SPE Industry Update
Dec. 21, 2011

Coke sets plan for plastic bottles from plants
Reuters
Coca-Cola Co announced a plan last week that brings it closer to rolling out soft drink bottles made entirely from plant-based plastic. Coke and archrival PepsiCo Inc are in a race to use greener packaging, a challenge for carbonated beverages that put a lot of pressure on the walls of bottles.More

Stronger and faster-flowing plastics for miniaturizing personal electronics
SPE Plastics Research Online
In our everyday world, the advantages of the materials that surround us are always weighed against their disadvantages. This same consideration also applies to making plastic parts for personal electronics. To decrease the size of mobile phones, for example, melts employed in shaping plastic parts must possess excellent flow and precise molding, thermal endurance, and dimensional stability due to the tight space constraints of applications and the heat produced in use.More

New anhydrous polymer electrolyte membranes
SPE Plastics Research Online
Polymer electrolyte membranes — also called proton exchange membranes — are commonly used in automobile fuel cells. They use hydrogen fuel and oxygen from the air to produce electricity. For example, when incorporated into a membrane electrode assembly, PEMs separate reactants to create a proton gradient, which is then used to drive electrical conductivity. Since conventional PEMs require water to achieve acceptable levels of proton conductivity,1 they are generally unsuitable for high-temperature operation.More

US plastics industry shows resilience over last 5 years
Plastics Today
Even as the number of people employed by the plastics industry in the U.S. declined by roughly 24 percent from 2005 through 2010, the total value of shipments from the sector rose by nearly one billion dollars, climbing from $301.1 billion to $302 billion, a testament to greater processor efficiency via productivity gains.More

Petrochemicals prices fall as demand dries up
Financial Times
Prices of petrochemicals, which are used to make a wide range of products from plastic bags to office chairs, have slumped to their lowest in more than a year as global demand slows. The drop in demand in China, the world's biggest importer of commodity plastics and a major exporter of plastic goods, has been particularly pronounced, suggesting industrial activity in the world's manufacturing hub could be decelerating even more than reported. More

PET pricing plunges
Recycling Today
U.S. recyclers continue to be affected by a slowdown in orders from China that began late this summer, when China's government began to enforce a new regulation directed at solid waste imports at its Guangzhou port, which also is affecting mixed loads of recyclables.More

Efficient and sustainable development of antimicrobial masterbatches for plastics industry
Plastemart
Silver has been used for centuries for its abilities to aid preservation. Silver antimicrobial technology is safe, natural and sustainable. Prior to the introduction of antibiotics, silver was widely used in hospitals to combat bacteria and today it is used in a wide range of medical products, such as wound dressings and catheters, which have been shown to reduce rates of HCAI.More

Spinning like the spider could cut energy cost of synthetic polymer fibers by 90 percent
Nanowerk News
Researchers have, for the first time, compared the energetic cost of silk and synthetic polymer fiber formation and demonstrated that, if we can learn how to spin like the spider, we should be able to cut the energy costs for polymer fiber processing by 90 percent, leaving alone the heat treatment requirements. More

North American plastics industry sees a jump in profits
Plastics Today
For most processors, 2011 has been relatively good year. The Plante & Moran LLP survey results, which provided updated information through September 2011, show that year-over-year adjustments to productivity as measured by value-add per employee, the equipment utilization percentage, and gross profit margins remained consistent for the most part.More

Canadian plastic to oil company tests New York facility
Waste Management World
Ontario-based Canadian waste plastics to oil specialist JBI has successfully completed its final Plastic2Oil Stack Test performed by environmental engineering consultants, Conestoga-Rovers and Associates on its P2O commercial processor in Niagara Falls, N.Y. According to JBI, the stack test measured emissions from the processor vent and was observed by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation who were present during testing.More

Bayer CEO eyes falling margins in drugs, plastics
Reuters
Bayer expects to see falling profit margins in drugs and plastics as the euro debt crisis sends tremors through economy, chief executive Marijn Dekkers told a German newspaper. He complained about weak payment discipline in highly indebted euro area countries, especially Greece, Italy and Spain.More

Chevron Phillips to spend $5 billion on Texas ethylene plant
Bloomberg
Chevron Phillips Chemical Co., a joint venture equally owned by Chevron Corp. and ConocoPhillips, will spend about $5 billion to build one of the first new ethylene production facilities in the U.S. since 2001. The company selected its site in Baytown, Texas, for new factories to convert ethane into ethylene starting in 2017, The Woodlands, Texas-based Chevron Phillips said in a statement. More

NPE2012 to focus on plastic packaging technologies and issues
Packaging Digest
Merchandisers, packagers, designers, processors and converters will discover the newest polymer technologies for packaging at NPE2012, says SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Assn., which produces the triennial event. In many cases, visitors from the packaging industry will be able to observe commercial-scale production of film, thermoformed sheet, bottles and containers right on the exhibit floor.More

Researchers explore electroactive medical bioplastics
Plastics Today
The U.S. Agriculture Department is funding a five-year project to develop electroactive polymers from natural, renewable feedstocks such as cornstarch. The implications are significant because commercially available electroactive polymers made from fossil fuels, such as polyanaline, cost much more than corn starch (about 40 cents per pound in 50-pound bags). Polyaniline emeraldine-based polymers can cost thousands of dollars per pound. More

FDA selects Ohio partnership for polymer expertise
Akron Beacon Journal
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is turning to an Akron, Ohio-area partnership for its expert knowledge about medical devices made from polymer materials. The federal agency entered a memorandum of understanding with the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron for scientific collaborations and educational initiatives.More