THE CHEMICAL INDUSTRY AND U.N. SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOAL 17: PARTNERSHIPS FOR THE GOALS

THE CHEMICAL INDUSTRY AND U.N. SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOAL 17: PARTNERSHIPS FOR THE GOALS

 

For Resinate’s 2019 blog series, we will focus on a particular U.N. Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) and the chemical industry’s impact. If you are not familiar with the goals, Pyxera Global has an excellent infographic that provides a nice summary.

 

Goal 17 is all about revitalizing the global partnership for sustainable development. Global change and requires that everyone comes together – government, academia, NGOs, individuals, and the private sector. Goal 17 may not initially strike you as one of the most important of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, but one could argue that without partnerships, the prospect of achieving the other 16 goals will be difficult, if not impossible.

The Dow Chemical Company is one business taking action. The company has a 2025 goal to positively impact the lives of 1 billion people by engaging employees for impact. DowCorps is making this goal a reality through a partnership with Pyxera Global – and the Leadership in Action Program. Through this program, Dow employees work virtually for several months, then in-country for one week to solve challenges facing non-profit organizations in countries like Ethiopia, Ghana, and Indonesia. These projects address education, sustainable farming, access to clean water, and urban housing. The result is beneficial for all parties – including resolution of long-term issues for the non-profits and communities; exceptional training for participating employees; and business penetration into new markets for Dow. 

At Resinate, our team is continuously seeking opportunities to collaborate on change. We were proud to recently host U.S. Representative Haley Stevens at our facility for a discussion around plastic waste; the future of sustainable chemistry; and partnering to advance recycling and upcycling efforts. Our team has also been working to support U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow’s work to address the climate crisis, and the introduction of the  RECYCLE Act. Additionally, we continue to participate in events like the Net Impact Conference, GC3 Innovators Roundtable, and the Michigan Sustainability Conference where we work to connect and form new partnerships. I look forward to sharing some of our newest projects with you in the coming year.

The health of people, environment, and business are intrinsically linked. Through the transformative power of partnerships, we can leverage the unique strengths of all and make the transition to a sustainable society and planet.

“We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Mark Maxwell
Business Director

 

The Chemical Industry’s Answer to the Plastic Waste Problem

The Chemical Industry’s Answer to the Plastic Waste Problem

 

This bi-monthly blog series will focus on the growing global issue of plastic waste in the environment. In it, we will discuss the threat plastic waste poses to the environment and economies around the globe, solutions on the horizon, as well as companies and organizations that are, like Resinate, working to make a difference.

Plastic pollution is a problem that crosses borders and sectors. It is a massive, growing issue that we can no longer ignore. Americans alone discard over 30 million tons of plastic each year, and only 8-9% of it is recycled. Because it does not biodegrade, it is seeping into our groundwater, making its way into our food chain, polluting our oceans, threatening wildlife, and affecting human health. In our oceans alone, plastic debris outweighs zooplankton by a ratio of 36-to-1.1

Thanks to increased awareness, and pressure from consumers, some of the largest companies in the world are committing to make a difference. Coca-Cola has set a goal to collect and recycle the equivalent of every bottle or can it sells globally by 2030. McDonald’s (the world’s largest company2) has set sustainability goals that include having 100% of its guest packaging come from renewable, recycled, or certified sources, as well as recycling guest packaging in every McDonald’s by 2025.

With over 96% of all manufactured goods being touched by the chemical industry3, our sector is uniquely positioned to help solve one of the biggest challenges of our time. Traditional mechanical recycling processes degrade PET each time it is reprocessed, rendering it useless after about six cycles.4 This traditional method of recycling doesn’t provide the performance and value that the chemical industry has already delivered. Companies like Resinate have developed various innovative processes and technologies that recover the raw materials and performance characteristics of plastics, putting them to use in higher-value applications.

Agilyx, for example, utilizes pyrolysis to break down polystyrene waste into useful styrene monomers and also has processes for converting other difficult to recycle mixed plastics into valuable resources, like high-grade synthetic crude oil.

French start-up Carbios has developed a process in which enzymes are embedded into plastic materials – thereby enabling them to fully biodegrade into base molecules that can be assimilated by the micro-organisms in nature. Through their joint venture, Carbiolice, they are working with fellow French company Limagrain Céréales Ingrédients to deploy their Evanesto® technology to make enzymatically-produced PLA-based articles like grocery bags, disposable dishes, packaging, agricultural films, and other products which are fully compostable.

In case you missed it, the October issue of Chemical & Engineering News had an excellent article on chemical recycling of plastics that featured Resinate, these companies, and others.

Dr. Jason Rochette
Research Associate

 

1. https://www.plasticpollutioncoalition.org/the-facts 2. https://corporate.mcdonalds.com/corpmcd/scale-for-good/packaging-and-recycling.html#actions 3. https://www.americanchemistry.com/Our_Industry/   4. https://cen.acs.org/content/cen/articles/97/i39/Plastic-problem-chemical-recycling-solution.html

Gary Spilman, Ph.D. to Present at 2019 Western Coatings Symposium

PRESS RELEASE 

Gary Spilman, Ph.D. to Present at 2019 Western Coatings Symposium

Resinate Materials Group, a company advancing the use of recycled content in specialty polyols, is pleased to announce that Dr. Gary Spilman, Research Fellow, will present at the 2019 Western Coatings Symposium.

Dr. Spilman’s presentation, titled Unlocking Additional Benefits in Sustainability: Synergies of Biorenewable with Recycle Content for the Future of Performance Coatings, will review how Resinate has achieved polyol and coating innovations using recycled and renewable content. Resinate will be exhibiting in booth 206 this year.

Western Coatings Symposium, an annual technical conference for the coatings industry, will bring academics and scientists together on October 20-23, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Dr. Spilman is scheduled to present at 1:45 p.m., on Wednesday, October 23, 2019. For more information, or to register, visit www.westerncoatings.org/.

 

About Resinate Materials Group

Resinate Materials Group is committed to advancing the use of recycled content in specialty polyols, the backbone of materials such as coatings, adhesives, sealants, elastomers, and foams. Since 2007, Resinate has been innovating ways to divert landfill waste, extend the lifecycle of finite resources, and upcycle used molecules into valuable green chemistry solutions.

For more information, contact Resinate at +1 (800) 891-2955, or visit www.resinateinc.com.

THE CHEMICAL INDUSTRY AND U.N. SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOAL 15: LIFE ON LAND

THE CHEMICAL INDUSTRY AND U.N. SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOAL 15: LIFE ON LAND

For Resinate’s 2019 blog series, we will focus on a particular U.N. Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) and the chemical industry’s impact. If you are not familiar with the goals, Pyxera Global has an excellent infographic that provides a nice summary.

Eighty percent of the world’s land-based species live in forests.1 13.2 million people have a job in the forest sector, and another 41 million have a job related to the sector. Forests cover 31% of the land area on our planet and are one of the largest carbon sinks, absorbing nearly 40% of the fossil-fuel emissions humans produce.2 Forested watershed and wetlands supply 75% of the world’s accessible freshwater.3 They provide us with shelter, livelihoods, food, water, fuel security, and purify our water and air– yet we still allow them to disappear. According to World Wildlife Fund (WWF), we are losing 18.7 million acres of forest annually, equivalent to 27 soccer fields every minute.1

For Forest Enterprise Scotland, chemicals play a key role in protecting forests. The organization uses chemicals to protect their young trees from weevils – which destroy 50% of untreated newly planted and or naturally regenerating trees on average. By thoughtfully selecting trees that are likely to have a major weevil threat and treating trees in a very targeted way, they are able to minimize environmental impact while protecting many of the £5 million worth of trees lost by the UK forestry industry each year.4

Products like tall oil, commonly used in the chemical industry are derived from pine trees. According to the Pine Chemicals Association, their industry has used selective pollination and genetic engineering to develop hybrid pine trees that grow 2-3 times faster and yield 2-4 times more oleoresin per tree. They have also developed new tapping methods to further improve yields. The industry has become quite sustainable thanks to these innovations which protect trees and improve forestry. Additional sustainability improvements include the replanting of harvested trees and embracing the concept of “cascading use of biomass resources.” This concept allows all parts of the tree to be used for the highest possible value, whether that be primary raw materials like crude tall oil, paper, or fuel.5

At Resinate, we are continuously evaluating our supply chain for sustainable sourcing of our feedstocks. In addition, one of our core focus areas is on developing high-performance polyols for wood coatings. After all, the better we can protect our wood surfaces, like wood flooring or a garden fence, the longer they will last, and the less raw material wood is consumed.

With innovation, sustainable chemistry will continue to enable more efficient use of our natural resources and play an essential role in creating solutions that protect our forests and all that depend on them.

Lama Alzuhd
Coatings Chemist

 

1. https://www.worldwildlife.org/threats/deforestation-and-forest-degradation 2. https://www.rainforest-alliance.org/articles/what-is-sustainable-forestry 3. https://www.americanforests.org/blog/international-day-of-forests-2016-the-importance-of-forests-and-water/   4. https://forestryandland.gov.scot/blog/why-we-use-chemicals-to-protect-young-trees  5. https://cdn.ymaws.com/www.pinechemicals.org/resource/resmgr/Studies/PCA-_Global_Impact_of_the_Mo.pdf

Innovating with Plastics

Innovating with Plastics

This bi-monthly blog series will focus on the growing global issue of plastic waste in the environment. In it, we will discuss the threat plastic waste poses to the environment and economies around the globe, solutions on the horizon, as well as companies and organizations that are, like Resinate, working to make a difference.

In a world where one million plastic drinking bottles are purchased every minute and five trillion single-use plastic bags are used every year1, it seems impossible to manage the amount of plastic waste being generated. An Ellen Macarthur Foundation report found that most plastic packaging is only used once – resulting in $80-120 billion in value of plastic packaging material lost annually. Innovation is the key to capturing this value and preventing plastic waste from becoming even more ubiquitous in the natural environment.

Eastman recently launched ‘carbon renewal technology’ that is capable of recycling some of the most difficult plastic waste, including flexible packaging and plastic films like grocery bags. Their innovative technology would allow this waste to be diverted from landfills and converted into building blocks for products like methyl acetate, acetic acid, and acetic anhydride. These valuable molecules are then used to manufacture cellulosic performance films for items such as eyeglass frames and LCD screens. Eastman has now completed pilot tests and expects commercial production this year by leveraging existing assets.

Polyethylene (used for grocery and trash bags, bubble wrap, flexible packaging, etc.) accounts for a third of all plastics produced globally. 97% of post-consumer plastic films end up in landfills and oceans, making films the most prevalently found marine plastic pollution.2 A California based company, Biocellection, has created an innovative process that turns this plastic waste into chemical intermediates including succinic acid, adipic acid, and azelaic acid. These materials are typically produced using petroleum – but this solution replaces fossil fuel with one of the most common, and difficult to recycle types of plastic waste.

In order to move toward a circular economy for plastics, we need to make the process of recycling more efficient. Ocean Optics is working to improve the sorting step of this process with near-infrared spectroscopy. By measuring the spectral differences between the polymer types that make up different types of plastics, this technology makes sorting more accurate and effective. This results in both lower costs and purer, more consistent material for recycling which can then be taken downstream for value-added materials.

At Resinate, we continue to develop innovative products that create a circular economy for plastics, upcycling them into polyols for higher-value applications. We are passionate about our work and the problem it aims to help solve – thus are always thinking about ways to find solutions for plastic waste, and continuously seek opportunities to collaborate.

Mike Christy
Technical Account Manager

 

1. https://www.unenvironment.org/interactive/beat-plastic-pollution/
2. http://www.closedlooppartners.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/FilmRecyclingInvestmentReport_Final.pdf

Resinate Materials Group® Welcomed Congresswoman Haley Stevens

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Resinate Materials Group® Welcomed Congresswoman Haley Stevens

Plymouth, MI. (August 22, 2019) — Resinate Materials Group was pleased to welcome Congresswoman Haley Stevens for a discussion on the future of sustainable chemistry and plastics waste during a tour of their facility on Wednesday, August 21.

Congresswoman Stevens is a member of the United States House of Representatives from Michigan’s 11th congressional district – home to Resinate’s headquarters and R&D Center. Stevens sits on the House Committee on Education & Labor, and the House Committee on Science, Space & Technology, where she also serves as Chairwoman of the Research & Technology Subcommittee.

Stevens is a cosponsor of Bill H.R. 2051, which proposes federal coordination of activities supporting sustainable chemistry.  “As a pioneer in green chemistry, Resinate was pleased to host Representative Stevens and discuss the importance of this bill, as well as express support of her efforts to address the global issue of plastic waste and the development of a national recycling strategy” stated Resinate CEO, Brian Chermside.

Representative Stevens in summarizing the visit highlighted that she is “looking forward to partnering on future recycling and green manufacturing efforts”!

About Resinate Materials Group
Resinate Materials Group is committed to advancing the use of recycled content in specialty polyols, the backbone of materials such as coatings, adhesives, sealants, elastomers, and foams. Since 2007, Resinate has been innovating ways to divert landfill waste, extend the lifecycle of finite resources, and upcycle used molecules into valuable green chemistry solutions.

For more information, contact Resinate at +1 (800) 891-2955, or visit www.resinateinc.com.

THE CHEMICAL INDUSTRY AND U.N. SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOAL 14: LIFE BELOW WATER

THE CHEMICAL INDUSTRY AND U.N. SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOAL 14: LIFE BELOW WATER

For Resinate’s 2019 blog series, we will focus on a particular U.N. Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) and the chemical industry’s impact. If you are not familiar with the goals, Pyxera Global has an excellent infographic that provides a nice summary.

Our rainwater, climate, weather, drinking water, much of our food, and the oxygen in the air we breathe are all regulated or provided by the world’s oceans. Over three billion people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihoods – with the global market value of marine and coastal resources and industries estimated at $3 trillion per year.1 Unfortunately, overfishing, ocean acidification, and pollution are having adverse effects on this essential global resource, its ecosystems, and biodiversity.

Ocean acidity has increased by 26% since pre-industrial times and is expected to rapidly increase by 100-150% by 2100.2 This increase endangers marine life and impacts the ability of the ocean to absorb C02 – this is highly important in buffering the impacts of global warming, as oceans currently absorb about 30% of carbon dioxide produced by humans. The World Business Council for Sustainable Development has created a roadmap to identify key impact opportunities for which companies like Eastman have incorporated actions into their goal setting and corporate reporting. With ocean acidification and goal 14 as major reasons, Eastman has committed to a 20% reduction in their greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.3

About 80% of marine pollution originates on land.4 This includes agricultural run-off, sewage, and plastics. Plastics are a key focus for us at Resinate, as you may have seen in one of our many conference presentations, articles, website or Plastics Blog. Plastics have become essential to modern life and are, in many ways, superior to their alternatives. (The British Plastics Federation estimates that alternative materials to plastics would result in 2.7 times more greenhouse gas emissions over their lifetime.5) However, our lack of a circular model for design and use of plastics has resulted in dire consequences for our oceans.  Eight million tons of plastic enter the ocean each year, the weight of nearly 90 aircraft carriers. Microplastics (tiny pieces of plastic less than 5 mm long, often found as exfoliants in beauty products, or resulting from larger plastic debris being broken down) in the seas now outnumber stars in our galaxy.6

Many efforts are underway to reduce and avert marine pollution.  Much like Resinate, 3M is also working to find new, higher-value outlets for plastic waste. This month, they announced 3M Thinsulate™ Insulation made with 100% recycled content from plastic bottles.7 Understanding that collaboration between government, NGOs, and corporations is key to achieving the SDGs, Dow has become a leader in this space. They have invested in the World Economic Forum’s Global Plastic Action Partnership to fast-track circular economy solutions for plastics.  Dow has also invested in Circulate Capital, a $100 million effort to create infrastructure that prevents the flow of plastic waste into our oceans. In addition, they are a founding member of the Alliance to End Plastic Waste, intend to donate an additional $1 million to Ocean Conservancy over the next two years, and are working with governments and other stakeholders in Southeast Asia, the United States, and Africa to create a circular economy, turning recycled plastic into durable roads.8

With innovation, chemistry will continue to enable more efficient use of our natural resources and play an essential role in creating solutions that reduce pollution of all types – protecting our oceans and all that depend on them.

Dr. Gary Spilman
Research Fellow

1. https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/oceans/ – Facts and Figures
2. https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Infographic-Life-Below-Water.pdf

3. https://www.eastman.com/Company/Sustainability/Reporting/Environmental/Pages/Greenhouse_Gas.aspx

4. https://www.unenvironment.org/explore-topics/oceans-seas/what-we-do/addressing-land-based-pollution

5. https://www.bbc.com/news/business-42646025

6. https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/story/caribbean-addresses-scourge-plastic-pollution

7. https://news.3m.com/stories/Reinventing-Warmth-With-Recycled-Plastic?utm_term=corp-susta-en_us-ba-susty2019-osm-lin-na-learn-photocard-jul19-na

8. 2018 Dow Sustainability Report

Turning the Tide on Plastic Waste

Turning the Tide on Plastic Waste

This bi-monthly blog series will focus on the growing global issue of plastic waste in the environment. In it, we will discuss the threat plastic waste poses to the environment and economies around the globe, solutions on the horizon, as well as companies and organizations that are, like Resinate, working to make a difference.

Each year, we are producing over 300 million tons of plastic waste, nearly equivalent to the weight of the human population.1 That level of production, paired with inadequate infrastructure for collection and recycling, has resulted in undeniable consequences. A middle of the road estimate on how much plastic waste ends up in the ocean each year is 8.8 million tons – equivalent to five plastic grocery bags stuffed with plastic trash sitting on every foot of coastline around the world.2 Every year, one million birds and over 100,000 sea mammals are injured or die due to ingesting plastic or becoming entangled.3 Only 9% of all plastic waste ever produced has been recycled, 12% has been incinerated, while the remaining 79% percent has ended up either in a landfill or the natural environment.1 So, what are we going to do about it?

Governments are beginning to lead the way to change – 60 countries have signed on to the UN Environment Clean Seas campaign to tackle marine plastic pollution. India, who as of 2017 was among the top four biggest plastic polluters in the world4, has announced that it will eliminate all single-use plastic by 2022.5 This month, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that they will ban harmful single-use plastics by 2021. In this announcement, the Prime Minister points out not only the effect plastic pollution has on animals and the environment, but the effect on the Canadian economy – estimating that the plastic waste thrown away by Canadians each year represents $8 billion in lost value.

Businesses are receiving pressure not only from new legislation like these, but from the public, and even their investors. In June of last year, a group of 25 investors managing more than one trillion in assets demanded that Nestlé SA, PepsiCo Inc., Procter & Gamble Co., and Unilever NV reduce their use of plastic packaging. Nestlé, the world’s largest packaged food company is taking this pressure seriously. The company has begun eliminating all plastic straws in its products, transitioning them to paper. This is the first step in Nestlé’s promise to eliminate all single-serve plastic from its line and to make 100% of its packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025. This promise applies to its 2,000 brands. To accomplish this task, Nestlé has created the Nestlé Institute of Packaging Sciences, dedicated to the “discovery and development of functional, safe and environmentally friendly packaging solutions.” The largest market for plastics today is packaging, and packaging waste now accounts for nearly half of all plastic waste generated globally – most of it is never recycled or incinerated.2

Plastic is a versatile material that has improved and become essential to modern life – offering performance at a low cost, often with environmental benefit. According to the British Plastics Federation, alternative materials to plastic would result in 2.7 times more greenhouse gas emissions over their lifetime.6 Plastic itself is not the culprit, it is our design and use. 40 percent of plastic is used just once before being thrown away2, with only 14 percent being recycled.6 Innovation and collaboration are required to create circular solutions for these valuable molecules. At Resinate, we are working to do our part in solving this issue by developing partnerships and technology to create new outlets for plastic waste, like water bottles. If you are interested in some of the innovations being developed today, we were recently featured in an excellent report by Closed Loop Partners: Accelerating Circular Supply Chains for Plastics – A Landscape of Transformational Technologies that Stop Plastic Waste, Keep Materials in Play and Grow Markets. We look forward to sharing more on this subject in the coming months.

Mark Maxwell
Business Director

1. https://www.unenvironment.org/interactive/beat-plastic-pollution/
2. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2018/06/plastic-planet-waste-pollution-trash-crisis/
3. https://pm.gc.ca/eng/news/2019/06/10/canada-ban-harmful-single-use-plastics-and-hold-companies-responsible-plastic-waste
4. https://www.indiatimes.com/news/india/all-forms-of-disposable-plastic-banned-in-delhi-ncr-270237.html
5. https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/press-release/india-sets-pace-global-race-beat-plastic-pollution?_ga=2.126162957.1812716461.1561470071-1954872875.1561470071
6. https://www.bbc.com/news/business-42646025

The Chemical Industry and U.N. Sustainable Development Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

The Chemical Industry and U.N. Sustainable Development Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

 

 For Resinate’s 2019 blog series, each entry will focus on a particular U.N. Sustainable Development Goal and the chemical industry’s impact. If you are not familiar with the goals, Pyxera Global has an excellent infographic that provides a nice summary.

As the population and economic growth have increased, so has resource use. If the population reaches 9.6 billion by 2050, we will need about 3 Earths to sustain our current lifestyles. The need to do more with fewer resources is evident. Goal 12 aims to do just this.

Responsible consumption and production is about reducing resource use, degradation and pollution through promoting resource efficiency, energy efficiency, and sustainable infrastructure. It aims at creating a better life for all by reducing future economic, environmental, and social costs, strengthening economic competitiveness, and creating jobs.

The chemical industry plays a unique role in sustainable consumption and production. With over 95% of manufactured goods being touched by chemistry, it is a four-trillion-dollar global business that affects virtually every sector.1

BASF’s Verbund concept is a prime example of how sustainable consumption and production not only produces environmental benefits, but significant cost advantages as well. BASF operates six Verbund sites worldwide where their production plants, energy and material flows, logistics, and site infrastructure are all integrated. In this type of efficient value chain, by-products from one plant can be used as raw materials elsewhere, reducing waste and resource use. The concept creates an opportunity to reduce emissions and waste, lower resource consumption, and minimize transport distances. The Verbund concept saves 6 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year and reduces transportation needs by about 280,000 truckloads per year – thereby reducing fuel consumption, pollution, and handling/storage costs.  BASF sees an annual savings of over 1.1 billion dollars through its Verbund concept.

Perhaps one of the best ways to aid in the accomplishment of the targets for goal 12 is through the creation of circular economies. As the American Chemistry Council points out, progress towards a circular economy not only includes “responsible use of natural resources, but also enables the reuse, repurposing, recycling and recovery of the value locked in materials traditionally viewed as waste.” In this type of economy, we can continuously cycle resources to not only eliminate waste but reduce our need to harvest new materials from diminishing resources.

As you may have read in previous blog posts by my colleagues, the circular economy is something that is always front of mind at Resinate. We seek to harness the inherent properties and value of the molecules in materials like plastic waste, upcycling them into higher value applications with a much longer life cycle. We have already seen that a circular economy is realistic and beneficial through partnerships with companies like Ford Motor Company.  With collaboration and innovation, we can decouple economic growth from environmental degradation and create a more sustainable future for all.

Mike Christy
Technical Account & Business Development Manager

1. https://sdgroadmaps.wbcsd.org/the-chemical-sector/#section-chemSecSDGs