BASF develop breakthrough compostable snack packaging
Chemical giant BASF has developed a new sustainable snack packaging from a material which is 100 percent compostable, using biopolymers to provide a viable alternative to traditional materials.</p>
“Flexible packaging with this <a href="//www.basf.com">BASF</a> technology is a big step forward for the snack food industry,” said Kimberley Schiltz, Market Development Manager Consumer Packaging, BASF. “It means that popular snack foods can be brought to market in compostable packaging that delivers needed shelf-life at a competitive price point, with a more sustainable ‘end-of-life’ solution than with conventional packaging materials.”</p>
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To launch their new innovation, BASF are teaming up with <a href="http://seattle.mariners.mlb.com/index.jsp?c_id=sea&sv=1">The Seattle Mariners</a>, one of the greenest teams in Major League Baseball. The Mariners are supporting the launch of the new material by partnering with BASF to give away 10,000 bags of peanuts in compostable packaging to fans arriving to see the Mariners take on the <a href="http://boston.redsox.mlb.com/index.jsp?c_id=bos&sv=1">Boston Red Sox</a> at the Safeco Field.</p>
A member of <a href="http://greensportsalliance.org/" target="_blank">the Green Sports Alliance</a>, The Seattle Mariners’ aggressive zero-waste goals make the Safeco Field a natural place for BASF to introduce this new sustainable snack packaging to the American public. This season, the team is on track to divert 85% of its waste from landfills, up from just 12% in 2006. </p>
Mariners VP of Operations, Scott Jenkins, has his sights set on 90% diversion, but closing the gap has proven to be an elusive goal. “All of our service ware is already compostable, but snack food bags have been one of the biggest barriers preventing us from getting to our goal,” said Jenkins. “Flexible packaging made with BASF<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biopolymer"> biopolymers</a> could represent the holy grail of greening for our waste stream.”</p>
Major breakthroughs in sustainability like BASF’s new materials must balance economic and environmental interests in order to become a viable green alternative.</p>
However, according to Jenkins the new material could actually save money. “Whenever there are contaminants in our compost stream, like regular snack bags and candy wrappers, we have to pay a premium to have them removed by hand. If all of the snacks sold at Safeco came in compostable packaging, it would represent a significant savings of time and money for the team and get us a whole lot closer to achieving zero waste.”</p>
Biden establishes Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force
The US government is to establish a new body with the express purpose of addressing imbalances and other supply chain concerns highlighted in a review of the sector, ordered by President Joe Biden shortly after his inauguration.
The Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force will “focus on areas where a mismatch between supply and demand has been evident,” the White House said. The division will be headed up by the Secretaries of Commerce, Transportation, and Agriculture, and will focus on housing construction, transportation, agriculture and food, and semiconductors - a drastic shortage of which has hit some of the US economy’s biggest industries in consumer technology and vehicle manufacturing.
“The Task Force will bring the full capacity of the federal government to address near-term supply/demand mismatches. It will convene stakeholders to diagnose problems and surface solutions - large and small, public or private - that could help alleviate bottlenecks and supply constraints,” the White House said.
In late February, President Biden ordered a 100 day review of the supply chain across the key areas of medicine, raw materials and agriculture, the findings of which were released this week. While the COVID-19 health crisis had a deleterious effect on the nation’s supply chain, the published assessment of findings says the root cause runs much deeper. The review concludes that “decades of underinvestment”, alongside public policy choices that favour quarterly results and short-term solutions, have left the system “fragile”.
In response, the administration aims to address four key issues head on, strengthening its position in health and medicine, sustainable and alternative energy, critical mineral mining and processing, and computer chips.
Support domestic production of critical medicines
- A syndicate of public and private entities will jointly work towards manufacturing and onshoring of essential medical suppliers, beginning with a list of 50-100 “critical drugs” defined by the Food and Drug Administration.
- The consortium will be led by the Department of Health and Human Services, which will commit an initial $60m towards the development of a “novel platform technologies to increase domestic manufacturing capacity for API”.
- The aim is to increase domestic production and reduce the reliance upon global supply chains, particularly with regards to medications in short supply.
Secure an end-to-end domestic supply chain for advanced batteries
- The Department of Energy will publish a ‘National Blueprint for Lithium Batteries’, beginning a 10 year plan to "develop a domestic lithium battery supply chain that combats the climate crisis by creating good-paying clean energy jobs across America”.
- The effort will leverage billions in funding “to finance key strategic areas of development and fill deficits in the domestic supply chain capacity”.
Invest in sustainable domestic and international production and processing of critical minerals
- An interdepartmental group will be established by the Department of Interior to identify sites where critical minerals can be produced and processed within US borders. It will collaborate with businesses, states, tribal nations and stockholders to “expand sustainable, responsible critical minerals production and processing in the United States”.
- The group will also identify where regulations may need to be updated to ensure new mining and processing “meets strong standards”.
Partner with industry, allies, and partners to address semiconductor shortages
- The Department of Commerce will increase its partnership with industry to support further investment in R&D and production of semiconductor chips. The White House says its aim will be to “facilitate information flow between semiconductor producers and suppliers and end-users”, improving transparency and data sharing.
- Enhanced relationships with foreign allies, including Japan and South Korea will also be strengthened with the express proposed of increasing chip output, promoting further investment in the sector and “to promote fair semiconductor chip allocations”.