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Compost Manufacturing Alliance Speaker Interview


What are some of the biggest challenges that the specialty papers industry is currently facing? What are some of the biggest opportunities?

"Research, growth, and wider-applications of specialty papers entering the market signal a shift away from petroleum-based single-use-plastic alternatives that have historically dominated foodservice and related applications. This is an opportunity to holistically improve our societal impact on environments by reducing the amount of potential microplastic pollution found in oceans, protected areas, and industrial compost facilities. However, in terms of compostable papers, there are observed challenges yet to be solved, including the disintegration of various substrates and the presence of fluorinated chemicals such as PFAS used to achieve certain barrier properties."

Your presentation at this year’s Specialty Papers US conference will discuss CMA’s field-testing program, results from the most recent paper study, and important information on composting. What are some of the key take-aways?

"Key takeaways from CMA’s presentation will be debunking of the historical assumption that all paper is compostable and a collaborative call to action. Through our research, CMA now understands that paper is not “just paper” as historically assumed, and to achieve full disintegration in modern operations, a collective solution will be needed across manufacturing operations. Operationally, there are ways compost manufacturers could improve processing, and substrates or manufacturing innovations in paper production are also important to explore. This is a new area of research: What’s in paper that could be problematic to disintegration in composting environments? Can we explore if it’s due to treatments, additives, coating types, or lignin thickness? CMA’s collaborative paper study was the first industry experience bringing stakeholders across the industry together discussing specialty paper development in correlation with compost manufacturing processes. By asking questions such as these presented to product designers, ASTM experts, processors, generators, and compost manufacturers, we hope to inspire the co-creation of compost and compostables and exploring solutions that benefit the industry."  

What are you most looking forward to hearing about at this year’s conference?

"I am most eager to learn about new product solutions currently in development for foodservice applications, particularly those that can replace non-compostable, single use-plastic items such as fruit stickers, side-cups or O/C’s, or to-go containers."