SPI: Time To Refocus Plastics Recycling Efforts

By: Heather Caliendo 15. June 2015

Only about 9% of plastic waste was recycled from the municipal solid waste stream in 2012, according to the latest figures available from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This is a rate that has remained relatively unchanged for 10 years. 


Robert Render, commercial manager with Ravago Recycling, told Plastics Technology there are now more complex applications, such as the use of multiple materials together for one product, which can make it difficult to recycle.


“Still, the industry has a good track record of finding the use for the material once it’s been identified and collected,” he said.


The potential to use recycled plastics in manufacturing is vast. After all, the U.S. plastics industry produces nearly $400 billion in products. Using recycled plastics presents a big opportunity across the supply chain, which is one reason why the Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI), Washington, D.C., created the Re|focus Recycling Summit & Expo (April 25-27, 2016; Rosen Shingle Creek conference center and hotel in Orlando).


In collaboration with its Recycling Committee, SPI has designed the event to assist brand owners and processors on their environmental goals.


The summit launches with an evening reception on Monday, April 25, events on the next two days will include sessions within seven concurrent tracks. Conference track topics will include cutting edge recycling technologies, product engineering and design, supply chain management and manufacturing with recycled content, regulatory and compliance issues, industry-specific topics on recycling to recovery and use of recycled content, sustainability challenges and solutions and global manufacturing trends in recycled content. There will also be two plenary sessions with keynote addresses. An off-site plant tour is also in development.


“This is an industry-driven event,” said Kim Holmes, SPI senior director of recycling and diversions. “This is an opportunity of how we can take the plastics recycling discussion to the industry on a much larger scale. We really want to accelerate the adoption of the use of recycled content as well as other environmental goals for the industry.”


The programming team is seeking speakers who will participate in panel discussions and engage both other speakers and attendees through an active Q&A. Presentations should focus on practical implementation and application of leading best practices in the specific subject areas outlined. Those interested in submitting a speaker proposal can contact Ashley Patton at


The expo floor is designed to be a solutions-based space featuring material suppliers, equipment suppliers, and recycling and sustainability service providers. Re|focus has received early exhibit commitments from several companies including ADG Solutions and Davis-Standard, Bunting Magnetics, Fukutomi Green Products, Kice Industries, Plastics Technologies Inc., Phoenix Technologies, Rapid Granulator, Ravago, United Recycling and WEIMA America.

Nylon, PBT Play Key Role in New Energy-Conserving Tankless Water Heaters

By: Lilli Manolis Sherman 14. June 2015

The next-generation Supercharger tankless water heater units from Houston-based Seisco International utilize DuPont’s engineering thermoplastics in several key components and have been designed to help homeowners meet the newly updated National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (NAECA) requirements.


Seisco’s president David Seitz says the new standards could drive up the cost and size of tank-type water heaters because efficiency technology will have to be added to the tanks that are 55-gal or larger. “A Seisco Supercharger coupled with a 40-gallon tank matches the performance of a 60 to 80 gallon tank with significantly lower energy use because you heat less water all day. Thousands of gallons of water are wasted each year waiting for hot water to travel through cold pipes. Heating at the use point can significantly reduce water waste and save energy.”


The Supercharger unit is small enough (15” x 7” x 6”) to be placed near the use point. It features an internal heating chamber, which is injection molded of DuPont’s Zytel nylon for high-heat resistance, thermal stability and compliance with NSF and UL requirements. DuPont’s Crastin PBT delivers impact resistance and compliance with UL flammability requirements in a one-piece protective exterior housing.


A microprocessor control manages on/off when flow starts/stops. The water heater’s patented mixing chamber provides a small amount of heated water and the patented “Power-Sharing” technology helps ensure elements heat evenly. These innovations are said to protect against scalding, scaling and sediment build-up. The single-chamber Seisco models can be used as a back-up for both new and existing hot-water storage tanks in single-family homes. Multifamily water heaters allow building owners eliminate storage tanks in each unit. 


Want to find or compare materials data for different resins, grades, or suppliers? Check out Plastics Technology’s Plaspec Global materials database.


Continued Optimism, Job Satisfaction Shown by Plastics Salary & Industry Survey

By: Lilli Manolis Sherman 14. June 2015


There is continued optimism and a high-level of job satisfaction among employees in the plastics industry, according to the latest Plastics Salary and Trends Survey conducted by Gros Executive Recruiters and the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE). The results show that average base salaries in the U.S. grew 0.7% from 2013 to $104,722 in calendar year 2014, and job confidence and growth expectations have remained high for both managers and non-managers.


The 2015 survey of 1,250 plastics professionals, which tracks earnings during the full calendar year 2014, showed a continuation of a five-year trend of confidence in both the plastics industry and individuals’ personal job security.


 In the 2014 survey, 75% of participants expected their employers to deliver a salary increase, with most expecting a raise of 1-3%, according to Dennis Gros, president of Gros Executive Recruiters. “The 2015 survey shows a slight increase in base salaries—so at least some employers gave raises. Total compensation, however, was down by about 2%.” The decrease is attributed to the fact that average cash compensation—which includes base salary plus incentives such as bonuses and commissions—fell by 2.5% from last year. In 2014, participants reported $122,301 total cash compensation, but he figure in the 2015 survey was $119.576.


Still, optimism prevailed, with an overwhelming 85% of managers surveyed indicating they expect an increase in compensations this year, as did 77.2% of employees, according to Gross. Moreover, plastics employees indicate confidence in their job security with 76.9% of this year’s respondent saying they are “very” confident that their jobs will exist in 12 months, and another 19% were “somewhat” confident.


Advice to managers on employees: ‘Keep the Ones You’ve Got’


The survey results show that job confidence expands into job loyalty and high morale, with only about 7% describing their job situation as ‘unhappy’. “Manager can expect challenges in finding new employees, because only 16% expected to be active in looking for a new job. For managers this means ‘Keep the Ones You’ve Got!,” says Gross.


Once again this year, employees surveyed said they expect pay raises of 1 to 3% or more. Meanwhile, 55% of responding managers expected their companies to increase the number of full-time employees.


Ventures William De Vos, CEO of SPE, “There will be a continuation of growth opportunities over the next several years within the plastics industry. This year’s polling again shows improvement in the perception of job stability, and anticipation of higher earnings. We should continue to see a healthy turn in the plastics industry, especially in the Unites States.”


Age & Education Level Are Factors in Compensation


Respondents in the 21-34 age group reported an average base salary of $71,394. The average jumps to $99,318 for the 35-44 age group, continues to climb to well over $100,000 for the 45+ age groups, and reached a maximum of $131,587 for those over 65. Total cash compensation reflects an even higher gap by age, with the 21-34 age group reporting $76,911 on average compared to the 65+ age group reporting almost double at $149,375.


Education plays a significant role in determining pay. Respondents with a post-graduate degree reported an average base salary of $115,873 and average cash compensation of $131,847, whereas those with a high-school level education reported an average base salary of $77,557 and average cash compensation of $92,500.


Respondents in executive management reported higher base salaries and total cash compensation than all other job titles. The average total cash compensation for job titles grouped as “Executive Management” was $158,489, followed by titles grouped as “Sales, Marketing, Customer Support” at $137,734.


A detailed report of the full survey will appear in the September issue of SPE’s Plastics Engineering magazine. SPE member can obtain a copy, with detailed information by logging into their accounts on SPE site.


ORNL To Discuss Large-Part 3D Printing At Amerimold

By: Heather Caliendo 12. June 2015

The 3D-printed Shelby Cobra that debuted at this year’s North American International Auto Show.


The groundbreaking world of additive manufacturing will be a focus at the Amerimold Exposition and Technical Conference taking place June 17-18, 2015, at Rosemont, IL’s Donald E. Stephens Center. During the show, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s (ORNL, Knoxville, Tenn.) Chad Duty will host complimentary, show floor presentations on Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM).


In his 11th year at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Duty has shifted gears to focus on improving the mechanical performance of polymer-based additive manufactured components and the development of a large-scale system, called Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM), capable of depositing parts 10x larger and 100x faster than current technology.


At Amerimold, Duty will examine the technologies being leveraged and developed at the Department of Energy’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at ORNL. In particular, the Big Area Additive Manufacturing machine, which was used to produce the 3D-printed Shelby Cobra that debuted at this year’s North American International Auto Show.


“Chad and his team at Oak Ridge National Laboratory are very much at the forefront of not just developing but also applying advanced manufacturing technologies, specifically additive manufacturing, to advance tool and mold manufacturing,” said Dave Necessary, show manager. “We are very excited to offer all Amerimold attendees and exhibitors the opportunity to learn technologies that are being used to take time and take money out of the tool and mold manufacturing process.”


Oak Ridge National Laboratory will exhibit and present at booth 723. Presentations will take place on Wednesday, June 17th at 11:00 am and 2:00 pm and again Thursday, June 18th at 11:00am. A representative from ORNL will also be on-hand to answer questions and discuss BAAM technology.


Registration is still open for Amerimold 2015. Click here to register. 


Presented by Gardner Business Media, in partnership with MoldMaking Technology, Plastics Technology and Modern Machine Shop, Amerimold connects global and domestic technology leaders involved in all aspects of mold manufacturing.

Coca-Cola Debuts First 100% Biobased PET Bottle

By: Lilli Manolis Sherman 11. June 2015



In the race toward an all-biobased PET bottle, it looks like the Coca-Cola Co. is ahead; last week, it debuted the world’s first such beverage bottle at the World Expo 2015 in Milan.


With its PlantBottle packaging strategy—which entails the conversion of natural sugars found in plants into the ingredients for making PET, the company made its first foray in 2009 when it began to produce PET bottles based on 30% plant-based renewable material (monoethylene glycol made from sugarcane ethanol).


The new 100% biobased PET bottle is based on technology developed by biofuels and biochemical company Virent, Inc., Madison, Wis., which enables the company to produce its BioFormPX (paraxylene) from beet sugars vs. fossil fuels. Paraxylene is the key raw material used to produce DMT/PTA (dimethyl terephathalate/purified terephthalic acid) monomers, which account for 70% of PET’s composition.


Virent produced the plant-based paraxylene at its demonstration plant in Madison. Taiwan-based Far Eastern New Century then worked with Virent and Coca-Cola to convert the paraxylene into a renewable PET resin. Virent has been working with Coca-Cola since 2011, and the latter’s major investment in 2014 is supporting the expansion of Virent’s demonstration plant. “Coca-Cola’s support of our plans for the BioFormPX material in the next-generation of PlantBottle packaging is critical in attracting manufacturing investment from the PET supply chain,” stated Virent’s CEO Lee Edwards.


According to Edwards, Virent is pursuing construction of a commercial-scale plant to help Coca-Cola scale up production of the 100% renewable content bottles. But there is nothing further to announce at this time, he said in a statement released at the June 3 debut. “We’ve had several sales of the material to other companies for them to go through the same kind of ‘validation’ testing of the material for use in other PET products, such as apparel.”


To date, Coca-Cola has produced 35 billion bottles that are 30% plant-based, and its aim it to have commercial production of the 100% plant-based bottles by 2020. Nancy Quan, Coca-Cola’s global R&D officer said,“This is a pioneering milestone within our company’s packaging portfolio. Our vision was to maximize game-changing technology, using responsibly sourced plant-based materials to create the globe’s first fully recyclable PET plastic bottle made entirely from renewable materials.”


Want to find or compare materials data for different resins, grades, or suppliers? Check out Plastics Technology’s Plaspec Global materials database.


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