Plastic waste – Chemical recycling ‘not the miracle cure’ for plastic waste 07-11-2023

Plastic waste

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German exports fall by 7.5% YoY, imports drop by 16.6 % YoY during Sep


  • German exports were down by 2.4 per cent and imports dropped by 1.7 per cent month on month on a calendar- and seasonally-adjusted basis in September.
  • Exports fell by 7.5 per cent and imports by 16.6 per cent year on year.
  • After calendar and seasonal adjustment, Germany’s goods exports were worth €126.5 billion and imports worth €110 billion in the month.

German exports were down by 2.4 per cent and imports dropped by 1.7 per cent on a calendar- and seasonally-adjusted basis in September this year compared with August.

Based on provisional data, the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) reported that exports decreased by 7.5 per cent and imports fell by 16.6 per cent year on year (YoY) during the month. Plastic waste

After calendar and seasonal adjustment, Germany exported goods worth €126.5 billion and imported goods to the value of €110 billion in September.

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The foreign trade balance showed a surplus of €16.5 billion in September. The calendar- and seasonally-adjusted surplus stood at €17.7 billion in August this year and €5 billion in September.  Plastic waste

On a calendar- and seasonally-adjusted basis, Germany exported goods worth €69.8 billion to the member states of the European Union (EU) in September, while it imported goods worth €58.7 billion from these countries in that period.

Compared with August this year, calendar- and seasonally-adjusted exports to EU nations dropped by 2.1 per cent and imports from these countries fell by 2.6 per cent.

The value of the goods exported to euro area countries in September totalled €48.8 billion (minus 2.4 per cent), and the value of the goods imported from these countries was €38.9 billion euros (minus 3.8 per cent).  Plastic waste

Exports of goods to countries outside the non-EU countries amounted to €56.7 billion in September, while imports from these countries totalled €51.3 billion on a calendar- and seasonally-adjusted basis. Compared with August this year, exports to non-EU countries declined by 2.8 € and imports from such countries fell by 0.6 per cent.

Most German exports in September were to the United States. After seasonal and calendar adjustment, exports of goods to the United States during the month were down by 4 per cent compared with August, with the value of exports dropping to €12.8 billion.

Exports to China fell by 7.3 per cent to €7.7 billion and exports to the United Kingdom rose by 2.3 per cent to €6.3 billion.  Plastic waste

Most imports during the month were from China. Goods to the value of €13 billion were imported from there, representing a 0.9-per cent decrease month on month (MoM) after calendar and seasonal adjustment.

Imports from the United States rose by 0.5 per cent to €7.7 billion. Imports from the United Kingdom increased by 5.2 per cent to €3.2 billion during the month.

Exports to Russia in September this year declined by a calendar- and seasonally-adjusted 11.2 per cent MoM to €0.6 billion and by 41.7 per cent YoY. Imports from Russia rose by 7.5 per cent MoM to €0.2 billion, and were down by 89.4 per cent YoY.


German exports fall by 7.5% YoY, imports drop by 16.6 % YoY during Sep

Oceana: Coca-Cola and Pepsi’s plastic packaging use increases by hundreds of millions of pounds

Oceana calls on both companies to increase reusable packaging and reduce single-use plastic, after Ellen MacArthur Foundation report reveals significantly increased plastic use and limited progress in meeting recycling goals

Oceana analyzed data[1] from the Global Commitment 2023 Progress Report released earlier this week by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, and found that the two top polluting brands, according to the Break Free From Plastic Brand Audit, increased the amount of plastic used by hundreds of millions of pounds on a year over year basis. The Coca-Cola Company increased its use of plastic packaging by over 6% or over 454 million pounds (206,000 metric tons) to a reported 3.43 million metric tons in 2022. PepsiCo increased its use of plastic packaging by 4% or over 220 million pounds (100,000 metric tons) to a reported 2.6 million metric tons in 2022. Plastic waste

This increase coincides with additional data in the Ellen MacArthur annual report that shows the companies made only marginal progress towards meeting pledges to increase recycled content in their plastic packaging and to decrease their use of virgin plastic packaging. And, both companies reported no progress on having more plastic – by weight – in reusable packaging. Coca-Cola disclosed that this percent was just 1.3% in both 2021 and 2022 and Pepsi, for the second year running, released no data for this metric. The companies have pledged to increase the volume of beverages they sell in reusable packaging by roughly 10-percentage points by 2030.

Oceana released the following statement from Matt Littlejohn, Senior Vice President, Strategic Initiatives:

“It is unacceptable that Coca-Cola and Pepsi are increasing their use of plastic by hundreds of millions more pounds year over year.  Plastic waste

The companies’ efforts and pledges are not solving this problem. The best way for Coca-Cola and Pepsi to stop this relentless growth in plastic is to dramatically increase the use of refillable bottles – which can be used up to 50 times if made of glass. Just a 10% increase in refillable bottles in all coastal countries in place of single-use plastic could reduce marine plastic bottle pollution by 22%.

Unfortunately, despite commitments to increase reusable packaging, both companies are falling short. This doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Refillable bottle systems exist – at scale – in many countries around the world. Consumers in existing markets buy them, prefer them, and return them for a small deposit. Coca-Cola has said that 93% of their reusable packaging is returned to the point of sale.  Plastic waste


Plastic waste

Chemical recycling ‘not the miracle cure’ for plastic waste

Where does pyrolysis fit in the waste hierarchy?

Pyrolysis is not a ‘future-proof’ solution in the battle against plastics, insists Zero Waste Europe. The group argues in a new report that relying on the chemical process creates a ‘leaky loop’ rather than a circular economy. 

‘Even in the best scenario, only 2% of today’s plastic waste fed into pyrolysis will actually make the round trip into the steam cracker and then be recycled,’ writes Zero Waste Europe (ZWE).  Plastic waste

Furthermore, it argues, the process produces new, unwanted, and toxic hydrocarbons. ‘All plastics, though notably the polyolefins which are identified as ideal pyrolysis feedstocks, do not simply revert back to the precursor material from which they were formed,’ the report says.

‘Instead, they produce a wide variety of products due to aggressive chemical substances, known as free radicals, splitting from the plastic and re-combining in unwanted forms.’ These pyrosynthetic hydrocarbons lower the product oil yield and impair its quality, it adds.

High contamination

ZWE believes ‘chemical recycling’ is not the answer for difficult-to-recycle plastic waste streams. Highly mixed, unwashed or difficult-to-recycle plastic waste streams, such as automotive shredder residue and computer casings, result in a pyrolysis oil with substantially increased levels of contamination.  Plastic waste

‘The universal laws of physics and chemistry that govern pyrolysis are unlikely to change because of marketing pressure,’ the report states. ‘Decision makers would be sensible to accept that pyrolysis is not the wonderful miracle they need merely because no other back-end solution exists.’

It claims the laws of thermodynamics dictate that the most sensible solution to minimising plastic waste lies in upstream intervention. ‘This means putting investment into making plastic products less complex, less contaminated, and more recyclable,’ the report concludes.


Plastic waste

New batteries for electric cars and wearables, backed by multi-million US$ funding, are both fire resistant and flexible

Anthro Energy’s flexible energy storage systems will be used in next-generation electronic devices and are currently being sold to the first wearable manufacturers.
The development team has identified promising applications for the fireproof batteries, particularly in electric vehicles and laptops. By integrating them into belts, straps and other “dead spaces”, Anthro batteries are expected to extend the service life of devices by 2 to 5 times. Plastic waste

Batteries are regarded as crucial technologies in the battle against climate change, particularly for electric vehicles and storing energy from renewable sources. Anthro Energy’s novel flexible batteries are presently available to wearable manufacturers and could be employed in a variety of areas, including electric cars and laptops.

The innovative batteries score well in fire safety, thanks to new materials and design features that eliminate internal and external mechanical safety risks like explosions. Many of today’s batteries, such as lithium-ion batteries, contain a flammable liquid as an electrolyte.

Anthro Energy’s David Mackaniac and his team have created a flexible polymer electrolyte that is malleable like rubber. The new technology provides increased design flexibility for use across a range of devices, with adaptable shapes and sizes to suit specific applications.

The batteries are highly durable, capable of enduring tens of thousands of bending cycles without any decrease in performance. Plastic waste


Plastic waste

Nylon demand falls across major end-uses; China exports pressure margins – AdvanSix CEO

AdvanSix is seeing global nylon demand declines across most major end-uses, Erin Kane, CEO of the integrated US-based nylon 6 producer said during the company’s third-quarter earnings call on Friday.

“Overall, we see demand declines across most key end markets, leading to further margin compression in the industry,” Kane said.

In North America, the higher interest rate environment is unfavourably impacting building and construction end markets, she said.  Plastic waste

The high rates are also impacting consumer spending, with implications for nylon in packaging applications, she said.

However, auto has been a more “resilient” end market for AdvanSix, with the recent US auto worker strikes only modestly impacting engineered plastics demand, she said.

Meanwhile, low-priced imports are creating “competitive intensity”, she said, noting in particular exports from China.

“We are seeing China’s global nylon exports reach all time-highs” amid that country’s slower economy, thus putting pressure on nylon prices and margins, she said.

The company expects nylon industry margins to remain at “trough levels” through year-end, due to the unfavourable supply and demand conditions, she said.

With the softness across the key nylon end market in North America, AdvanSix would “continue to leverage various sales channels to meet demand where it exists, including a higher share of exports”, added chief financial officer Michael Preston.

On the positive side, underlying agriculture industry fundamentals are expected to remain favourable, boding well for ammonium sulphate (AS).  Plastic waste

AS is a by-product of AdvanSix’s integrated nylon production process.

In North America, “the underlying fundamentals continue to support firm fertilizer demand, moving forward”, Kane said, adding: “Our current order book is robust”.

As for acquisitions, “accretive M&A has always been part of our framework” and the company continues to evaluate opportunities, she said, adding: “This is an interesting time” for M&A.

She was responding to an analyst on the call who suggested that AdvanSix, with its healthy balance sheet, should have the opportunity to expand with “bolt-on” deals in chemical intermediates, specialties or other products. Plastic waste


Nylon demand falls across major end-uses; China exports pressure margins – AdvanSix CEO

Bloomberg Asks Why Electric Cars Today Are So Huge

The UK has a long tradition of small cars, exemplified by the original Mini but including a gaggle of MGs, Triumphs, Humbers, Hillmans, Cortinas, Austins, and the like. Mostly they were small because raw materials were scarce after World War II, but also because Britain taxed cars based on horsepower. Smaller cars were lighter, which means they could make do with less powerful engines. While all of that is true historically, it does not explain why most electric cars sold in the UK today are so big and heavy.  Plastic waste
Bloomberg correspondents Olivia Rudgard and Kyle Stock spent some time driving around London behind the wheel of an Ora Funky Cat. At just over 4 meters (13 feet) in length, the four door, five passenger hatchback proved to be an able and efficient vehicle for use in that environment. For some perspective on size, the Maxda MX5 — known as the Miata in North America — measures 12.8 feet in length. [Note: The Funky Cat appears to be very similar in size to a first-generation Nissan LEAF.]
Of the 72 electric cars available in the UK, nine have batteries with a capacity under 50 kWh. (Just two EVs in the US have such small batteries.) Between 2013 and 2022, new sales of every type of car declined in the UK — except SUVs, whose sales have risen 75% over that period according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). In August, tests by Which?, a consumer group, identified 161 cars too big for standard UK parking spaces, up from 129 in 2018.  Plastic waste
Small cars like the Fiat Punto and the Ford Fiesta have been discontinued and replaced with SUVs in recent years, says Ralph Palmer, UK electric vehicles & fleets officer at Transport & Environment, which tracks the new and used car markets. “They’re seeing that there are great profit margins to be made from selling a massive SUV for a far higher margin, but selling fewer of them,” he said.
Electric Cars — How Much Is Enough?
This shift in the marketplace, especially when it comes to electric cars, is creating a dearth of options for commuters looking to buy only as much car as they need. The Ora Funky Cat with its 48 kWh battery has a range of 320 kilometers (about 200 miles). As Rudgard and Stark discovered, that is more than ample range for urban driving. After a weekend of shopping and hauling furniture from IKEA, they still had nearly a 50% state of charge remaining in the car’s battery. The car’s dimensions mean it is closer in size to those iconic British cars of old, which is a plus in crowed urban environments where a car can be more of a logistical nightmare than a convenience.  Plastic waste


Bloomberg Asks Why Electric Cars Today Are So Huge

Sage Automotive Interiors Partners With US Startup NFW

Sage Automotive Interiors has partnered with Peoria, Ill.-based startup, NFW, a producer of a plastic-free, plant-based leather alternative for car interiors. This strategic partnership between Sage Automotive Interiors, part of the Asahi Kasei Group, and NFW, a leading global provider of innovative and functional materials for the automotive interior — enables another major step to support global automotive OEMs in reducing the environmental burden of the automobile lifecycle.  Plastic waste

NFW was founded in 2015 and has developed the only platform capable of producing precision-engineered, all-natural (zero plastic) leather, foam, and textiles to replace animal and petrochemical-based materials. MIRUM®, the company’s patented leather alternative, is made from natural rubber, natural fibers, plant oils, natural pigments, and minerals. MIRUM is bio-neutral and can be safely returned to the Earth or recycled by NFW at the end of its lifetime. The material offers superior durability and quality that can replace traditional animal-based or synthetic leather products without the use of any polyurethane or other coatings.

Sage is engaged in the development, manufacturing, and sales of innovative functional materials used in automobile interiors globally. Since its acquisition by Asahi Kasei in 2018, Sage has continued to strengthen its business activities in Europe and China through mergers and acquisitions in parallel to expanding its lineup of growth-potential materials such as suede and synthetic leather.  Plastic waste

As one of the leading global suppliers in the car seat fabric market, Sage has a strong presence among automakers and suppliers.

Luke Haverhals, CEO and founder of NFW, said: “Over time, our partnership with Sage will allow consumers to apply the same decision-making process that they use in their homes, in their cars as well — the most sustainable option will be available to them. The kind of impact that matters to the planet has to happen at scale, not just around the edges.”


Sage Automotive Interiors Partners With US Startup NFW

Recycled cellulosic-fibres – Japan: Scientists develop self-healing, stronger and partially biodegradable plastic 06-11-2023

Plastic waste