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Group Wants NatureWorks to Solve Problems before Introducing New Bottle

Date: December 4, 2006

Source: Grassroots Recycling Network

The Plastic Redesign Project Recyclers Expand Campaign for Temporary Moratorium on New PLA Bottles

Group Says NatureWorks should Solve Recycling Problems before Introducing New Bottle

A group of recyclers and organizations, which last month called on NatureWorks to place a moratorium on PLA bottles, is working to expand its campaign. The new bio-based plastic bottle introduced by NatureWorks called PLA, can substitute for PET bottles in some uses, including bottled water. Because the two resins are incompatible, the PLA bottle poses significant problems for PET recyclers and could significantly undermine recycling's economics by disrupting successful PET recovery programs and by losing the high value in the PET bottles it displaces.

As a part of a mounting campaign to secure the moratorium, the Plastics Redesign Project, one of the seven petitioning groups, has expanded its web site to provide the recycling community, public officials and consumers with detailed information on the impact of PLA bottles on recycling. The website includes an on-line sign up form for recyclers, companies and organization who want to join the campaign for a temporary moratorium on the new bottle by NatureWorks.

In a letter to NatureWorks in October, several recycling organizations warned that, at this time, further expansion of PLA bottle in the marketplace would severely harm existing recycling programs, especially the well-developed recycling infrastructure for PET plastic bottles.

Today, the Plastics Redesign Project, one of the seven petitioning groups, expanded its web site to provide other recyclers with detailed information to become educated about PLA bottles' impact on recycling, and an on-line sign up form to join the petition to NatureWorks.

The website is found at www.plasticredesignproject.org, which provides answers to the following questions about PLA when used in bottles:

Answers to questions about PLA bottles
* What are bio-based plastics?
* What end-of-life benefits does NatureWorks claim for PLA?
* Are NatureWorks' composting claims correct?
* What is the recyclers' position on PLA in bottles?
* What are the problems to recycling from PLA in bottles?
- Lower on hierarchy
- Loss of PET revenues to recycling programs
- Major impediments to economically recycling PLA

  • Do offers to buy back PLA bottles resolve recyclers' concerns?
    * Are NatureWorks other assurances about PLA's trace presence adequate to protect recycling?
    * What is the best outcome to constructively resolve the present controversy?
    * Shouldn't these issues be decided by the free market and not by moratoriums?
    * How can I help convince NatureWorks to make PLA recyclable before introducing it in more bottles?

Peter Anderson, the Plastic Redesign Project's staff director, called on recyclers to visit the web site, educate themselves, and, if they share the concerns, sign the petition on-line. Anderson said that "NatureWorks is striving to be a socially responsible company. If those who make recycling happen speak up, I would hope that NatureWorks will respond constructively. Our strong preference is to work with, not against the company, if at all possible," he said.

The Plastic Redesign Project is a multi-state coalition of local and state recycling officials working to find constructive solutions that strengthen the economics of local plastics recycling programs. Other petitioning groups include the Container Recycling Institute, Eco-Cycle, the Ecology Center, Eureka Recycling, the Grassroots Recycling Network, and the Institute for Local Self Reliance.

For more information, contact:
Peter Anderson
Office: (608)231-1100
Mobile: (608) 698-1314
e-mail: anderson@recycleworlds.net.

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