Environment

Wisynco to introduce biodegradable foam product today

Wednesday, February 15, 2017    

Print this page Email A Friend!


Local manufacturers of the Sweet line of synthetic packaging products, Wisynco Limited, is today expected to announce a major shift in its operations — a move away from polystyrene-only food containers to a biodegradable alternative it has branded eco-foam.

The new product, the company said, should break down into non-toxic derivatives of the input within nine months to five years.

CEO William Mahfood told the Jamaica Observer yesterday that eco-foam is produced by putting a chemical additive in polystyrene, the main component of styrofoam, which is not biodegradable. He, however, declined to name the additive, fearing he would give too much away ahead of today’s launch which is scheduled for the company’s Lakes Pen head office at 10:00 am.

“After about two years of research, we identified a company that had a chemical additive which makes the finished product biodegradable. It allows for the product to go into the environment and, through natural degradation, turn into its natural, non-toxic elements — water, co2, methane, oxygen, and some humus material, which is like dirt,” he explained.


The move is the latest in a string of environmentally conscious initiatives the company has implemented over the years. Just last year, in the wake of a fire which razed its warehouses and amidst talk of a ban on plastics and styrofoam, Wisynco began decreasing the amount of polystyrene it used to make each styrofoam product.

Also, the manufacturing and distributorship is a partner in Recycling Partners of Jamaica, and it launched Wisynco Eco, a group-wide committee that promotes sustainable practices such as recycling and tree planting.

“When we first started manufacturing plastic bottles, we started a recycling company — Recycle for Life — and then subsequently, when the Government introduced environment levies, we discontinued the recycling. Today, we have gone back into recycling with a joint venture with the Government and have also done a number of other things to not only minimise our environmental footprint, but our carbon footprint as well, through solar installations, a major wastewater treatment plant..., and more recently, about four years ago, we took a decision at the board level to implement an environmental commitee in the group to look at ways that we could be as environmentally friendly as we could be as a company,” Mahfood said.

That, according to the Wisynco CEO, led the company to reduce the volume of plastics it uses in its production. For one thing, it discontinued the manufacturing of plastic bags, and reduced the volume of plastic that goes into the Wata brand of beverage bottles.

“But we still had the styrofoam and these are not biodegradable either, so we had to look at alternative materials or find ways to minimise the damage to the environment,” he told the Observer.

“We identified plant-based materials which would allow us to produce a biodegradable and compostable type of plastic, but when we did the analysis, we realised that it was very expensive and was not something that would be readily accepted in the local market,” he continued.

Wisynco turned its sights instead to a chemical process that would give the required effect.

Mahfood said production of its lunch boxes and disposable plates using the new technology has already begun, with 100 per cent conversion expected by March or April of this year.

 

ADVERTISEMENT




POST A COMMENT

HOUSE RULES

 

1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper – email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy



comments powered by Disqus
ADVERTISEMENT

Poll

Do you believe Dr Peter Phillips will be a better People's National Party (PNP) president than Portia Simpson Miller?
Yes
No


View Results »


ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon
ADVERTISEMENT