PT Blog

General Motors joins the ranks of Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and SC Johnson as corporations that have dropped their membership in the Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS) under pressure from environmental organization Greenpeace, among others. In a press release, Greenpeace said that GM had told the organization that it had allowed its membership to lapse, citing “an evolution in how the company thinks about plastics.”

GM didn’t not issue a formal statement on the matter, but a representative confirmed to me that the company didn’t renew its membership. What Greenpeace didn’t say in its release, or the statements issued upon the departure of the other three companies mentioned, is that GM will no longer use plastics in its products.

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Below find the 10 most-viewed articles posted to Plastics Technology in October. A unique application for HP’s new Multi Jet Fusion printing technology, as well as dispatches from the K show and insights from our expert materials, tooling and extrusion columnists piqued reader interest this month, among other topics. 

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What is likely to represent a new  milestone in sustainable PP will result from the strategic cooperation announced recently between Borealis and Finland’s Neste. Borealis is aiming to produce renewable PP using Neste’s 100% renewable propane produced by Neste’s proprietary NEXBTL technology at its facilities in Kallo and Beringen, Belgium, starting by end of year.

Neste has an annual production capacity of over 6 billon/lb of renewable products. Its NEXBTL technology allows the company to  utilize nearly any bio-based oil or fat as raw material, including lower-quality waste and residue oils to produce various premium-quality renewable products. Borealis will use Neste’s renewable propane, produced in Rotterdam, at its facilities in Belgium to create an entire portfolio of applications based on renewable-PP.

This marks the first time that Borealis uses bio-based feedstock to partially replace fossil feedstock in commercial production of PP. It reportedly will also be the first time ever that renewable propane dehydrogenation is carried out at an industrial scale. The high-quality product will offer the same excellent product properties as conventional PP, and is fully recyclable.

Borealis’ unique propane dehydrogenation (PDH) and PP plant set-up in Kallo will enable the company to start offering bio-based-propylene and consequently bio-based-PP in which bio-based content can be physically verified and measured. In addition, Borealis will continue to apply mass balance approach in its production at Kallo and Beringen to take a major step forward to provide both renewable propylene and renewable PP to its customers. The process will be certified by the ISCC Plus (International Sustainability & Carbon Certification), whose full value chain scope ensures that the renewable feedstock used is certified renewable, sustainably produced and traceable to point of origin.

Said Lucrèce Foufopoulos, Borealis executive vice president Polyolefins, Innovation & Technology and Circular Economy Solutions: “Using renewable feedstocks produced primarily from waste and residue streams is a major contribution to reducing our reliance on fossil-fuel based feedstocks.Through co-operation with Neste we can offer our customers and partners a new portfolio of renewable-PP solutions, helping them to make their offering more climate friendly. True to our EverMinds approach, we are a frontrunner in helping build a circular economy for plastics. Borealis will not only help protect the environment, but also build a business fit for the future.”

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“It’s not important as to what my vision is; what is important, is the vision of the membership,” Radoszewski says. When Plastics Technology spoke with Radoszewski (pronounced Rad-uh-chef-ski) in early October, he had nearly completed his second full week on the job. Even in these early days, however, he had a very specific notion of how associations can thrive, with the initiative flowing up from the rank and file instead of down from his new office in Washington D.C.

“The best-run organizations have an engaged membership,” Radoszewski says. “You take the collective wisdom of all these diverse organizations—these companies and the people who are in these companies—and you focus in specific directions on different subjects. I think that’s really where associations work best, when they leverage that knowledge of the membership and bring this community together.”

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As perhaps is the case with several of you, our team returned from K 2019 last week with quite a bit of news both in terms of trends in the plastics industry—namely, sustainability and the ‘Circular Economy’—as well as actual product launches. The latter, when it came to materials and additives, oftentimes was directly linked to these leading trends. For example, SABIC commercially launched what is reportedly the first renewable feedstock polycarbonate—60% of this PC is made from tall oil derived from pulp waste.

Last December, we featured a blog after being contacted by U.K. start-up Teysha Technologies regarding their ‘plug-and-play’ bioplastic platform that results in different grades of PC. Here is an update and further clarification on the origins of this technology and where it’s heading. This came to us through Texas A& M University, which announced that a recent sponsored research agreement between it and Teysha Technologies has brought together top international research scientists and elite process and commercialization experts dedicated to a common cause: developing unique intellectual property aimed at solving the world’s plastics pollution problem.

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