Edible Packaging??

Snact’s 6-month-garden-compostable packaging*

Peter Schott // pcs2144

(1) Sustainability Problem: Waste
Per the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 32% of plastics escape the collection system to urban infrastructure and waterways. 8M tons of plastic are diverted to the oceans annually while after-use externalities and the costs associated with GHGe from plastic packaging production are estimated to be 40B annually (conservative, by UNEP)**. This cost is only expected to increase as volume grows with consumption patterns (business as usual).

(2) Plastics are bad and biodegradable plastics are not necessarily better!!!

  • More sustainable alternatives to plastic, such as biodegradable plastics, are controversial as the ocean environment is not conducive to promote the break down of the materials
  • Snact and Tipa have created packaging that can be composted in a garden in 6 months
  • US Department of Agriculture (USDA) are experimenting with the creation of an edible plastic made from casein (milk protein), which looks promising as it is 60% more effective in reducing foods exposure to oxygen; there is potential to add flavors and/or nutrients to these edible films
  • Packaging materials and waste is part of the problem however the broader waste management system is important to promoting/enabling recycling and composting

    Article: Compostable and edible packaging: the companies waging war on plastic, The Guardian.com

(3) Stakeholders:
Food & Agriculture companies (Business-to-Business) will remain the main stakeholders with implementing this technology however consumer demand (Business-to-Consumer) will be a key component to driving this adoption as these sustainable packing alternatives are more expensive than traditional plastic.
Other stakeholders include policymakers to overcome the challenges to remove traditional plastics from the waste stream (and drive adoption of alternatives) and industry associations/NGOs to foster relationships and the implementation of pilot programs.

(4) Deployment/Adoption/Implementation:
Given that the focus of this is to drive end-user (customer) adoption/deploy this technology, the below does not contain steps to fix the broader re-processing infrastructure

  • Support research that attempts to investigate the economic, environmental and social benefits of sustainable packaging materials to identify adjacent sector synergies; use these insights to build an evidence-based business case for the technologies
  • Use the business case to steer investment towards funding R&D of plastic material alternatives (see video below) to expedite a vetted packaging product that is less destructive and more effective than plastics
  • Collaborate with Industry Associations/NGOs to pilot products B2B and B2C, to test user adoption, so that the pilots can be scaled and further investment reduces the cost gap between the manufacturing of traditional plastic packaging and the edible, biodegradable food packaging alternatives
Cool video

Sources (in addition to article linked above):

*https://tipa-corp.com/blog/snact-found-way-disposable-without-causing-environmental-damage/


**https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/assets/downloads/EllenMacArthurFoundation_TheNewPlasticsEconomy_15-3-16.pdf

Protecting the oceans through information sharing

coral-reef-1024x682-1024x6821) Oceans cover three-quarters of the Earth’s surface, contain 97 % of the Earth’s water, feed over a billion people and over three billion people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihoods. (UN) Unfortunately, oceans and the species that depend on them— including humans—face an uncertain future. The combined effects of overfishing, poorly managed resource extraction, serial depletion of marine species and warming waters have contributed to the collapse of 70% of the world’s most productive fisheries, the loss of a third of the world’s coral reefs, 90 percent of the oceans’ top predators(WCS).  Illegal fishing and poorly manage resource extraction represent a significant problem in fisheries. (Mission Blue)

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2) Vessel monitoring systems, together with satellite tracking and machine learning allow to create transparency in the seafood supply chain, promoting sustainability.

Many initiatives such as Global Fishing Watch, Project Eyes on the Sea and TransparentSea. org use the data of Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS) and Automatic Identification Signals (AIS) from ships at sea, and corroborates the information with satellite images. That information is then processed with artificial intelligence tools to distinguish individual vessel tracks and identify when the vessels are fishing based on their movements fleets to understand their activities and impacts. Finally, most of this information is being shared for free. This enables to share information about where fishing activity is happening and has happened. For both, monitoring and conservation purposes, the former being relevant for law enforcement and later for research purposes.

The sharing of this type of information is important for efficient decision making, revealing where, when, and how much fishing occurs can help decision makers develop informed policy as well as strategic management and enforcement programs that create sustainable fisheries and reduce Illegal Unregulated and Unreported fishing (IUU).

“Developing datasets and analyses of global fishing activity can support research on ecology, the environment and human interaction with the ocean.  Global Fish Project

3) This technology could be deployed by policymakers, resource managers and in general all decision makers.

Conservation Organizations and NGOs can use this information to support campaigns to reduce impacts of fishing on the ocean, revealing fishing activity and pressuring officials and industry for changes that will improve sustainability on the oceans.

Industry Members could create and create premium markets and use this tool for fishers and seafood suppliers to verify how and where their products are caught.

Researchers could use this datasets and analyses of global fishing activity to support research on ecology, the environment and human interaction with the ocean.

The beauty of open source data sharing is that the application can be very diverse and varies between different stakeholders.

4) The next steps to deploy this technology is to share best practices in order to create awareness of the possible impacts of enabling data sharing could have, since the information is already public and for free.

Denim Made out of Ocean Plastic

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Problem: Plastics in the Oceans

Today, the Earth’s oceans are littered with millions of tons of plastic, wreaking havoc on animal and plant life in the water. This does not only affect the wildlife, but humans who rely on them for food and or business

Technology: “How a Pair of Jeans Could Save our Planet’s Plastic-Choked Oceans” by Issie Lapowsky

New York City-based startup, Bionic Yarn, has created a way to make fabric from recycled ocean plastic and turn it into denim products. The products are woven with some nine tons of ocean plastic inside. One of the company’s yarns is FLX, which is is made completely of recovered plastic. Their patented technology heats and spins together dozens of RPET strands to make new and improved yarn

Stakeholders:

Bionic Yarn tech engineers/designers

Technological partners

Design Collaborators

Fashion designers

Clothing retailers

Customers

Implementation:

In order to implement this technology on a large-scale, a number of investors need to be introduced

Fashion designers must begin to use the technology to introduce the innovation to the public and encourage its usage down the supply chain i.e. factories and low-end designers/retailers.  For example, Bionic Yarn has partnered with celebrity/designer, Pharrell Williams, who uses it in his G-Star Raw collections

The company should start a campaign marketing the technology to high-end textile suppliers, proving that this material can be recycled and high quality

Sources:

http://www.wired.com/2014/08/bionic-yarns/

http://www.bionicyarn.com/

https://www.g-star.com/en_us