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Seeking viable green options

Source:Plastics News Asia

Date Published:1/29/2018 07:01:53 PM

Mr. Ian K.W. Toh, NatureWorks’ Commercial Director for Asia Pacific, cites the quest for new feedstocks to turn greenhouse gases into performance materials. 
Apart from the macroeconomics factors, industry wise, The New Plastics Economy launched and driven by the Ellen MacArthur foundation since January 2016 is likely to take momentum given more companies from the value chain pledge in support of it – new materials innovation, design better packaging, increase recovery rates, and introduce new models for making better use of packaging.  The industry should broaden the thinking to consider sustainability from the whole product life cycle starting from material sourcing, manufacturing and use, apart from biodegradation or after use options for the product. For material sourcing, bioplastics will play an important role. Optimize the use of renewable material to reduce the carbon footprint is one important mission against the climate change issue. For NatureWorks, we are always looking for new feedstock alternatives to turn greenhouse gases into performance materials. 
Drive for environmental awareness and protection in the use of plastics has been more prevalent in the few years, such as the banning on the use of non-compostable plastics bags or food packaging in some countries, and hence there is a need to look at compostable materials for such applications. One example is the single use coffee capsule with a total consumption of 25.4 billion in 2016, and this can be diverted from landfill to industrial composting (organics recovery), yet not compromising its functionality.  However, infrastructure and industrial composting facilities are still not so popular in most of the countries, it is expected renewable or biobased materials will be one key criteria when selecting the material in the industries where composting may not be the suitable disposal option. 
NatureWorks - Ian K.W. Toh
Mr. Ian K.W. Toh, NatureWorks’ Commercial Director for Asia Pacific
If pressure on environmental considerations becomes greater, the industry now – from material supplier to converters and end users – is not quite ready to support such a change as some reinvestment, system change or innovative redesign need to take place. My recommendation is that for each party in the value chain to start looking into these aspects, start working on small scale projects and applications to assess the economics and reinvestment needs as the world is driving toward this direction. 


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