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Solving The Plastic Packaging Problem | Greyhound Environnmental

Solving The Plastic Packaging Problem

Plastic on the beach image

Plastic packaging is one of the worst environmental crises our planet faces today. Many forms of plastic packaging are single-use and difficult to recycle or are not eligible for recycling in many places.

While single-use plastics are falling out of favor in many western countries, some of the world’s largest countries still do not have widespread recycling programs, while their rapid population and economic growth are spurring major consumerism-focused booms.

Fossil fuel companies have invested over $180 Billion since 2010 into new facilities that produce the raw materials from petroleum that are then made into common forms of plastic. The new facilities are set to increase global plastic production by 40% in the next decade, in efforts to create and meet demand in burgeoning markets for fast and cheap goods, even though experts warn that increasing plastic pollution is nearing the risk of “near permanent pollution of the earth.”

As Carol Muffett, president of the US Center for International Environmental Law, noted, “We could be locking in decades of expanded plastics production at precisely the time the world is realising we should use far less of it. Around 99% of the feedstock for plastics is fossil fuels, so we are looking at the same companies, like Exxon and Shell, that have helped create the climate crisis. There is a deep and pervasive relationship between oil and gas companies and plastics.”

The pressure of popular opinion, scientists, and environmental advocacy groups has led to some changes for the better, though. Recent news stories in the United States focused on the plastic straw ban in many states and metropolitan areas, following the plastic grocery bag bans that have generated media attention across the country.

The legislative action has facilitated some progress, but corporations still wield more power when it comes to making swift and lasting change–especially where innovation in packaging design and materials is concerned.

The Threat of Plastics

The threat of plastics

Plastic products threaten the environment in multiple ways. They are created using fossil fuels, which is already a non-renewable resource that is being consumed at an alarming rate in the form of gasoline, plastic products, and other industrial oil-based lubricants. The drilling, transport, and burning of fossil fuels has an enormous negative impact on the environment, in the generation of greenhouse gases and damage to fragile ecosystems where oil is often found.

And plastic products created from petroleum are almost entirely not biodegradable, which means they create the worst form of waste. From soda bottles to plastic wrapping for food to product packaging or even plastic products themselves, our obsession with cheap, disposable products has created a serious environmental crisis.

According to Dell, a brand which is committed to rethinking our packaging mindset, there are more than 5 trillion pieces of plastics in the oceans right now, which is equivalent to 5 grocery bags full of plastic stacked upon every foot of every nation’s coastline around the world.

What’s worse, the vast majority of that debris is less than 5 mm in size–which means it is plenty big to cause problems, and just small enough to create even worse problems–like ending up in the digestive tracts of animals and being dispersed even further through water currents.

Plastics never fully biodegrade, they just continue to break into smaller pieces as they endure the weathering process, which means that plastic goods never “return to dust” as nature intended, but rather remain hard and detrimental for everything they come into contact with.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a massive concentration of plastic debris floating in the Pacific Ocean, is now twice the size of Texas. The size of the garbage patch is staggering and hugely concerning–it can now be seen with the naked eye from outer space–but perhaps worse is the fact that plastic has only existed since the 1950s, which means that amount of waste has accumulated in half a century and does not seem to be breaking down to anything but smaller, more harmful pieces of plastic.

In recent years, supermarkets alone have used over a million tons of plastics annually, packaging things like pre-sliced fruit and cheese; that type of packaging simply cannot be reused or recycled. However, some brands are prioritizing innovation to minimize the use of single-use plastics by making biodegradable plastic alternatives from renewable resources or rethinking the design and style of packing.

Recycling Initiatives to Reduce Single-Use Plastics

In the UK, supermarkets have made a voluntary pledge to switch to entirely recyclable, reusable, or biodegradable packaging by 2025. In this case, public opinion proved far more powerful than legislation, while the shift away from single-use plastics will require innovative new materials and consumer flexibility as grocers determine new alternatives to accepted packaging styles.

Some stores are implementing changed rules that allow customers to bring their own containers in to buy products directly from bulk bins and meat counters, eliminating plastic packaging that is essentially used simply to wrap something as it is transferred from the grocer to the customer’s kitchen. Others are focusing on new materials and packaging styles to make tomorrow’s packaging far more recyclable or biodegradable.

Major cosmetic and household goods conglomerate Unilever has committed to fully joining the so-called ‘circular economy’ (that is, an economy where packaging products can either be recycled into new packaging or composted into earth-friendly materials used in agriculture or similar) by 2025.

It cites statistics like “ just 14% of the plastic packaging used globally makes its way to recycling plants, while 40% ends up in landfill and a third in fragile ecosystems,” and “By 2050, it is estimated there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans” to provide a sense of urgency and purpose to its initiative.

Unilever is one of the major corporations that is committed to demonstrating the viability of not only implementing recyclable plastics in its packing but also in showing major recycling operations that its products are easy and commercially feasible to recycle and repurpose.

Innovative Materials to Replace Plastics

Plastics piled up in a bin

IKEA, another global retail giant, has announced its plans to push mushroom-based packaging as a renewable, eco-friendly alternative to polystyrene. Polystyrene is either difficult or impossible to recycle, depending on surrounding resources, initiatives, and packaging design.

Polystyrene takes literally thousands of years to decompose; new, mushroom-based mycelium packaging can be set in garden soil where it biodegrades and acts as a natural fertilizer within weeks. What’s more, mycelium can be grown nearly infinitely using mushroom spores and minimal energy or resources, thus providing a dramatically lower-energy and more sustainable alternative to producing plastics.

Nestle is another global titan that has prioritized a shift towards sustainable product packaging, noting that it aims to use 100% recyclable or reusable plastic by 2025. Global manufacturers proving viability and providing eco-friendly alternatives to traditional packaging techniques is critical for changing the conversation and quickly making a widespread impact on the types of plastics in the consumer marketplace.

However, until all large and developing nations adopt responsible recycling programs that can ensure these products do not end up in the ocean or other sensitive environments, whether a product can be recycled or not makes little difference.

Conclusion

Manufacturers are making a good-faith effort to provide a meaningful alternative to single-use throwaway goods; it is now up to communities to reliably provide easy and intelligible access to recycling programs that recycle plastics in earth-friendly ways and ensure that no more plastics end up outside of controlled circular economy environments.

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Tel: +44 (0) 151 649 4000

Web: www.greyhoundchrom.com

Email: info@greyhoundchrom.com

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Wellington Reporter - Aqueous Film-Forming Foam PFAS - August 27, 2018

In response to ever increasing reports of novel zwitterionic and cationic PFAS contaminants beign found at sites exposed to aqueous film-forming foams (AFFFs), Wellington Laboratories has expanded their PFAS product line to include three zwitterionic AFFF compounds, N-AP-FHxSA, N-TAmP-FHxSA, and N-CMAmP-6:2FOSA (which is commonly referred to as 6:2FTAB in the scientific literature), as well as neutral compouns also detected at impact sites (FHxSA-1 and FBSA-1).

 

Wellington Reporter Extract

 

Also Available

Polychlorinated Naphthalenes 

Wellington Reporter - Polychlorinated Naphthalanes - August 27, 2018

 

Although the industrial production of polychlorinated napthalenes (PCNs) ceased in the 1970s/1980s, their persistence in the environment as well as their formation during incineratio0n processes has resulted in an ongoing demand for certified reference standards for this group of compounds.  In response to customer requests, Wellington Laboratories has expanded their line of native PCNs and prepared mixtures that will aid laboratories in their analysis of these persistant organic pollutants (POPs).

Wellington Laboratories are pleased to introduce a PCN window defining solution/mixture (PCN-WD), two PCN major congeners solutions/mixtures (PCN-HWX and PCN-INC, and a PCN potentially toxic congeners solution/mixture (PCN-TOX).  Please see the tables below for the composition of these mixtures. 

Wellington Reporter Extract

 Wellington Reporter Extract

Wellington Reporter Extract

Also Available from Wellington Laboratories:

Mass-Labelled anti-Dechlorane Plus Ma-DP ,  Wellington Laboratories Certified Reference Standard

Wellington Reporter Mass-Labelled anti-Dechlorane Plus Ma-DP - August 27, 2018

Dechlorane Plus® (DP) is a current use additive polychlorinated flame retardant with a variety of applications including electronic cables and wiring, and plastic building materials.  Due to rising concerns regarding the presence of DP, and its related compounds, in environmental samples, Wellington Laboratories has expanded their DP product line to include a mass-labelled anti-DP certified reference standard which will aid in the analysis of this group of compounds. 

 

Mass-Labelled anti-Dechlorane Plus Ma-DP Chemical Structure

Wellington Reporter Extract

 Further Information about Wellington Products 

Perfluorinated Compounds (PFCs) Certified Reference Standards

Wellington Laboratories started to synthesize perfluorinated compounds in 2004 and since then has regularly added new native and mass-labelled standards to their inventory.   In the current Wellington Laboratories catalogue, pages 141 - 159 yiou will find individual standards of the following groups of compounds including, in most cases, mass-labelled analogues as well as some useful soultions/mixtures:

PFC-C-CVS Calibration Set and Support Solutions

Perfluoroalkanesulfonates (PFASs)

Perfluoroalkylcarboxylic acide (PFCAs)

Perfluorooctanesulfonamides (FOSAs)

Perfluorooctanesulfonamidoethanols (FOSEs)

Perfluorooctanesulfonamidoacetic (FOSAAs)

Fluorinated Telomer Alcohols (FTOHs)

Fluorinated Telomer Acids (FTAs)

Unsaturanted Telomer Acids (FTUAs)

Perfluoroalkylphosphonic Acids (PFAPAs)

Perfluoroalkylphosphonic Acids (X:XPFPi)

Polyfluorinated Phosphate Esters (PAPs and SAmPAPs)

Fluorinated Telomer Acrylates and Acetates (FTAcrs and FTOAcs)

 

PFCs are still emerging environmental contaminents and each of the groups of compounds listed above pose unique analytical challenges.  In addition, the individual isomers, such as the branched PFOA and PFOS isomers, are being found to have different toxicokinetic and ecokinetic properties.  Thus Weliington Laboratories' inventory  of PFCs will continue to grow, please visit Wellington's website www.well-labs.com for announcements of new products. 

Full Range of Wellington Laboratories' Products

Posters Presented by Wellington Laboratories  Tree Frog Image

  

Debrominatiobn of PBDEs in DE-83 [TM] Technical mIx By Electrolysis

Scientists from Wellington Laboratories attend conferences and workshops on a regular basis. We believe that staying up-to-date with emerging environmental contaminants and global regulations allows us to offer the most relevant reference standards to our customers.

Attending conferences also allows us to share some of the research that is conducted at our facility in Guelph through poster and oral presentations. A few examples of posters presented by Wellington are provided below for your review.

Forthcoming Events

Dioxin 2019, Kyoto, Japan  25 - 30 August 2019  

                                                                                       Dioxin 2019 Poster

39th International Symposium on Halogenated Persistent Organic Pollutants

Representatives from Greyhound Chromatography will be attending the Dioxin conference in Kyoto, Japan 25th - 30th August 2019.  Paul Massie and Susan Massie will be available on the stand of Platinum sponsors, Wellington Laboratories.   The Dioxin conference is an exciting opportunity to meet with our customers, including researchers at the forefront of Dioxin research.

Important Dates:

May 10th 2019     Deadline for paper submission

June 30th 2019   Deadline for early bird registration

www.dioxin2019.org

  

About Wellington Laboratories

For Over 35 years Wellington Laboratories Inc. has been internationally recognised as a trusted source of high quality reference standard solutions for use in environmental/analytical testing and toxicological research. Wellington Laboratories offers an extensive inventory of individual certified reference standards and solution mixtures of native and mass-labelled halogenated organic compounds including polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins, polychlorinated dibenzofurans, polychlorinated biphenyls, halogenated flame retardants and perfluorinated compounds. Wellington Laboratories also offer a variety of calibration sets and support solutions designed to be used for common regulatory methods or modified in-house methods.

Wellington’s Reference Standards are used mainly in Environmental/analytical testing and toxicological research. Wellington offers an extensive inventory of individual certified reference standards and solution mixtures of native and mass-labelled halogenated organic compounds including polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins, polychlorinated dibenzofurans, polychlorinated biphenyls, halogenated flame retardants and perfluoronated compounds. Wellington also offer a variety of calibration sets and support solutions designed to be used for common regulatory methods of modified in-house methods.

Wellington Laboratories are committed to the distribution of quality products as well as the maintenance of excellent customer service. In fact, in order to provide your customers with the best possible service, Wellington have three ISO certifications (ISO 9001:2008, ISO/IEC 17025:2005, and ISO Guide 34:2009) which cover all aspects of planning, production, testing, distribution, and post-distribution service. These certifications allow Wellington Laboratories to monitor and maintain the highest level of quality and service and also allow their customers to satisfy the requirements of their own ISO certifications.

Wellington’s ISO/IEC 17025:2005 accreditation has been certified by the Canadian Association for Laboratory Accreditation Inc. (CALA) the scope is available for review on the CALA Directory of Accredited Laboratories (http://www.cala.ca).

Similarly, Wellington’s ISO Guide 34:2009 accreditation has been certified by ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB), the certificate and scope are available on their website (http://anab.org/).

We are able to supply hard copies of any of the ISO certificates for yourself and your customers.

Contact Us!

 

Tel: +44 (0) 151 649 4000

Web: www.greyhoundchrom.com

Email: info@greyhoundchrom.com

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