Plastics and Sustainability : Towards a Peaceful Coexistence Between Bio-Based and Fossil Fuel-Based Plastics

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2011-10-25
  • Publisher: Wiley-Scrivener

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This book addresses an issue of current importance to plastics and manufacturing industry readers, and also to society as a whole. Its guiding question concerns the production, consumption, use, and disposal of plastic products, and how our cultural practice of relying on plastic products can (if it can) fit our needs for a sustainable economy and world. It discusses all possible footprints of plastics use, not just focusing on greenhouse gas production, but also on toxicity and human health, societal standards, and effects on ecosystems.

Author Biography

Michael Tolinski has been researching and writing about plastics sustainability issues for industry readers regularly since 1998 (and since 2004 as a contributing editor for Plastics Engineering magazine published by the Society of Plastics Engineers). His materials science and engineering degree and previous career as a manufacturing/materials engineer has given him a solid background in plastics and in the practical problems faced by manufacturers. His first book, Additives for Polyolefins, was published in 2009.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgementsp. xi
Prefacep. xiii
General Introductionp. 1
What is Environmental Sustainability?p. 4
Facing the Contradictions of Plasticsp. 8
Plastics at Play in Consumer Lifestylesp. 10
Controversies Concerning Plastics: Recent Examplesp. 11
PVC and Phthalate Plasticizersp. 12
Plastic Shopping Bagsp. 14
Health Effects of BPA (Bisphenol-A)p. 16
The Desire to be "Green"p. 19
Consumer Interest in Sustainabilityp. 19
Sustainability: Views and Counterviewsp. 21
The Course of This Book: A Chapter-by-Chapter Overviewp. 26
Referencesp. 29
The Life Cycles of Plasticsp. 31
"Green Principles" - A Basis for Discussionp. 33
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) - A Baseline Toolp. 37
Life Cycle Inventory (LCI)p. 39
LCA: Controversies and Limitationsp. 40
LCA/LCI: Plastics-related Examplesp. 43
Plastic Lifetimes: Cradle-to-Gate...to Gate-to-Gravep. 46
The "Cradle": Polymer Feedstocks and Productionp. 46
"Gate-to-Gate": General Plastics Use-life Impactsp. 50
The "Grave": Disposal, Recycling, and Biodegradabilityp. 52
Towards a Hierarchy of Choosing Plastics for Sustainabilityp. 66
Referencesp. 68
Polymer Properties and Environmental Footprintsp. 73
Background on Polymers and Plasticsp. 75
"Green Chemistry" Principles Most Relevant to Plasticsp. 76
Common Commodity Thermoplasticsp. 82
Polyethylene (PE)p. 82
Polypropylene (PP)p. 87
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC, or "Vinyl")p. 89
Polystyrene (PS)p. 91
Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) and Related Polyestersp. 92
Traditional Engineering Thermoplasticsp. 95
Nylon or Polyamide (PA)p. 96
Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene (ABS)p. 97
Polycarbonate (PC)p. 99
Traditional Thermosets and Conventional Compositesp. 100
Unreinforced Thermosetsp. 101
Conventional Compositesp. 103
Biopolymers: Polymers of Biological Originp. 104
Polylactic Acid (PLA)p. 106
Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs): PHB and Related Copolymersp. 110
Starch-based Polymersp. 113
Protein-based Polymersp. 114
Algae-based Polymersp. 115
Blends of Biopolymersp. 115
Additives and Fillers: Conventional and Bio-basedp. 116
Common Additivesp. 117
Fillersp. 118
Fiber Reinforcementp. 119
Nanocompositesp. 125
Concluding Summaryp. 125
Referencesp. 126
Applications: Demonstrations of Plastics Sustainabilityp. 133
Trends in Sustainable Plastics Applicationsp. 136
Sustainable Plastics Packagingp. 137
Traditional Plastics Bags and Containers: Use, Disposal, and Recyclingp. 140
Bio-based Plastic Packagingp. 142
"Greener" Foam Packagingp. 144
Key Points about Plastics Packaging and Sustainabilityp. 146
Sustainable Plastics in Building and Constructionp. 146
Recycled/Recyclable Construction Applicationsp. 149
Wood-plastic Compositesp. 150
Key Points about Plastics Sustainability in Constructionp. 151
Automotive Plastics and Sustainabilityp. 152
Fuel-saving Contributions of Plasticsp. 152
Recycling and Automotive Plasticsp. 154
Bioplastics in the Automotive Industryp. 155
Key Points: Plastics Sustainability in the Automotive Industryp. 157
Specialized Applications and Plastics Sustainabilityp. 158
Electrical/Electronics Applicationsp. 158
Medical Plastics and Packagingp. 159
Agricultural Applicationsp. 161
Conclusions about Sustainable Plastics Applicationsp. 162
Referencesp. 163
Design Guidelines for Sustainabilityp. 169
Green Design Principlesp. 172
Minimize Material Contentp. 174
Exploit a Material's Full Value in the Designp. 175
Design Only to Fulfill Service Durability Requirementsp. 178
Minimize Non-functional Featuresp. 179
Focus on Single-material Designsp. 179
Incorporate Renewable Contentp. 182
The Wildcard: Consumer Preferences in Green Designp. 183
Referencesp. 184
Sustainable Considerations in Material Selectionp. 187
A Broad Example of Materials Selection: Plastics vs. Metals and Glassp. 191
Material Selection for Common High-Volume Plastics Applicationsp. 193
Plastics Selection for Beverage Bottles: PET vs. rPET vs. bio-PETp. 193
Plastics Selection for Thermoformed and Flexible Packagingp. 197
Selection for Housewares and Food Service Tablewarep. 199
Bio-based Plastic Selectionp. 202
Selecting Bio-based Resins: PLA, PHA, TPS, and Bio-based PEp. 203
Selecting Natural Fiber Plastics Reinforcementp. 207
Selecting Engineering (Bio)polymersp. 212
The Selection Process: A Visual Approachp. 214
Referencesp. 219
Processing: Increasing Efficiency in the Use of Energy and Materialsp. 221
Optimizing Resin Recyclingp. 223
Reprocessing Scrap and Post-industrial Materialp. 223
Recycling Technologies for Post-consumer Plasticp. 226
Optimizing Plastics Processes for Sustainabilityp. 231
Optimizing Process Water Usep. 231
Optimizing Process Energy Consumption of Existing Machineryp. 233
Choosing New Machinery for Sustainabilityp. 236
Sourcing Options for "Green" Processing Energyp. 237
Referencesp. 238
Conclusion: A World with(out) Sustainable Plastics?p. 241
Trends Affecting Future Global Plastics Usep. 244
Consumer Needs and Market Growthp. 244
Fossil Fuel Availability and Pricep. 247
Alternative Feedstock Trendsp. 248
Industry Priorities in Responding to Calls for Sustainabilityp. 250
Plastic Bans and (Never Ending?) Controversiesp. 252
Future Progress in Promoting Plastics Sustainabilityp. 256
Improved Partnerships, Standards, Industry Practices, and Public Educationp. 256
New Sustainability-Enhancing Uses of Both Fossil- and Bio-based Plasticsp. 265
From R&D to Real World: Newer, More Renewably Based Polymeric Materialsp. 268
Referencesp. 269
Indexp. 273
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