Anne Marie Mohan


Chicago, IL, United States





Job Title




Anne Marie Mohan has nearly 20 years' experience in the business-to-business publishing industry. She is currently Senior Editor with Summit Publishing's Packaging World magazine, where she specializes in articles related to sustainability and converting, among others. Before joining PW in 2007, Anne Marie spent seven years with Packaging Digest magazine as senior editor.

Anne Marie is a Chicago native who studied journalism at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL.

Recent Discussions


  • See similar example

    Gary, You may want to take a look at one of our Greener Package 2010 winners, Ball Horticultural Co. They won an award for their new SoilWrap® bio-based plantable, compostable plant container. Sounds like a very similar application. Anne Marie

  • Question on sachet count

    Michelle, Thanks for catching! I have made the correction in the copy above. The smaller carton is a 35-count box.

  • Summit offers many sources

    Kevin, Thanks so much for your discussion topic. and its sister publications, from Summit Publishing, have many resources to offer on this topic. We have done several comprehensive stories with healthcare packaging companies on their corporate strategies for sustainable packaging. Among the most notable are:

    Also, if you go to the home page, you will find the category of "Pharmaceuticals" listed in our "Markets" section. This area is full of application and news stories related to healthcare packging. I would also urge you to visit the Web site for sister publication Healthcare Packaging. Under "Hot Topics," look for "Sustainability/environmental," where you will also find a wealth of information.

  • Thanks for sharing your input

    Thanks for sharing your input on the potential applications for reusable packaging. has written about Asda's trial of refillable packaging for fabric conditioner. See the story at "U.K.’s Asda to trial refillable packaging."

  • After reviewing the questions

    After reviewing the questions and comments posted re the efficacy of Symphony Environmental Ltd.’s d2w additive for degradable metallic polypropylene packaging, Symphony sent the following responses. On May 19, 2009, Pakbec wrote: I'm wondering: PR message? Greenwashing or Real environmental benefits? Reply by Michael F. Stephens, technical director of Symphony: Definitely real environmental benefits—it reduces the potential for long-lasting pollution by plastic litter. Pakbec: 1- How this product is profitable in environmental terms? Stephens: Policymakers have concentrated on waste, which can be collected, and have encouraged people to reduce, reuse, and recycle. But in no country will all the waste be collected, and some will remain to disfigure the landscape. This is particularly true of plastic, which can accumulate in the environment, polluting the land and the oceans for decades, and perhaps for hundreds of years. However, oxo-biodegradable plastic made with Symphony’s d2w formulation will self-destruct in a much shorter time than ordinary nondegradable plastic if it gets into the open environment. Oxo-bio plastic is made from a byproduct of oil refining, which used to be wasted, so nobody is extracting or importing extra oil to make it. See Pakbec: 2- How does this product help to produce less waste in the environment? Stephens: It will remove itself from the landscape in a much shorter time scale than ordinary plastic. Pakbec: 3- The polypropylene degrades, what about the metallized coating?” Stephens: The aluminium coating is very fine, and when the polypropylene has degraded, the aluminium will be absorbed back into the soil where it came from. Aluminium is one of the most abundant metals and makes up 8% or thereabouts of the earth's crust. May 22, 2009, Lady Maverick wrote: It is my understanding that an oxy degradable bag needs heat, oxidation, UVI, and/or “mechanical stress” to degrade. Reply by Professor Gerald Scott, DSc, FRSC, C.Chem, FIMMM Professor Emeritus in Chemistry and Polymer Science of Aston University, U.K.; chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Oxo-biodegradable Plastics Association; and co-chairman of the British Standards Institute Panel on Biodegradability of Plastics: Oxo-biodegradable plastics will degrade then biodegrade so long as oxygen is present. Stabilisers within the additive delay the action of free radicals, which in turn cause the degradation process. The stabilisers are finite and when exhausted will fully permit the action of the free radicals. It is thus possible to delay degradation so as to provide a fit-for-service life suitable for the product. Elevated temperatures, stress, and ultraviolet light will accelerate the process. Incidentally, you refer to UVI instead of UV. UVI is ultraviolet inhibitor. Lady Maverick: If these people toss their bags into the garbage, how can these bags degrade? Scott: It does not matter whether they degrade or not in a garbage bin. What does matter is that the bags will self-destruct if they get into the open environment. Lady Maverick: Any heat in a landfill lasts about 2 weeks after being buried. Isn't the ASTM for oxy's 6954-04 or 6454-04? Scott: The relevant ASTM standard for oxo-biodegradable plastic is D6954-04 Lady Maverick: My understanding for landfill degradability is that you need something that breaks down anaerobically. Your film requires oxidation, which is not available in landfills. Scott: The primary purpose of oxo-bio plastic is not to degrade in landfill—it is intended to degrade then biodegrade if it gets into the open environment. If it is put into landfill, it will degrade in the upper layers where oxygen is normally present. Further down, in the absence of oxygen, it becomes inert. Not all landfills are anaerobic, and in such a case, degradation and biodegradation will continue. Lady Maverick: The ASTM for plastics to be landfill degradable is ASTM 5511. So how can these bags completely break down? Scott: ASTM D5511-94 applies to anaerobic digestion and is therefore irrelevant to oxo-biodegradable plastic, which is not designed for anaerobic digestion. Lady Maverick: Have you solved the problem most oxy's have of leaving cadmium and cobalt behind? If so, have these bags gotten any EPA certifications stating they leave no harmful chemicals? Stephens: Symphony's d2w formulation does not include cadmium or cobalt. Products made with Symphony's d2w formulation have been independently certified not to be eco-toxic and have even been certified safe for food contact. See On May 27, 2009, Anonymous (not verified) wrote: In addition to the Oxo-Bio drawbacks mentioned above, the scientist responsible for developing this technology states that it requires a minimum of 6 hours of direct exposure to sunlight to initiate degradation. Otherwise it will just crack up and leave pieces behind. The heavy metals and sunlight problems are a well-hidden secret kept from users of this technology. Stephens: Nothing is hidden. Who is the "scientist" who is said to have made this statement? There are no heavy metals used in Symphony's oxo-biodegradable formulation. Exposure to sunlight is not an essential factor, and oxo-biodegradation is being confused with photo-degradation. Provided oxygen is present, oxo-biodegradable plastic will degrade. When the molecular weight reaches 10,000 Daltons or less, the material is no longer a plastic and will be bio-assimilated by naturally occurring microorganisms in the same way as nature's wastes. No pieces are left behind. Anonymous: There are other less harmful technologies available but they do not include PLA. Sorry Bimbo. Stephens: Oxo-biodegradability is certainly not a harmful technology, and it is a much better option than PLA. No apologies are needed, as this technology is proven, and claims are based on solid science. (See eg “Degradable Polymers - Principles and Applications” [2nd edition] Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002; “Polymer Degradation & Stability” Elsevier 2009.) On May 27, 2009, Richard Smith (not verified) wrote: What's the end of life for these bags? Stephens: They can be reused, recycled, incinerated, or landfilled. Smith: a) Landfill? What's the point - releasing old fossil carbon as carbon dioxide into the atmosphere - why not just let the bag sit in a landfill and keep the old carbon trapped We don't need more global warming gases that we already have, do we? Stephens: The primary purpose of oxo-bio is not to degrade in landfill—it is intended to self-destruct if it gets into the open environment, but if it is put into landfill, it will degrade in the upper layers where oxygen is normally present. Further down, if oxygen is absent, it becomes inert, and the carbon is indeed trapped, as in any nondegradable plastic product. Unlike the starch-based plastics, oxo-bio does not emit methane deep in a landfill. Methane is a greenhouse gas 23-times more powerful than CO2. Smith: b) Compost? Will not break down in time - contaminate the compost? Will also confuse consumers on what can go to compost and lead to contamination of those products that can go into compost. So that's no good. Stephens: Oxo-bio plastic is NOT intended, and is not marketed, to be compostable, and is therefore not designed to the composting standards ASTM D6400 or EN13432, though field trials have shown that it can in fact be composted under industrial conditions. The d2w formulation inside oxo-bio plastic breaks the molecular chains and converts it into a material that is no longer a plastic but can be bio-assimilated by micro-organisms found in the environment. It therefore simulates the way nature disposes of wastes such as leaves and straw, but much more quickly. Biodegradation in the environment is NOT the same thing as composting. Composting is an artificial process operated according to a much shorter time scale than the processes of nature. Standards (such as ASTM D6400 and EN13432) designed for compostable plastic are not therefore appropriate for plastic that is designed to biodegrade if it gets into the environment. Composting of organic waste makes sense, but compostable plastic for shopping bags, food packaging, shrink-wrap, etc. does not. It is up to 400% more expensive than ordinary plastic; it is thicker and heavier, and requires more trucks to transport; it uses scarce land and water resources to produce the raw material, and substantial amounts of hydro-carbons are burned and CO2 emitted, by the tractors, trucks, and other machines employed. Compostable plastics should be composted only in industrial plants, but most industrial composters of organic waste do not want plastic of any kind in their feedstock. It is difficult to separate compostable plastic from ordinary plastic. In addition, there are not enough composting plants, and these are not always nearby. Frankly, compostability of plastics is nonsense. Smith: c) Recycling? Have not seen any data to support that if the PE with oxo ends up in a new product, that the new product will not start to break down. How is that going to help the recyclers? Stephens: Metallized plastic multilayered film would not normally be recycled at all, whether degradable or not. Recycling of oxo-bio plastics in general is explained at In short, there is no issue unless the recyclate is used to make long-life film products such as building films. However, these are usually made from virgin polymer, or from recyclate whose provenance is known. Long-life films should not be made from mixed rubbish whose provenance is unknown, but in such a case, stabilisers should be added whether the recyclate contains oxo-bio plastic or not, and in general most manufacturers would do this as good practice. These stabilisers will neutralise the effect of any residual additive. Smith: d) Litter? If bag ends up in environment - might break down. But best data I have seen is 60% biodegradation with a 10-20% loading of the oxo after 200+ days. Most applications only use around 2% to 3% to be commercial - so certainly will take the time of 4 to 5 years. But there is no data to prove that 100% of the bag will break down - so just left with say 40% of plastic in the environment - not a really good outcome either when you think about it. Stephens: There is no oxo-bio plastic as far as we know made with a 10% to 20% loading of additive unless filled with calcium carbonate. There are some formulations that are effective at 2% to 3% loading, but Symphony's d2w formulation normally needs to be added at only 1%. Symphony has submitted its products to extensive testing to show that products made with d2w will degrade then completely biodegrade in whatever approximate time scale is appropriate for the application, and will do so a lot more quickly than ordinary plastic, which will also ultimately degrade, but after many decades. (See also the academic literature eg “Degradable Polymers - Principles and Applications” (2nd edition) Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002; “Polymer Degradation & Stability” Elsevier 2009.) Smith: All looks like greenwash to me. Stephens: That's perhaps because you don't understand it. See comments above On May 27, 2009, Buzz (not verified) wrote: Too many of these types of claims about biodegrading in x amount of years have been proven to be false claims, or unverifiable with no relevant testing or certification done. Stephens: This allegation is too vague to merit a response. What proof do you have, Buzz? What specifically was claimed and by whom? How can it be said that no relevant testing or certification has been done? Symphony has spent years and invested large sums of money in independent certification and to develop and promote solid science in this field. See Buzz: This is pure Greenwashing. Stephens: This statement is not correct. See comments above. Buzz: The best you can hope for is the bag breaks down into small pieces. Then that’s it. Stephens: The chemical formulation inside oxo-bio breaks the molecular chains and converts it into a low molar-mass material, which is no longer a plastic but can be bio-assimilated by microorganisms found in the environment. It therefore simulates the way nature disposes of wastes such as leaves and straw, but much more quickly. In principle, all organic polymers are degradable, differing only in degradation mode and time. Certain types of degradable plastics are used for agricultural purposes, where the film embrittles and then ultimately biodegrades into the soil. The French Norm for this is NF U52, and the international norm is NF EN ISO 14852 Buzz: Basically leaving what could be considered hazardous materials in the soil or wherever the bag ends up. Stephens: What "hazardous materials”? Symphony's d2w oxo-bio contains no hazardous materials and has been independently certified not to be eco-toxic. (OWS Reports R-MST/4/1c and 2c 8th March 2006.) It is even certified according to U.S. (FFDCA sections 177/178) and European (2002/72/EC) regulations to be safe for food contact.

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