bit of history, JimT. So it sounds like internally there have been people inside companies trying to act environmentally friendly change for years, but then politics or downsizing (in this case) or other factors got in the way. It's good that consumer awareness and demand is bringing this issue to light again and forcing change. I hope it's not too late because I still fear those landfills will need to be cleaned--they are already jam-packed!

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: I like the direction this is heading
Ann R. Thryft   6/26/2013 3:51:57 PM
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That's an interesting story about Motorola Research, Jim. The overabundance of unrecycled plastic in landfills is not exactly a new story--there were forward-looking people worried about this back in the 1980s, but no one was really listening yet and it wasn't on most copanies' radar.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: I like the direction this is heading
Ann R. Thryft   6/26/2013 3:47:57 PM
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Jim, I put that in there just for you :)

No, really--your comment about it in another recent article on bioplastics made me realize that, even though I'd covered it in a feature last year, that was awhile ago. Thanks for helping to make this a better article.

JimT@Future-Product-Innovations
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Re: I like the direction this is heading
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   6/26/2013 3:37:26 PM
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I was with Motorola Research in 2006 and a close peer commented that he was very concerned our retirement pension funding would be rapidly depleted as funds could be diverted to cleaning Chinese land-fills jammed with our plastic, metal and other non-RoHS materials.  That guy championed an internal initiative to improve materials at Motorola, globally.  Too bad we were all eliminated the following year due to Corporate Down-sizing.

JimT@Future-Product-Innovations
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Re: I like the direction this is heading
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   6/26/2013 3:28:11 PM
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Ann- I like the distinction made here dividing Bioplastics into either Sustainables or Compostables.  This was one of the things I was confused about in previous articles on the topic.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: I like the direction this is heading
Ann R. Thryft   6/26/2013 12:49:45 PM
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Sustainability is a big subject, so we need to separate it into relevant chunks, for example, a country's companies having corporate sustainability programs versus a country having regulations and concerted industry efforts toward making alternative materials and energy sources. On the second count, Japan and the EU are way ahead of the US. Regarding corporate sustainability programs, I don't know, but would make a reasonable guess that those two regions would also be ahead of us.

Elizabeth M
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Re: I like the direction this is heading
Elizabeth M   6/26/2013 5:09:43 AM
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Well it's good to see U.S. companies respond to pressure but a shame that they didn't change their ways beforehand. It's maddening to me how the U.S. can be ahead of the game in so many ways and behind on this important issue. Why is that, do you think? I don't know enough about it to say which countries are at the leading edge. Do you know what they are?

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: I like the direction this is heading
Ann R. Thryft   6/25/2013 12:06:47 PM
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I agree. Fortunately, consumer opinion already has made a big difference, and that's a large part of why companies have sustainability programs and we have second-generation biofuels and bioplastics, as well as the CAFE fuel efficiency standards. These changes actually began about 20 years ago, but have become more visible recently. The US has not exactly been at the leading edge.

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