Aircarbon Packaging To Reduce Oil-Based Plastics By 70 Percent
AirCarbon is created by joining air with methane-based carbon emissions to produce a standalone material or incorporated into existing materials that are approximately 40% oxygen and 60% hydrogen and carbon. It is being used now to replace oil in the production of everyday items we use without ever questioning how they’re made. The problem is, how products are made — the process in which it takes to create them — and what goes into them can and does have environmental and energy dependency consequences most of us don’t want to think about. But not thinking about it doesn’t make the problem go away or any less real.
Fortunately, sustainable/eco-friendly research and manufacturing groups like Newlight Technologies are putting a lot of thought into it for us, because pumping the atmosphere full of gas and particle emissions hasn’t really panned out too well for us so far. Newlight is the company behind AirCarbon, and, according to their website, they want to “transform the products we use every day into products that reverse the flow of carbon” into the atmosphere.
By using AirCarbon in place of oil in the manufacturing process, those transformed products — either as a standalone material or incorporated into existing materials — will “sequester more greenhouse gas than they emit and actually improve the world – displacing oil, reducing cost and reducing the amount of carbon in the air.”
Phasing Out Fossil Fuels
The push towards phasing out fossil fuels in the energy and manufacturing sectors has seen a rise in support lately. And it’s not just from individuals or concerned citizens with an eye toward reduced dependency and environmental impact. Whether as a branding/marketing strategy or out of true concern, businesses are starting to take the subject a lot more seriously, too. Due to this interest, major corporations are setting deadlines with increasing frequency for compliance in connection to self-imposed reduction goals to be met.
Multi Billion-Dollar Invention
This week, Body Shop International announced that they’d partnered with Newlight to reduce the level of oil-based plastics by 70 percent in their product packaging by the year 2020 through the use of AirCarbon. And the Body Shop’s not the first to hitch their wagon to Newlight’s eco-friendly star. Back in July of 2015, Newlight Technologies announced that they had entered into a 20-year contract to supply 19 billion pounds of AirCarbon to chemical distributor Vinmar. Also on board is Dell. As part of their continuing effort to source 100 percent of their packaging materials from sustainable materials by the year 2020, the computer company is using AirCarbon in a pilot project to manufacture protective bags for notebooks.
Reducing Greenhouse Gases
Now operating on a commercial scale, Newlight’s AirCarbon has been seen to meet performance requirements for applications using fossil fuel-based polypropylene, polyethylene, TPU, ABS and polystyrene. The versatile material can be used in thermoforming, extrusion, fiber spinning, cast film, blown film and injection molding applications. Currently, around 4 percent of the world’s oil production is used as a base to manufacturing plastics, with a similar percentage consumed as energy in the process. Rather than adding to the problem, AirCarbon actually helps the environment by capturing methane emissions (aka greenhouse gases) and turning them into plastics.
This isn’t the only idea for extracting and recycling pollutants for use in everyday products. An MIT grad came up with the idea of creating printer ink from carbon-rich soots. For more information on the high-performance thermoplastic that is AirCarbon or Newlight Technologies, you can visit their website.