Can the PlantBottle Revolutionize Plastic Packaging?

Each and every day of the year, people consume 1.5 billion Coca-Cola products.  And they hope to double that number over the next decade.

This leaves Coke, like other beverage companies, with a significant problem. These hundreds of billions of bottles, made of petroleum-based plastics, constitutes the major part of the company’s carbon footprint.

Behold the PlantBottle. Made of up to 22.5% bioethanol derived from sugarcane and 25% recycled plastic, Coke says that the PlantBottle has the potential to revolutionize not just their company, but the whole beverage packaging industry. It uses far less carbon to produce and is both more recyclable and more biodegradable than standard polyethylene terepthalate (PET) plastic bottles.

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John Casella on “Resource Transfomation:” Waste Managment for the 21st Century.

Waste management isn’t just about hauling garbage to the landfill anymore.

It’s about developing the technologies that turn discarded waste into fresh resources.

This was the testimony of John W. Casella of Casella Waste Systems to the Vermont House Committee on Natural Resources and Energy this spring. Mr. Casella outlined his company’s efforts to increase the percentage of waste it recycles, while simultaneously reducing its own carbon footprint.

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MA Letter: Bottle Bill Hurts Recylcing

This op/ed from The Salem News (MA) eloquently expresses the issues with the bottle bill.

“The bottle bill is an outdated law that costs too much and does too little. Let’s make comprehensive recycling the success it should be and support efforts to strengthen these programs.”

Read the full op/ed on The Salem News site.

VT ANR 2008 Report on Solid Waste

In January of 2008, the Vermont Agency on Natural Resources produced a report on solid waste management for the state legislature, as ordered by the 2007 budget bill. Among other things, the report addresses strengths and weaknesses in the state’s existing SWM system and proposes a strategy for the future.

From the Executive Summary:
“While progress has been made, a plateau has been reached where the waste diversion rate for
municipal solid waste has been about 30% for the past five or more years, even though the state goal for municipal solid waste diversion was 50% by 2005. Meanwhile, the amount of solid waste Vermonters generate has increased over time.”

View our presentation summarizing the findings.

Nestle Waters Execs on EPR

From smartplanet.com’s interview with Kevin Mathews, Nestle Water’s director of health and environmental affairs for North America, and Michael Washburn, director of sustainability for North America, about the company’s recent efforts to craft water use ratio targets and develop more comprehensive water “footprinting.”

The industry pact is an interesting way to think about extended producer responsibility. Sometimes it’s called “product stewardship” or “sustainable packaging.” It’s a process in which the costs of the packaging are internalized in the product and made transparent to the consumer: you buy a pack, and see an eco-fee on your receipt. A penny a bottle, perhaps. Produce baskets. Egg cartons. It ends up being a lot of money. What government can do is regulate the use of those dollars to only be made available to enhance state recycling projects, not going into state budgets but into a trust fund managed by a non-profit.

It’s difficult to develop a recycling system that just develops PET bottles. It’s aluminum, glass, plastics — it’s holistic. We feel like it’s where the world is going. You see the beginning of it, primarily around hazardous materials — batteries, paints.

Long-term in this country, it would collect more material, it would be self-funding, and create enough material flow — revenue — to stimulate domestic investment in recycling.

Read the whole interview on Smartplanet.com.

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