Bioplastics in Valencia

image_thumb[4]The demand of materials from renewable resources will be doubled from 2014 to 2019 to reach 1.4 million hectares for their production, without competing with the surface for food, nearing 1,240 million hectares, according to Constance Ißbrücker, from European Bioplastics, in a presentation during the International Seminar on Biopolymers and Sustainable Composites, held in Valencia, Spain, on 1 and 2 March.
Organised by AIMPLAS, the international seminar brought together more than 170 professionals to update the information about the use of biopolymers in food packaging, sport and automotive applications. Innovative materials from renewable sources such as castor-oil plant, sugar cane, corn and milk whey are already present in demanding applications such as surfboards and snowboards, in the automotive and construction sectors and in high-barrier and heat-resistant food packaging. BASF showed the new biodegradable coffee capsules developed for Cafés Novellimage_thumb[2] and Renault talked about its circular economy policies and the role that biocomposites play. New developments of biopolymers for 3D printing were also launched, as well as cords for the agriculture sector and nets for the fishing sector, thanks to API INSTITUTE. AIMPLAS also presented the results of the project OSIRYS, focused on biocomposites for façades and partitions to improve the air quality.
The second day began with a review of the current standards that regulate the use of biopolymers at industrial level and then there was a space for biotechnology and production of biopolymers from natural processes, such as fermentation or from microorganisms.

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PE Films: a 1% rise in Europe

The PE film industry consumed over 7.4 million tonnes of polymer in 2016. Polyethylene film accounts for 80% of film products manufactured in Europe. The polyethylene film industry in Europe has continued to grow at a steady rate over recent years. Despite trends to use more linear and metallocene materials enabling film producers to make thinner films, the volume demand has continued to rise to reach over 7.4 million tonnes of polyethylene materials consumed for film extrusion in 2016, a 1% rise on the previous year.
Germany, the leading country for polyethylene film extrusion in Europe. has seen its film extrusion industry pretty much maintain its status throughout the financial crisis and the subsequent Eurozone crisis with demand in 2016 finally surpassing pre-crisis levels. In contrast Italy, which previously had been the largest market for the production of PE film, film extruders have struggled to regain volumes since the financial crisis with the market still 24% smaller than it was in 2007.
Linear grades of polyethylene, including metallocenes are now believed to account for the majority of feedstocks used by film extruders.  AMI estimates the split of demand amongst film extruders as 44% for LL grades, 43% conventional LDPE and 13% HDPE/MDPE.
AMI’s directory of Polyethylene Film Extruders in Europe provides detailed information on over 1,200 polyethylene film extrusion sites in Europe. For more information, contact Cathy Turbitt, from AMI.

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Industry claims for… a clear Eurppean industrial policy

More than 90 industry associations in Brussels signed a joint declaration urging European institutions to take measures to promote industry and create more jobs.The text is the following:

"Europe is the cradle of the manufacturing industry and has been at the forefront of industrial revolutions and technological innovations. The industry directly employs over 34 million people across all Member States, in supply chains comprising hundreds of thousands of SMEs and larger suppliers. It also indirectly accounts for millions of additional jobs in related sectors.

The European manufacturing industry has tremendous capacity for research and innovation, boasts a skilled workforce and has earned a global reputation for quality and sustainability. What it now needs is the swift and determined support of the European institutions and the Member States to create more jobs and growth in Europe.

The time has come to raise the alarm about the considerable challenges that we are all facing. Between 2000 and 2014, the share of manufacturing in total EU output fell from 18.8% to 15.3%, while 3.5 million manufacturing jobs were lost between 2008 and 2014. Meanwhile, countries around the world are putting industry at the very top of their political agendas. The “Make in India” strategy aims to ensure India is “the next manufacturing destination” and “Made in China 2025” seeks to turn China into the “leading manufacturing power”. The recent US shift towards “America First” will inevitablyhave a strong impact on their industrial policy.

At the beginning of his mandate, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker identified the reindustrialisation of Europe as one of his top priorities and confirmed the objective of increasing the share of industry in the European GDP to 20% by 2020. As we approach the preparation of the next Multiannual Financial Framework, it is vital for the European Commission to act and help the EU remain a competitive global industrial power playing in a fairer world market.

Therefore we, the European manufacturing industry, representing a diverse range of sectors, call on the European Commission to:

– Reaffirm its commitment to reaching the target of 20% of GDP from industry, with an ambitious and realistic timeline;

– Adopt an Action Plan to tackle the challenges that the industrial sectors are facing, in the framework of a Communication that would include concrete steps and milestones; and

– Commit to implement this Action Plan in a timely manner and regularly report on progress.


Member States and the European Parliament clearly stated their full support for a strong European industrial strategy via the European Council Conclusions calling to strengthen and modernise the EU’s industrial base (15 December 2016) and the Parliament Resolution on the need for a European reindustrialisation policy (5 October 2016).

We, the Signatories of this Joint Declaration, are ready to step up our cooperation with the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Competitiveness Council to define and implement this ambitious and coordinated European industrial strategy that will help safeguard the world leadership of European manufacturers and jobs in Europe."

To see the the official text and the signatories of this Joint Declaration, click HERE.

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Embalcer doubles PET strap extrusion capacity

Embalcer, the only Portuguese company producing plastic strap, invested 3 M€ in a new PET strapping extrusion line, reinforcing its position as one of the main European industries in this area.
This investment allows Embalcer to duplicate its production capacity, to reinforce its response ability with short delivery time and to present new references and new products to replace the stainless steel strapping.
image_thumb[1]New references include strapping with 19, 25 and 32 mm width (tensioning capacity up to 1500kg) for average/high loads for application in industries such as wood and furniture, ceramics, bricks and tiles, blocks and paver, corrugated, paper, aluminum profiles among others.
Embalcer has a strong position as a strategic partner in the packaging area, providing complete strapping solutions (strap, equipment ans service), and otlher end of line solutions for all kind of industries.
Embalcer will exhibiting in INTERPACK next May.

More plastics recycling in Europe

EU 28+2 recycled 6.3m tonnes, 39.5%, of its 15.9m tonnes plastic packaging waste in 2014, easily surpassing the EU’s minimum target of 22.5%. According to EPRO, the end destinations were as follows:

Recycling:                39,5%
Energy recovery:    38,5%
Landfill:                    22,0%

The recycling rate for plastic packaging rose from 34.7% in 2012 to 39.5% in 2014.
Except for Malta, all the EU 28+ 2 countries in 2014 exceeded the EU minimum targets of 22.5% recycling. 24 countries (19 in 2012) recycled more than 30%, 12 countries even surpassed 40%. In 2014, Czech Republic ranked on the top with a recycling rate of 52.1% followed by Germany, Slovenia, Sweden and Ireland.

64% of the post-consumer plastic packaging waste is generated from households, the remaining 36%, comes from the trade/ industry segment. The recycling rate for trade and industry sector reached 42.8% (37.6% in 2012), while recycling for the households segment obtained 37.7% (33%).

The following EPRO countries include all kinds of plastic packaging in their collection schemes for households: Germany, Finland, Iceland, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Sweden, either in a separate plastics fraction or together with other lightweight packaging (yellow bin). In other countries like Austria and UK, some parts of the country collect all plastic packaging while other regions concentrate on just rigid plastic packaging. Germany, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden have in addition a deposit system for most of the beverage bottles. In Belgium, France and Switzerland, the EPR- systems focus on rigid plastics (bottles), but France is about to expand, step by step, the scope of the system to comprise all plastic packaging. How to sort, recycle and recover mixed streams of plastic packaging is a key topic for EPRO working groups. In addition, design for recycling is also a key issue for EPRO.

Energy recovery hit 38.5% in 2014 (34.5% in 2012). In total 78.0% (72.5%) of all plastic packaging waste was recovered in 2014, the balance going to landfills and incineration without energy recovery; 3.5m tonnes of plastic packaging ended in landfills last year. 

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There are still big differences on energy recovery results within Europe. Ten countries energy recovered more than 50% of their plastic packaging waste in 2014 and obtained all a total recovery rate (recycling + energy recovery) above 90%. This means that less than 10% was landfilled in these countries.  At the other end of the ranking list, we find a couple of countries that still does not energy recover any plastic waste. Ten countries landfilled more than 40% of their plastic packaging waste, among them Spain with 41%.

The recycling result for packaging of 39.5% is better than for other plastic applications. The overall recycling rate for plastics reached 29.7% in 2014. While 40% of all plastic products put on the market are packaging, packaging contributes by 62% to all plastic waste generated and as much as 81% to all plastics recycled. 7.7m tonnes of plastic waste were recycled in 2014, of which 6.3m tonnes packaging. Packaging thus lift the average recycling rates for all plastics in Europe, EPRO says.  

In 2014, the agriculture sector generated 1.4m tonnes of post-consumer non-packaging plastic waste. This equals 5% of all plastic waste generated within EU28+2. In 2014, 28.0% (26.4%) of this was recycled, while 31.1% (28.4 %) was energy recovered. The rest, 40.9% (45.2%) went to landfill.

EPRO creates Best Recycled Awards

image_thumb[1]The European Association of Plastics Recycling & Recovery Organisations (EPRO) is inviting companies across Europe to enter their products and designs for products made from recycled plastics to enter for European recognition.  The EPRO Best Recycled Plastic Product and Best Recycled Plastic Product Design is now open for entries at  http://bestproduct.epro-plasticsrecycling.org.  The aim of this competition is to raise awareness and showcase the latest product innovations for recycled plastics in a growing variety of products.  
Entries to the competition close on 10th October 2016 and there is no cost to enter.  Winners from the short-listed entries will be chosen at Identiplast 2017, due to take place in Austria 22nd and 23rd February 2017.  
Peter Sundt, Secretary General of EPRO said, “It is important that consumers and industry see the development in the recycling of plastics.   We see this award as being a vehicle to showcase the innovation within plastics recycling and the many products that are currently being manufactured across Europe”.

Plastics – Trends and Perspectives

imageSince 1952, the K trade fair in Düsseldorf has been presenting tangible evidence of the plastics and rubber industry’s global success. The twentieth edition of the K trade fair in 2016 is no different: a benchmark and orientation point for the plastics and plastics processing industry.

Between 1950 and 2015, the consumption of plastics and rubber have risen by an average of 8.5 % per annum. Since the beginning of the new millennium, the growth rates have still been rising by between 4 and 5 %. They do, however, vary significantly from region to region, and change with the product and application.

imageThe rising global population and the overall improvement in living standards are the main factors that drive global growth. The effects of increasing prosperity can be seen in many markets for plastics application, spearheaded by packaging for food and convenience goods, but also in the variety of storage and shipping containers. Infrastructure and construction also require the use of plastics in water, electricity and gas supply systems, as well as in insulation, window profiles and many more. Another aspect is increasing mobility – in cars, lorries and airplanes. Medical engineering is one area of application where polymer materials have become indispensable: without safe, disposable and hygienic plastics products, technical dimageevices and systems, diagnostics, laboratory equipment and the safe application of medical drugs would not be able to comply with current quality standards. This also applies to our modern and widely appreciated sports and leisure products. In their markets, these applications, equipped with or entirely made of plastics or rubber, contribute to the global acceptance and proliferation of polymer materials.

In 2015, the association of European plastics producers, PlasticsEurope, reported a global plastics production volume of 322 million tonnes. A proportion of almost 270 million tonnes was attributed to polymer materials, i.e. materials used for the production of plastics applications. The remaining amount, about 50 million tonnes, were used for the production of coatings, adhesives, dispersions, lacquer or paint. Analyses of the same period published by the International Rubber Study Group IRSG show a global rubber production and consumption volume of almost 29 million tonnes, 12 million tonnes of which were attributed to natural rubber and almost 17 million tonnes were synthetic rubber.

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