Address
phone
directions

Brentwood Plastics blog

Plastic - a Weapon vs. Coronavirus

Posted by Joel Longstreth on Fri, Mar 20, 2020 @ 06:34 PM

Scroll down for update

In a crisis, political correctness and platitudes get relegated to abeyance. Only weeks ago the bane of our existence was plastics.   Bashing plastic straw men reached a tipping point in 2019.

coronavirusdatingsmothered in Purellmountsinaigowns

plasticbash

 The Fauci " curve " would be an outbreak spike without plastics.

Here we go again.  In the aftermath of hurricane Harvey, plastics came to the rescue.

In the midst of the coronavirus crisis, plastic is once again the unsung hero.  You don't see articles
about plastic breaking the transmission chain.  The mention is mostly passing, usually about how long the virus can stay alive on specific surfaces.  Update May 22, 2020 The CDC says COVID 19 does not live long on surfaces.  Sanitizing is like sooooo March 2020 !

" These plastic bubble helmets are connected to ventilators to help patients breathe."
ABC chief foreign correspondent Maggie Rulli on assignment in Italy March 20,2020

Plastics plays a key role in both mitigation and cure.  If we are indeed on a war footing, plastics is a weapon against the coronavirus.  hazmatdocBPI Essential Products

Take a look at these images.  The common thread - plastic is a barrier between the virus and humans.
It's basic fundamental HACCP 101.   

Did you know ?  Even the nonwoven gowns and N 95 respirators are made from fossil fuel plastic, not organic hemp. 

coronavirusmasks&bottlesbloodbagbloodbag2

n95maskcoronabloodtubecoronamaskcoronafunnelcoronaswab

newjerseymeals

If the plasma therapy turns out to be viable, would single-use plastic or glass bottles be the preferred choice ?
Israel just flew in 10,000 hydroxychloroquine kits.  Were they packaged in woven burlap or plastic ?

The reason post-op infection rates are low is simple.  The sterile plastic devices are used once and disposed as biohazard in single use plastic bags.  The argument for the short service life of disposables is no longer.  There is zero chance for seed populations to infect another patient.  If this mode was not effective, we would still be washing and recycling drapes.  New York Presbyterian has a shortage of masks because they are not taking any chances.  They are going through 40,000 to 70,000 daily compared to their normal usage of about 4,000.  Source: Craig Smith, Chair Department of Surgery / Surgeon in Chief  NYP CUIMC.

(  Let's remember basic econ here - a shortage is defined as an insufficient quantity of a commodity at the prices the market wants to pay.  When demand spikes due to an acute change in consumer behavior, voila !  You got a shortage.  We are seeing firsthand the invisible hand stepping up. )

We make film destined for opthalmic drapes, ostomy bags, under patient capillary blankets and other dermal contact medical devices.  Would you really want to be the patient who gets a hand-me down device ?  There are no poll numbers, but I suspect most of the greens would save themselves, not the planet given a choice.  If the government declares plastics a non-essential industry, recycled devices and bandages will become SOP (standard operating procedure ).

" Doctors are putting masks in ziplock bags so they can be reused for up to a week."
ABC anchor David Muir March 20, 2020.

oldhospital

Governor Mike DeWine of Ohio is pressuring the FDA to fast track approval of mask sterilization. 

It's ironic that this is happening just as we are about to launch version 4.0 of a reusable bag.  Suddenly, the data about microbes travelling on reusable bags has become relevant.   A major defense of single use bags has been their cleanliness vis-a-vis reusable bags.  The data on microloads has been out there for years.  This has led to re-thinking bag bans.  

https://wgme.com/news/coronavirus/state-considers-delaying-new-law-banning-plastic-bags-amid-coronavirus-spread

https://www.silive.com/coronavirus/2020/03/plastic-bag-ban-enforcement-delayed-due-to-coronavirus-concerns.html

https://www.abqjournal.com/1433324/coronavirus-is-why-plastic-bag-ban-should-go.html

https://www.forbes.com/sites/patrickgleason/2020/03/17/pandemic-prompts-call-to-suspend-or-repeal-bag-bans--taxes/#53cf2f23464d

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/san-francisco-order-bans-reusable-bags-from-grocery-stories

noreusablebags

The virtue signallers have a dilemma.  If they show they care more than everyone else by using single-use plastic bags, they will tacitly endorse the plastic-industrial complex.   Who knew there would be comedy gold in this tragedy ?  Us humans are the root of all problems, so why keep more of them alive ?

Once again expediency and survival trumps political correctness. 

charmin

At this writing, resin producers claim there is still substantial demand.  In my own direct experience, I have not seen nor heard of eco warriors refusing to buy toilet paper packaged in plastic.  MDPE for soft goods overwrap will be strong in the short term. 

The world will be different in the aftermath of the current unpleasantness.  Time will tell if plastic reverts to goat or remains a hero. 

Update May 14, 2020
To the chagrin of plastic haters, single use plastic is only going to increase dramatically.  Open kiosks are out, prepackaged is in.   We will be greeted at events with kits consisting of a mask and spray. 

welcomebag

 

Read More

Topics: plastics recycling,, extended producer responsibility, plastics toxic, eco friendly plastic,, virtue signalling, plastic bag bans, coronavirus spread

Post Consumer Recycled Content " Gen 3 " Solution ?

Posted by Joel Longstreth on Mon, Apr 30, 2018 @ 12:58 PM

Giant retailers and consumer product companies are frantic to be perceived as green and sustainable.  Meantime, the major plastic resin producers are doubling down on conventional fossil-fuel based resins.  Sounds like a script straight out of  The Innovator's Dilemma.

recycledoceanplasticrecycledpostconsumer

walmartrecycledvest

 

" Gen 1 " is defined as plastics derived from fossil fuels.  

"Gen 2" is plastic derived from agricultural sources or "biopolymers " the option of choice for hard liner zealot greenies.  While a truly compostable plastic must be made from ag sources, plastic derived from plants are not by definition biodegradable.

The decision is complex

If plastic packaging made from agricultural sources crowds out arable land, food costs will skyrocket.  The major food processors have seen what happened with ethanol.  

It's all about perception.  Anything derived from fossil fuels is perceived as inherently evil and made from a source which is not sustainable.  Braskem has done a fabulous job marketing their "green" polyethylene and polypropylene made from sugar cane.  They get a premium and won't talk to you unless your volume is 1,000 metric tonnes annual - take or pay.  These resins do not biodegrade any faster than petroleum-based plastic.  Braskem is putting on a billion pounds annual capacity in La Porte, TX.  The feedstock ?  Fossil fuel natural gas.  Their CEO went so far as to praise the U S ( fossil fuel ) feedstock situation. 

With painstakingly politically correct word choice, Lego announced their selection of " green " plastic.  

There are two approaches to a quick fix.  Either "greenwash" ( defined as no change, spin only ) or make hasty changes out of fear of social media.  Notice how much emphasis is put on what a product does not contain these days ?

Bisphenol A is an excellent case study.  " BPA free" is an insult.  Only polycarbonate and PVC use it as a catalyst.  There are trace amounts in the final product.    If your product is made with any other resin, just say        " BPA free" and voila !   You take advantage of the consumer's fear and lack of understanding.which may be just enough to stimulate an impulse purchase.

Sometimes the alternative to the vilified material is worse.  Those who reacted to NGO's clamor for a BPA ban by substituting BPS and other materials were the biggest losers.  In retrospect they look impetuous.  The quiet epilogue: BPA's recent clean bill of health despite being put on California's prop 65 list and the EU's possible ban.  Did the NGO's give a public apology ?   A "never mind" a la Emily Latilla ?

Of course not.  The disingenuous virtue signaling malcontents just move on to another faux outrage cause.

The latest angle is apparently a hybrid of fossil fuels and potato starch from a company called Biologiq.  They offer both compostable biopolymers and combo fossil fuel resin / biopolymers.  They claim their resin initiates a reaction which renders the conventional resin truly biodedgradable.  I have not seen convincing supporting science.  Just the same, the CEO of Walmart is pushing hard to get whole produce packaging transitioned immediately. 

roplastsafewaybag

What is quietly catching on is post-consumer recycled content.   While this approach does not appease the greens for whom fossil fuels is anathema, it is a compromise. 

Consumers feel good about recycled content for whatever reason.

traderrecycle

The major resin producers are not working on it.  They have their hands full with virgin resin.  Resin distributors are partnering with outfits who reclaim and repelletize plastic scrap.   Feedstocks are either the bags returned at the supermarket or the shrink wrap and stretch wrap from the back of the store.  The consistency of the initial product offerings is impressive given the variation in feedstock. 

There are limitations on the amount of post consumer content (  Burying floorsweep in the core layer of coextruded has been around for a long time; overnight shipping envelopes is a ubiquitous example. ) - mainly consistency and FDA approval.  Reclaimed from whatever source is by definition so we will be resigned to adding some virgin resin.   While some extruders are making claims about having " FDA non-objection " letters for prolonged and direct food contact, we have not seen one.  If we use post-consumer resin for food packaging, we would lose our Kosher approval. 

2020-2021 Brentwood Plastics Kosher Certificate small

Click on the image to enlarge.

 

The prime resin distributors are telling us post consumer resin will be a standard offering by the end of the year.  
We are developing select non-food applications such as trade show bags, reusable bags and barrier tape.

Over 100 years ago, H L Mencken said " For every complex problem, there is an answer that is clear, simple and wrong. "

 

 

Read More

Topics: eco friendly plastic,, sustainable packaging,

Plastics in-depth and insights

 

Plastic Blogs

Subscribe by Email

Most Popular Posts

Browse by Tag