SPE Industry Update
March 23, 2011

Japanese disaster disrupts materials production
Plastics & Rubber Weekly
The massive earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on March 11 has disrupted production of some plastic materials and products. More than 5,000 deaths and 2,000 injuries had been reported from the 9.0 magnitude quake as of March 17. The epicenter of the quake was located about 80 miles off the east coast of northern Japan, roughly 200 miles away from Tokyo.More

US PVC prices to rise as global supply tightens on Japan earthquake
US PVC export prices were expected to increase in April, driven by strong demand from Asia, as imports from Japan were anticipated to plummet in coming months due to plant outages derived from a massive earthquake. Three PVC plants, with a combined capacity of 818,000 mt/year and representing 41 percent of Japan's total PVC production, were shut as they were affected by the earthquake.More

Survey for SPE members
SPE members will soon have access to updated, comprehensive trend information on compensation, benefits, job security and satisfaction for the plastics and packaging industry. For a fourth consecutive year, SPE is partnering with Gros Executive Recruiters on the company's salary survey, which provides data on salary trends and hiring affecting employees in the plastics industry. The survey is open now through May 7, and you are invited to participate.

This article will appear in the April 2011 issue of SPE's Plastics Engineering magazine.More

Environmentally friendly polymer composites prepared with cellulose nanocrystals
SPE Plastics Research Online
Use of petroleum-based chemistry for polymer production is increasingly challenged because of its undeniable environmental consequences and the diminishing availability of raw materials. Therefore, we have focused on using more ecofriendly and more widely available renewable resources to obtain commercially competitive polymers. In particular, we are interested in the use of vegetable oils because of their relatively low cost and their potential application as reactants after adequate chemical modification.More

PepsiCo bottle is rooted in plants
Atlanta Journal-Constitution via the Houston Chronicle
Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, cola wars rivals for a century, are now locked in a bottle battle. Two years after Coca-Cola Co. unveiled a bottle made partly from plant materials, PepsiCo says it is introducing a better one. The Purchase, N.Y.-based company says it has developed the world's first plastic bottle made entirely from plant-based, fully renewable resources, cutting the use of petroleum. Coke's PlantBottle is made of up to 30 percent plant sugars.More

Oregon lawmakers consider banning BPA in bottles
The Associated Press via Bloomberg Businessweek
Oregon lawmakers are taking another look at banning a potentially harmful chemical from baby bottles and sippy cups, a year after a similar idea narrowly died in the Legislature. This time, the proposal has picked up bipartisan support in the Senate, where three Democrats joined all Republicans last year to defeat it by one vote.More

Change in regulation would require treatment of wooden pallets
Plastics Today
Wooden pallets that previously went between the U.S. and Canada without being heat-treated to kill insects or larvae could soon be required to undergo such treatments, potentially shifting the pallet market to other materials, including plastics.More

Nypro exec on the future of plastics
Worcester Business Journal
There are three game-changing trends happening in the plastics manufacturing industry, and companies would be wise to stay on top of all of them, according to Michael McGee, director of technology at Nypro Inc. Those trends are nanotechnology, sustainability and bio-based coatings and materials, McGee told an audience at the MassPlastics 2011 Trade Show.More

Electriplast conductive plastic passes auto OEM tests
Plastics Today
The electrically conductive resin ElectriPlast has passed all testing for use in the upcoming 2012 model of an unidentified European OEM, receiving UL approval while also satisfying tensile strength and shielding requirements, according to the Tier One supplier making the parts. Pending final approval, Electriplast-based components would hit showroom floors this fall as part of the unnamed 2012 model-year vehicle.More

Study: PHA and bio-derived PE to drive bioplastic packaging market to 2020
Packaging Digest
Global bioplastic packaging demand is forecast to reach 884,000 tons by 2020. A 24.9 percent CAGR is expected from 2010-2015, slowing to 18.3 percent in the five years to 2020. According to a new study by Pira International, a new breed of bioplastics will be major drivers as packaging market demand gradually shifts from biodegradable and compostable polymers towards biopackaging based on renewable and sustainable materials.More

US manufacturing strengthens, bolstering expansion
Production at U.S. factories increased for a sixth month in February, indicating manufacturing will keep stoking the economy and underscoring the Federal Reserve's view of a stronger expansion. The 0.4 percent rise in manufacturing output, which makes up 75 percent of all industrial production, followed a 0.9 percent January gain that was three times as large as initially estimated, Fed figures showed.More