Symphony in Hawaii
Meetings were attended by President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton of the United States, President Hu Jintao of China, Prime Minister Gillard of Australia, President Calderon of Mexico, President Pinera of Chile, President Aquino of the Philippines, President Medvedev of Russia and Chief Executives of many of the world’s leading companies including Boeing, GE, Fedex, Walmart, JP Morgan, Procter&Gamble, and the Presidents of the Asian Development Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the World Bank.
The 21 member states of APEC are home to 2.7 billion people and represent 55% of world GDP, and 43% of world trade. Heads of State and CEO’s are striving to improve their CSR and environmental credentials and were actively looking for solutions.
Symphony gave a 20 minute presentation to PBEC which attracted a huge amount of interest, noting that just off the shores of Hawaii there is a massive patch of plastic waste which could float around for decades. Some plastic will always escape the preferred disposal routes and find its way into the open landscape or the ocean, from which it cannot realistically be collected, so Symphony has developed a low-cost solution called d2w, which is added to normal plastic when it is being made.
The fundamental point about d2w oxo-biodegradable technology is that it quickly converts ordinary plastic, at the end of its useful life, in the presence of oxygen, into a material with a different molecular structure. At that stage it is no longer a plastic and has become a material which is inherently biodegradable in the open environment in the same way as a leaf. It cannot then entangle wild creatures nor block drains, and it is no longer a form of visual pollution. It does not leave fragments of plastic, and it is not toxic.
Oxo-biodegradable technology has been verified by independent laboratory tests and published science, and can be tested according to ASTM D6954 and BS8472. It is used by large companies around the world, who have conducted extensive due-diligence. It does not disrupt established supply chains.
During its useful life a d2w plastic product can be recycled with ordinary plastic but compostable plastic cannot. d2w plastic will not degrade in the absence of oxygen and – unlike compostable plastic - the undegraded d2w plastic will not emit methane in landfill. A Life Cycle Assessment published this year by the UK Environment Agency shows that ordinary and oxo-biodegradable plastic bags have a better LCA than paper or compostable plastic bags.
The Standards for compostable plastic require it to convert quickly into CO2 gas within 180 days, which contributes to climate change but does nothing for the quality of the soil, but no such requirement is necessary for oxo-biodegradable plastic. There is no need for it to biodegrade completely within a year – a leaf would take many years.
Michael Laurier concluded Symphony’s presentation saying “While we must always strive to reduce the amount of litter in our environment, there will always be those who will deliberately or accidentally discard their waste in an irresponsible manner. Using d2w in plastic products would prevent vast amounts of plastic from lying in the open environment and our oceans for decades to come. It is in effect a low-cost insurance policy. The United Arab Emirates have already made it compulsory to make plastic oxo-biodegradable, and the countries of the Asia-Pacific region should do the same".
Whilst at the conferences the Symphony team had a wide range of meetings with legislators and CEO’s from many different countries.