Most of us would agree that the world has a growing issue with plastic pollution. The images of ocean pollution, landfills, litter and the impact of wildlife by plastics show us firsthand the enormous issue we’re facing.In 2008, a group of like-minded individuals decided to take action and do something about the plastic pollution issue. We created ENSO Bottles, a company focused on the mission of bringing to market the most eco-friendly short- and long-term solutions for addressing the plastic pollution issue. After a year-and-a-half of evaluating various technologies in the market and many of the upcoming technologies, we determined that to have a true environmental solution, ENSO needed to take into consideration the existing end-of-life options for plastic packaging. Today, the end-of-life option for the majority of plastic packaging is the recycle stream or landfill. In the U.S. today, roughly 27% of water and soda bottles are recycled. That means that 73% end up in landfills or as litter. When we take a step back and look at all plastics, we find that less than 7% of all plastics are recycled, and more than 93% of all plastics end up in landfills or as litter. Of the 27% of bottles that are recycled, most of them are purchased by companies that are downcycling the material into products usually headed to China or to incinerators for energy production. These are the numbers after decades and billions of dollars spent to improve the recycling industry. To address the large percentage of plastics ending up in landfill environments ENSO developed a solution that is an organic, biodegradable additive that is mixed into existing standard plastic resins during manufacturing. The result is a plastic packaging that looks like standard polymers, processes like standard polymers, has the same shelf life as standard polymers and is just as recyclable as standard polymers. It will naturally biodegrade only when introduced into a microbial environment such as that found in soil. ENSO is not the end-all solution at the moment, but it is a huge step in the right direction. ENSO continues to work toward future technologies that will reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. This will take time because the next generation of plastics will need to use non-food resources and require much less energy needs than current plant-based plastics. ENSO bottles and other ENSO biodegradable plastic packaging solutions are being used in the market today. Brands, manufactures, retailers and consumers recognize the huge environmental benefit that ENSO brings to the packaging and plastic industries. In the end, solving the enormous plastic pollution issue facing our world is going to require us all to work together. People want to do the right thing, and now with ENSO, brands using our biodegradable and recyclable packaging can feel better knowing we are all taking a step in the right direction. ENSO fits into the existing recycling infrastructure and addresses the end-of-life option where most plastics end up: in a landfill. To learn more about ENSO biodegradable plastics, please visit ensoplastics.com.
Danny Clark is the co-founder and President of ENSO Bottles.