SPE Industry Update
Jan. 19, 2011

Chemists develop fully biodegradable and recyclable synthetic resin
Science Daily
Modern synthetic resins are made from fossil sources, are not biodegradable and can only be burned under strict precautions due to the release of toxic substances. Gadi Rothenberg and Albert Alberts of the University of Amsterdam have discovered a range of new thermoset resins made from renewable raw materials which are fully biodegradable, non-toxic and non-hazardous.More

Influence of molecular weight on the properties of poly(ether ether ketone)
SPE Plastics Research Online
Poly(ether ether ketone) (PEEK) has generated interest in many fields. The electronics, health-care and aerospace industries, for example, have found applications for PEEK because of its exceptional chemical, radiation, wear, and abrasion resistance, high mechanical strength, and heat-distortion temperature. The effects of molecular-weight variations on the thermal, mechanical, and rheological behavior of PEEK have received relatively little attention, despite important implications for many other engineering and high-performance polymers also bearing primarily aromatic backbones.More

Scientist developing self-healing biorenewable polymers
Materials that can repair themselves are generally a good thing, as they increase the lifespan of products created from them, and reduce the need for maintenance. Biorenewable polymers are also pretty likable, as they reduce or even eliminate the need for petroleum products in plastic production, replacing them with plant-derived substances. An Iowa State associate professor of materials science and engineering, and an associate of the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory, is now attempting to combine the two.More

United Nations designates 2011 "International Year of Chemistry"
Chemical Heritage Foundation
The United Nations has designated 2011 the "International Year of Chemistry (IYC)" — a global celebration of chemistry and its contributions to the world around us. This worldwide initiative is being celebrated under the auspices of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, and features activities conducted by countries, such as the United States, that adhere to these organizations.More

US molders in Mexico not adversely impacted by border violence
Plastics Today
One major issue that has arisen in the past few years is the violence that has escalated in Mexico, and how that might be affecting foreign direct investment and shelter programs that help companies set up business in Mexico.More

Plasticulture vital to strawberry growers, but sustainability concerns are raised
San Jose Mercury News
Plasticulture to strawberry growers is like coffee to the working masses. It increases productivity, and while the fundamentals are consistent everyone has their own unique set of preferences. The cream and sugar of plasticulture are color and type of plastic.More

Borouge seeks to lure plastics firms to Abu Dhabi
The National
Borouge, the Abu Dhabi Government's petrochemical joint venture, hopes to lure high-tech plastics manufacturing companies to the emirate. The move is intended to help absorb increased production from the company's almost $10 billion planned expansion of facilities.More

US PET margins narrow in January as costs outrun PET increases
U.S. PET margins narrowed in January as costs increased more than bottle resin prices, according to Platts data. "We didn't put out enough of an increase for January," a PET producer said. For January, PET producers issued price increases of 3 cents per pound but costs are up slightly more than 4 cents per pound from the steep 7 cents per pound jump in the month's paraxylene contract.More

Mixed outlook for UK plastics for 2011
Plastics & Rubber Weekly
The latter part of 2010 saw the U.K. plastics industry rally after a difficult 18 months. But worries about the overall strength of the economy, and the rise in VAT to 20 percent, could pose serious threats to that recovery, warn industry insiders.More

DuPont to buy Danish biotech firm for $5.8 billion
The Philadelphia Inquirer
DuPont Co., in its biggest acquisition since the purchase of seed company Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc. in the late 1990s, has agreed to pay $5.8 billion for Danisco, a Danish company that makes enzymes used to produce chemicals and fuels from plants.More

Manufacturers see weaker dollar as 'slightly positive'
The Wall Street Journal
A 10 percent fall in the value of the U.S. dollar would help boost exports and profits at most manufacturers but also lead to higher prices for key raw materials like copper, zinc, nickel and crude oil, according to an industry group survey released last week.More

Firms can't ignore social media
Plastics News
"Social media" is more than a catch phrase. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and the like offer great marketing options and ways to communicate with consumers — and packaging companies need to get online or be left behind. That was the advice offered by packaging consultant JoAnn Hines at the Sustainable Plastics Packaging 2010 conference in Atlanta.More