By: Frank Esposito
February 25, 2013
SALEM, MASS. -- U.S. Aragonite Enterprises LLC has commercialized a one-gallon milk container that uses the firm's all-natural Oshenite-brand calcium carbonate additive.
United Dairy Inc. is using Oshenite to reduce the amount of high density polyethylene needed in each container by as much as 25 percent, officials with Salem, Mass.-based U.S. Aragonite said in a recent e-mail. United began making the containers last month at its plant in Charleston, W. Va. The containers are being made under the Eco-Jug trade name and are already in stores, officials said.
The reduction in resin use was the result of a new bottle design and Oshenite use. Oshenite is an oolitic aragonite material that is harvested off the shores of Ocean Cay, an island that's part of the Bahamas near the Florida coast.
U.S. Aragonite is sourcing the material — which forms near Ocean Cay as warm and cool waters combine — through an agreement with the island's owner. U.S. Aragonite grinds the material at a plant it operates in Texarkana, Ark., before it is taken to a compounding plant operated by Bayshore Industrial Inc. in La Porte, Texas.
For the milk gallon made by United Dairy, Oshenite has been compounded with linear low density PE resin.
In a Feb. 20 phone interview, U.S. Aragonite business development director Rock Newell said that potential customers have been drawn to Oshenite because it is sustainable and renewable. The milk gallon is Oshenite's first commercial use in the beverage market, but Newell said the material already has been commercialized in products such as cosmetic trays and storage containers.
Compounds containing Oshenite also can provide cost savings vs. standard HDPE in milk gallons, the company claimed.
Newell added that Oshenite also is being tested in other bottles for milk and other beverages. Some of those applications should be commercial later this year, he said.
U.S. Aragonite officials previously have said that Oshenite can offer faster cycle times, shorter cooling times and improved stiffness when compared with standard calcium carbonates.