GO GREEN WITH US
Eco-friendly plastic? Impossible?
That’s a widely held belief, although scientific advances have made environmentally-safe plastics possible — and CJF International is committed to using recyclable and biodegradable materials, in addition to adopting best practices to be as socially and environmentally responsible as possible in our business operations.
Still, it’s easy to see why many feel that plastic is killing the earth. The evidence is seemingly everywhere: Styrofoam food packaging and cracked plastic utensils on beaches or carelessly left behind on nature trails, or filthy bottles and plastic bags floating at sea or in rivers.
YES, there is a plastic problem!
And it’s because, worldwide, there is a problem of improper disposal of plastic waste.
Somewhere out in the Pacific Ocean, there is a floating garbage dump of sorts that is reportedly twice the size of France, with an estimated three million tonnes of plastic debris brought together by converging major sea currents in that area, and forming what’s been dubbed the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The water in the area is extremely saturated with suspended plastic particles that form as the accumulated plastic waste breaks down.
Food, paper, metal and wooden items, when dumped in landfills or carelessly tossed out at sea, will decompose or break down into materials that make their way back into the ecosystem. Not so for plastic, which normally takes anything from 40 to 400 years to break down.
Because plastic photo-degrades rather than bio-degrades, it breaks down into smaller pieces, chips, shreds, granules and eventually plastic dust with prolonged exposure to light. Animals, birds and marine life are at serious risk from plastic pollution in their natural environments — they mistake these plastic pieces for food, and may die or suffer from poisoning or blockages in their digestive systems.
SOLVING THE PLASTIC CONUNDRUM
There is no question about eliminating the production and usage of plastics — it’s simply TOO USEFUL A MATERIAL!
Lightweight, flexible, strong, its waterproof property gives it a marked advantage over paper (simultaneously reducing the felling of trees). Plastic has innumerable uses, and because it is so hardy and relatively inexpensive to produce, it has replaced materials like wood, glass and metal alloys in countless products.
But its durability is the very characteristic that is underpinning the environmental problems caused by plastic waste today. Remember, it can take decades to centuries before plastic breaks down.
However, there is a way to use plastic responsibly. Prominent environmentalist and Adventure Ecology founder David de Rothschild said it best: “Plastic is not the enemy. But it’s our understanding of disposal and reuse that’s to blame.”
Rothschild is embarking on a sea expedition in 2009 aboard his 60-foot catamaran, Plastiki, custom-built mostly out of recycled plastic bottles. He will sail from San Francisco to Sydney, crossing through the ‘Plastic Vortex’ in the Pacific Ocean on the way, to highlight —and galvanise action on — the issue of plastic waste. His objective: To inspire sustainable solutions that will help beat waste.
Plastic Waste Management: Start with the 3Rs
What You Can Do
What CJF International Is Doing
Stop pollution where it starts, by reducing consumption of single-use plastic products or packaging.
We use technology and machines to help reduce the thickness of our plastic bags, so less plastic is used, with no compromise on the tensile strength and strain of the bag.
Don’t just throw used plastic products away, but see how they can be put to good use. One simple example: Reusing grocery plastic bags to contain rubbish before disposal.
High-quality printing on our bags makes them walking advertisements for our retail clients’ businesses — and these bags are attractive enough for their customers to happily reuse as carriers or shopping bags.
Plastic items marked with a triangle of three cyclic arrows can be recycled. Make it a habit to sort your trash and bring recyclable items to recycling collection centres.
We recycle plastic waste from our production process, as well as other plastics into garbage bags. Our products can also be recycled.
Going One Step Further: The 4th R — Rethink
Having implemented Reduce, Reuse and Recycle eco-saving initiatives, we also Rethink the plastics we manufacture, and have adopted technology to make products that are 100% safe for the environment.
Leveraging on d2w™ eco-compatible plastic additives from Symphony Environmental Technologies, a listed company headquartered in Borehamwood, England, we are able to manufacture oxo-biodegradable plastic bags that are durable, safe, cost-effective and customisable for our clients. In this way, we and our clients demonstrate social responsibility in the packaging supply chain.
All plastics are organic compounds produced by polymerisation. Hydrocarbon plastics comprise only carbon and hydrogen, while heterochain polymers may contain oxygen, nitrogen, or sulphur.
Normal plastics can take decades, and even 1,000 years to break down. Imagine this: The vast majority of the plastic produced since the material’s invention about 150 years ago, have still not degraded! If not incinerated or recycled, plastic waste may continue sitting in landfills and compost piles — or as litter on land and sea — for the next couple of or even centuries.
Biodegradable plastics are crucial in the quest to reduce the burden of persistent plastic waste in the environment. These are plastics that can be broken down into their organic elements by biological agents (micro-organisms bacteria, algae, and fungi). Instead of remaining in their original or photo-degraded forms of plastic shreds and dust for decades on end, they are completely broken down within a matter of weeks, months or years.
CJF International’s bio-compatible plastics are oxo-biodegradable, meaning that the plastic degrades as a result of oxidation, and are biodegraded by microbes, either simultaneously or successively.
The end products are completely safe: water, carbon dioxide, biomass (assimilated into the cells of the micro-organisms), and trace elements. No heavy metal residues or toxins are produced.
Chemically ‘programming’ the plastics lets us control the timeline of the oxo-biodegradation process. The d2w™ additives used include stabilisers that ensure the plastic retains all its useful qualities and the products have an adequate shelf life. Only after the pre-determined service life of the product does the catalytic effect of the d2w™ additive kick in, triggering the oxidative degradation.
While heat, UV, air and mechanical stress accelerate the degradation process, the breakdown of d2w™ eco-compatible plastics continues whether the material is on or sea, in the light or dark, in heat or cold, according to the timescale required.
Furthermore, oxo-biodegradable plastic is probably the lowest cost environmentally-targeted technology.
Testing and Certification
Symphony has done extensive testing on d2w™ eco-compatible plastics, and has certified its technical specifications and performance.
Testing for Life Expectancy
Carbonyl index testing is primarily used for weathering testing to predict a sample’s life expectancy in different environments. This comparative method of testing measures the speed of oxidative degradation of the plastic.
Tested for Eco Non-Toxicity by Governmental and International Bodies
All grades of d2w™ are compliant with the requirements of:
- The European Union 2002/72/EEC regulations for Direct Food Contact and all amendments.
- The USFDA requirements for direct food contact materials (confirmed by US law firm Keller and Heckman).
- ANVISA requirements for Brazilian Direct Food Contact Safety.
- European Union migration tests (confirmed by US-owned Smithers/RAPRA).
- European Normalisation EN 13432 Ecotoxicity Section (confirmed by OWS, Gent, Belgium).
- Brazilian Report ‘Program for Composting Oxo-Biodegradable Plastic Residues’ (confirms no harmful residues occur in compost after degradation).
Tested for Its Claims
It’s not just marketing hype. The following claims about d2w™ eco-compatible plastics have been put to the test and confirmed:
- Biodegradability (confirmed by Applus)
- Compostability (confirmed by CRIQ)
- Degradation in soil (confirmed by ADEME/AGRICE)
- Recyclability (confirmed by PTL)
What’s more, plastic materials containing d2w™ oxo-degradable additives can be safely recycled, without any compromise to the resulting product. Tests have shown that d2w™ plastic recyclate can be added to both non-degradable and degradable formulations, without accelerating the degradation of the resulting product. Since it takes two-thirds less energy to make products from recycled plastic than from virgin plastic, we help conserve resources by extending and renewing the life cycle of our plastics.