Asian PE market extends bearish trend into May – Asian PE May

Asian PE May

In Asia, the bearish PE trend has extended into May as the regional markets are dominated by the persistent weakness in China’s local market, which has been reinforced by high stock levels since the end of the Chinese New Year holiday.

Inside China, PE prices recorded additional decreases over the past week in the midst of persistently limited demand as well as players’ reports that the inventory levels of CNPC and Sinopec moved back above 900.000 tons. Asian PE May

Meanwhile, import PE prices followed suit and witnessed lower levels after tracking a mostly steady trend for most of the month of April.

Asian PE May

A few traders opined, “The Chinese market continues to face pressure from ample supplies while NYMEX crude oil prices hovering below the $50/barrel threshold is also weighing down on the overall sentiment in Asia. However, in May, prices may find some support from a few factors including the strong ethylene and planned shutdowns at several PE plants in the April-June period.”Asian PE May

As for Southeast Asia, players received initial May PE prices from regional and Middle Eastern producers with modest decreases of around $10-20/ton from April over the past week.

“Supplies are sufficient while the overall sentiment is weighed down by weaker crude oil futures as well as the persistent softening trend in China. Demand on end products is not strong,” noted sellers.

Russian minister predicts end of shale era after Trump decree – Russian Minister Shale Era

Russian Minister Shale Era
Russian Minister Shale Era
On April 21, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that the department won’t allow any American companies to drill in areas covered by U.S. sanctions against Russia. Source: Vladimir Smirnov/TASS
The Russian Minister of Natural Resources and Ecology, Sergei Donskoi, has declared the end of the shale oil era. He wrote the statement on his Facebook page.

U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order on April 28 that aims to expand offshore drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, as well as assess whether energy exploration can take place in marine sanctuaries in the Pacific and Atlantic.

“The new administration is betting on shelf production, despite the significantly greater costs compared with projects of shale oil production,” Donskoi wrote.

The minister explained the political barriers against American projects in Russia, which in turn have fuelled the U.S.’s intention to develop shelf production.

On April 21, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that the department won’t allow any American companies to drill in areas covered by U.S. sanctions against Russia. He noted that this decision was adopted after consultation with Trump.Russian Minister Shale Era 

Donskoi added that the resource potential of the continental shelf for the U.S. is estimated at 12.3 billion tons.Russian Minister Shale Era 

The chief analytical of Sberbank CIB Vasily Nesterov told RBK Daily that by 2018, oil production on the Gulf of Mexico’s shelf may grow by up to 95 million tons a year. But he noted that oil exploration in the region is expensive because most sites are under deep water.

Total Corbion PLA to Showcase Innovative Biobased Packaging at interpack 2017 – Total Corbion PLA Biobased Packaging interpack 2017

Total Corbion PLA  Biobased Packaging  interpack 2017On display will be a number of partner applications in packaging and serviceware based on Luminy® PLA (Poly Lactic Acid) resins from Total Corbion PLA. The Luminy® PLA portfolio, which includes both high heat and standard PLA grades, is an innovative material that is used in a wide range of markets from packaging to consumer goods, fibers and automotive.  Visitors are welcome to enjoy a fresh cup of coffee in a PLA thermoformed cup at the booth in Hall 9, stand G03.Total Corbion PLA  Biobased Packaging  interpack 2017
Included in the applications on display is the newly launched thermoformed PLA cup from Pacovis, under the naturesse product range. Total Corbion PLA  Biobased Packaging  interpack 2017

The cups are fully biobased, made from renewable materials and have a reduced carbon footprint compared to PS or paper coated cups.

To highlight this innovative product, Total Corbion PLA will be serving fresh coffee and tea to booth visitors to demonstrate live the excellent performance of the cups.

An innovative solution for luxury cosmetics packaging will be demonstrated in the form of biodegradable wood composite soap case.

Developed by Finland-based Sulapac®, the material stands out above plastic packaging with its unique and premium wooden appearance.

While it is manufactured only from safe, renewable and pure raw materials and it does not contain any ecologically harmful compounds, it still is as efficient and durable as a material as conventional plastic.
Other examples of innovative PLA packaging and single use applications on display include thermoformed domes from Alphaform, nonwoven wipes from HengTian-Yangtze, PLA-lined paper cups from Totempak, thermoformed trays, thin film bags and single-use aprons from Gaia, coffee cup lids from WinGram, tea bags from NonWoven Networks, coffee capsules from ATI, thermoformed packaging from Bio4Pack and ice cream foamed packaging from Synbra.

Visit Total Corbion PLA in Hall 9, stand G03 to learn more about how you can make the switch to biobased PLA plastic.

More info:

Global bio plastics market to be driven by demand from packaging in North America – Global bio plastics packaging North America

Global bio plastics  packaging North America

A decade ago, biodegradable packaging was not known to have any real significance. However, recently biodegradable packaging has become an integral part of the global packaging market. Global bio plastics  packaging North America

Global bio plastics packaging North AmericaThe rising consumer awareness towards biodegradable packaging has led to the tremendous growth of the overall market. Global bio plastics  packaging North America
The global bio plastics market was US$19.54 bln in 2016 and is estimated to reach US$65.58 bln in 2022 at an estimated CAGR of 22.36% for the forecasted period, as per Research and Markets. Global bio plastics  packaging North America

In the year 2012, the global bio plastics production capacity was approximately 1.3 mln tons of which Asia Pacific region accounted for largest share. By 2020, Asia Pacific region is projected to be the largest consumer of bio plastics globally followed by North America and Europe. Global bio plastics  packaging North America

Eco-friendly initiatives by corporates and abundant availability of raw materials for manufacturing bio plastics are prominent factors driving growth in Asia Pacific bio plastics market.

Europe and North America are expected to dominate the overall market of biodegradable packaging. North America is expected to be the largest consumer of the biodegradable packaging market. Global bio plastics  packaging North America

The developed regions are expected to dominate the overall biodegradable packaging market owing to the presence of mature markets that consist of highly environmental conscious consumers. Global bio plastics  packaging North America

In addition, the presence of high-spending population is also expected to increase the overall demand for biodegradable packaging in the developed regions.

The presence of large populations in Asia Pacific is expected to boost the biodegradable packaging market. Global bio plastics  packaging North America

Owing to the increase in the contract manufacturing process coupled with increased governmental interest to promote biodegradable products by providing incentives in some countries such as China and India is further expected to contribute to the growth of the market.
Demand for bio plastics is increasing since past decade due to growing awareness concerning environmental conservation, use of bio-based or natural resources for manufacturing materials and formulation of various regulations across countries for effective use of natural resources and waste management.

Increased consumer preference towards biodegradable materials coupled with the growing environmental concern is expected to boost the overall growth of the biodegradable packaging market.

Biodegradable packaging market is expected to witness the fastest growth, driven by food and beverage packaging.Global bio plastics  packaging North America

Bio based biodegradable plastics find their application in a variety of sectors, including fibres, medical, packaging, and agriculture.

The demand for bio based biodegradable plastics is massive in the packaging sector, and it is anticipated that status quo will be maintained in the next five years as well. Other prominent sectors which will create robust demand for bio based biodegradable market include agriculture and medical. Global bio plastics  packaging North America

The global bio based biodegradable plastics market is also segmented on the basis of product type and includes PHA, cellulose, polyester, and PLA.

Among these segments, the polyester and PLA control a share of more than 60% of the global bio based biodegradable plastics market. The prime reasons for the high demand for these bio based biodegradable plastics types is that these sturdy and cost-effective.

Research and Markets says that the global bioplastic market totaled 1.6 mln metric tons in 2015 and should total nearly 6.1 mln metric tons in 2020, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 30% for the five-year period from 2015 to 2020.

The report includes the use of renewable resources to create monomers that replace petroleum-based monomers, such as feedstocks made from sugarcane that are used to manufacture polyester and polyethylene. Ethanol, a major product in Brazil, is one small chemical step from ethylene. Global bio plastics  packaging North America

The focus of this report is on plastics made from renewable resources such as biomass or food crops. There is even some potential development of bioplastics from animal resources.

Plastics that may be potentially made from waste carbon dioxide are reviewed because of their potential impact on bioplastics, but their data are not included in the forecasts presented here. Global bio plastics  packaging North America

Global bio plastics  packaging North AmericaA growing beverage packaging industry, government support for adopting bio-based materials, and rising consumer acceptance for bio-plastics are expected to contribute to the growth of the global bio-plastic market over the forecast period.

In terms of materials, the global bio-plastics market is segmented as bio-PET, bio-PE, bio-PA, bio-degradable polyesters, PLA & PLA blends, starch blends, PHA and others. Currently, the bio-PET material segment dominates the bio-plastics market, and was estimated to be US$ 5.6 bln in 2014. Global bio plastics  packaging North America

This segment is expected to reach US$29.1 bln by 2020, with a momentous CAGR of 31.4% for the forecast period.

Moreover, an increasing demand for bio-plastics from the beverage packaging industry and effectiveness of bio-plastics in one-time use application has driven the demand for the bio-PET in the last few years. Global bio plastics  packaging North America

On the basis of application type, the bio-plastics market is segmented as bottlers, other packaging, food-services, agriculture/horticulture, consumer products, automotive and Others.

Among all the afore mentioned applications, bottles segment is expected to dominate the market with 34.4% of the total revenue share by 2020. However, automotive segment is anticipated to exhibit the second highest CAGR of 27.5% as compared to other applications during the forecast period.

Additionally, influx of new entrants is predicted to fuel the growth of others application segment, thereby accounting for 5% market share by 2020.
Key regions considered for this market study include North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and RoW (Rest of the World). Asia Pacific represents the most lucrative market, followed by North America. Global bio plastics  packaging North America

Asia Pacific is expected to contribute 33.7% market share to the overall bio-plastics market by 2020. The growth of Europe is supported by the strong influence of regulatory framework and awareness regarding greener products through various media among the consumers. Global bio plastics  packaging North America

Assessing the various factors driving this market, a FMI lead analyst, said, “Increasing consumer awareness regarding benefits of greener products, strict regulations to incorporate bio-based products in automotive & packaging, and increasing investments by local companies are expected to fuel the demand for global bio-plastics market.”

Biopolymers market revenue is projected to witness a CAGR of 18.6% by 2021, as per IndustryARC Analysis. Revenue in 2015 was US$6.94 bln and is projected to witness a CAGR of 18.6% by 2021 with major industry demand stemming from packaging and automotive application.

The three major factors that define the evolution of bio-plastic industry are market demand, government mandates and technical maturity. In order to address the challenges of today’s modern scenario and society’s plunging demand for better sustainable solutions, many companies have started focusing upon the green aspect of the bio based plastics. As with conventional plastics, bio-plastics have a very broad application spectrum. Global bio plastics  packaging North America

Bio-plastics tend to have a generally very high consumer acceptance. It derives its use in various commercial applications which includes packaging, textiles, consumer goods, agriculture & horticulture, automotive and many more.

Owing to the great packaging solutions with entirely novel functionalities, like biodegradability/ compostability, new materials such as PLA, PHA, cellulose or starch-based materials are used in consistently in packaging. Bioplastics are conquering entire packaging sector right from a niche product in organic trade to premium packaging for branded goods.Global bio plastics  packaging North America
Various factors are driving the inclination toward bioplastics. Consumers are expressing improved attentiveness in green products, healthier lifestyles along with restoring the environment. Global bio plastics  packaging North America

Consequently, businesses are reacting to government agencies, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and consumer demands for more eco-friendly products instigating the use of bioplastic instead of conventional polymers.

Recently there is an increasing demand for environmentally friendly products in various applications such as packaging, textiles, automotive and more.

Following this trend, many companies are coming forward with the introduction of eco-friendly bioplastics made up of natural feed stocks such as starch obtained from potatoes, sugarcane and more.

Packaging is the major application served by bioplastics.

Rigid plastic packaging find its use in products such as bottles and jars made from PET, which is the most extensively used resin.

High Consumer demand & Acceptance (Eco-marketing) coupled with the rising concern for human health and safety worldwide has also led to increased consumption of biopolymers.Global bio plastics  packaging North America
Packaging market has humungous growth that can be attributed to the assured growth in biopolymers sector across the world.

Biopolymers find its major use in applications such as flexible and rigid packaging. Packaging is the major application served by bioplastics.

The prevalent usage is in beverages and food, however rigid plastic is likewise used in packaging of household, pharmaceutical and personal care products.

Bioplastics packaging offers the same qualities as conventional packaging, while exposing much greater sustainability features.Global bio plastics  packaging North America
The market in 2015 was US$6.94 bln and is dominated by Europe which is poised to exhibit the fastest growth due to favorable microeconomic conditions like government regulations and financial conditions like increasing FDI investments.

The European bio-plastics market is projected to grow at a high rate of more than 20% per year owing to internal as well as external bio-plastic factors.

Europe is the largest regional market for bio-plastic packaging with 39% of global tonnage consumed in 2013.

This is equivalent to 182 thousand tonnes, of which the majority is used for non-food packaging products. Global bio plastics  packaging North America

Moreover, Thailand and China are the growth frontiers for the biopolymers manufacturers providing a huge market to be tapped in APAC.

The bio-plastics industry is an enormous business opportunity in Thailand due to rich supply of biomass, supporting industries, active industry and government cooperation, supportive government policy, and the nation’s strategic location.

The biopolymers market in Brazil is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 17.61% during the forecast period 2016 to 2021.

As per Technavio, the global biopolymers market will witness impressive growth at a staggering CAGR of close to 17% during the forecast period.

One of the primary factors driving this market’s growth is the increasing demand for eco-friendly packaging among consumers. Global bio plastics  packaging North America

This has impelled plastic manufacturers and packaging vendors to shift focus toward biopolymer packaging.

Moreover, stringent government regulations regarding the use of plastic are also forcing vendors to focus on manufacturing biopolymers and consume more green packaging labels as a strategy for branding and customer acquisition over the next four years.

In terms of geographical areas, Western Europe was the highest revenue contributing region and will continue to dominate the market over the forecast period.

The concept of biopolymers was introduced in the Western European countries over two decades ago; hence, the biopolymers market in the region is relatively mature.

Furthermore, the legal framework and strategy of governments of Western European countries to provide many subsidies for the use of biopolymers will impel this market’s growth in the region. Global bio plastics  packaging North America

The market is highly fragmented owing to the presence of several global and regional players. Global bio plastics  packaging North America

The market is very competitive with major players competing to increase their market shares and geographical reach by acquiring local and regional players.

The competitive environment in the biopolymers market will further intensify during the forecast period with the increase in product extensions in terms of innovation in technology and production. Global bio plastics  packaging North America

Therefore, to survive and succeed in this competitive environment, it becomes imperative for manufacturers to distinguish their product offerings through a clear and unique value proposition.
During 2016, the PLA segment was one of the fastest growing segments in the biopolymers market and will continue to lead the market over the next four years.

PLA is one of the widely adopted biodegradable polyesters and can be synthesized using either renewable or non-renewable routes.

Furthermore, PLA is water-resistant and decomposes within three weeks when subjected to the industrial composting process.

Therefore, PLA finds extensive applications in the packaging sector and textile industry. The augmented demand from the bottling and packaging industries is expected to boost the market for PLA in the global biopolymers market.
Segmentation by end-use and analysis of the biopolymers market:
Packaging and food services
Agriculture and horticulture
Consumer goods
The packaging and food services segment was the highest revenue generating end-user segment in the biopolymers market and will continue to dominate the market over the coming years.

Biopolymers are used to manufacture bottles, loose-fill, cups, pots, blows, flexible films, and other products. Global bio plastics  packaging North America

Packaging products from biopolymers are used in the packaging of fresh food, dry snacks, bakery goods, juice bottles, and meat trays as well as coatings for beverage cups, films, and card stock. Global bio plastics  packaging North America

Also, biopolymer packaging is in high demand for wrapping organic and premium foods, which will propel this segment’s growth until the end of 2021.

Growing environmental concerns, increasing awareness of the economic & ecological viability of using biodegradable plastics coupled with favorable government initiatives have led to the growth of the global biodegradable plastics market, as per Grand View Research. Global bio plastics  packaging North America

The key drivers expected to boost the biodegradable plastics market are the utilization of bio-based raw material, the shift in consumer preference for eco-friendly packaging, and increased government initiatives & activities to promote the use of biodegradable plastics. Global bio plastics  packaging North America

Decreased number of petroleum reserves and the increasing cost of petrochemicals is expected to encourage the production and demand of eco-friendly products which are not harmful to the environment.

One of the major challenge encountered by manufacturers of biodegradable plastics is its high cost of production. The biodegradable plastics market is segmented into polylactic acid (PLA) and polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA).

PLA biodegradable plastics is anticipated to account for the largest market share owing to its superior quality, ease of processing, and mechanical properties.

This product segent is planned to register the most substantial growth over the coming years.
By application, the biodegradable plastics market segmentation includes packaging, bottle manufacturing, fibers, agriculture and injection molding.

Packaging and container production applications are expected to hold a larger market share as compared to other applications. Global bio plastics  packaging North America

The high production scale of packaging and container manufacturing coupled with the growing environmental concerns with regards to the disposal of these products is expected to drive the biodegradable market.

Injection molding segment is anticipated to witness the highest growth on account of surging environmental concerns over the toxicity of non-biodegradable molds.

Increased research & development activities for the production of bio-based building blocks as a substitute for conventional chemicals is expected to fuel demand for greener alternatives. Global bio plastics  packaging North America

Companies such as BioAmber, DuPont Tate & Lyle, November, and Genomatica are working on the development of such bio-based blocks.

Biodegradable bioplastics such as Styrofoam, popcorn extruded trash plastic ware, and diapers are expected to drive the demand in this market.
Western Europe accounted for over 45% of the overall market share in 2015.

Growing environmental awareness among the natives and implementation of strict guidelines and regulations are the primary drivers for the growth of biodegradable plastics market in the Western European region.

Imposition of tax on the use of petroleum-based plastics in countries such as Ireland and Germany and the ban on the use of such plastics in Italy is expected to drive the biodegradable plastics market in these countries. Global bio plastics  packaging North America

Increasing investments in research & development (R&D) activities for greener alternative of plastics led to the innovation of oxo-biodegradable plastics which degrades completely.Global bio plastics  packaging North America

EPI’s TDPA (Total Degradable Plastic Additives) formulations used in the production of oxo-biodegradable catalyze the degradation reaction at a faster rate releasing carbon dioxide, water, and biomass which can be quickly biodegraded in the environment.

Oxo-biodegradable plastics are commonly used for lightweight carrier bags, packaging films, and disposable bags, and it is expected to witness growing interest in agricultural and horticultural applications.

Asia Pacific drives the demand for bioplastics on account of its large number of plant and animal feedstock.

Increased agricultural use of oxo-biodegradable plastics in countries such as China, Japan, and Europe is expected to spur demand for oxo-biodegradable plastics over the forecast period.

New OPEC deal eyed as oil prices extend losses on US shale – OPEC oil prices US shale

OPEC oil prices US shale

 Jessica Sier

Experts are cautiously optimistic that the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries can finalise another production output deal as the relentless advance of US shale puts further downward pressure on prices.OPEC oil prices US shale

Oil prices dropped again on Tuesday, extending a two-and-a-half week decline to over 8 per cent. Brent crude was fetching $US51.50 a barrel while West Texas Intermediate was trading at $US48.77 a barrel.OPEC oil prices US shale

The OPEC pledge, which was enacted in January 2017, is set to expire at the end of June, and investors are warily watching surging shale activity in the United States.

“Another six months would definitely give OPEC a chance to hold on,” Nik Burns, commodity analyst at UBS, said. “They are still waiting to see the global oil inventory draw down from the last agreement.OPEC oil prices US shale

“But the US uptick is certainly keeping people nervous that US oil output will continue to rise, which will offset those production cuts.”OPEC oil prices US shale

US shale production this month will reach about 5.2 million barrels a day, the highest level since November 2015, according to the Energy Information Administration.

The country’s oil-rig count has more than doubled in the last 12 months, according to Friday’s Baker Hughes report, as oil companies pour billions of dollars into American projects in the Permian and Eagle Ford basins in Texas.OPEC oil prices US shale

This, topped off with Libya’s oilfields returning to production last Thursday, has seen Brent crude give back about half of its gains since OPEC and Russia’s historic agreement to curb Brent crude output last November.OPEC oil prices US shale

This surge in activity has the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries scrambling to piece together another agreement to curb output and stabilise prices.

Production cut: Round 2

Last week, Saudi Arabia’s oil minister said a number of major crude-producing nations reached an initial agreement to extend output cuts, as a surge in stockpiles continues to weigh on prices.

Starting in January, OPEC nations pledged to reduce output for six months, but have ultimately failed to achieve the target.OPEC oil prices US shale

“Although there is a high level of commitment, we haven’t reached our goal, which is to reach the five-year average,” Khalid Al-Falih, Saudi Arabia’s oil minister said at a conference in Abu Dhabi.OPEC oil prices US shale

“There is an initial agreement that we might be obligated to extend to get to our target.”

While there are heightened geopolitical tensions in the region, especially the tenuous relationship between Saudi Arabia – the defacto head of OPEC – and Iran, analysts are optimistic the cartel can produce another agreement.

“It certainly sounds like most of the oil-producing nations are committed to supporting prices,” Mr Burns said. “Especially as there’s this steady uptick in oil rig counts in the United States.”OPEC oil prices US shale

However some analysts say there are a lot of details to be ironed out before another six-month curb on production.OPEC oil prices US shale

“While it is not probable that Iran, Libya, or Nigeria will be asked to cut their production, there probably will be differing views on the timeframe to extend the cuts,” said Greg Priddy, director of global energy and natural resources at Eurasia Group.

“As long as the Saudis are shouldering a disproportionate amount of the reduction, most of the other members will be eager to extend it for the full six months.

“But the Saudis will probably want to keep their options open and have strongly hinted that a shorter extension is under consideration, which is where Eurasia Group expects them to end up,” he said.OPEC oil prices US shale

There are also questions about Russia’s continued participation in the agreement. “There will not be a high level of trust in the country’s continued compliance in the second half,” Mr Priddy said.

“In the end, there will probably be an agreement, but it will be a decision led by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Cooperation Council members.”

Plastic bottles are a recycling disaster. Coca-Cola should have known better – Plastic bottles recycling disaster Coca Cola

Plastic bottles  recycling disaster Coca Cola

The drinks company junked its re-use system. Now the oceans are full of rubbish, will it clean up its act? Plastic bottles  recycling disaster Coca Cola

Plastic bottles recycling disaster Coca Cola

‘Coca-Cola has a massive ecological footprint that few companies can match.’ Photograph: Sven Kaestner/Associated Press

Plastic bottles are a recycling disaster. Coca-Cola should have known better

The drinks company junked its re-use system. Now the oceans are full of rubbish, will it clean up its act?

The Coca-Cola Company produced more than 100bn plastic bottles in 2016, Greenpeace claimed last month. This is troubling news, considering how much of the waste ends up outside plastic recycling systems. Separately it has been estimated that, on current trends, by 2050 the plastic in our oceans may weigh more than all the fish.

In this debate about waste, Coca-Cola has long been the target of environmentalists. After all, it has a massive ecological footprint that few companies can match – and packaging is just part of the story.Plastic bottles  recycling disaster Coca Cola

Beyond the billions of plastic bottles, Coke places heavy demands on the Earth. As early as the 1920s, the company boasted that it was the largest consumer of sugar cane on the planet. It also soon claimed to be the world’s biggest buyer of processed caffeine. Today, at its bottling plants it uses more than 300bn litres of water a year. Its total water footprint, needed to grow sugar cane and all the other ingredients, is 100 times greater.

Considering this appetite for natural resources, it’s easy to understand why organisations such as Greenpeace have seen Coca-Cola as an ecological bogeyman. But hidden in the company’s history are some useful lessons.Plastic bottles  recycling disaster Coca Cola

Take the history of Coke packaging. In the past several decades, Coca-Cola has fought hard to prevent communities around the world implementing deposit systems that would require drinks firms to add a charge to the price of their products, to be refunded when customers returned the packaging to the distributor or retailer.

Deposit systems began to spread in the US in the 1970s, as throwaway steel and aluminium cans replaced the returnable glass bottles that once dominated the beer and soft drink industries. Plastic bottles  recycling disaster Coca Cola

This switch to throwaways, which started with brewers in the 1930s and matured in the soft drinks industry in the 1960s, was in part driven by a consumer culture that craved convenience.Plastic bottles  recycling disaster Coca Cola

It was also driven by economics, as big beverage companies sought to achieve economies of scale by consolidating their bottling networks, and realised they could save money if they didn’t have to truck returnable bottles back to factories.

But those companies did not like deposit systems because they believed government-imposed price hikes could hit sales. Coke, Pepsi and others organised to counter deposit laws. Their campaign was successful, largely because of a promise they brought to debates: kerbside recycling. Plastic bottles  recycling disaster Coca Cola

In federal and state government hearings, Coca-Cola and others argued that municipal recycling systems, if funded and supported by government agencies, would eliminate the need for deposits. By the mid-80s, this argument had won the day. After 1986, Hawaii was the only state to pass a deposit law, bringing the number of states with such legislation to just 10.

Plastic bottles recycling disaster Coca Cola
Photograph: Alamy

The ecological cost of not putting a price on packaging waste loomed large in America. Despite promises that more kerbside infrastructure would greatly increase recycling, huge quantities of waste remained. Plastic bottles, which emerged in the soft drink industry in the 1970s, were particularly problematic.Plastic bottles  recycling disaster Coca Cola

Coca-Cola claims its packaging is “recyclable”. Yes, plastic containers can be recycled, but current systems of reclamation are failing to capture the vast majority of this waste, largely because there are few fiscal incentives.Plastic bottles  recycling disaster Coca Cola

Coca-Cola should have known this would be the outcome. In the early 20th century, industry journals chastised soft drink bottlers that did not put deposits on their returnable bottles. In 1905, for example, the Southern Carbonator and Bottler proclaimed: “The only sane, logical and lasting solution of the bottle question is the deposit system.”

Roughly 80% of Coca-Cola bottlers surveyed in 1929 had deposit systems in place, and studies of that period showed that bottles did dozens of trips back and forth between consumer and distributor. This was a re-use system that truly reclaimed natural resources, and private industry was its biggest promoter.

How did this system stack up against the alternatives, considering the full ecological impact of reclaiming returnable glass bottles, including washing them? In 1969 Coca-Cola attempted to answer that question by asking the Midwest Research Institute to conduct a life-cycle analysis of packaging. The firm looked at various types of throwaway containers, and compared them with returnable glass bottles on almost every measure: energy expenditure, waste generation, water pollution, air emissions and more.

This study, which the investigators reproduced for the US Environmental Protection Agency in 1974, concluded that no throwaway “container will be improved to match or surpass that of [the 10-trip returnable glass bottle] in the near future”.

Coca-Cola nevertheless placed its future in the plastic bottle. Paul Austin, then company president, explained this was because Coca-Cola believed recycling systems would allow the company to reclaim much of the plastic it used.Plastic bottles  recycling disaster Coca Cola

The beauty of history is that we can look back and see if Austin’s bet paid off. Using the US as a case study, the message is clear: failure to offer financial incentives has resulted in a wasteful recycling system. Over 25 years since kerbside recycling began, 70% of plastic containers are never reclaimed. Just 30% end up being recycled.

The good news is that Coca-Cola is considering changing course. Recently, the company announced it would consider approving a deposit system in Scotland. If this happens, Scotland will probably see elevated recycling rates, much like Germany and other nations that have passed measures to put a price on pollution.

Yet even if this is the start of a new era of environmental responsibility for Coca-Cola, the company faces an even bigger challenge than plastic packaging: what critics call the “junk” inside.Plastic bottles  recycling disaster Coca Cola

With nations around the world facing alarming obesity rates (over 35% among American adults), Coke is likely to face increased scrutiny of its 330ml cans containing roughly nine teaspoons of sugar – no matter what container it chooses to put them in.

Since you’re here …

… we’ve got a small favour to ask. More people are reading the Guardian than ever, but far fewer are paying for it. Advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. And unlike many news organisations, we haven’t put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as open as we can. So you can see why we need to ask for your help. The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. But we do it because we believe our perspective matters – because it might well be your perspective, too.

If everyone who reads our reporting, who likes it, helps to support it, our future would be much more secure.

Eurozone PMI hits six-year high, UK expands at highest rate in three years – Eurozone PMI UK

Eurozone PMI UK 

Source:ICIS News

LONDON (ICIS)–The eurozone’s manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) reached a six-year high in April, recording a score of 56.7, up from the 56.2 achieved in March, according to analysts at IHS Markit on Tuesday.Eurozone PMI UK 

Eurozone PMI UK The increase resulted from output, new orders and employment all rising at the quickest rates in six years, IHS added.

An earlier flash estimate from IHS, calculated based on approximately 85% of replies, had suggested that the April PMI would be 56.8.Eurozone PMI UK 

A reading above 50.0 points indicates economic expansion, while a reading below that mark would show contraction.Eurozone PMI UK 

Despite a slight month-on-month slowdown, Germany continued to be the strongest performer, recording a manufacturing PMI of 58.2, down from 58.3 in March. This was down to slightly weaker growth rates for output, new orders and employment as well as a contraction in stocks of purchases.Eurozone PMI UK 

France, meanwhile, the eurozone’s second-largest economy, continued the resurgence seen in recent months by jumping from 53.3 in March to 55.1 in April as business conditions were buoyed by a marked rise in new order intakes.

The third-largest economy within the eurozone, Italy, also posted a notable improvement in March, increasing from 55.7 points to 56.2 in April, a 73-month high.

Commenting on the data, Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit said: “Eurozone manufactuers reported buoyant business conditions in April, signalling an encouragingly solid start to the second quarter.Eurozone PMI UK 

“Production, order books and exports all grew at the fastest rates for six years, fuelling one of the largest increases in factory jobs in the 20-year history of the survey.”

Williamson continued to say that companies are benefiting from the historically weak euro as well as ongoing central bank stimulus including record-low interest rates.

Outside of the eurozone, but within the EU, the UK’s manufacturing PMI posted its highest reading in three years of 57.3, a sharp rise from the 54.2 recorded in March, as output and new orders expanded at faster rates.

“The UK manufacturing sector made a solid start to the second quarter,” said Rob Dobson, senior economist at IHS Markit.Eurozone PMI UK 

“Growth of output, new orders and employment all gathered pace, driven higher by the continued strength of the domestic market.”

By Niall Swan
1 528 529 530 531 532 912