SPE Industry Update
Oct. 26, 2011

Landfilled plastics could power 5.2 million US households
Waste Management World
Scientists at Columbia University say that the energy potential in non-recycled plastic is at least enough to fuel 6 million cars or power 5.2 million homes each year. A recently published study conducted by the Earth Engineering Center of Columbia University, while mechanical recycling of plastics has continued to grow in the U.S., with 2.1 million tons of plastics recycled in 2009, less than 15 percent of the U.S. post-consumer plastics are being diverted from landfills by means of recycling and energy recovery.More

Carbon nanotubes accelerate epoxy resin curing
SPE Plastics Research Online
Electrically conductive nanocomposites, composed of conductive elements held in a polymeric matrix, are particularly useful in aerospace applications. For example, their use as as lightning strike, ice, and radiation protection is enhanced because they are lightweight and provide design flexibility. Epoxy resins, which are the most commonly used thermoset polymers for such applications, have proven to be excellent hosts to multi-walled carbon nanotubes. More

Physical properties of magnesium/polyacrylamide composites
SPE Plastics Research Online
Composite materials of inorganic coagulants and organic water-soluble polymers are increasingly being used in wastewater treatment. They perform better than conventional systems, which are typically involved in two separate stages, namely, coagulation and flocculation. The functional synergy between the two components in the composite — the inorganic and organic phases — enhances the aggregating ability of the composites.More

Update on biodegradable PHB
Science Daily
Poly-3-hydroxybutyrate is a thermoplastic polyester which occurs naturally in bacteria as Ralstonia eutropha and Bacillus megaterium. Even though PHB is biodegradable and is not dependent on fossil resources, this bioplastic has been traditionally too expensive to produce to replace petroleum-based plastics. New research reported in BioMed Central's open access journal Microbial Cell Factories describes an alternative method of producing PHB in microalgae.More

US lobby group takes legal action against plastic bag ban
Plastics & Rubber Weekly
A US lobby group is taking legal action to block a local authority in California from banning the use of plastic bags. Arguing that plastic bags are safer than paper bags for transporting hot foods, the Save the Plastic Bag Coalition has filed a lawsuit to block Santa Cruz County, in California, from implementing the ban, scheduled to take effect on March 20, 2012, in unincorporated areas.More

New medical plastics center links industry, academia and research
Penn State Live
With a growth rate of nearly 10 percent annually, sales projected to reach $6.55 billion in 2012, and an estimated 100,000 related jobs, the medical plastics sector in the United States has a critical role in the growing health care industry. In response to this growing sector and with support from its sponsors, including Harmac Medical Products, SIGMA Plastics Services, Philips Respironics and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, has invested more than $4 million into creating the state-of-the-art Medical Plastics Center of Excellence.More

Polyamide composite sheet shapes up as weight saver
Plastics Today
Lanxess is expanding its leading position in fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composites for lightweight construction applications. Extensive investments have already been made ranging from development of custom materials such as polyamide composite sheets, through development of simulation methods and the determination of characteristic material values, to component testing. Further, project management is being expanded to support both Lanxess customers and their customers in developing innovative composite components.More

Plastics industry at risk for metal theft in UK
Insurance Journal
The plastics industry is now a target for the growing market of metal theft, according to one UK insurer. MMA Insurance is warning that the plastics sector is now at risk as thieves are now targeting the brass tooling and dies which are needed to produce plastic products.More

Recycling deal to produce fuel from plastics in Minnesota
Waste Management World
Minnesota-based Rational Energies HC, Inc. is to separate recyclables in Hennepin County, and send unrecyclable plastics to a facility a pyrolysis facility to create a fuel. According to the company, it has reached an agreement Hennepin County to lease space at its Brooklyn Park Transfer Station, where it will separate and recover metal and plastic recyclable materials from incoming municipal solid waste.More

Leading brands to pilot new recycling label in 2012
Packaging Digest
Sustainability nonprofit GreenBlue has released a new report, "Labeling for Package Recovery," and announced details for a 2012 national pilot of the new Packaging Recovery Label System, a voluntary label developed by the organization's Sustainable Packaging Coalition to communicate to consumers how to recycle a package after its use.More

Dow Chemical CEO upbeat despite weak economy
Dow Chemical Chief Executive Andrew Liveris gave an upbeat outlook for the largest U.S. chemical maker last week, saying its growth would continue regardless of the global economic situation. The confident talk comes after Dow's shares have dropped 36 percent so far this year, compared with a 13 percent drop in the S&P 500 index. Liveris, CEO since 2004, blamed Wall Street for the drop this year, saying investors were trying to find the stock's trough, or bottom, to buy-in before a potential rebound.More

Toyota develops new sugar cane bio-plastic for car interiors
Factory Equipment News
Automotive manufacturer Toyota is now using a newly developed bio-plastic made from sugar cane in the production of car interiors. Produced by varying the formula for making polyethylene terephthalate, which is commonly used for products such as soft-drink bottles, Toyota has developed its bio-PET by replacing one of the raw materials in PET - monoethylene glycol - with a biological raw material derived from sugar cane.More

Some China plants facing toughest times
Plastics News
Sharply rising costs in China and weakness in major markets in North America and Europe are making it probably the most difficult time in at least 20 years for many export-oriented small and medium-sized manufacturers and plastics firms in China. In recent interviews, executives said more factory closings are likely as less-efficient firms struggle with wage increases of 15 percent a year and a stronger Chinese currency. Further complicating the outlook in the past few months is sudden slackness in orders from traditional Western export markets, they said.More

Asian polypropylene offers to Peru reduced $40/mt over last week
Asian polypropylene offers to Peru were reduced $40/mt over last week becoming, once again, the cheapest prices in the Andean Countries (Ecuador, Colombia, and Peru) market. Polypropylene demand in Peru was sluggish, however, due to speculation that Asian offers could go down again soon.More

Slack regional demand drags down plastics prices across Asia
Plastics Today
Prices for most commodity plastics fell across Asia in the past week as slack regional demand, coupled with a fall in the price of some key feedstocks, gave plastics suppliers little ground to push for price increases. Holidays in China and India contributed to the demand slowdown.More