Packaging Is Awesome with Adam Peek
People of Packaging Podcast
186 - Landfill degradable water bottles?? Kahle Wightman from Serum

186 - Landfill degradable water bottles?? Kahle Wightman from Serum

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TITLE "Founder of Serum Explains Her Journey to Creating Environmentally-Friendly Packaging Solutions" SUMMARY Kahl Whiteman is the founder of Serum, a company based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The podcast episode is her first and she is from Salt Lake City, Utah, where it was three degrees at the time of recording. Kayl has had a very interesting life up until this point, having worked on giant yachts and other places. She has come a long way to start her own company, Serum. She talks about how her life has been colorful and full of different experiences that have brought her to the place she is in today. She talks about her journey and the importance of taking risks to reach success. She also explains the mission of Serum and how it is helping people to have better lives. Kahl encourages listeners to take risks and trust in their capabilities to reach their goals, and to not be afraid of failure.

The speaker is 24-year-old who grew up in Arizona and was instilled with a passion for plastic from a young age by his dad, who works in the plastic industry. When the speaker turned 18, he decided to pursue a career in boats, working as a chef on boats from 60 foot sailboats to 200 foot super yachts. The speaker gives a brief explanation of the metric system and how it works. Her dad is still working in the plastic industry, with the company supplying the additive that allows plastic to biodegrade in landfills. The speaker's passion for packaging was influenced by her dad, and now she is taking the things his dad instilled in her and multiplying them. In the conversation, the speaker talks about their high school senior thesis paper about landfills and the importance of integrating them into the reduce, reuse, recycle mindset. They then talk about their experience as a chef on boats, and how they noticed the plastic waste that was being sent to landfills, sparking their interest in the plastic industry and waste management. The speaker then explains that their company, Serum, takes already recycled plastic and adds a biodegradable additive before turning it into single-use water bottles. This process creates a viable, valuable end of life solution for these plastics, while also helping to reduce plastic waste.

The conversation discussed the process of what happens to food waste, plastic bottles, and other kinds of trash in a landfill. It is not the dump people have been told about for years, but a carefully engineered and managed space. As the waste decomposes, a methane gas is released and is now being captured and turned into renewable energy. This process of capturing methane from landfills is called the methane capture process and helps to reduce pollution and create a more circular economy. Additionally, the waste in the landfill breaks down within two to fifty years and helps to create energy instead of lingering in the environment.

TIMESTAMPS 0:00:00 Interview with Kahl Wightman, Founder of Serum
0:02:23 Conversation with Kahle, a 24-Year-Old Chef Working on Super Yachts and Passionate About Plastics and Landfill Gas to Energy
0:04:09 Heading: Exploring the Benefits of Landfill Gas to Energy with Serum Founder, Chef-Turned-Entrepreneur, Sarah Koehler 0:10:11 "The Benefits of Landfill Management and Methane Capture"
0:12:05 "Exploring the Benefits of Waste-to-Energy: Turning Landfill Methane into Natural Gas"
0:16:01 Heading: Exploring the Benefits of Waste-to-Energy Technology for Packaging Circularity
0:18:01 Interview with Serum Co-Founder, Ryan Schoenfeld, on Biodegradable Plastics
0:22:07 Interview with Kale Kahle of Serum Water: Exploring Innovative Solutions to Waste Management

HIGHLIGHTS Yeah, I love it. Let's kind of pull it back here to Serum. I know you said you're starting with water bottles, but are you seeing this be able to grow where packaging can be contributing at the end of it? Like, you talked about how you're using PCR materials where now packaging is not only contributing to sort of the circularity that comes from recycling, but now also contributing back into the circularity that can come from waste to energy. I completely agree. Yeah. And I think people going and saying when their argument against this technology is saying, well, natural gas has its own issues, it's just like saying, well, landfills, it's like demonizing the word landfill, demonizing the word natural gas, and nothing comes close to the capture rate that landfills have when it comes to consumer behavior. If the fact of the matter is 95% of our waste is going to these landfills.. And right now the fight is everyone's saying, let's change that, let's change that, let's push this waste out of that environment. But if we just embraced that and said, okay, let's roll with that, that's an amazing capture rate. Landfills aren't horrible entities. Let's roll with this and see if we can turn this into a positive thing. We'd make incredible progress in both clean energy and waste management. Yeah. And thinking about that and natural gas probably has its own opponents and all that stuff, right? But it's like, if we can create natural gas from our natural habits instead of our natural habitats through drilling and fracking and all that stuff, I got to imagine and I have zero idea what the proportionality is, right? Somebody might come in and be like, well, our landfills can only create less than 1% of the natural gas. Okay, I don't know these things. That's just not the reality of waste management. In the year 2023, landfills are meticulously engineered, they're highly managed. And most importantly, basically, when the waste is in the landfill, it's putting off a methane gas as it decomposes. And now these landfills are capped. And the methane gas, instead of becoming a pollutant, is now turned into basically clean, renewable energy. It's turned into natural gas. And not only that, but it's a baseload energy source. It's constantly emitting methane, unlike wind and solar, where sometimes there's not wind, sometimes there's not sun, there's always going to be methane coming out of a landfill. Coca Cola is not doing it, Nestle is not doing it and it hasn't been combined with using already recycled plastics. So with serum we take already recycled plastic. That plastics can only be recycled a number of times. We're just kind of trying to find a viable, valuable end of life solution for these plastics. We take the recycled plastic, we add the biodegradable additive, the landfill biodegradable additive and then we turn it into whatever plastic application we'd be focused on.

Packaging Is Awesome with Adam Peek
People of Packaging Podcast
This is a podcast where we illuminate the stories of people in the packaging industry and proudly sponsored by
Hosted by the Packaging Pastor, Adam Peek