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Companies Forced To Scramble Amongst “Green-Washing” Claims

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Source: Keller and Heckman, LLP – NAD Says "Oxo-Biodegradable" Claims Not Supported
It was announced last week that the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus has come forward with a decision that a series of claims made by PolyGreen Bags (and their manufacturer, GP Plastics) were invalid. GP Plastics were found referring to their product as "100% oxo-biodegradable", "completely recyclable", "eco-friendly", "environmentally friendly" and promising a "Green Tomorrow". The NAD ruled that "100% oxo-biodegradable", "biodegradable", and "recyclable" should be discontinued.

Force Majeure Handcuffs Domestic Polyethylene Manufacturers – Again

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This week saw announcements of Force Majeure by Equistar and Chevron-Phillips based on incidents at their Texas feedstock plants. This is hardly the first time such companies have taken actions such as this; you may remember Chevron Phillips making the same announcement in May of last year, for example. LyondellBasell also made the same declaration in February of this year. This followed a February announcement by ExxonMobil surrounding their HDPE supply, and another February announcement by INEOS citing weather as "extenuating circumstances".

The Biopolymers World Continues to Grow

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Total SA announced this week that they will be introducing bio-based plastics for the rotomolding industry, leaning heavily on PLA as their flagship resin for implementation in this market. This is certainly interesting for a number of reasons, not the least of which would be Total's potential to challenge NatureWorks as near-standalone supplier of PLA in North America.

How Are Bag Manufacturers Preparing to Combat Bans?

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The issue of plastic bag bans across the globe is a highly controversial one, however the indisputable fact remains that many bag manufacturers find themselves scrambling to diversify their portfolios to protect themselves from legislation. The city of Chicago is just one of the most recent cities to create independent legislation which prohibits the use of standard plastic bags; many feel that despite the financial impacts of these bans, it is very likely that North America could follow Europe in the spirit of heavy legislation.

Film Manufacturers Fail to Recapture Margins

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Source: Plastics News – Film maker moves date for price hike
We reported a few weeks ago that many major film manufacturers in the US recently announced a price increase for films. Berry, AEP, and Sigma Plastics announced price increases in short succession. At the time, it appeared like simply announcing a price hike due to non-raw material based margin compression would prove difficult. It turns out that recovering this margin lost is not so simple.

As Shale Gas Re-Shores Plastics, Are Belts About to Tighten?

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It is abundantly clear that the boom of shale gas production in the Americas has created a huge stream of new opportunity within the plastics space for domestic producers. Ten years ago, domestic producers were at a major competitive disadvantage for net costs on raw materials produced on older machinery with more expensive overhead compared to newer construction in (predominately) Asia. Now, the dramatic reduction in natural gas and other extractables has brought US petrochemical manufacturing back into the limelight.

As Film Extruders Try To Stretch Margins, Are They Looking In The Right Place?

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Plastics News reported this week that several leading film manufacturers have recently raised prices on their basic polyethylene films. AEP, Berry Plastics, and several units of Sigma Plastics raised their film prices by an average of 4% this week. These price increases are not tied to material price inflation coverage (the most usual suspect in price increase - transferring the culpability), but rather to other cost increases such as fuel surcharges, logistics, and generally "hidden" costs such as product packaging.