Written by Cortney Farmer

Illustration redesigned by Devin Thorpe

Magnomer: Helping To Re-imagine Recycling in the U.S. and Abroad

Magnomer: Helping To Reimagine Recycling in the U.S. and Abroad

According to NPR statistics, the average American generates a whopping 250 pounds of plastic waste each year, much of which stems directly from used packaging. As environmental impact becomes a growing concern on a global scale, more Americans are making a greater effort to include eco-friendly practices in their daily routines. At the top of many consumers’ environmentally conscious lists? Recycling.

While many U.S. households include a recycling bin, our relationship with (and knowledge of) the process is complicated. Put simply: most people aren’t fully aware of how the recycling system works. 

Do You Know How To Recycle Plastic Waste In Your Household Successfully?

Many of us use our recycling bins as a catch-all solution. We view these household containers as a way to magically transport all manner of empty plastics to a place where they can be remade, repurposed, and reused again. Unfortunately, this is often not what happens. All plastic packaging, at least in the eyes of recycling stations, is not created alike. 

Multi compartment trash bins

In fact, a multitude of plastics, including wraps, small components, flexible packaging, deodorant, and some clamshells are typically not recyclable.

Worse yet, many U.S. households aren’t following proper protocol on the plastics that are recyclable. Most of our recycling systems easily handle beverage containers. However, they typically can’t degrade the bottles’ plastic film label. When recycled with beverage containers, the shrink-wrapped plastic labels contaminate the entire recycling stream. This renders the whole batch unusable for recycling purposes. As a result, both the labeling and the bottle often wind up in a landfill, either here in the U.S. or in a third-world country paid to manage the recycling process for us. 

Magnomer: Helping To Solve Our Growing Recycling Problem.

It’s not just our landfills that are currently filling up with unusable plastics. Despite our fairly sophisticated recycling infrastructure, our oceans are also teeming with discarded bottles and containers as well. Recent (and alarming) statistics reveal that 9 out of 10 items found in the sea are plastics. 

As our global dumps and water bodies continue to fill at a terrifying pace, technology-centric companies are stepping in as an attempt to solve our universal recycling problem. Enter Magnomer, a recent innovator within the recycling vertical that’s already helping to revolutionize the way plastics are produced. 

Magnomer Initiates Eco-Consciousness During The Manufacturing Process

Founder CEO, Ravish Majithia, officially launched Magnomer in 2018. The company’s proprietary Design2Recycle™ printing ink eliminates some of the packaging issues that often disrupt and contaminate successful recycling practices. Ravish, a materials scientist and entrepreneur, founded the company with two other colleagues who offer a broad range of insight on polymers and inks. 

The team’s extensive scientific background, coupled with Majithia’s business expertise, gives Magnomer a distinctive perspective on the plastics waste problem. The staff also enjoys a complementary internal dynamic and corporate culture that sets the company apart from other players within the market. Most recycling considerations begin after an item has been used. Magnomer’s Design2Recycle™ uses printable magnetizable inks explicitly designed for easy removal from plastic containers. These specially developed products instantly make environmentally-friendly practices an inherent part of the production process. 

Magnomer’s Magnetic Inks Work Like Conventional Printing Products

Like conventional ink products, Magnomer’s inks print directly onto package labeling. By substituting Magnomer products in place of traditional inks, brands and manufacturers can quickly improve packaging recyclability on beverage containers and bottles. Most importantly, brands can remain eco-conscious without having to redefine the existing manufacturing process. For Majithia, the decision to start Magnomer was an easy one. “The Magnomer concept stemmed directly from our collective, pressing need to address the problem of plastic packaging. Unnecessary waste quickly becoming a global epidemic, and it’s very obvious to us that something must be done,” he said. 

“We develop technology and products that integrate into the early manufacturing stages. Manufacturing needs do not typically line up with recycling requirements. As a result, recycling is generally something that’s managed after consumer use. We wanted to change that,” Majithia noted. “Magnomer uses Nano and micro materials to create magnetic inks that get printed directly on the packaging, simultaneously addressing multi-design and recycling compliance considerations. Our highly magnetic inks promote seamless label removal that complement the existing recycling system, eliminate the risk of stream contamination, and ensure the plastic container ultimately gets degraded.” 

Magnomer’s development and prototype process was prolonged and included improvising on existing technologies as well as establishing new practices. “We conducted an extensive amount of research and development throughout the highly iterative process,” he said. “In total, I think we eventually had developed over 500 ink formulations before landing on our final product, which leverages realigned existing innovation and fairly standard industry protocols with proprietary magnetic properties”.

Design2Recycle™ Helps Reduce Shrink Label Recycling Risks

Magnomer’s commitment to reducing global plastic waste spans multiple verticals, including shrink sleeve labels for beverage bottles, such as organic teas, waters, and energy drinks. Shrink sleeve labels are 360-degree, full-color labels that use heat during application to melt the label into the shape of the bottle or container. Typically, shrink sleeve labels, when not removed from the original packaging, complicate recycling and can even lower the overall rate of recycling. 

Other vertical competitors that focus on making the shrink sleeve label itself a recycling material. However, Magnomer has innovated a way to alter the ink properties, quickly distinguishing itself from other organizations in the vertical. By merely changing the ink used in an already established production cycle, Magnomer enables prompt label removal when recycling the beverage bottle. Most recycling facilities already have magnetic separators in place to remove aluminum from the recycling piles. By creating a practice that leverages existing resources, Magnomer serves as a bridge between consumer brands and the consumers themselves. Magnomer’s technologies enables enterprises and buyers to circumvent the recycling issue with little disruption to the process or the environment. 

Best of all, Magnomer’s price points fall in line with typical industry pricing. Many consumer brands today leverage high gloss or reflective premium inks to help their products command attention on the display shelf. Magnomer has found that often times, their magnetic ink pricing is similar to premium ink pricing. 

Magnomer Delivers Scalable Solution To Minimize Recycling Risks

Majithia believes that Magnomer’s unique approach to recyclability helps position the company as a solution to a problem that can extend far beyond beverage bottles. “Focusing on the inks, rather than the labels themselves, allows us to offer a scalable solution to brands and manufacturers that goes beyond beverage containers. Yes, one of our main verticals is shrink sleeve labeling. However, at Magnomer, we target the specific problems posed by the labels themselves. Eventually, we’re hoping to scale our efforts to a wide range of other plastics, including flexible packaging and larger bottles.”

Magnomer Magnetic Inks Have Already Received Positive Support From Brands and Consumers

Even though the company is still undergoing testing, Magnomer has already received positive support from brands, manufacturers, and general consumers. Majithia and his team presented their technology at APR, where the company gained invaluable exposure within the vertical. “Our customers have been a tremendous help to us garnering visibility in our marketplace. They also have been extremely helpful in their transparency with us, so we understand exactly how they will use our technology,” he said. 

Despite the company’s well-received products, practices, and innovations, like every business, Magnomer also faces certain challenges and obstacles. Like most product-driven organizations, Magnomer’s process can include a complex supply chain. However, Majithia and his team have worked hard to pare it down and expedite procurement. 

Majithia recognizes that the company offers a solution that integrates well with most manufacturing companies. Still, there will always be companies and facilities that require various levels of customization for optimized success. “Our inks offer many brands and manufacturers a seamless solution. However, not all manufacturing environments are alike. Our team of innovators will work with customers to suit their specific environment. Magnomer can adjust our approach and realign our tactics to meet their needs.”

Magnomer can even customize the color of the inks themselves. Beyond recyclability, Magnomer also prioritizes each customer’s brand identity. The team will collaborate with all relevant stakeholders to make inks a certain shade and color to meet design needs. 

Magnomer Planning For Long-Term Market Impact

If you think that being a newer enterprise means that Magnomer doesn’t have any long-term goals, objectives, and vision, guess again. Under Majithia’s leadership, the company is striving to eliminate the problem of shrink labels in the manufacturing industry over the next several years. Achieving this goal could decrease recycled plastic waste by up to 15-20%.

Additionally, Magnomer is also looking to make sure its product lines remain as environmentally friendly as possible in the future. According to Majithia, the best way to ensure this happens is to continuously hire diverse talent from around the globe. 

“At Magnomer, we believe it’s not enough to just hire the right people, but we also strive to bring people in that offer a diversity of opinion. We already have a diverse team that is always looking for new and inventive ways to approach the problem and ensure we are constantly reimagining what an effective recycling solution looks like,” he said. 

“Most importantly, I’m a firm believer in corporate and social innovation as part of business philosophy,” said Majithia. “We’re always looking at the social impact of our own businesses as it relates to our operations and the surrounding ecosystem. We want to do more than decorate packaging; we want to develop products that solve problems and have an environmental upside to them.”

Featured Header Image Source: Magnomer

You May Also Like:

How HyperspaceXR Takes Virtual Reality A Step Further

How HyperspaceXR Takes Virtual Reality A Step Further

Illustration redesigned by Devin Thorpe Over the last several years, the virtual reality industry has demonstrated remarkable staying power within the artificial intelligence (AI) space and shown significant worldwide growth. A recent Forbes article, 2019: The Year...

How StrattyX Is Shaking Up The Finance Industry

How StrattyX Is Shaking Up The Finance Industry

Fintech is going through a growth explosion. Companies like RobinHood have enabled millions of traders to enter the market who were previously either unable or unaware of how to do so. For the every-day trader, commission fees can be a huge burden whereas...