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Eastman Chemical Report Shows Improvement Needed in Reduction of Hazardous Waste

Eastman Chemical Company just released a 2013 Sustainability Progress Report, which shows that the company’s progress toward reducing hazardous waste “requires improvement.”

The company hopes to reduce hazardous waste (indexed to production) by 15% from 2010 to 2020 against a baseline of 0.00542 kg waste/kg production in 2010. 2012 hazardous waste indexed to production was 0.005984 kg per kg of production, a 1% decrease (almost 1 million pounds) from 2011, according to the company — but a 10% increase compared to the baseline year of 2010.

The company says that it “continues to balance its production and growth goals against its waste-minimization plans to achieve its long-term goals.”

Company Creates Full-wrap Label Consortium

In terms of the company’s goal of working with key stakeholders in its value chain to promote sustainable practices, Eastman created the Full-wrap Label Consortium in 2012 to identify the solutions and improve the recyclability of PET bottles and full-body shrink labels in the US. The full-wrap label consortium members include representatives from consumer goods manufacturers, resin producers, film extruders, print converters and label producers, equipment manufacturers, bottlers and packagers, plastics recyclers and independent testing firms. More than 30 companies represent the consortium membership, including Accraply, Axon Corp., Bilcare Research, Inc., Bonset America Corp., Brook & Whittle, Fort Dearborn Company, Gilbreth, Hammer Packaging, Klöckner Pentaplast, PDC International, Plastics Technologies, Inc., Printpack, Inc., SleeveCo, SKC and Eastman Chemical Company.

The consortium aims to identify solutions to the recent issues surrounding polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles and full-wrap labels in the recycle stream. Eastman says that approximately 80 percent of full-wrap labels in North America are found on PET containers, but as these full-wrap labels become more popular (because of increased shelf appeal), many PET bottles also have been downgauged. The combination of these two elements has exacerbated the challenge recyclers face in processing PET containers, the company says.

“There’s been a lot of discussion in the marketplace about the recycling of containers with full-wrap labels, and we thought it was time a group formed to collaboratively discuss the challenges and work toward holistic, win-win solutions for everyone, including those companies that process and recycle containers,” says Holli Whitt, market development manager, sustainability for specialty plastics, Eastman Chemical Company. “We want to find solutions that will allow brand owners to continue using these labels to secure brand recognition, shelf appeal and market share while mitigating the challenges recyclers are experiencing.”

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