Collaborative effort yields a pearlescent-effect, recycled HDPE personal-care bottle.
CLINTON, TENN. February 13, 2018— Call it a pearl from the sea. Well, not exactly, perhaps, but the world’s first bottle made from Envision’s OceanBound Plastic at 100% content sports a silver metallic, pearlescent-effect finish due to some compounding expertise by Techmer PM, LLC. And it signals the promise of applying innovation to address some of the world’s most pressing pollution challenges.
A collaborative team that included materials design firm Techmer PM, environmental-change leader Primal Group, bottle blow molder Classic Containers Inc., and plastics recycler Envision Plastics Industries, LLC has worked intensively since last August to find a way to make such a product possible using Envision’s OceanBound Plastic.
Others have implemented some high-profile applications of recycled, ocean-bound plastics — such as Dell, Inc.’s use of such material as packaging for one of its laptop computers — but no one, till now, has been able to produce a metallic-looking bottle made totally from waste plastics diverted or captured from at-risk areas.
The team faced several challenges. Primal Group wanted a specific color and reflective finish on the bottle, designed for their now launched plant science inspired personal care range, ViTA, with the intention of creating a brand for a better, more sustainable future.
Typically, an extrusion grade of polyethylene would be needed in the masterbatch as a carrier for the colorant. But that was not an option in this case due to Primal Group’s no compromise approach to a truly 100% OceanBound product. The high-viscosity, OceanBound Plastic supplied by Envision Plastics is a fractional melt that makes the colorant’s metallic particles without shearing them and ruining the ultimate visual effect.
Working with officials at Envision’s Chino, Calif., plant, Savvas Roubanis, a sales engineer at Techmer’s Rancho Dominguez, Calif., plant, led the efforts to devise a solution using Techmer PM’s proprietary dispersion technology.
“Compounding of the recipe required additional process design to assure the metallic and pearlescent-effect pigments could be smoothly compounded into Envision’s OceanBound Plastic,” Roubanis said. “In the end, we were able to fully disperse and develop the color and its appearance to the approval of the Primal Group.”
Aside from the necessary additives, pigments and non-resin components used to ensure a product that both Techmer PM and Classic Containers can process effectively, the balance of the recipe is 100% Envision’s OceanBound resin, he explained.
Additionally, Ontario, Calif.-based Classic Containers can process the Techmer PM material efficiently and produce bottles within its normal, everyday processing window, which is vital to producing a bottle at the desired price point. The resulting bottle demonstrates Techmer PM’s commitment to a clean environment, and are in discussions with several major brand owners who are interested in offering environmentally focused options to a portion of their clientele keen to make sustainable purchasing choices.
Techmer PM did not know at the time that it was bidding against several other materials companies on the project, but learned later that it won the work when Primal Group selected its compound from all the other submissions.
Primal Group notes that globally “more than 8 million tons of plastics are dumped into our oceans annually. This is overwhelming, and the environmental impacts of these amounts of plastic waste in our oceans are immeasurable and far-reaching, ranging from floating wastes to damaging underwater ecosystems and the creation of ocean dead zones. … We cannot allow our biggest resource, the ocean, to become a dumping ground for plastics and other waste.”
With roughly half of all plastics currently used just once before being thrown away, and with annual production of the material set to soar to more than 1 billion tons by 2050, Primal says that “manufacturers, retailers and consumers must take responsibility to reuse, recycle and close the loop on plastic waste.” This is driving the company’s mission to find sustainable solutions.
Finding viable uses for plastic at risk for entering the ocean is just one means of advancing the cause. And Techmer PM is proud to have been able to leverage its extensive technical, process and materials design expertise to help Primal achieve is desired end result.
About Techmer PM
Techmer PM is a leading materials design company that works in partnership with plastics processors, OEMs, and designers to solve some of their most difficult business, manufacturing, and sustainability challenges. The company’s solutions modify the aesthetics, as well as extend and maintain the physical properties of plastic products. The company designs custom solutions for customers to maximize performance through collaboration and by leveraging its leading-edge technology. Techmer PM was recognized by Plastics News “Best Places to Work” for 2014, 2016 and 2017. R&D Magazine recently honored Techmer PM for its innovative materials design work by naming it a winner in the Process/Prototyping category for the 2017 R&D 100 Awards program. Learn more by visiting techmerpm.com.
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