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Could Two Natural Polymers Lead to a New Plastics Packaging Future?

The use of plastic films to protect food from spoilage has revolutionized the global food production system. As previously reported on this blog, the environmental impact of throwing food away when it has gone bad is often much greater than the impact of the plastics used to package the food. For example, one company reports findings that only 11% […]

Will Southeast Asia Recycle More in Response to China’s Import Ban?

As soon as China broke the news that it would no longer accept the world’s plastics waste for recycling, analysts suggested that countries in southeast Asia, such as Indonesia and Thailand, might ramp up imports as the price of plastics waste began to fall with falling demand. Perhaps, many thought, not much would need to change with the current […]

Despite Bans, Single Use Plastics Are Here to Stay in Some Industries

In recent years, the plastics industry has been impacted by a series of bans enacted by governments at all levels. This year, Seattle became the first American city to ban disposable straws and utensils. In Australia, of course, plastic bags have been banned in Western Australia and Queensland, and are no longer provided by some major stores, including Coles […]

Plastics Manufacturers Face Global Nylon 6/6 Shortage

According to Plastics News, the price of Nylon 6/6 has risen more than 50 percent in the past 18 months. That’s an increase of $1.60 USD per kilogram.

Few outside the plastics industry have heard of Nylon 6/6. However, those in the industry, even those unfamiliar with plastics feedstocks, have become more knowledgeable about the material in recent months, as […]

Innovations Help US Company to Move Closer to Wide-Scale Polystyrene Recycling

Polystyrene is the fourth most common thermoplastic by total volume produced, and, like many plastics, its use increases every year. By 2019, the global polystyrene market is expected to be worth $28.2 billion USD. Despite the large amounts of polystyrene used to create a variety of products ranging from packaging materials and bicycle helmets to smoke detector covers and […]

China’s Plastic Import Ban by the Numbers

The world of plastic recycling continues after China’s ban on imported plastics. The ban, which was announced in July 2017, came into affect January 1, 2018. We’ve published more than one article about the ban on this blog, but as the impact of the decision continues to reverberate through the recycling industry, periodic updates are warranted. In this post, […]

National Plastics Exposition 2018 Reveals Sustainability Trends, Trains Industry Leaders

The National Plastics Exposition, one of the world’s premier plastics industry conferences, was held May 7-11 at the Orange County Convention Centre in Orlando, Florida, in the United States. Although certainly not the only important annual plastics conference, the sheer size of the conference (65,000 plastics professionals and 2,000 exhibitors attended in 2018) means it is a useful barometer […]

US Army Hopes to Print Parts from Plastics Recycled in the Field

Plastics recycling processes are typically developed according to traditional industrial engineering practices. A specific type of plastic is cleaned of impurities, homogenized, and chemically treated before being made into a plastic feedstock. The resulting feedstock is then sent to another facility (often owned by a different company) for use in the manufacture of new products.

The US army hopes to […]

Plastics Pose Unique Challenges to Art Restorers

“Plastics Are Forever” – to some, the phrase represents the incredible longevity and useful material attributes of the plastics materials that make our civilization possible. To others, it represents the dark side of plastic – the fact that some plastics take a very long time to break down in the environment.

However, museum curators and art restorers often find themselves […]

Plastics Key to Water Infrastructure Sector

A graph recently published in Plastics News got me thinking about the role plastics plays in our water infrastructure. The pie chart shows projected plastics use by the water infrastructure industry by industry segment for the next 10 years. In this post, we’ll explore some of the surprising ways that plastics have made themselves indispensible in the water infrastructure […]