May 14, 2021

Cortec Corporation launches Ecoshrink compostable film

plastic
Shrinkwrap
compost
Dominic Ellis
3 min
Sourced from certified commercially compostable resins and containing 45% biopolymers, the Ecoshrink film reduces conventional plastic waste

Cortec Corporation believes its EcoShrink compostable film will mark another important notch in plastic-free industrial practices.

Sourced from certified commercially compostable resins and containing 45% biopolymers, the film reduces conventional plastic waste and improves users' environmental footprint. It can be used to cover large or small objects and keep dust, dirt, and moisture off warehouse stock, with wrapping from standard shrink tools. Rolls come individually boxed or in cradle packed pallets.

The construction industry is the second largest user of plastic, producing 300MT annually with 50% single use, and it accounts for around 6% of total plastic waste. Piping and conduit are the largest users of polymers in construction and consume 35% of production.

The Alliance for Sustainable Building Products champions sustainable practices. "Wherever possible the use of plastic products in construction should be confined to specialist high value, low volume application areas such as binders, seals, tapes, gaskets and services," it recommends.

ASBP’s technical associate Katherine Adams will join over 50 experts to take part in one of four new task groups which will support the development of the Net Zero Whole Life Carbon Roadmap for the Built Environment. It has devised an interactive guide on plastics in construction and identified four key consumption and disposal issues:

  • Polyvinylchloride (PVC) makes up nearly 52% (910,000 tonnes), with around 25% landfilled
  • High-density polyethylene (HDPE) makes up nearly 13% (225,000 tonnes), with around 27% landfilled
  • Expanded polystyrene (EPS) is 8% (140,000 tonnes), with 32% landfilled
  • Polypropylene (PP) is 7.4% (130,000 tonnes), with 27% landfilled

Biodegradable plastics have been advertised as one solution to the plastic pollution problem but today’s “compostable” plastic bags, utensils and cup lids don’t break down during typical composting and contaminate other recyclable plastics, creating headaches for recyclers. Most compostable plastics, made primarily of the polyester known as polylactic acid, or PLA, end up in landfills and last as long as forever plastics.

University of California, Berkeley scientists claims to have invented a way to make compostable plastics break down more easily, with just heat and water, within a few weeks, solving a problem that has flummoxed the plastics industry and environmentalists.

“People are now prepared to move into biodegradable polymers for single-use plastics, but if it turns out that it creates more problems than it’s worth, then the policy might revert back,” said Ting Xu, UC Berkeley professor of materials science and engineering and of chemistry. “We are basically saying that we are on the right track. We can solve this continuing problem of single-use plastics not being biodegradable.”

Stakeholders from the organics recycling and sustainable materials communities have launched the US Composting Infrastructure Coalition to support innovative and responsible waste reduction and recovery solutions like composting. The Coalition believes composting serves as an opportunity to address key environmental challenges and deliver positive economic impacts to people and communities.

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Jul 26, 2021

Collaborate to avoid commercial risks and systemic failures

construction
collaboration
COVID19
Leadership
Dominic Ellis
3 min
Construction Leadership Council publishes guidance on NEC4 contracts and wants 'pingdemic' date to come forward to prevent industry grinding to a halt

Clients should work collaboratively to minimise commercial risks and avoid inappropriate risk transfer as this will not only lead to a negative outcome on individual contracts but also systemic failure in a fragile market, the Construction Leadership Council has warned.

The CLC, in collaboration with NEC, has today published joint guidance to industry and clients on dealing with and accommodating the impact of Covid-19 on work under NEC4 contracts.

The guidance adds to the suite of outputs from the CLC’s Business Models: Contractual Best Practice group which has routinely called for strategic collaboration between clients and the supply chain to avoid systemic market failures and compromised project delivery.

The guidance focuses on the NEC4 Engineering and Construction Contract (ECC), although it can also be applied to the NEC4 Engineering and Construction Subcontract (ECS), NEC3 ECC and ECS, subject to some amends which are outlined within the guidance.

To help clients and the supply chain to collaborate, the joint guidance offers support in navigating a number of circumstances within the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, including: Act of prevention; Project Manager’s instructions; Compensation events; Evaluation of a COVID-19 Related Compensation Event; Working Areas; Resource Utilisation; and Dealing with risk on future contracts.

Steve Bratt, Chair of the CLC’s Business Models Workstream said this guidance was developed in response to a series of questions which were raised with regard to projects impacted by Covid-19 operating under NEC contracts.

“As industry continues to manage the challenges of Covid-19, we are becoming increasingly concerned that many outstanding disputes remain unresolved and much uncertainty exists with regard to future contracts," he said. "We are therefore keen to do all we can to ensure clients work with their supply chains to fairly and collaboratively manage the commercial risks caused by Covid-19. Safety is paramount, but collaborative risk sharing will ensure secure project delivery and a long-term sustainable industry.”

Covid-19, safe working procedures and wider disruption has presented all parties with unquantifiable and unmanageable risks and costs, he added. Traditional behaviours such as inappropriate risk transfer will not only lead to a negative outcome on individual contracts but will almost certainly lead to systemic failure in a fragile market seeking to build back greener and better.

Peter Higgins, Chairman of the NEC4 Contract Board said NEC is pleased to have worked with the Construction Leadership Council in preparing this advice on dealing with covid-related issues under NEC contracts. "NEC has always been a contract focusing on the parties working together to achieve a successful contract, and this guidance will help in managing collaboratively the risks which have arisen from COVID-19," he said.

Industry leaders have called for acceleration of rules relaxing requirements for COVID-19 self-isolation for double-vaccinated workers. Currently the rules will only be relaxed on August 16.

CLC co-chair Andy Mitchell said it has received reports from across the industry of plants, sites and offices having to wind down activities as staff have been asked to isolate.

"This is putting very significant pressure on the sector, risking project delivery and even the viability of some firms. Where staff are already fully vaccinated, and recognising that such people will be free to work from 16 August anyway, we are asking the Government to bring forward this date for essential industries like construction, ensuring that the industry doesn’t grind to a halt."

An RICS survey of the global construction sector found over 40% of professionals reporting an increase in disputes since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis. By contrast, fewer than 3% of respondents noted a fall in disputes over the same time, suggesting that the pandemic is exerting further pressure on an already stressed industry.

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