SPE Industry Update
Jan. 12, 2011

Smart packaging developed to detect 'off food'
BBC News
Researchers from Strathclyde University in Glasgow, Scotland, are working on indicators made from "intelligent plastics" which change color when food loses its freshness. They hope to have a commercially viable product available soon which will improve food safety and cut waste.More

Composition of ethylene/ propylene co-polymer using IR
SPE Plastics Research Online
Polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) are two of the most common thermoplastics. Their growth can be increased, because co-polymerization processes allow creation of new materials with novel and enhanced properties. Carbon nuclear-magnetic-resonance (13C-NMR) spectroscopy is usually the best tool to study both the chemical heterogeneity and final co-polymer composition.More

Impregnating plastics with carbon dioxide
Chemical Online
Everyone has heard that carbon dioxide is responsible for global warming. But the gas also has some positive characteristics. Researchers are now impregnating plastics with compressed carbon dioxide in a process that could lead to new applications ranging from colored contact lenses to bacteria-resistant door handles.More

Study: Oceanic garbage patch much smaller than previously reported
Canadian Plastics
The size of an area of floating plastic refuse in the northern Pacific Ocean called the called "Great Garbage Patch" has been wildly exaggerated by media reports, according to a new analysis from Oregon State University. "There is no doubt that the amount of plastic in the world's oceans is troubling, but this kind of exaggeration undermines the credibility of scientists," said Angelicque White, an oceanographer at Oregon State University. "We have data that allow us to make reasonable estimates; we don't need the hyperbole."More

UK industry spokesman predicts continued price concerns for 2011
Packaging News
2011 will bring little let-up in input costs for the plastic packaging industry, the head of the British Plastics Federation has predicted. In comments to Packaging News on the BPF's outlook for 2011, director general Peter Davis said that the high raw materials prices and problems of availability would be an "ongoing concern" in the year to come, while energy prices would continue their upward trend.More

Europe PET demand strong, prices set to rise
Demand in Europe for polyethylene terephthalate is stronger than normal, despite December and January traditionally being considered to be the low season, sources said this week, adding that they expect prices to move up. "There is a definite price increase taking place in PET in January. Demand is good for this period of the season," one PET producer said.More

Exotic discovery made in soft polymer
Professor Frank S. Bates and his research team at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis have discovered an unusual type of soft material that was conceived of over 50 years ago, but has never before been found in a plastic — although it has been seen in stainless steel and other metal alloys.More

Cereplast opens European headquarters in Germany
Business Wire
Cereplast, Inc., a leading manufacturer of proprietary bio-based, compostable and sustainable plastics, announced that it has opened a European headquarters in Bönen, Germany, to support the rapid expansion of its European operations.More

Formosa Plastics units' fourth-quarter net rises on China demand
Formosa Plastics Corp. and other units of Taiwan's largest diversified company had gains in fourth-quarter net income as China's expanding economy boosted demand for chemicals and plastics. Net income at Formosa Plastics Corp., Taiwan's biggest maker of polyvinyl chloride, rose 66 percent in the three months to Dec. 31 to $437 million. More

Replace a seal, save a $1 million project
Modern Plastics Worldwide
Good things come in small packages, with a good example to be found at additive supplier Amfine. Running into serious problems with a dryer used to prepare nucleating agents, the company was able to replace a seal on a vacuum dryer and save a $1 million project. More

Top OPEC producers like $100 oil
Oil prices are inching toward $100 per barrel, though OPEC leaders Kuwait and Iran said there isn't much need to increase supplies. Delegates from the 12-member Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries at their regular December meeting in Ecuador left production quotas set in 2008 unchanged. Oil prices, meanwhile, have rebounded from recession-era lows of less than $50 per barrel to more than $90 per barrel in recent trading.More

Green computer program expands nationally
Plastics News
A program that offers government organizations and educational institutions resources, advice and guidance on how to purchase greener computer equipment and reduce the environmental footprint of their computer use is going nationwide.More