DA.AI Technology: Wise Eco-Plastic
According to a report released by the United Nations on World Environment Day in 2018, approximately 9 billion tons of plastics are manufactured each year. However, only a staggering 9% of that plastic is recycled. Thus, 8 million tons of plastic waste flows into our oceans annually. Companies are therefore encouraged to adopt production and consumption patterns of plastic materials that follow a “Circular Economy.” During the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-4) which took place in March of 2019, as many as 170 countries vowed to substantially reduce the amount of single-use plastic products by 2030.
DA.AI Technology Co., Ltd. recycles discarded polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic bottles which are collected by Tzu Chi volunteers, and gives the plastic waste new life as high-quality, eco-friendly rPET textiles without increasing the total PET volume. DA.AI Tech's "Wise Eco-Plastic" series thereby utilizes these recycled materials as a means of reducing plastic pollution. Recycled PET is transformed into everyday essentials from clothing to backpacks, and recycled polypropylene (PP) is used in the creation of stationery items. Through these innovative methods, DA.AI upholds its goal of supporting Mother Earth, lessening the burden that excessive municipal plastic waste places on our planet and all sentient beings.
DA.AI’s recycled PET chips — an eco-option derived from PP — comes from these recycled PET bottles. DA.AI's manufacturing process furthermore conserves an average of 84% less water and 77% fewer carbon emissions than traditional production methods.
Although PET’s high elasticity, UV resistance, and durability are ideal for the great outdoors, it is not often the choice for molded plastics. With DA.AI's substantial experience using recycled PET materials and utmost dedication to the planet, however, DA.AI and its partners successfully modified recycled rPET materials in 2017 to be made into daily necessities, fulfilling both consumer needs and the essential goal of environmental sustainability.
According to the Global Packaging Trends, 480 billion PET bottles were sold in 2016, equivalent to 20,000 bottles per second. The number has increased by 300 billion bottles as compared to statistics 10 years prior. In 1992, the Taiwanese government promoted a $2NT refund per bottle, which successfully raised the country’s original 20% recycling rate to 80%. While the policy was canceled in 2002, the PET bottle recycling rate continued to soar as high as 95%, leading to 90,000 tons of plastic bottles being recycled in 2015. Compared to the 59% recycling rate in Europe and 31.8% in the U.S., Taiwan is ahead in terms of recycling.
Characterized by elasticity, durability, insulation, and impact resistance, raw materials from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) are derived from crude oil and natural gas. PET is not so easily biologically degradable, creating a detrimental impact on our environment. Despite recognizing the best solution is to ultimately discontinue the use of PET, Taiwan still relies on PET packaging, using as much as 70 million kg of crude oil to make these packaging options annually. The world’s top beverage manufacturers only use 6.6% recycled PET for their packaging, and 1/3 of producers are unwilling to increase this ratio, let alone switch to 100% recycled PET. Thus, the question of how better to utilize recyclable materials becomes a priority in solving this environmental crisis.
One of DA.AI’s chief goals for 2017 was to develop everyday essentials such as stools, chairs, and more, which are made from modified recycled PET materials, thus substituting the need for PP. This is no easy feat, as replacing PP with a material comprised of such different characteristics is quite difficult.
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