SPE Industry Update
March 2, 2011

Electrically-conducting plastic gets simple and affordable
A team of Australian researchers at the University of New South Wales have discovered a technique that can turn almost any plastic into a superconducting material. Plastics are well known for being lousy conductors, and are used to insulate electric cables, but by placing a thin film of metal onto a sheet of plastic and mixing the metal into the polymer with an ion beam, the researchers can make cheap, strong and flexible plastics, with impressive conducting powers.More

The creep behavior of linear low-density polyethylene
SPE Plastics Research Online
The creep behavior of high-density polyethylene—with a density of 0.94–0.96g/cm3—has been studied extensively, while Crissman investigated in detail the long-term creep behavior of linear low-density polyethylene — with a density of 0.933g/cm3—at room temperature, as a function of stress and processing parameters. Nevertheless, the effects of variable density, applied stress, morphology and processing parameters on the creep behavior of LLDPE films characterized by a broad range of densities have not yet been studied in depth.More

Genetically engineered bacteria turn garbage into plastic
San Diego Union Tribune
You could call it recycling at the molecular level. A San Diego biotechnology company says it is working to develop microbes that can help convert garbage into plastics. Genomatica has already genetically engineered a bacteria to feed on sugar and make a chemical typically produced from oil and natural gas. More

Plastic bags 'not eco-villains after all'
The Independent
Unpublished U.K. government research suggests the plastic carrier may not be an eco villain after all – but, whisper it, an unsung hero. Hated by environmentalists and shunned by shoppers, the disposable plastic bag is piling up in a shame-filled corner of retail history. But a draft report by the Environment Agency, has found that ordinary high density polythene bags used by shops are actually greener than supposedly low impact choices.More

Heinz to use Coke's 'greener' plant-based bottle
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
H.J. Heinz Co. says it is making its iconic ketchup bottles a bit more green. The Pittsburgh-based food maker announced that it will use Coca-Cola Co.'s plant-based plastic bottle technology for its ketchup. Coca-Cola said it is the first partnership of its kind, and the soft-drink giant hopes to push the use of its plant-based material into other parts of the food industry. More

UK plastics industry confident of growth in sales
The majority of members of the UK plastics industry were confident of a growth in U.K. sales turnover over in 2011, the British Plastics Federation said recently. The BPF statement said that member companies signaled a buoyant start to 2010 in its latest Business Conditions Survey.More

Russian plastics giant dips toes into WPC market
Modern Plastics Worldwide
One of the largest plastics suppliers in Russia is now installing a new extrusion line for wood/plastics composites. Next month the line is to begin production of WPC profiles for decking and other building applications. The new line, a BiTrudex unit supplied by extrusion systems supplier Reifenhäuser Extrusion, is being installed in the Kamskije Poljany industrial park.More

Recycling of non-bottle rigid plastics up 50 percent in 2 years
Waste Management World
The American Chemistry Council has released a new report which documents a dramatic increase in the collection and recycling of post-consumer non-bottle rigid plastics across the United States. The report, prepared by Moore Recycling Associates, Inc., found that in 2009, nearly 480 million pounds (218,000 metric tons) of post-consumer rigid plastics were collected for recycling nationwide, an increase of nearly 33 percent from 2008 and 47 percent since 2007.More

$100-a-barrel oil adds new wrinkle to global economic recovery
The Associated Press via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Just as the U.S. and global economies are finally strengthening, they face a new danger: rocketing oil prices. Consumers and businesses would be pinched by a sustained period of $100-a-barrel oil — and not just motorists. Stock prices, which lost more than 2 percent lsat week, could sink even more. That would reduce household wealth and consumer confidence. As fuel costs rise, so would prices for travel services and products containing plastics. More

Plastic strapping and sustainability
Packaging World
For many CPG companies, plastic strapping is an overlooked opportunity to improve the company's sustainability profile. That's true, even though most consumer packaged goods (especially non-durables) are delivered to retail unitized in stretch wrap. Plastic strapping can't provide the full-enclosure protection of stretch wrap, nor can it match the strength of steel strapping (routinely associated with industrial use, anyway). But in those applications suited to plastic strapping, its ease-of-disposal, compared to stretch wrap and steel, gives it sustainability points.More

UN calls for action on maritime plastics pollution
European Plastics News
The United Nations Environment Program has called for global action to tackle the growing problem of plastics pollution in the world's seas and oceans. Its 2011 year book highlights "persistent, bio-accumulating and toxic substances" associated with plastic marine waste as "a new and emerging concern."More

India issues rules on plastic bags and waste, but rejects bans
Plastics News
India's national environment ministry has issued new rules banning plastic bags under 40 microns thick and suggesting the country implement broader collection of plastic waste, including an "extended producer responsibility" system that could put more requirements on plastics manufacturers to deal with packaging waste.More