Plastic in the Ocean: What's the Solution?
Plasticity Rio panelist and President / Founder of MBA Polymers, one of the world’s leading multinational plastics recycling companies, Dr Mike Biddle, has been awarded the illustrious Gothenburg Award for Sustainable Development.
“This award for Dr. Biddle showcases the importance of the innovation and opportunities that are being developed in the area of plastic recycling and waste resource development, all of which fit perfectly with the goal to reduce plastic pollution while fulfilling the Rio+20 objectives for the development of the green economy,” says Douglas Woodring, organizer of the Plasticity Rio event, and founder of Ocean Recovery Alliance.
Dr Mike Biddle is one of 18 guest experts to take centre stage at the one-day forum aimed at presenting forward-thinking, solution-based products, processes and case studies on the sustainable uses of plastics that are replicable and scalable throughout the world.
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“I am excited to be part of Plasticity. The timing and venue represent a fantastic opportunity to bring leading thinkers from around the globe to work together towards more responsible life-cycle management of this valuable resource we call ‘plastics,” says Dr. Biddle.
Steve Richardson, Director of Marketing and Public Affairs at NatureWorks says, “We believe that it’s vital to reassess where plastics come from, and where plastics go when we’re done with the them. Plasticity gives us a great platform to have a real discussion on bioplastics – with the opportunities, the obstacles, and the progress, all discussed in detail with NatureWorks at the forum.”
With support and endorsement from the United Nations Environment Programme, Google, the Clinton Foundation, Business for the Environment, the National Resources Defence Council (NRDC), NatureWorks, Ecover, Covanta Energy and the Plastic Vortex Challenge, the unique conference is one of a kind on the agenda and will be addressing a range of topical and provocative issues relating to the new technologies and innovations that are being developed which include bioplastics, waste to fuel, source reduction, new design, materials and how some are harnessing plastic waste for new industries.
“Businesses leading with vision and entrepreneurial spirit are essential in the worldwide effort to curb plastic pollution. This is a space for innovation and great opportunities, and we are excited to support the effort championed by Plasticity Forum,” says Daniella Russo, Executive Director of the Plastic Pollution Coalition.
Other guest experts include Eben Bayer, CEO of Ecovative, Sebastião Carlos dos Santos (Tião), President, Association of Collectors of the Metropolitan Landfill of Jardim Gramacho, Rio’s Largest Landfill, as seen in the movie Wasteland www.wastelandmovie.com), Jason Foster, Founder of Replenish, Bryan Martel, Managing Director Environmental Capital Group and Fabien Cousteau – Ocean Explorer, Movie Producer, and Founder of “Plant a Fish,” Daniella Russo, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Plastic Pollution Coalition.
"Plastic waste is poisoning our only planet. The Plasticity Forum will be highlighting these risks during the Rio+20 Earth Summit while also sourcing potential mitigating Innovations. I'm proud to be participating and am excited to see what new approaches are presented, and inspired, by the event,” says Eben Bayer, CEO of Ecovative Design.
The issue of Plastic has been voted the #1 priority out of the top 10 issues facing the ocean, as voted on by over 1,000,000 global citizens on the United Nations official online voting platform for the Rio+20 event. “Plasticity shows the world that plastic can be used, but that there are big opportunities for brands, companies and entrepreneurs who work to minimize its impact on the environment. The future of plastic is one where there is no plastic footprint,” says Woodring.
The team behind this unique conference have also launched a global competition calling on innovators and geniuses alike to be a part of the solution, ‘Capturing Gold’ which will be presented during the day. This crowd-sourced ideas competition uses Tinkby, an online collaboration platform designed to help large groups of people think together and is seeking out the brightest thinking for the future of sustainable use and re-use of plastic.
Edited by Carin Hall
Itronics successfully tests manganese recovery process
Itronics - a Nevada-based emerging cleantech materials growth company that manufacturers fertilisers and produces silver - has successfully tested two proprietary processes that recover manganese, with one process recovering manganese, potassium and zinc from paste produced by processing non-rechargeable alkaline batteries. The second recovers manganese via the company’s Rock Kleen Technology.
Manganese, one of the four most important industrial metals and widely used by the steel industry, has been designated by the US Federal Government as a "critical mineral." It is a major component of non-rechargeable alkaline batteries, one of the largest battery categories sold globally.
The use of manganese in EV batteries is increasing as EV battery technology is shifting to use of more nickel and manganese in battery formulations. But according to the US Department of Interior, there is no mine production of manganese in the United States. As such, Itronics is using its Rock Kleen Technology to test metal recoverability from mine tailings obtained from a former silver mine in western Nevada that has a high manganese content.
In a statement, Itronics says that its Rock Kleen process recovers silver, manganese, zinc, copper, lead and nickel. The company says that it has calculated – based on laboratory test results – that if a Rock Kleen tailings process is put into commercial production, the former mine site would become the only primary manganese producer in the United States.
Itronics adds that it has also tested non-rechargeable alkaline battery paste recovered by a large domestic battery recycling company to determine if it could use one of its hydrometallurgical processes to solubilize the manganese, potassium, and zinc contained in the paste. This testing was successful, and Itronics was able to produce material useable in two of its fertilisers, it says.
"We believe that the chemistry of the two recovery processes would lend itself to electrochemical recovery of the manganese, zinc, and other metals. At this time electrochemical recovery has been tested for zinc and copper,” says Dr John Whitney, Itronics president.
“Itronics has been reviewing procedures for electrochemical recovery of manganese and plans to move this technology forward when it is appropriate to do so and has acquired electro-winning equipment needed to do that.
"Because of the two described proprietary technologies, Itronics is positioned to become a domestic manganese producer on a large scale to satisfy domestic demand. The actual manganese products have not yet been defined, except for use in the Company's GOLD'n GRO Multi-Nutrient Fertilisers. However, the Company believes that it will be able to produce chemical manganese products as well as electrochemical products," he adds.
Itronics’ research and development plant is located in Reno, about 40 miles west of the Tesla giga-factory. Its planned cleantech materials campus, which will be located approximately 40 miles south of the Tesla factory, would be the location where the manganese products would be produced.
Panasonic is operating one of the world's largest EV battery factories at the Tesla location. However, Tesla and other companies have announced that EV battery technology is shifting to use of nickel-manganese batteries. Itronics is positioned and located to become a Nevada-0based supplier of manganese products for battery manufacturing as its manganese recovery technologies are advanced, the company states.
A long-term objective for Itronics is to become a leading producer of high purity metals, including the U.S. critical metals manganese and tin, using the Company's breakthrough hydrometallurgy, pyrometallurgy, and electrochemical technologies. ‘Additionally, Itronics is strategically positioned with its portfolio of "Zero Waste Energy Saving Technologies" to help solve the recently declared emergency need for domestic production of Critical Minerals from materials located at mine sites,’ the statement continues.
The Company's growth forecast centers upon its 10-year business plan designed to integrate its Zero Waste Energy Saving Technologies and to grow annual sales from $2 million in 2019, to $113 million in 2025.