SPE Industry Update
Jan. 5, 2011

A way to recycle every bit of plastic
Discovery News
After the holiday gift-giving binge, there tends to be a big pile, a sad pile of plastic packaging, wrapping, containers and unnecessary parts that are too iffy for the recycling bin. Now engineers in the United Kingdom have new tech that can even turn the toughest plastic blends into reusable materials.More

Effects of pressure and gases on viscosity of molten plastics
SPE Plastics Research Online
Gases such as carbon dioxide and nitrogen are currently of interest as possible replacements for hydrocarbons as plasticizers and blowing agents for plastics processing. Evaluating their potential requires knowing how pressure and gases affect viscosity. Also important is the diffusion rate of gas into molten resin. In the laboratory, the effect of pressure on the melt viscosity is most often determined with a capillary rheometer.More

Italy bans plastic shopping bags starting Jan. 1
Italy, one of the top users of plastic shopping bags in Europe, is banning them starting Jan. 1, with retailers warning of chaos and many stores braced for the switch. Italian critics say polyethylene bags use too much oil to produce, take too long to break down, clog drains and easily spread to become eye sores and environmental hazards.More

Gulf region production of polyethylene and polypropylene resins will rise to 31 million tons by 2015
Emirates News Agency
The UAE and the Gulf region are set to become one of the world's largest sources of petrochemicals and plastics products as the oil-producing countries invest heavily in downstream petrochemicals. According to latest statistics, the polyethylene production capacities in the GCC will increase from 10.7 million tons in 2009 to 21.5 million tons by the year 2015.More

Expert says public needs information on plastics sustainability
Plastics News
Much of the focus in plastics packaging — and rightly so — has been on shrinking the weight and size of the package, and lowering a package's total environmental footprint. But changing the consumer's perception that plastics are bad may be the one of the largest challenges companies face in their sustainability journey.More

Plastic additives: Flame retardant demand is—you guessed it—on fire
Plastics Today
Consumer product safety remains a high profile subject at manufacturers of electrical goods and other products, with the result a spotlight shining on the flame retardants in the plastics used in these products. As more of the world's population climbs into the middle class, with extra cash for consumption, demand around the world for E/E items will climb — and with it the demand for flame retardant plastics.More

Plastics firm to host largest solar plant in Rhode Island
Plastics manufacturer Toray Plastics has announced plans to install a 446-kilowatt solar field to provide renewable energy at its campus in Rhode Island. The company is investing $2 million in the facility at its North Kingstown site, which looks set to be among the largest solar power systems in the Ocean State.More

Rising demand should push up crude oil prices in 2011
International Business Times
Commodities in general have rewarded investors with huge, in some cases, historic, returns in 2010, primarily in anticipation of an ever-strengthening global economic recovery and low interest rates in the U.S. However, one of the premier commodities, crude oil, has lagged, trading range-bound with great volatility, unable to crack the $90 per barrel level (for most of the year).More

Plastic homes
The Vancouver Sun
Combining large enterprise experience with small start-up ingenuity is helping Innovative Composites International Inc. (ICI) position itself as a housing provider for Haiti after an earthquake last January left as many as one million Haitians without homes. The Toronto-based company, made up of former executives from companies such as Magna International Inc. and Chrysler Group LLC, is hoping to popularize the concept of a plastic house.More