INNOVATIONS BLOG

Guess Who's eliminating foam cups worldwide by 2020?

Posted by NOVATION Staff on Feb 28, 2018 7:30:00 AM

Next up to eliminate expanded polystyrene (EPS) drink cups from its chain of fast-food restaurants is Dunkin’ Donuts. The company will eliminate all EPS foam cups in its global supply chain beginning this spring with a targeted completion date of 2020. In U.S. restaurants, Dunkin’ Donuts will replace the foam cup with a new, double-walled paper cup. The majority of its restaurants in international markets are currently using paper cups, and the brand will work with its franchisees to eliminate foam cups from remaining international markets by the 2020 goal, said the company’s information.

Behind the effort to eliminate EPS foam cups was—you guessed it—As You Sow, an advocacy group that goes after plastics with a vengeance. It started a campaign several years ago to get Dunkin’ Donuts to replace EPS foam cups with another material, “as part of a larger dialogue on recycling beverage cups at its restaurant locations,” said a release from As You Sow.  As You Sow also noted, however, that it was surprised that Dunkin’ chose paper, as the company previously indicated that it “was leaning toward a polypropylene plastic cup as ‘currently the best available alternative to foam’ and [was] already using polypropylene in areas that had banned foam.”

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Topics: Specialty Packaging

Skating on Ice in the Summer..?

Posted by NOVATION Staff on Feb 26, 2018 8:28:29 AM

On midday in mid-June, with the temperature at 81, people in shorts, T-shirts and sunscreen now skate around on a  outdoor rink — with fake ice made from plastic! “Does it look like real ice?”

It does, from afar. Up close, the plastic panels appear snapped together like puzzle pieces. It doesn't feel like real ice, it isn't cold like the real thing, but sure seems just as smooth.

This is the latest in skating’s quest for outdoor year-round ice, partly to help skaters and hockey players who jockey for expensive ice time at a limited number of indoor rinks, some of which close for the summer.

Synthetic rinks have opened at the Museum of Natural History in New York, which had one last winter, and in municipalities like Great Bend, Kan., and Tallahassee, Fla. Brock University in Ontario trains young hockey players on a fake ice treadmill. And in Middletown, Del., a permanent rink called Skate Unlimited is also made of plastic, eliminating the expense and environmental cost of water for ice-making, and Zambonis.

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Topics: Industry News

A Flat Wine Bottle...?

Posted by NOVATION Staff on Feb 14, 2018 10:23:00 AM

Wine packaging has seen innovations over the years:  Single-serve bottles; corks swapped out for screw caps; and canned wine taking millennials by storm. But though different wine packages have their pros and cons, few of them can say they are as uniquely functional as a bottle developed by London’s Garcon Wines – a company which has unveiled a flat plastic wine bottle specially designed to slip through a mail slot.

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Topics: Specialty Packaging

3D graphene structure is strongest and lightest material in the world...

Posted by NOVATION Staff on Feb 11, 2018 10:30:00 AM

graphene material.gifResearchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed a new graphene material that is one of the strongest in the world while also being lightweight in form. The new graphene material is 10-times stronger than steel with only 5% of its density. MIT researchers have designed the lightweight material by taking small flakes of graphene, previously considered one of the strongest forms of material in the world, and compressing and fusing them into a mesh-like structure that not only retains the material’s strength but the graphene remains porous.

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Topics: 3D Printing

Plastic Side Mirrors for Cars

Posted by NOVATION Staff on Feb 8, 2018 1:04:53 PM

Plastic Glass for Automobiles.jpgAn Australian plastics scientist has won the inaugural Prime Minister's Prize for New Innovators for creating a process that allows manufacturers to replace glass components with light-weight plastic.

Dr Colin Hall and his colleagues at the University of South Australia’s Future Industries Institute combined micron thin layers of plastics to develop a material that can replace glass in cars, aircraft, spacecraft, and even whitegoods – making them lighter and more efficient.

One of the first applications for the technology has been the creation of shatter-proof plastic side mirrors for cars that are now being exported to the US. The mirrors are made in Adelaide, South Australia, by SMR Automotive and have earned AUD$160m (£101m, US$123m) in exports to date.

Over the last five years, the Ford Motor Company has purchased more than 1.6 million assemblies for the plastic side mirrors for use on its F-Series trucks.

Car makers have long searched for new ways to reduce the body weight of vehicles and the car-wing mirror design weighs a fraction of the conventional glass product.

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Topics: Automotive

American Made Greatness Expands to Pet Bowls...

Posted by NOVATION Staff on Feb 6, 2018 8:49:37 AM

American Made Pet Bowl.jpgWe're sure many of you noticed the auto accessories maker WeatherTech ran another ad during the Big Game on Sunday, once again touting its committment to American manufacturing. This year, the Illinois company offered a look at the construction of its new facility. WeatherTech ads are typically patriotic, promoting their American-made products and the American workers who they employ. However, they seemed to have left out a few important details in the commercial: Where is this new factory? What will WeatherTech (well known for its popular line of custom-made automotive floor mats) manufacture there?

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Topics: Industry News

A Plastic Pill to Detect Colon Cancer...?

Posted by NOVATION Staff on Feb 2, 2018 8:09:41 AM

IV-AA594_COLON_P_20140603175359.jpgA biocompatible plastic pill can pass through your digestive system and record images for your doctor’s review. 

Cameras in the colon. Pop a pill and get screened for colon cancer. It’s an alternative to colonoscopy doctors hope will bring more patients in for the life-saving test. It’s just another day at the office. But as Brian Reed works, this new device works its way through his body. Brian Reed, PillCam Colon patient: “I think it’s cool because it doesn’t restrict my day.” Brian’s day started here at Loyola University Medical Center. Instead of undergoing a traditional colonoscopy, he chose an experimental screening tool – the PillCam Colon.

Dr Mukund Venu, Loyola Medicine gastroenterologist: “The first thing you’ll do is swallow the capsule. This one is about three centimeters long so it’s like a big vitamin pill. The contour is very smooth so it allows it to slide down a lot easier as well.” Brian Reed: “I looked at it and said, ‘Boy, this looks kind of large.’ But as soon as I put it in, it just seemed to slide right down.” Gastroenterologists use similar technology to help them see inside the esophagus and small intestine. But the colon is much larger – that’s why the video capsule is equipped with two cameras.

Dr Venu: “Allows us to get an almost 360 degree view of the colon as the pill tumbles through it.”

Brian Reed: “My grandfather had colon cancer, and it’s impacted our family. It’s been something that’s been top of mind, and I wanted to make sure I was doing my screening.”

Patients prep for PillCam the same way they do for a colonoscopy – clearing out their bowels. Once the capsule went down, Brian headed out of the hospital wearing a portable recording device to store the images. Typically, it takes about four hours for the device to pass through the body.

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