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Spark of Innovation: An Interview with Christopher Tilton

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

Published: Feb. 21, 2014 Updated: 12:04 p.m.
Chris Tilton Photo
Editor’s note: Commentary’s Spark of Innovation feature spotlights local engineers and scientists to encourage Orange County students to see career possibilities for themselves in science, technology, engineering and medicine. Bill Blanning coordinates this feature.

Smart Planet Technologies is an intellectual property company focused on developing sustainable high-quality packaging materials.

• What project/research are you working on? Our primary focus is to develop recyclable, environmentally ethical alternative packaging materials. This is accomplished by replacing the plastic coating with mineral composites. By removing the plastic contamination from the packaging, they become 100 percent recyclable.

• What is your specific role in moving this project/research forward? My role includes developing, patenting and commercializing our core materials technology. I also work closely with our licensees’ engineers and manufacturing staff to support the implementation of our technology into existing industrial packaging plants.

• What would be the most successful outcome of your work, and what impact would it have on how we live? Billions of plastic-coated packages are sent to landfills every year. Unlike organic materials, which get broken down naturally by bacteria, plastic will remain in these fills for centuries. For example, coffee cups have plastic coatings that protect the paper from leaking and help seal the cup seams. Our research has developed low-cost, easily scalable materials that greatly reduce and replace the plastic contaminants with natural minerals. The mineral content allows the coatings to become compatible to the paper-recycling stream. Therefore, it is now possible to recycle billions of hot and cold cups rather than sending them off to landfills.

• What about this project is important to you personally? I now have the opportunity to provide the world with a material that can drastically improve the quality of our lives and the longevity of our planet. The most important aspect of my work is making sure I leave behind a legacy of innovation and ingenuity that will benefit my children’s world and help build a brighter future through the advancement of science and technology.

• What is the very best part of your job – when do you feel the most satisfaction?From supporting environmentally conscious companies in their efforts to take advantage of our technology.

• Why did you choose this career? As I began to understand the complexity of packaging, I realized that it is a great platform for innovation.

• Who or what inspired you to study in your field? The alarming truth is that almost every single product we buy comes in some type of packaging, and vast amounts of energy and resources are used to manufacture and dispose of packaging materials. My greatest inspiration is seeing my work and innovation combat these issues and offer real benefits to society.

• What makes you particularly well-suited to this work? I am stubborn. I, like most material scientists, have technical knowledge and engineering skills. However, it has been my willingness to try, fail and try again that has allowed me to achieve so much success.

• Where did you go to college? I graduated from Middle Tennessee State University with studies in Business and Agricultural Science. I was a Distinguished Military Science graduate and started my career as an Army officer.

• During high school and college, which courses helped best prepare you for your current position? My science and math courses were extremely interesting to me and contributed to my success. Also, the discipline and rigor of military training has proved to be invaluable throughout my career.

• What is the best advice you received that has helped further your career? Try to focus on work that you enjoy. Also, recognize that time, work and effort are needed to become proficient. Be willing to make the commitment necessary to the field you find most interesting, and become a subject-matter expert.

• What advice would you give, particularly to the student who may think math, science or engineering are “too hard” for him or her? Science is not easy; it takes commitment and hard work. I challenge students to be honest with themselves and recognize that they are more than capable, given an honest effort. It seems so easy just to avoid the “hard” classes and majors at school. But if you do, you’ll be closing the doorway to an exciting, rewarding and fulfilling career.


Smart Planet Technologies introduces EarthLabel solution for adhesive label applications

Newport Beach, CA, December 20, 2013 – Smart Planet Technologies, Inc., a leader in innovative materials that address sustainability challenges in packaging, today announces the marketplace introduction of EarthLabel™, a solution for use in adhesive label applications.

EarthLabel is an adhesive label utilizing a barrier coating between the paper and adhesive, providing a protective moisture barrier for wet conditions.  EarthLabel incorporates EarthCoating®, a superior barrier coating to 100% polyethylene, providing improved barrier performance while reducing plastic content.  White Wine bottles and Beer bottles are optimal applications for EarthLabel, as the barrier layer is needed to protect the underlying adhesive across the entire label in wet conditions.

EarthLabel was developed for use by Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, as they sought a solution to provide protection for their white wine labels in wet conditions.

“Our Snoqualmie brand is a great fit for the EarthLabel”, says Les Wallace, Packaging Manager for Ste. Michelle Wine Estates.  “The 100% PCW paper in combination with the Smart Planet EarthCoating delivers a high quality pressure-sensitive (self-adhesive) label material that will meet key performance requirements for our Snoqualmie wines regardless of the storage conditions. On the shelf, in a fridge, water or ice, we know the labels are going to look great.  Our current plan is to transition to the EarthLabel material in the first quarter of 2014”, says Wallace.

“EarthCoating continues to prove itself as a superior technology to 100% polyethylene in various barrier coating applications.  We applaud Ste. Michelle Wine Estates for their involvement and support in adopting this breakthrough technology to improve performance and the environmental footprint of their white wine labels”, says Chris Tilton, Chief Technology Officer of Smart Planet Technologies.

About Smart Planet Technologies

Smart Planet Technologies is a materials intellectual property company focused on sustainability for the packaging industry. Our innovative technologies are focused to conserve precious natural resources and provide high quality, environmental alternatives across a wide variety of packaging applications.  Smart Planet Technologies is a partner with Standridge Color Corporation of Social Circle, GA in the commercial availability of EarthCoating. For more information, please visit our website at www.SmartPlanetTech.com

Contact Smart Planet Technologies:

Todd Gasparik, Director of Business Development, Smart Planet Technologies, Inc.

Todd@SmartPlanetTech.com

About Snoqualmie Winery

Snoqualmie winery, named after the mountain pass that serves as the gateway to Washington wine country, has been making wines that reflect the balance and natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest for more than two decades. It is Snoqualmie Winemaker Joy Andersen’s belief that taking good care of vineyards and local environment are essential steps towards advancing the natural quality of the Northwest and to making the best wines possible.  All of Snoqualmie’s wines are made using sustainable and organic practices and each tier is designed to showcase the best winemaking techniques and vineyard selections. Additionally, Snoqualmie was one of first wineries in the state to craft wines from USDA-certified organically grown grapes from which our Naked tier is exclusively developed. Today, Snoqualmie has the largest certified organic vineyard in the state.

Contact Chateau Ste. Michelle:

Lynda Eller, Director of Communications, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates
Lynda.Eller@smwe.com


Smart Planet Technologies Signs License Agreement with Intellectual Ventures

Newport Beach, CA and Bellevue, WA, September 13, 2013 – Smart Planet Technologies, Inc., a leader in innovative coatings that address sustainability challenges in packaging, today announced that it has entered into an intellectual property license agreement with the Invention Development Fund of Intellectual Ventures (IV®). The two companies will collaborate on sourcing, licensing, and commercializing new technologies related to sustainable packaging.

“Through our collaboration with Intellectual Ventures, we can accelerate our objective of being a leading provider of innovation in materials that address the sustainability goals for the packaging industry,” said Will Lorenzi, President of Smart Planet Technologies.  “As the leading global specialist in intellectual property development and commercialization, Intellectual Ventures will help Smart Planet Technologies broaden its IP portfolio as well as enlarge the global footprint of customers for our unique and market-changing packaging solutions.”

“Smart Planet’s environmentally friendly packaging technology is the best in the business,” said Chris Alliegro, Executive Vice President and Managing Director, Invention Development Fund at Intellectual Ventures. “Leading paper, packaging, food and beverage companies have now recognized the improved environmental footprint and recyclability of packaging materials that utilize the Smart Planet coating technology.  By leveraging the invention network from Intellectual Ventures, Smart Planet expands its technology portfolio as a leading solution provider for innovation for the packaging industry.  This agreement is the latest in a series of transactions Intellectual Ventures has executed with new and innovative companies, helping us bring our inventions to a variety of new industries.”

The agreement provides Smart Planet Technologies with the opportunity to license and commercialize IP and technologies from the Invention Development Fund’s portfolio of packaging related inventions and patents created with its network of more than 4,000 inventors – including individual inventors and inventors from government labs, research institutions, corporations and universities.

About Intellectual Ventures

Founded in 2000, Intellectual Ventures (IV) is the global leader in the business of invention. IV collaborates with leading inventors, partners with pioneering companies, and invests both expertise and capital in the process of invention. IV’s mission is to energize and streamline an invention economy that will drive innovation around the world. For more information, please visit www.intellectualventures.com, follow IV on Twitter at @IVinvents and “like” IV on Facebook at facebook.com/intven.

About Smart Planet Technologies

Smart Planet Technologies is a materials intellectual property company focused on sustainability for the packaging industry. Through innovation, our technologies conserve precious natural resources and provide high quality, environmental alternatives across a wide variety of packaging applications.  For more information, please visit our website at www.SmartPlanetTech.com


Contact Smart Planet Technologies:

Todd Gasparik, Smart Planet Technologies

Todd@SmartPlanetTech.com


For further information about Intellectual Ventures, contact:

For press inquiries, please contact press@intven.com. For all other inquiries, please contact info@intven.com or follow IV on Twitter at @IVinvents.


Lab testing confirms select grades of paperboard with EarthCoating to be recyclable materials

Newport Beach, CA, September 6, 2013 – Smart Planet Technologies, Inc., a leader in innovative materials that address sustainability challenges in packaging, today announced that select paperboard grades with EarthCoating® have successfully completed recyclability and repulpability testing at Georgia Tech’s Institute of Paper Science and Technology, located in Atlanta, Georgia. EarthCoating is a highly mineralized barrier coating containing less plastic than traditional 100% polyethylene coating, while providing superior performance metrics and environmental advantages.

Traditionally, barrier packaging materials used in forming hot/cold cups, ice cream containers, and folding cartons coated with 100% polyethylene or similar materials, are poor candidates for recycling and often destined for the landfill.  However, EarthCoating, when used with select grades of paperboards, can be commercially recycled as light and heavy print virgin bleached board cuttings, thus providing significant economic and environmental gains. In addition, this solution provides great potential for the post-consumer recyclability of barrier-coated packaging.

EarthCoating technology offers a recyclable solution for the approximately two million tons of 100% polyethylene-coated boards produced in the US annually. Recycling collection pilots are being planned such that specific packages can be labeled recyclable subject to FTC Green Guide stipulations.

“EarthCoating continues to prove itself as a superior technology to 100% polyethylene in packaging applications that require high performance heat seal and barrier requirements equal to or exceeding polyethylene. The recyclability of these paperboard materials with EarthCoating overcomes an important technological challenge for the paperboard and packaging industries,” says Chris Tilton, Chief Technology Officer of Smart Planet Technologies.

About Smart Planet Technologies
Smart Planet Technologies is a materials intellectual property company focused on sustainability for the packaging industry. Our innovative technologies are focused to conserve precious natural resources and provide high quality, environmental alternatives across a wide variety of packaging applications. For more information, please visit our website at www.SmartPlanetTech.com

Contact Smart Planet Technologies:
Todd Gasparik, Director of Business Development, Smart Planet Technologies
Todd@SmartPlanetTech.com

 


Evergreen Packaging announces license agreement with Smart Planet Technologies

Smart Planet Technologies’ EarthCoating® reduces plastic used in coated paperboard products

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – July 18, 2013 – Evergreen Packaging announced today it has entered into an intellectual property license agreement with Smart Planet Technologies. Under the agreement, Evergreen Packaging will initially explore the development of cupstock products using EarthCoating® technology, a mineralized barrier coating for paperboard materials. Trial work and pilot testing are scheduled for the third quarter of 2013.

The EarthCoating mineralized resins are innovative, high performance coatings, which contain less plastic than traditional low-density polyethylene coatings. EarthCoating resins are heat-sealable and FDA-compliant for direct food contact. “As a leading supplier of paperboard for cupstock and liquid beverage packaging, Evergreen Packaging is focused on product innovations using less plastic and packaging materials. Working with Smart Planet Technologies will help us in our innovation efforts to reduce the amount of plastic used in our products and support our sustainability initiatives” according to Bob Shanahan, VP of North American Operations for Evergreen Packaging.

About Evergreen Packaging

Evergreen Packaging is a global leader in fiber-based packaging, paperboard, and paper. Evergreen Packaging is committed to sustainability through the use of renewable resources and energy and promotion of carton recycling. For more information, please visit evergreenpackaging.com.

About Smart Planet Technologies

Smart Planet Technologies is a materials R&D company focused on sustainability for the packaging industry. Through innovation, their technologies are focused to conserve precious natural resources and provide high quality, environmental alternatives to a wide variety of rigid, flexible, corrugated and paperboard packaging applications. For more information about EarthCoating and Smart Planet Technologies, visit SmartPlanetTech.com.


Smart Planet Technologies Introduces New Barrier Coating as PVdC Coating Replacement

New, alternative coating provides a cost-effective, environmentally-friendlier solution for select folding carton packaging applications

Newport Beach, CA.– April 16, 2013– Smart Planet Technologies, Inc., a leader in innovative coatings that address sustainability challenges in packaging, announces a new coating, EarthCoating™ Hyperbarrier 40 (HB40™), providing a cost-effective, environmentally-friendlier alternative to hazardous Polyvinilidene Chloride (PVdC) coatings in barrier folding carton packaging.

PVdC coatings are known for excellent barrier performance in folding carton packaging applications, such as dry laundry detergent packaging, however, PVdC coatings can release dioxins and furans if incinerated. The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (www.pops.int), an international environmental treaty with 152 member country signatories, seeks to eliminate chemicals such as PVdC that can produce dioxins and furans.

The EarthCoating HB40™ resin is a non-toxic, cost-effective coating blend, which outperforms PVdC coatings, without any dioxin or furan-producing compounds. EarthCoating HB40™ is FDA-compliant for direct food contact.

EarthCoating HB40™ is easily integrated into the existing supply chain. Paperboard materials using EarthCoating HB40™ can be die-cut, folded and glued using existing converting machinery. EarthCoating HB40™ can be extrusion-coated using existing equipment and at standard commercial production line speeds.

“By outperforming PVdC coatings, improving the environmental footprint of the packaging, and being cost-effective, EarthCoating HB40™ makes the case for a great reduction in the use of PVdC as a coating, globally” said Chris Tilton, chief technology officer for Smart Planet Technologies™, Inc.

ABOUT SMART PLANET TECHNOLOGIES

Smart Planet Technologies is a materials intellectual property company focused on sustainability for the packaging industry. Through innovation, our technologies are focused to conserve precious natural resources and provide high quality, environmental alternatives to a wide variety of rigid, flexible, barrier liners, and other packaging applications. For more information, please visit our website at www.SmartPlanetTech.com

Contact:

Todd Gasparik, Smart Planet Technologies

Todd@SmartPlanetTech.com