With the 20th Annual Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards (PGCCA) ceremony drawing near, the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group's (BRAG®) Biobased News and Policy Report decided to go back and revisit some early winners to see what has become of the award-winning product or technology. We will be running a new story each week as we approach this year's awards ceremony, occurring July 13, 2015, at 4:00 p.m. (EDT), at the National Academies of Sciences in Washington, D.C. Read previous stories on BRAG's website.
Buckman International, Inc. (Buckman) won the 2012 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge 'Designing Greener Chemicals' award for its Maximyze® enzymes that transform how high-quality paper products are made. This was the second time Buckman was awarded the PGCCA in this category; the first was in 2004 when Buckman won for its Optimyze® technology, an enzyme that removes sticky contaminates from recycled paper.
Optimyze® technology uses a novel enzyme to remove stickies from paper products prior to recycling, increasing the percentage of paper that can be recycled. Each paper mill that switches to Optimyze® can reduce its hazardous solvent use by 200 gallons daily, reduce its chemical use by approximately 600,000 pounds yearly, increase its production by more than 6 percent, and save up to $1 million per year.
The Maximyze® enzymes increase the natural cross-linking between cellulose fibers. The increase in cross-linking means that lower quality raw materials can be used without sacrificing quality of the final paper. Normally, increasing cross-linking requires additional refining (crushing) energy or chemicals that cross-link the fibers. With Maximyze®, a paper mill can produce a similar quality product while replacing relatively expensive wood pulp with recycled paper and inorganic filler. An added benefit is that the paper produced by Maximyze® enzymes drains faster, requiring less drying energy, which leads to faster throughput. Overall, the process saves energy, reduces chemical use, increases recycled paper use, and saves paper mills approximately $1 million each year. The Maximyze® technology is used on 150 or more paper machines around the globe.
Buckman, based in Memphis, Tennessee, has been working with paper since 1945, when it was founded, to solve microbial problems in the pulp and paper industry. Since winning its first PGCCA in 2004, the innovative company:
- Launched the Buckman Green School to train its water treatment staff in sustainability measures to help make customers' operations greener;
- Achieved ISO 14001 certification at all of its manufacturing facilities;
- Won a 2014 Innovation Award from Memphis Business Quarterly for the work it has done to find sustainable ways to produce paper and paper products; and
- Was recently ranked 16th in Training Magazine's Top 125 organizations excelling at employee development.