Wednesday 31 October 2012

Reversing the Supply Chain: P&G's gasification of waste

Here's a link to an interesting report of papers given at an all-day supply chain conference at Stanford Graduate School of Business.  It included a presentation by Jill Boughton, Associate R&D Director at P&G, on their "Waste to Worth" efforts in India which mentions their waste gasification scheme being pilotted in the Phillipines. 

"P&G partners with municipalities to help establish ownership and responsibility for the plant operations. The owners get the profits from the electricity produced and P&G gets zero revenue. The city is not required to increase its consumption of P&G products, so this would seem a very altruistic enterprise. However, P&G is not just concerned with the safe and proper disposal of a mountain of used diapers, but in the process of moving towards a healthier reverse supply chain, all products, from all suppliers, are reviewed."

The report is written by Douglas Alexander, Principal Consultant, Component Engineering Consultants

Thursday 25 October 2012

Lenzing Wins Austrian “Big Player“ ranking

For the 14th time, the business daily WirtschaftsBlatt set out to identify the most successful companies in Austria together with the credit reference agency KSV1870 and PwC. Lenzing AG once again convinced the jury and won the Austrian ranking in the category “Big Player” for the second time. A firm’s good performance over a period of years and not short-term business results is what 
counts for the Austrian Leading Companies Award. The current analysis took account of the company’s performance in the years 2009-2011. The issue of sustainability also plays a major role in this competition.   

Lenzing CEO Peter Untersperger is pleased with this award. “This victory again in the overall Austrian rankings impressively underlines the fact that Lenzing belongs to the premier league of Austrian companies”, he says.  For years the Lenzing Group has achieved good results and also operates extremely successfully. 

Viscose fibers are in vogue around the world, and demand is steadily rising. For this reason, the global market leader Lenzing is in the midst of a Group-wide expansion program which aims to almost double current fiber production capacity to 1.2 mn tons by 2015.  

Key Figures Lenzing Group 2011: 
Sales: EUR 2.14 bn 
Export share: 91.5% 
Fiber production: 705,100 tons 
Staff: 6,593

For more information please contact: 
Angelika Guldt 
Head of Corporate Communications 
Phone: +43 (0) 7672 701-2713 

Wednesday 24 October 2012

Kimberly Clark pull out of diapers in most of Europe. Humberside plant to close.

KIMBERLY-CLARK has issued the following statement regarding the proposed closure of the firm's Barton-Upon-Humber plant.

The firm announced earlier today (Wednesday) it plans to stop manufacturing and selling nappies in Europe, with the exception of Italy, as part of changes to its business.

Kimberly-Clark has proposed the closure of its Barton-Upon-Humber plant.

Kimberly-Clark is making strategic changes in Europe to focus its resources and investments on the company’s strongest products and markets, in order to deliver better returns in the future.

Despite considerable efforts, time and investment, Kimberly-Clark has not been able to build a sustainable, profitable nappies business in Europe. Therefore the company plans to stop manufacturing and selling nappies in Europe, with the exception of Italy.

As a result, the company has taken the difficult decision to propose the closure of the Barton mill, which manufactures nappies for the UK market. The company will work proactively with employees and local employee representatives during this difficult time and ensure the appropriate consultation processes are followed. It is expected that the majority of actions associated with this proposal will be completed by the end of 2013.

Dave Faddis, Vice President of Supply Chain, Kimberly-Clark Consumer Europe, commented: “No decision such as this is ever taken lightly and it is with regret that we have to propose the closure of Barton as part of changes to our European business. My priority is to ensure that employees are treated respectfully and fairly during this stressful time. These are tough choices, but they are necessary to improve our competitive position and make Kimberly-Clark’s consumer business stronger in Europe.”

Tuesday 23 October 2012

Man Made Fibres Conference 2012: HTL Dornbirn Fashion Show

Girls from the textile and apparel educational unit of the HTL Dornbirn put on the Fashion Show at the Mayor's evening dinner at the Man-Made Fibres Conference held in the town in September 2012

Man Made Fibres Conference 2012: HTL Dornbirn Fashion Show

Girls from the textile and apparel educational unit of the HTL Dornbirn put on the Fashion Show at the Mayor's evening dinner at the Man-Made Fibres Conference held in the town in September 2012

Thursday 18 October 2012


EU industrial policy highlights biobased product markets as key priority

Berlin, 18 October 2012. The European Commission’s recent communication on industrial policy highlights biobased products as a lead market triggering sustainable growth and job creation. "The bioplastics industry represents an important sector of the biobased products market, and our industry is playing its part in shaping this century with industrial processes sourced from renewable raw materials and innovative plastic products with a low carbon profile“, says Andy Sweetman, Chairman of European Bioplastics.

The European Commission’s communication states that "the biobased markets with high demand and favourable legislative framework could make a substantial contribution to the EU’s transformation into a more sustainable economy. The right legislation and framework conditions will, however, be needed to encourage uptake of renewable raw materials for industrial use [...]“. European Bioplastics warmly welcomes the statement from DG Enterprise.

The bioplastics industry has commercialised new biobased polymers like PLA, PTT or starch-based materials. In a second wave commodity plastics like PE or PET are changing their raw material bases from fossil to renewable. The bioplastic portfolio covers almost everything from short-life compostable to durable engineering applications. "The develoment is driven by leading-edge industry and demand from brands which want to innovate and address sustainability issues like climate change“, explains Hasso von Pogrell, Managing Director of European Bioplastics. "The most relevant question for EU policy makers right now is: 'Where shall these investments take place?’. Market data from European Bioplastics reveal that the bioplastics production capacity shows its highest growth in South America and Asia.

In order to enable a dynamic and well-balanced development and competitiveness of the European industry on the global stage, a supportive framework is needed at EU and Member State level. "We call on the European Commission to implement the proposed Lead Market Inititiative recommendations via specific policy and market measures. They will fuel those innovative industries that Antonio Tajani, Vice President of the European Commission, sees creating the ‚next industrial revolution’ for Europe“, says von Pogrell.

For further information on the European Commission’s policy proposal refer to: and

Sunday 14 October 2012

Kelheim Fibres presents new viscose fibre speciality Umberto

The R&D team of the Bavarian viscose specialities manufacturer Kelheim Fibres has developed a completely new viscose fibre named Umberto. The most remarkable thing about Umberto is its cross section - or better: cross sections. By tuning a multitude of parameters during the spinning process, Kelheim’s R&D has created a fibre with varying letter-shaped cross section.

First tests have shown the benefits of Umberto for both nonwoven and textile applications: in the nonwoven area, Umberto fibres of a certain length have achieved the best test results for the dispersibility of wet wipes. In textile applications, the different cross sections of Umberto create air pockets in the yarn which can deliver a thermal insulation effect in garments - this effect is currently being tested by a renowned institute.

Friday 12 October 2012

Lenzing Technik Contracted by Sappi for Capacity Expansion

First U.S. production facility for Sappi to convert from paper pulp to dissolving pulp for viscose

Cloquet (Minnesota), Lenzing (Austria), October 2012 – Increasing its total annual capacity from

800,000 to 1.3 million metric tons, South African pulp and paper group Sappi is reacting to
rising global demand for dissolving pulp, which is used for viscose fiber manufacture. Twothirds
of Sappi’s expansion program (330,000 tons p.a.) involves its pulp plant in Cloquet
(Minnesota). The facility will be converted from paper pulp production to the manufacture of
dissolving pulp for viscose. Sappi is investing approx. EUR 130mn (USD 170mn) in the
project. At the same time, Sappi is purchasing more than EUR 2mn (USD 2,6 mn) worth in
technology and engineering from Lenzing Technik GmbH for digester house and its fiber line,
the plant’s key processes. The basic engineering work has just been completed. The newly
equipped facility is anticipated to start operation in May 2013. From then onwards, the
Cloquet plant has the capability to produce dissolving pulp for viscose fibers under the
patented, state-of-the-art pulp cooking process developed by Lenzing Technik.

Wednesday 10 October 2012

New INDA President is ex-president Fiberweb Americas

Nonwovens association names successor to current president Rory Holmes, who will retire in mid-2013
CARY, N.C. — October 9, 2012 — The Board of Directors at INDA, Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry, this week appointed David Rousse as the new President of the leading global trade association. Effective October 15, Rousse will assume the position currently held by Rory Holmes, who has announced his retirement in mid-2013.  Mr. Holmes has held the position since October 2003.
Rousse most recently served as CEO of HydroLogex LLC, a young Franklin, TN-based virtual manufacturer of proprietary decentralized wastewater treatment systems in the CleanTech sector. Prior to that he held leadership positions in Fiberweb, then a $1 billion global manufacturer of specialty nonwoven fabrics.  He entered Fiberweb in 2005 as President, Hygiene/Medical Americas in Simpsonville, SC, before being promoted in 2007 to President, Fiberweb Americas, based in Nashville.
“With Rory Holmes planning to retire in the middle of next year, the Board felt

Tuesday 9 October 2012

Floratech emollient Jojoba Esters for Wipes

Tiffany Oliphant, Clinical Services Manager at Floratech  described jojoba oil as a waxy ester emollient extracted from jojoba seeds and traditionally used in folk remedies for sunburn and dry skin.   Hydrolysed jojoba esters are made by saponification of the oil with potassium hydroxide.  They have a non-greasy feel, a global history of safe use and are extremely stable and sustainable.  Floratech evaluated them in a 65% ethanol/35% water wet-wipe lotion with 1% glycerin, and in a fully aqueous lotion.  The study used 12 healthy women with dry skin on the lower legs after a 3 day washout without any skin treatment.  One application of the lotion to the skin was followed by Corneometer skin hydration readings every 30 mins for 4 hours.  Wet Ones, Equate, Germ-X and the jojoba-free vehicle were controls.  Both alcoholic and non-alcoholic jojoba-containing lotions performed better than the controls but the non-alcoholic jojoba lotions gave more than double the hydration levels of the best control, which was the jojoba-free vehicle!  The non-alcoholic lotions were then tested by a 31 woman panel which showed a strong preference for the jojoba containing product.  In a baby wipe formulation the jojoba increased barrier function and decreased erythema when compared with a bisabolol-containing control.

(from a paper given at the INDA WOW Conference, Chicago, June 2012)

Friday 5 October 2012

Sussex IM Inc: Wipe Packaging and Sustainability

Ed Fabiszak, VP Sales and Marketing for Sussex IM Inc introduced the company as a 2009 spin-off from Rexam Plastics which had grown at 10%+ per year since then due to focusing on customers rather than markets and by moving manufacturing back to the USA.  It was now a family company with 3  stakeholders and 100% of the pre-buy-out staff.  It supplies injection moldings to most major cosmetic companies along with P&G, Dow, SC Johnson and GE Healthcare amongst others.

Improving sustainability involves “Reduce, Recycle and Reuse”.  For wipes packs, the design for sustainability involves lighter weights with more recycled materials and more bio-based plastics such as Ingeo™ PLA and Mirel™ PHA.  Life Cycle Analysis identifies quantities of raw materials, energy, emissions and waste involved in production and the Wal-Mart score card encourages moves to a lower carbon footprint.  Akzo Nobel’s “Expancel” microspheres are used to foam plastics for bulk improvement while reducing weight.  Recycling post

A Tale of Two Industries and their Sustainable Futures

Adrian Wilson, Editor of Sustainable Nonwovens Magazine (UK) compared the Hygiene and Industrial market for nonwovens and textiles  with the following observations:

  • ·         Hygiene nonwoven production was capital intensive with a few large customers each with many suppliers.  It needed very large volumes, long term supply agreements and there was little opportunity to find high value niches.  It was however relatively recession proof.
  • ·         Industrial markets are more diverse, need less investment, and production lines can feed many niche markets.
  • ·         Pegas (Czech Republic)was a successful hygiene producer who had grown rapidly to a 75,000 tpa capacity and selling 87.5% of this output to hygiene.  71% of its costs were raw materials and these now cost 20% more than last year.
  • ·         Fibertex Personal Care has invested $55 million in Malaysia, increasing capacity by 15,000 tonnes but now needs to fill its order books.
  • ·         Fiberweb on the other hand has pulled out of Hygiene (sold this division to Petropar for $286 million) and is concentrating on, and making acquisitions in, the industrial sector.
  • ·         Fiberweb also sold its Wipes business to Ahlstrom in 2007 and this along with Orlandi made Ahlstrom the worlds biggest wipe maker.  However Ahlstrom sold this wipes business to Suominen last year and is concentrating on higher value products.
·         Sustainability-wise, hygiene faces serious end-of-life issues.  Diapers and

Thursday 4 October 2012

Cotton Antimicrobial Wipes

Dr Brian Condon, a Research Leader at USDA’s Southern Region Research Center provided a review of antimicrobials and their modus operandi before quoting CDC estimates that 76 million people are made sick, 325,000 are hospitalized, and a further 5000 people are dying annually from foodborne diseases.  This costs the nation between $6.5 and $35 billion.  With a significant part of the illness resulting from contamination of food by dirty hands and surfaces it is obvious that disinfected hands and surfaces will be part of the solution.
Bleached cotton antimicrobial wipes don’t release the disinfectant properly  because the fiber is negatively charged and holds onto the positively charged biocide.  A variety of chemical solutions have been researched but now the use of raw cotton for the substrate has given better results.  The pectins and waxes on the raw cotton are clearly affecting the desorbtion of the alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride (QUAT).  A series of QUAT absorbtion isotherms using cotton with different levels of pectin and waxes showed that the pectin plays a key role in quat absorbtion.  Varying the chemical properties of the solution by adding electrolytes (common ion effect suppresses QUAT absorbtion), ethanol, and nonionic surfactants also helps.  Cotton is thus rendered usable in antimicrobial wipes where its sustainability, cost competitiveness and better hand confer advantages over the man-made fibers.

(from a paper given at the INDA WOW Conference, Chicago, June 2012)

Tuesday 2 October 2012

Minimise wet-wipe packaging, use bio-based materials

Susan Stansbury, Director of Converting Influence LLC stressed the need to do nothing to wipes packaging that might shorten the usable life of the product, but try to minimize the pack-to-product ratio and maximize the use of bio-based materials at the design stage.  We need to push back against the trend to use excessive packaging in an attempt to impress the consumer.  Life Cycle Analysis should be used to identify the best packaging solution and to support the use of environmental claims – which are now more attractive to consumers than fancy packaging.  However while consumers will buy on the basis of the packaging and its messages, and love biodegradability and composting claims, they do not understand what they mean.  They do understand  “Landfill bad – recycle good”, “Paper’s better than plastic”, “Plastic from oil is bad” but need help with the many environmental decisions they are now confronted with.

The US discards 180lbs of food per person per year, 14% of this in the original unopened packs.  The annual cost of this waste is $43bn but the US has minimal  bioprocessing infrastructure.  Europe on the other hand discards less and is encouraging the use of biodegradable packs to allow food waste in packs to be bioprocessed.  Was there any data comparing the environmental impact of bioprocessing bioplastics with simply recycling the plastic?  Ms Stansbury was not aware of any.

(from a paper given at the INDA WOW Conference, Chicago, June 2012)

Monday 1 October 2012

INDA Flushable Wipes Impact Report

Steve Ogle, Technical Director of INDA reviewed the progress since 2003 when the WERF study showed the need for flushability guidelines.   In 2008 the first INDA/EDANA Guidance Document was published and the third is now in preparation. The purpose of “GD3” is:
  • ·         To continue to protect the industry against legislation and regulation.
  • ·         To simplify flushability assessment.
  • ·         To respond to issues raised by wastewater processers in the EU and USA. (increased screen waste, pump and valve clogging and land application of sludge.)
GD3 will therefore recommend 7 sequential tests to answer 11 questions (down from 24 in GD2), the format will be close to that suggested by the UK water industry, and nothing undispersible will pass.  The 7 tests are Toilet and Drain clearance, Settling, Dispersion, Aerobic digestion, Anaerobic digestion, Household Pumping and Municipal Pumping.  Passing all 7 will allow the use of a Flushable label.  GD3 is due to be published in early 2013.

Mr Ogle concluded  that while the sewage treatment problems will continue and even get worse, and the industry was still facing legislative threats in Maine and the UK, a positive dialogue with waste water professionals was now possible.  The obvious solution, to stop consumers from flushing non-flushables, had moved up the agenda.

(from a paper given at the INDA WOW Conference, Chicago, June 2012)