SPE Industry Update
Jul. 16, 2014

Technology and market drivers in plastic barrier packaging
By Don Rosato
Food and beverage packaging together comprise 55 percent of the $550 billion value of packaging in the global marketplace. The food industry has seen great advances in the packaging sector since its inception in the late 19th century, with most active and intelligent innovations occurring during the past century. These advances have led to improved food quality and safety. While some innovations have stemmed from unexpected sources, most have been driven by changing consumer preferences.More

New research project to develop biodegradable packaging for dairy products
Plastics Today
European countries are estimated to be the largest consumer of dairy products in the world, according to the data provided by FAO in 2011. While high density polyethylene bottles are used quite often to package the dairy products, it's estimated that only about 10 to 15 percent of the packaging is recycled, according to data from 2012. In an effort to reduce waste and increase recycling rates, the Technological Institute of Plastic out of Spain is coordinating the research carried out by seven companies and technological centers to develop new materials to manufacture biodegradable packages for dairy products. More

Making polyurethane foams more sustainable
SPE Plastics
The U.S. demand for plastic foams is predicted to reach 8.6 billion pounds in 2017, according to a market research report by Freedonia Group Inc., and the report identifies polyurethane as the leading resin in the plastic foams market. Along with a growing market for polyurethane foams comes increasing consumer pressure to make these foams more environmentally friendly, which can also bring economic benefits.More

From stronger Kevlar to better biology
Place two large, sturdy logs in a streambed, and they will help guide the water in a particular direction. But imagine if the water started mimicking the rigidity of the logs in addition to flowing along them. That's essentially what happens in a directed assembly method developed by Marilyn Minus, an assistant professor in Northeastern's Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering.More

Technology and market drivers in plastic barrier packaging
By Don Rosato
Food and beverage packaging together comprise 55 percent of the $550 billion value of packaging in the global marketplace. The food industry has seen great advances in the packaging sector since its inception in the late 19th century, with most active and intelligent innovations occurring during the past century.More

PVC recycling on the rise in Europe
Plastics News
PVC recycling in Europe climbed more than 20 percent in 2013 according to new figures from Recovinyl, the PVC industry's recycling organization. A total of 435,083 metric tons of waste PVC was recycled through Recovinyl across the group's 16 member countries. That is up from 354,173 metric tons in 2012.More

Trade shows making use of 3-D printing for models
By Renee Eaton
Exhibiting at trade shows can be quite rewarding for companies. Unfortunately, it can also be quite expensive and stressful. Transporting and staging large equipment can consume a significant portion of a company's marketing budget, especially when international shipping is involved.More

Study: Burning plastics could recover energy now lost in landfills
Plastics News
Burning all of the trash now sent to U.S. landfills, plastics included, could create enough energy to power 14 million homes, according to a new study. That also means diverting the waste sent to landfills each year to waste-to-energy power plants would power about 12 percent of the country's total homes, according to the study from the Earth Engineering Center of Columbia University.More

Cryogenic solutions to plastic part deflashing and deburring
Plastics Today
Cryogenic solutions for deflashing and deburring plastic parts is becoming an increasingly popular method for removing flash, burrs and gate vestiges in molded or machined components. Typical removal methods of these residual burrs or flash, including hand-cleaning each part individually with an X-Acto knife, are time consuming and costly. More

New design and construction logics for the next generation of high-performance buildings
Mark Goulthorpe is an architect, writer and teacher. In each role, his goal is the same: To seek models of thought that might yield new approaches to designing and constructing buildings. One area of interest for Goulthorpe is the use of composite materials, particularly thermoplastics. As the most benign class of fiber-reinforced polymers, they are rapidly entering broad market applications and hold the possibility to address a growing need.More

Surge of industrial projects to raise US natural gas demand
Houston Chronicle
A wave of gas-to-liquids investments and other U.S. industrial projects will likely boost demand for natural gas by 19 to 31 percent through the end of the decade, a new study says. After shale gas flooded U.S. markets, chemical makers and others planned enough gas-intensive industrial projects — now under construction or obtaining permits — to boost daily industrial gas demand from 19.6 to 23.5 billion cubic feet of gas per day in 2020, according to the University of Texas' Center for Energy Economics.More

Audi brings new lightweight springs to production models
Reinforced Plastics
Audi is introducing new, lightweight suspension springs made of glass fiber-reinforced polymer (GFRP) in an upper mid-size model before the end of the year. GFRP spring, which Audi developed in collaboration with an Italian supplier, even looks different than a steel spring. It is light green, the fiber strand is thicker than the wire of a steel spring, and it has a slightly larger overall diameter with a lower number of coils. It is also around 40 percent lighter.More

Risk of recession, default threaten progress of Argentina's plastics sector
Plastics News
With per capita consumption steady and new machinery imports up last year from 2012, Argentina's plastics sector looked like it would turn a corner in 2014 after consecutive years of industrial decline. But with the economy expected to dip into a recession this year due to foreign currency shortages, inflation pegged at more than 30 percent since January, and risk of economic default for a second time since 2001, players big and small within the industry told Plastics News during Argenplás — held between June 16-19 in Buenos Aires — that they're entering uncharted waters.More

Biodegradable paper covers as a replacement for plastics opens up the bio-economy market for horticulture
Global vegetable production currently depends on plastics: Approximately 15 million hectares of agricultural land are covered under black horticultural plastics. While alternatives to the plastic cover have been under development for several years, it is only now that a new biodegradable cover, suitable for both professional and subsistence farms, is entering the market.More

Millennials help push pouch growth
Plastics News
Several advantages of pouches compared to other packaging are pretty straight-forward and include shipping costs, lighter weight, convenience, sustainability and transportation fuel savings, Joe Pryweller, senior industry analyst at market research firm Freedonia Group Inc., said. But he indicated another big factor is taking place in the growing acceptance of the pouch. He calls it the millennial embrace."That's the idea that the millennial generation is not as beholden to traditional packaging. That they are looking for new, exciting types of packaging that they can use in their everyday lives," he said.More

'Bioplastics are not necessarily sustainable'
Packaging Europe
Plant-based plastics may appeal to some green-minded consumers among us, but bioplastics can have a higher environmental footprint than petroleum-based plastics and some of the claims made by the bioplastics industry are misleading. "Bioplastics have a number of advantages, such as helping to increase resource efficiency, for example. They help to minimize carbon emissions."More

Denmark yields to EU pressure and scraps phthalate ban
The Copenhagen Post
Denmark has finally yielded to pressure from the European Commission to repeal its proposed ban on four phthalate chemicals. Studies have proven that if the chemicals are ingested they can be harmful to the public, causing in some cases sterilization, young women to prematurely hit puberty and malformed genitalia in new-born babies.More

A new business accelerator takes on plastic pollution
Bloomberg Businessweek
Plastic may be toxic, and it lasts forever, but it's also extremely convenient. "It's a great material, very versatile," says Daniella Russo, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and activist. If you want companies to stop using it, she says, you need to offer viable alternatives — and provide assistance to the startups coming up with them.More