PT Blog

Let’s take a look at how commodity resin prices were faring going into the last week of November with input from Houston-based PetroChemWire (PCW;) and Michael Greenberg, CEO of Chicago-based The Plastics Exchange. As is typical at year’s end, activity slows down, despite what other drivers impacting pricing might be up to.Going into December, resin prices are likely to be relatively stable with PP prices bumping up a bit.

PE: Spot prices were flat to lower, yet activity was limited during the shortened Thanksgiving holiday week, according to PCW’s Senior Editor David Barry. He cited the continuation of tight supply of certain grades, such as blow molding and pail grades of HDPE. Also, there was a limited supply of HMW-PE film driven by strong demand for HDPE pipe in both the U.S. and China—as the film grades are produced on the same assets as bimodal pipe resins. However, additional prime bimodal HDPE film output from new plants is expected in December, which could tilt the HMW-PE film supply balance, Barry ventured.

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A three-way collaboration has resulted in the launch of Future BLACK+, a new line of black jeans, each pair of which contains up to 17 recycled PET bottles—said to be the most post-consumer recycled content the industry has seen in denim. Superior softness, color retention and stretch are also claimed. I, for one, would love to try them—both for the sustainability aspect and the color retention of a ‘true black’ jean!

The three players include Cone Denim, a leading supplier of denim fabrics to top denim apparel brands since 1891 and Unifil Inc., whose proprietary technologies of synthetic and recycled performance fibers include the renowned Repreve fiber brand resourced from post-consumer PET bottles—both of Greensboro, N.C. The third pary is The Lenzing Group of Austria, which supplies the global textile and nonwovens industry with high-quality, botanic cellulose fibers.

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The “I’m Green” PE from Braskem (Braskem America Inc., Philadelphia) has been steadily making strides in a broad range of packaging applications and, most recently, the first ‘green’ PE rotomolded compound was launched through the company’s partnership with A.Schulman, Fairlawn, N.J.

Now the company has partnered with ProAmpac’s Trinity Packaging Division, Armonk, N.Y., to help Maryland’s Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and its contractor Maryland Environmental Service (MES) to achieve their carbon reduction and environmental preservation objectives. DEP and MES led the initiative to find a carbon reduction packaging alternative for their composting program in order to support their core mission.

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Nature’s inspiration for the development of new materials appears to never cease. Earlier this year, I reported on the continued evolution of biodegradable bioplastics, including those sourced or inspired by cassava root, proprietary starch formulations and natural fibers, as well as shrimp shells.

The shrimp development refers to man-made bioplastic chitosan being derived from the organic compound chitin, which extracted from shrimp shells, for the production of biodegradable shopping bags, as well as next-generation food packaging. Now mollusks have joined the ‘seafood’ crowd.

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Royal DSM (U.S. office in Elgin, Ill.) has signed a “One DSM” technology partnership agreement with Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG)—a 100% subsidiary of Toyota Motor Corp. All DSM businesses active in supplying materials and technology to the automotive sector are part of the agreement including: Engineering Plastics, Dyneema (ultrahigh molecular weight PE fiber), and 3D Printing/additive manufacturing, including Somos for stereolithography (SLA, and other technologies like Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF)), also known as FDM.

One of the specialty areas of TMG—a high-performance development, testing and manufacturing company—is in the manufacture of products by additive manufacturing, both for motorsport use and for external customers.

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