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Wednesday, May 31, 2023
Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Waste pickers make their voice heard in Paris treaty talks

We're starting off today with this item from PN's Steve Toloken at the plastics treaty talks in Paris:

With 2,700 people from 170 countries at the plastics treaty negotiations in Paris, you're bound to run into people whose life is quite different from yours.

Nohra Padilla started off her talk at a May 30 side event saying she began working in a landfill, picking out plastic and other waste to sell, when she was 7 years old.

Today, she's president of the Colombian National Association of Waste Recyclers, which represents several thousand people collecting scrap materials on the street and in landfills.

In Paris, she's talking about using plastic credit financing mechanisms to help collect more plastic and provide fiscal support for recycling.

Padilla said credits have helped her organization collect lower-value plastics more economically and finance a manufacturing operation. But she sees it as just the start.

"We need more financial mechanisms, not just plastic credits, but other financial mechanisms," she told the event organized by Verra, which sets standards in environmental markets.

Organizations of waste pickers, as they call themselves, are at the talks because they want the treaty to help them, as we explored in this story. It wasn't the only Paris event that looked at the issues waste pickers face.

I'm sorry to say I didn't get a chance to talk with Padilla, I had to leave that event early. But hearing someone talk about working in a landfill at the age of 7 was, at the very least, a reminder of how much is on the table at the treaty talks.

Support for a children's museum

Erie, Pa.-based molder and mold maker Plastek Group is working with its local children's museum as it prepares to undergo renovations and additions.

Plastek noted in a post on social media that its work with expERIEnce Children's Museum allows it to contribute to the final designs, including a zone that will allow children to learn more about daily recycling opportunities and the plastics recycling process.

The expansion is set to open in the spring of 2024.

Plastek was the 2020 PN Processor of the Year winner.

Plastics from corn waste

One of the complaints about bio-based plastics is the claim that it takes up crops that could go into food. (Although, of course, there are lot of non-food sources for bioplastics.)

But the feedstock for a new program from New Energy Blue — which signed a supply agreement with Dow Inc. — uses corn stover, the stalks and leaves of corn plants left after harvest, for ethylene.

Karen Laird from our sister paper Sustainable Plastics writes that the project will involve the design and construction of a new facility in Mason City, Iowa, for the plant using more than 250,000 tons of corn stover.

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