Arizona-based ENSO Bottles, LLC is now producing plastic drinking bottles that will not only biodegrade in the dark, anaerobic environment of a landfill, the microbes that ingest it then create methane which can be captured and converted to energy, points out co-founder and president, Danny Clark. “When our bottles go into the landfill, the idea is that the bottled will break down and create methane.”
Thus Clark can proudly list one of his company’s operating mantras that it develops products that can create value when they are discarded. Clark says there is no exact time for how long it takes his bottles to break down, but estimated the time to be about two years.
ENSO Bottles, in partnership with Bio-Tec Environmental, recently announced the introduction of ENSO’s “Bottles for a Healthier Earth” logo.O Of the company name and logo, Clark says,
“Our new logo demonstrates the ethos of ENSO Bottles. We chose the name, ENSO Bottles(TM) to reflect the concept and life cycle of our products. Our name and the ENSO logo, represents wholeness and the returning to where it initially began. Our bottles reflect this precept, originating from the earth, providing a value of use, and then returning to the earth in a reusable organic state.”
Specifically, the bottles are designed to biodegrade, leaving behind harmless inert humus and biogases. Clark says more than 150 billion plastic bottles are annually produced in the United States alone, with less than 30 percent going to recyclers, with many of the leftovers ending up as roadside or water-born trash.
To construct an Enso bottle, Clark says an organic compund has been added into the crude oil-based polymer chain that then attracts microbes. The polymer additive is called, Ecopure. Other scientists are also involved in developing plastics from renewable sources such as corn and switchgrass.
One of the things ENSO Bottles is looking at is how these plastics fit into the big picture, says Clark, adding that many products on the market claim to be biodegradable but are in fact only compostable and are unable to degrade in a landfill environment, or the product simply breaks down into smaller pieces (plastic flakes).
ENSO bottles are covered in the MSDS and made only from FDA recognized materials which are deemed “food grade”. The biodegradable process expands the molecular structure of the plastic, altering the polymer chain and adding nutrients and other organic compounds which weaken the polymer and attract microbial activity (creating an irresistible morsel). This activity subjugates in and around the plastic, and begins to quickly break down the plastic.
Most plastic products on the market today cannot attract enough (if any) microbial activity to begin breaking down the polymer’s molecular structure, thus leaving the process of reclamation to light, heat, mechanical stress and moisture.