Webinar: Plastics in Minnesota: The Evolving Additives Story

December 7th, 2015, Time: 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM CST
Register at http://z.umn.edu/mntapplasticswebinar

Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP) is hosting a free live webinar that will highlight industry perspectives on increasing regulatory and customer pressures surrounding the use of plastic additives which may be under scrutiny. MnTAP’s goal is to assist the state’s plastics industry to meet shifting customer specifications in order to sustain and grow revenues.  This webinar will discuss current regulation impacting the Minnesota plastics industry related to additives. We will learn about innovative approaches businesses take to create safer products and meet regulations. You will hear from industry experts about how a growing public interest in non-phthalate plasticizers and halogen-free flame retardants has opened up the market for many alternative additives.  Join us on December 7th as we hear from industry experts about why businesses are considering alternative plastics additives and some available resources for guidance on switching to safer alternatives.

Commercial sea salt samples purchased in China contaminated with microplastics

Read the full story from the American Chemical Society.

Tiny plastic bits, collectively known as called microplastics, are showing up in bodies of water around the world, and are accumulating in aquatic creatures, including fish and shellfish. Now scientists, after testing a sampling of commercial products in China, have reported for the first time that they also could be contaminating something else we consume from the sea salt. Their study appears in ACS’ journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Scientists alarmed as tiny plastic turns up in lakes

Read the full story in the Toledo Blade.

Tiny bits of plastic known as microbeads are emerging as one of the more troubling forms of pollution in the Great Lakes, especially Lake Ontario and Lake Erie.

So small that they pass undetected through sewage treatment plants, microbeads are part of the larger issue of plastic that has plagued oceans worldwide for years. Biologists fear that microbeads — which are ingested by fish that mistake them for eggs or zooplankton — could lead to a long-term impact on the Great Lake’s $7 billion fish industry and ultimately work their way into the human food chain.

FTC says firm’s biodegradable claims ‘false’

Read the full story in Plastics News.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has ruled against an Ohio-based plastics film maker, calling ECM BioFilms Inc.’s claims that its product is biodegradable “false and unsubstantiated.”

The FTC ruling overturns an administrative law judge’s decision in January that ECM’s MasterBatch Pellets cause plastics to biodegrade and that such claims are supported by evidence, including more than 20 gas evolution tests proving biodegradability. The FTC rejected the nearly 1,500 findings in the more than 300-page decision by Administrative Law Judge D. Michael Chappell.

However, the new ruling says the company’s claims that treated plastics will biodegrade in a landfill over a time period spanning nine months to five years are merely deceptive marketing.

FTC’s final order bans ECM from saying any plastic product treated with its additive is “biodegradable” unless that claim is supported by scientific evidence and that the entire plastic item will completely decompose into elements found in nature within five years if disposed of in a conventional way, unless the product is clearly labeled with an explanation of how long it takes to biodegrade and any special disposal requirements.

Microbeads Entering Our Water Daily Could Cover 300 Tennis Courts

Read the full story in the Huffington Post.

Scientists are calling for a total ban on microbeads — the tiny plastic pieces used in soap, toothpaste and face wash for exfoliation — after an analysis estimated that 8 trillion of the beads wind up in aquatic habitats every day in the U.S. alone.

That’s enough to cover more than 300 tennis courts every day, according to a scientific opinion article published this month in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Microbeads: The Very Tiny Troublemakers

Read the full opinion piece in the New York Times.

The Great Lakes are being threatened by an invasion of tiny plastic orbs called microbeads, but lawmakers for one state that depends on this huge freshwater ecosystem have failed to do anything about it. That state is, of course, New York, where lawmakers this year sat on a good bill to ban these unnecessary bits of plastic.

That left local governments to try to do the state’s job by banning these plastic irritants, county by county.

Lego Makes Good on Sustainable Materials Pledge

Read the full story in Environmental Leader.

The Lego Group is making good on its promise to spend 1 billion Danish Krone ($150.5 million) to develop new sustainable materials for its plastic Lego toys and packaging materials. This includes the establishment of the Lego Sustainable Materials Centre in Billund, Denmark.

In a statement about Lego’s financial performance for the first half of 2015, the company says it has begun hiring engineers to develop alternatives to petroleum-based materials.