Jan 9, 2018 - The government could introduce a charge on single use plastic packaging such as plastic drink bottles, the Prime Minster has said. Appearing on BBC1’s The Andrew Marr Show, the Theresa May spoke of the success of the 5p carrier bag charge introduced a few years ago and said a similar levy could be slapped on plastic bottles, as well as bubble wrap, cutlery, and polystyrene takeaway boxes in a bid to reduce single use plastic packaging and reduce pollution in the world’s oceans.
Dec 22, 2017 - The former heads of the UK’s biggest retailers have called for the introduction of a plastic free aisle at supermarkets. Plastic free aisle Former chiefs of Asda, Tesco, Marks and Spencer, and Argos, along with current bosses at Debenhams and Weleda said in an open letter that while aluminium and glass can be reused easily, plastic packaging cannot be recycled ad infinitum.
“Most plastic packaging items can only be recycled twice before becoming unusable,” they insisted.
“Regardless of how much is invested in Britain’s recycling infrastructure, virtually all plastic packaging will reach landfill or the bottom of the ocean sooner or later.
“It is therefore essential that retailers and packaging manufacturers work together to turn off the tap of throwaway packaging. Retailers should take advantage of the raft of zero-plastic packaging solutions that provide a real alternative to conventional plastic.”
The group said a plastic free aisle would be good for business, as research showed at least a third of consumers base their purchasing decisions on the social and environmental impact of the products they buy.
This is not the first time there have been calls for plastic free aisles, and such views have been met with scepticism by packaging industry bodies and manufacturers.
The British Plastics Federation (BPF) has previously criticised the idea, saying that such a campaign deflected from the important role plastic packaging provides.
The material, according to the BPF, increases the hygiene of food while the Co-Op has warned that packaging-free food can increase food waste.
Iain Ferguson, Co-Op’s environment manager, told Sky News this week: “The packaging actually helps to increase the shelf life, for example on cucumbers, we used to sell them unwrapped. We did a full-scale trial in 2012 measuring the waste of wrapped and unwrapped cucumbers and we found that by wrapping the cucumbers we reduced the waste by two thirds.”
The UK’s retailers combined revenues exceed £380bn, and the sector employs 4.6 million people nationwide.
The signatories are:
Andy Clarke - Former CEO, ASDA
Sir Ian Cheshire - Chairman, Debenhams
The Lord Rose of Monewden - Former CEO, Argos, former Chairman and CEO, Marks and Spencer
The Lord MacLaurin of Knebworth DL - Former Chairman, Tesco
The Lord Stone of Blackheath - Former Managing Director, Marks and Spencer
The Lord Jones of Birmingham - Business Leader
The Lord Hayward OBE - Former Chief Executive of the British Soft Drinks Association
The Lord Cameron of Dillington - Former National President of the Country Land and Business Association
The Baroness Scott of Needham Market - Former Board Member, Lloyds Register, Party President, Liberal Democrats
The Lord Clement-Jones CBE - Former Co-Secretary and Legal Director, Kingfisher
The Rt Hon. Lord Foster of Bath - Associate, Global Partners Governance
The Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts CBE - Former Director, Marston’s PLC
Brent Hoberman CBE - Founder, Lastminute.com
The Rt Hon. The Lord Goldsmith QC, PC - Former Attorney General
The Lord Judd - Former Director Oxfam
The Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer - Unicef Board Member
The Lord Rees of Ludlow OM - Astronomer Royal
The Baroness Lister of Burtersett CBE - Author and Professor
Dec 20, 2017 - “The Brexit and the European Plastics Converting Industry” has been published jointly by the British Plastics Federation and the European Plastics Converters Association.Brexit
A year and a half have passed since the Brexit referendum, and following months of negotiations, Theresa May and Jean-Claude Juncker announced that “sufficient progress” has been made to allow the beginning of the next phase: the talks about the future relationship between the EU and the UK.
In the light of these developments, the European Plastics Converters Association (EuPC) and the British Plastics Federation (BPF) have drafted a joint position paper, emphasising the need to develop a deep and comprehensive agreement that eliminates customs and minimises possible non-tariff barriers.
In a joint statement, Alexandre Dangis, EuPC managing director and Philip Law, BPF director-general, said: “In the interest of the European plastics converting industry, we ask the European Commission and the British Government to avoid any disturbances of the current trade with plastics and plastic products between the UK and the EU, especially in the second phase of the negotiations on possible sector trade issues.”
The BPF and EuPC stressed that plastics is an international business and the UK is the most important trade partner of the EU27 for manufactured plastic articles. In 2016, the EU27 exported goods with a trade value above €6.6bn to the UK. The same applies the other way around, in 2016, the intra EU exports of the UK amounted to over €4.5bn, which is 68% of the UK’s total plastic products exports. Additionally, there is considerable ownership of UK plastics businesses by EU companies from other member states and vice versa.
They added that restrictions to the free movement of labour could worsen the already existing shortage of qualified personnel that the European plastics converting industry is facing, and legal differences in the highly regulated plastics industry could become major barriers to international trade and investments.
The EUs flagship programme to create a circular economy can only be addressed in conjunction with the UK as a partner with the EU.
The major risks of a hard Brexit include the imposition of customs duties and other non-tariff barriers such as regulatory barriers or custom checks. Any of those barriers would have negative impacts on the highly integrated plastics converting industry. Therefore, the BPF and EuPC strongly believe that a temporary or permanent agreement should include:
The confirmation of duty-free trade between the EU27 and the UK. Mutual recognition of regulatory procedures and standards, especially REACH regulation. Customs procedures that are as efficient, simple and fast as possible.
More detailed information is available in the full joint position paper that can be found on the EuPC Website
| Source: packagingnews.co.uk || December 20, 2017 |||
Dec 19, 2017 - A new bioplastic made from algae could replace oil-based plastic completely according to its inventors, potentially turning the manufacturing industry from a source of CO2 into a destroyer of the greenhouse gas writes Jesus Diaz for Fast Company. The designers behind the material imagine a world in which shops can locally produce all kinds of objects on demand, from plates to furniture, using 3D printers and the bioplastic. To demonstrate their material’s qualities, they’re producing it in small batches and using it to print designer products.
The Dutch designers Eric Klarenbeek and Maartje Dros spent three years creating their biopolymer, trying to find a solution to the problems of synthetic plastic. The latter contributes heavily to global warming and, worse, it depends on a limited, non-renewable resource as its raw material. In addition to that, plastic products get ferried from large factories all over the world into distribution centers and, eventually, retail shops, further increasing their carbon footprint.
So Klarenbeek and Dros asked themselves: What if we could invent a material using locally-grown raw materials–and use it to enable a manufacturing and distribution process that remained local from start to finish?
Algae are highly effective biomass generators. They’re also easy to grow and they’re great CO2 processing machines–they take this gas out of the atmosphere and the sea and turn carbon molecules into starch through photosynthesis, releasing oxygen molecules into the atmosphere as a byproduct.
Dec 12, 2017 - Considering we pump millions of tons of plastic into the oceans every year, there is a hell of a lot we don't know about its whereabouts and its impact on the marine environment. A study examining how the material is torn apart by ocean life has uncovered some eye-popping evidence, finding that a single plastic bag is literally broken into millions of microscopic pieces before being spread throughout the seas.
It's hard to overstate the gravity of our plastic problem. Recent research tell us there is somewhere between 4.8 and 12.7 million metric tons of the material washing into the oceans each year. But what makes all that trash so hard to track is that it is broken down into microplastic fragments that are smaller than the fingernail on your pinky.
Scientists say they have been able to account for roughly one percent of all plastic waste in the ocean, but there is still so much to learn about where it all goes after being swept away from open dumps and improperly secured landfills.
Looking into such matters is a team of marine scientists at the University of Plymouth, who conducted a study to learn more about how quickly different types of plastic are broken down by marine organisms, and whether the rate of degradation was impacted by biofilm (a layer of organic material that builds up on the plastic over time).
The team observed how the amphipod Orchestia gammarellus, which lives in coastal areas of northern and western Europe, broke down plastic bags. Through monitoring in the lab and along the shoreline, the scientists found the crustacean could tear a single plastic bag into 1.75 million separate pieces of microplastic, with the debris then found in and around their excrement.
The type of plastic, whether conventional, degradable or biodegradable, was found to have no impact on how quickly it were consumed, but interestingly, the presence of biofilm speed things up by four times. This throws further weight behind a growing body of research that suggests marine life can be enticed by ocean debris at mealtime, particularly when there is natural matter building up on its surface.
For example, a study last year found that seabirds were mistaking plastic debris for food because organic compounds were giving off a familiar stench. Within just three weeks, plastic samples placed in a contained environment had become coated in a sulfur compound called dimethyl sulfide (DMS), which happens to be the same compound (and smell) that the birds usually relied on to find krill for dinner.
"An estimated 120 million tonnes of single-use plastic items – such as carrier bags – are produced each year and they are one of the main sources of plastic pollution," said Professor of Marine Biology at Plymouth University Richard Thompson. "They already represent a potential hazard to marine life, but this research shows species might also be contributing to the spread of such debris. It further demonstrates that marine litter is not only an aesthetic problem but has the potential to cause more serious and persistent environmental damage."
1 Nov ΞGuangzhou, China — Chinese manufacturers of the humble plastic pipe — used to carry drinking water, irrigation water, sewage, electricity and gas — are increasingly looking globally. While China's domestic market is growing as Beijing focuses on building infrastructure, some companies in China's large domestic industry were using this fall's Canton Fair in Guangzhou to cast about for overseas business.
The rush is fueled by projections of continued growth in global plastics pipe markets. A July report from research firm Persistence Market Research Pvt. Ltd., for example, estimates that worldwide plastic pipe sales will grow from about $30 billion this year to $44 billion by 2024.
However, a hodgepodge of standards worldwide is spurring Chinese processors to follow contrasting strategies.
Different regions and countries favor slightly different internal diameters and different materials, said Alina Chen, manager at Taizhou Zhuoxin Plastics Co. Ltd.
"Some countries like [chlorinated] CPVC. Other countries like PVC," Chen said.
Under its Sam-UK brand, Taizhou Zhuoxin manufactures both pipes and pipe fittings. Unusually for a Chinese manufacturer, it sells nothing domestically.
"We do all exports," Chen said. The 11-year-old company focuses on South America and Africa, with sales offices throughout Africa. Last year, it opened a sales office and warehouse in Peru.
Sales for 2016 totaled 70 million yuan, up 20 percent from the previous year, Chen said. The company, which has 100 staff, has already bought land to build a 7,200-square-meter factory, double the size of its present one, Chen said.
"Business is good," Chen said.
Taizhou, Zhejiang province-based Yonggao Co. Ltd., the country's second-biggest pipe maker, has a factory near company headquarters dedicated to serving the international market, said Esther Tao, vice international sales director.
"Because products are different for international and domestic markets. Not just the size and standards, but the also the popular items are quite different," Tao said.
Yonggao is publicly listed on the Shenzhen stock exchange. Sales for the six months ending June 30 were 1.85 billion yuan ($280 million), up 24.4 percent from the year-before period.
But profit edged down 8.8 percent on the rising resin costs and competition, the company reported.
The company produced 452 million pounds of pipe, up 22.3 percent from the year-before period. Yonggao has seven factories across China, and claims to be China's largest exporter of plastic pipe.
Currently, the company's biggest challenge is from aggressive price-cutting from Chinese rivals, Tao said.
Exhibitors at the three-week, three-phase Canton Fair, one of the world's biggest trade shows, offer everything from clocks to industrial-strength juicers. The mega-fair typically draws about 200,000 buyers and 25,000 exhibitors.
On the equipment side, extrusion specialist Foshan City Kebeln Plastic Machinery Co. Ltd. plans to double its production capacity by building a new 17,000-square-meter factory near its current one, General Manager Conghua Gao said in a telephone interview after the fair.
The 12-year-old company will double its headcount from the current 70 when the new factory opens, Gao said.
After a moderate 5 percent increase last year, sales are up a sharp 30 percent this year due to one big order for 30 production lines, Gao reported.
One player struggling in the current environment is Shenyang-based Ginde Plastic Pipe Industry Group. Founded in 1999, Ginde has more than 10,000 workers and nine factories in China. Exports comprise about 30 percent of Ginde's sales, said Shi Haifeng, manager of overseas sales.
Key markets are Cyprus, New Zealand and Australia, Shi said. "Mongolia is our largest overseas client," he said.
But with sales off in recent years, Ginde is now in the midst of reorganizing its overseas sales effort to focus on Southeast Asia and Africa, Shi said.
China Lesso Group Holdings Ltd. the country's largest plastic pipe maker, is also eager to crack the overseas market, although exports accounted for only 3.5 percent of its first half 2017 sales of 8.977 billion yuan ($1.237 billion).
In recent years, Lesso has richly benefited from Beijing's push to upgrade infrastructure for water supplies, sewage, drainage and flood control, but its big Canton Fair booth highlighted an effort to go global. The company has a plant in Los Angeles to make pipe fittings.
The roll-out of a soft plastics recycling scheme in Nelson today means New World, Countdown and Pak’nSave supermarkets in the South Island will offer the service, Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith says.
“The Love NZ Soft Plastics Recycling Programme is the next logical step for households in reducing waste. It means people can take the likes of bread bags, shopping bags and frozen vege bags to these supermarkets for collection, re-manufacture and re-use,” Dr Smith says.
“Most households now recycle paper, cardboard, glass, metal cans and hard plastic containers, and the extra challenge with soft plastics was finding a practical way of collecting them and keeping them clean enough for re-use. The programme is already running in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Canterbury and will now roll out to stores from Nelson to Invercargill.
“These additional South Island locations mean the programme reaches its goal of 70 per cent of New Zealanders having access to a drop-off facility within 20km of their home.
“A Government Waste Minimisation Fund grant of $700,930 supports this joint initiative between the retail sector, the packaging industry and the Government to enable the recycling of soft plastics.
“The soft plastic collected is turned into useful products such as benches and bollards, extending the life of this valuable resource. The programme will now be available at more than 350 stores nationwide, and includes South Island New World, Countdown and Pak’nSave supermarkets.
“This initiative builds on the work we have done with hard plastics, like the opening last month of the Flight Plastics processing facility in Lower Hutt, which received a $4 million Government grant. This facility has the capacity to turn more than 200 million plastic drink bottles a year into high grade food-safe packaging.
“The soft plastics programme is a great example of how businesses can make positive changes that enable every-day New Zealanders to divert plastic waste from ending up as litter or landfill. Its North Island roll-out will continue next year, with Rotorua, Tauranga and Palmerston North.
“The success of the programme to date clearly shows New Zealanders’ enthusiasm for reducing waste to landfill. This year more than 200 tonnes of soft plastics have already been collected for recycling.
“It is needed regardless of the debate on single use shopping bags. I welcome the announcement yesterday by Foodstuffs that they are exploring a charge on single use supermarket bags but the soft plastics problem is far larger than just the single use supermarket bags.
“This innovative and collaborative approach has proved successful in other locations and I’m looking forward to seeing Nelsonians embrace it,” Dr Smith concluded.
Sistema CEO and Customs .jpgCustoms and Sistema Plastics have signed a partnership under the NZ Customs Secure Export Scheme (SES), endorsing the exporter’s supply chain security standards.
Customs and Sistema executives met at the Sistema head office in Auckland to seal the deal with an official Certificate of Partnership.
Customs Acting Comptroller Christine Stevenson says New Zealand’s SES gives members greater certainty at international borders and ensures minimal delay.
“We recognise the importance of supporting international trade. Sistema is one of the country’s most successful manufacturing businesses, and now exports to more than 80 countries around the world. The Sistema range is well known internationally and it is very pleasing to welcome them on board with this partnership,” says Ms Stevenson.
Sistema Plastics CEO Drew Muirhead says “Joining the partnership will bring great efficiencies and allow us to continue streamlining our supply to our customers globally. We are delighted to be part of SES and thrilled to be working alongside Customs and the other great New Zealand companies which are also part of it.”
Exporters that are approved for the SES provide Customs with risk management plans that assure their goods are packed and transported securely to the place of shipment without interference.
Customs currently has agreements with the United States, China, Australia, Japan and Korea and SES is recognised by those countries. It means exports by local SES members benefit from the knowledge their products will be considered secure at those borders.
The SES is voluntary and open to exporters wish to apply. For more information, see Secure Export Scheme.
More than 90% of Britons want supermarkets to introduce an aisle free of plastic packaging in stores.Plastic free aisle
Environmental campaign group A Plastic Planet commissioned a Populus survey of 2,000 UK adults.
Respondents were asked if they support or oppose the introduction of a supermarket aisle that features only products that are free of plastic packaging,
with 91% saying they supported it.
Additionally, 81% of those surveyed said that they were concerned ‘about the amount of plastic packaging that is thrown away in the UK’.
Support for a supermarket aisle featuring only goods not wrapped in plastic packaging was highest in the North East, where 96% of survey respondents backed the move.
The survey revealed that women are slightly more likely to support the introduction of Plastic Free Aisles than men (92% compared to 91%), while people aged 65 or over are more likely to advocate the measure than any other age group (94% compared to 89% of 25-34 year-olds).
Results from opinion polls and surveys can sometimes appear convenient, but the British Polling Council has said that results can often be attributed the time a poll was conducted, the “order effect” of how questions are asked, and the “mode effect” where respondents (consciously or sub-consciously) give different answers depending on whether they are asked questions in person by an interviewer, or impersonally in self-completion surveys sent by post or email/Internet.
Sian Sutherland, A Plastic Planet co-founder, said it was clear the public wanted an alternative to goods laden with plastic packaging.
“Too much of our plastic waste ends up in oceans and landfill. Consumer demand for products that generate less plastic waste is higher than ever. A plastic free aisle would help supermarkets meet the needs of shoppers who are fed up of buying products covered with layer after layer of throwaway plastic.
“For years we’ve able to buy gluten-free, dairy-free, and fat-free, so why no plastic free?”
Professor Hilary Kennedy of Bangor University’s School of Ocean Sciences added: “There is a growing body of evidence that plastic waste poses a global challenge, directly affecting marine life and ecosystems.
“A plastic free aisle in supermarkets would help encourage a reduction in the amount of plastic waste being dumped in our environment.”
Sistema, the iconic New Zealand-based manufacturer, marketer and distributor of plastic kitchen storage containers, today announced that it will be acquired by U.S.-based Newell Brands for $NZD660 million. The sale of Sistema to Newell Brands, a company with a market capitalisation of $USD22 billion based in Hoboken, New Jersey, signifies an exciting new era for the company and the continued employment of its more than 700 employees in New Zealand and overseas.
Established 34 years ago by founder and Managing Director Brendan Lindsay, the company has seen its brand grow into a world recognised leader in innovation with a strong heritage and global distributor network.
“Newell has the expertise and market access that will enable them to take the business to the next level and create new opportunities for the company, especially in North America,” he says.
“The growth Sistema has experienced in recent years can be attributed in a large part to the hard work and dedication of our New Zealand and overseas employees. That is why I am absolutely thrilled that Newell has agreed to keep manufacturing in New Zealand for the next 20 years at our recently opened 52,000sqm manufacturing facility at a green fields site near Auckland airport.”
Mark Tarchetti, President of Newell Brands, says Sistema has been on the company’s radar for a number of years as they watched its remarkable rise into a world leading brand.
“It is an excellent business and an extraordinary success story,” he says.
“We have previously made approaches to the company and are delighted that we have been able to reach an agreement to purchase the business. We believe there are some very exciting opportunities for the company and we plan to leverage our position as a Fortune 500 company to provide the platform for further growth for Sistema.
“The new world class manufacturing facility is a tribute the fantastic efforts and talents of Brendan and his team. The plant's level of sophisticated automation will ensure its products remain internationally competitive and will help to significantly scale the business.
For Brendan Lindsay who will step down from his position as Managing Director, the sale is the culmination of 34 years work that started in a garage in Cambridge.
“It has been an incredibly exciting, and at times challenging, journey that is a tribute to the hard work and dedication of a lot of people who work and have worked for the company. We had a vision for the company but I don’t think even we imagined we would be selling our products in more than 90 countries around the world. I look forward to watching the continued growth of the business.”
Sistema is a New Zealand based manufacturing company that sells a range of plastic storage containers in over 90 countries. It has offices in Australia, UK, France, Scandinavia, and USA along with an extensive worldwide distribution network. It recently opened a world class 52,000 sqm manufacturing plant in Auckland and has over 700 employees.
About Newell Brands
Newell Brands (NYSE: NWL) is a leading global consumer goods company with a strong portfolio of well-known brands, including Paper Mate®, Sharpie®, Dymo®, EXPO®, Parker®, Abu Garcia®, Berkley®, Shakespeare®, PENN®, Pflueger®, Marmot®, Sunbeam®, Rubbermaid Commercial Products®, Baby Jogger®, NUK®, Rubbermaid®, Contigo and Yankee Candle®. For hundreds of millions of consumers, Newell Brands makes life better every day, where they live, learn, work and play.