Bioplastics are interesting materials for two reasons:
They can reduce our dependence on petroleum in their production by using renewable feedstocks such a corn,sugar cane,chicken feathers,algae,cashews etc. They can be formulated in ways that allow the material to degrade. Allowing for the plastics to lose the permanence for which they have often been scorned.
Both these concepts are important in the goal of environmental sustainability. An ideal that does not “save the earth”but rather preserves a more pleasant environment for future generations of humans and wildlife.
Bioplastics are not perfect. As useful materials they are still . . . →Read More:Two concepts of Bioplastics –Degradability and Renewability
all the things you can put in the compost bin- CTBarimoore
A few months ago I wrote a post about the federal regulations regulating marketing claims of “green plastics”. This post only briefly touched on the testing standards surrounding these claims.
Last week,after hosting a great Webinar titled A New Life for Plastics:End-of-life Solutions in the Age of Greener Materials, greenbiz.com published an article about the lack of standards in the bioplastics industry titled Improved Standards Needed for Bioplastic Claims.
With a lack of standards that match how facilities are really operating, . . . →Read More:Bioplastic Standards
Plastics from renewable resources are not for everyone. Bioplastics do not cover a full scope of properties yet and are not appropriate for many high end applications. In addition,material changes may be too expensive to undertake. Product changes take significant time and money.
There are ways of improving a product’s ecofootprint without changing to newer materials however. Some of these changes may actually save your company money in energy and material costs.
Renewable resources:Didn’t I just say we were not changing to a biopolymer? Yes,I’m talking about the other kinds of renewable resources,the kind that . . . →Read More:Greener products from Traditional Materials
I was on the Treehugger site recently and noticed an article entitled Free Book:Design for Reusability. I thought,fantastic,we need to educate engineers on designing for products for reuse. But the book is for architects. If “greener”architecture interests you you can download the book at Design for Reuse:Public architecture.
If architects are beginning to focus on designing products that do not come from raw materials shouldn’t mechanical and plastic designers? Buildings last a great deal longer than most of our commodity materials.
The problem with design for reuse is the inherent problem with durability . . . →Read More:Design for Reusability
As the environmentally conscious trend continues,and companies begin to want to jump on board,it may be valuable for engineers to seek additional professional training in bioplastics.
Short Courses Bioplastics Short Course at University of Wisconsin –Madison
Oct 18-19,2010 University of Winsconsin –Madison
Topics that will be covered include
Facts,Claims &Hype of Biodegradable Materials CO2 Footprint &Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) Product Design &Biobased Value Proposition
Offered in the past:
Green Plastics Manufacturing:Introduction to Plastics,Elastomers and Additives from Renewable Resources
University of Massachusetts –Lowell
Historical perspective and . . . →Read More:Learn More about Bioplastics
When I first started learning about medical and sustainable plastics I found some of the terminology a little confusing. And I often find that people get mixed up when they use plastic terminology as well. Words that are confusing because they are relatively new to the general public are bioplastics,biomaterials,biodegradable plastics,oxo-degradable plastic,bio-feedstock plastics,resorbable and so on. My blog posts are often full of red spell check underlines because my computer is unsure if I am making up words.
I hope to clear up a bit of the terminology used in this blog as well . . . →Read More:Terminology –Biomaterials
As people are becoming more aware of environmental issues,companies are making more efforts to appear eco-friendly. Products are covered in marketing claims to make them appear more green. But products that claim to be recyclable or better for the environment are actually regulated by federal regulations.
Bioplastics,biodegradable plastics and compostable plastics must be tested to validate claims that they will biodegrade under the conditions that the company advertises.
In the United States the Federal Trade Commission controls environmental claims in the US Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) section 16,part 260 (16 CFR 260) –Guides for . . . →Read More:Federal Regulations for Bioplastics
I was watching shows about the history of food in America today. Something that stuck with me was the difficulties processed food developpers initially faced because of a lack of packaging that suited the needs of the product. As technologies improved and packaging materials were invented,product was better preserved and better suited to be transported long distances.
When thinking of sustainable design it is important to remember that plastics companies are putting a lot of resources towards developing greener alternatives. Like processed food packaging fifty years ago,if what . . . →Read More:Sustainable Design –A Work in Progress
I’m not sure why I purchased the cucumber. Perhaps I wanted to make a Greek salad. But somehow,along with a bag of tomatoes,it got buried in my fridge until it was too far gone.
I’m not sure why the cucumber came wrapped in plastic,perhaps it helps keep the vegetable fresher longer or reduces damage during transport. But as I brought the refuse out to the compost bin,I made a decision:I wasn’t going to remove the wrapping.
I like the idea of sorting out the plastic from my soil better than touching . . . →Read More:Why I Would Like a Compostable Plastic
Companies seeking to improving their commitment to the environment can do so without eliminating the convenience of their product for their consumers. Designing and re-designing products with a reduced impact in mind can reduce cost and improve the environment.
Andrew Kim has created an example of smart design as part of a freshman midterm project.
By eliminating Coca-Cola’s signature hourglass curves,a bottle is created that can be packed much more tightly in shipping containers. A cavity at the bottom of the bottle allows the bottles to be stacked one on top of the other.
. . . →Read More:An example of Eco-Design