Taking on a new life.

Author:Frost, Calvin
Position:LETTERS FROM the Earth

In my last column 1 wrote about a study on the incredible growth of the plastics industry and a similar growth in plastics going to the landfill.The study concluded:

"Thus without a well-designed and tailor-made management strategy for end of life plastics, humans are conducting a singular uncontrolled experiment on a global scale, in which billions of metric tons of material will accumulate across all major terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems on the planet."

The plastics industry has taken a lot of criticism over the years for not having a total lite cycle solution tor its products. This has had a material impact on the total size of the plastics market as various regions or cities have banned the use of items such as plastic bags, plastic bottles or polystyrene. Our challenge is to learn from the criticisms of the plastics industry and develop a full life cycle approach that manages our products from cradle-to-grave.

Believe it or not, we have a solution.This column will review the steps we must take to reduce material flow that, for the most part, is following the same path of plastics: the landfill. Our situation, however, is less complex. Our by-product is more defined and easier to gather, package and convert into a usable product versus complex and different polymers that make up plastics. This is one of the reasons I have supported and extolled the virtues of LCA (Life Cycle Assessment). LCA supports a "cradle-to-grave" approach tor our products. Briefly, this column will describe one approach that supports LCA for pressure sensitive, label, liner, and flexible film materials.

Since 2009, Convergen Energy has been developing alternative energy solutions utilizing industrial by-products from many industrial sources. According to Ted Hansen, CEO and president of Convergen Energy,"We take non-recyclable industrial by-products, such as pressure sensitive roll labels, release liners and flexible films that would normally go to a landfill, and produce an alternative fuel that can be used as a clean burning substitute for fossil fuels. This allows many of our suppliers of non-recyclable materials to become landfill free in a very short period of time." Convergen has developed expertise in converting non-recyclable materials into a sustainable fuel product. Materials are sorted, tested and processed in order to produce a fuel that complies with local and federal environmental regulations. Hansen goes on to say, "Manufacturers who divert...

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