BPF makes Covid-19 critical supplier list publicly available

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The British Plastics Federation (BPF) has launched an online portal to help organisations across the UK locate suppliers in response to the coronavirus outbreak, said Britishplastics.

Companies who provide products vital to the UK’s response to Covid-19 are listed in one place, including those who can provide visors, ventilator parts, aprons, hand sanitiser bottles, clinical waste sacks and other key supplies. The BPF has been contacted by over 100 different organisations, including UK, Scottish and Welsh Governments, the NHS, and organisations across the country, to help source suppliers who can provide critical supplies for frontline NHS workers as well as staff in other key sectors, such as manufacturing.

These requests have predominantly been for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), but include other items key in the fight against coronavirus such as bottles and closures for hand sanitiser. In response, the team at the BPF has been concentrating on helping to locate manufacturers and suppliers across the country in a coordinated attempt to protect the UK public.

As part of this effort, the BPF has helped play a role in ensuring millions of face shields, millions of hand sanitiser bottles, and hundreds of thousands of other urgent medical supplies have been provided to hospitals across England, Scotland and Wales.

Director General of the BPF, Philip Law, commented: “The BPF and its members have risen to the challenge faced by the NHS and industries across the country. “Member companies have stepped up to transform and expand their manufacturing operations, working longer and harder to ensure we can provide the protective equipment and medical supplies the UK needs.

“We are also working closely with the government to access the specialist manufacturing equipment that is urgently needed." Law added that the BPF has been working alongside a number of Government departments, including the Cabinet Office, the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy, the Department for International Trade, and the Department of Health and Social Care to provide information and feedback during the crisis.

As MRC informed earlier, an estimated 11 million metric tons (MMt) of plastic waste enter the ocean every year and this will almost triple by 2040, to 29 MMt, if immediate and sustained action is not taken, according to a newly published in-depth report.

According to MRC's DataScope report, PE imports to Russia dropped in January-June 2020 by 7% year on year to 328,000 tonnes. High density polyethylene (HDPE) accounted for the main decrease in imports. At the same time, PP imports into Russia rose in the first six months of 2020 by 21% year on year to 105,300 tonnes. Propylene homopolymer (homopolymer PP) accounted for the main increase in imports.

COVID-19 - News digest as of 29.07.2020

1. Oil complex retreats as economic uncertainty clouds demand outlook

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The oil complex settled lower July 23 as demand outlook came under pressure amid growing economic uncertainty following a weak US jobs report, according to S&P Global. NYMEX September WTI settled 83 cents lower at USD41.07/b and ICE September Brent was down 98 cents on the day at USD43.31/b. Oil futures, which were already trending off overnight highs, turned lower ahead of US trading after US Labor Department data showed initial unemployment claims climbed to 1.416 million in the week ended July 18. "The recovery appears to be stalling as jobless claims rose for the first time since March and as continuing claims remain elevated," OANDA senior market analyst Edward Moya said. "The economy does not seem to be on sound footing anymore and with high uncertainty with the direction of the coronavirus, businesses will likely struggle to justify hirings."


Recyclers greet EU plastic tax proposals with skepticism, confusion

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The EU's proposed plastic tax has been met with skepticism and confusion by some participants in the recycling sector, who said investment decisions that need to be made straight away cannot be taken until there is more clarity on how the tax will operate, reported S&P Global.

The proposed plastic tax, announced July 21 as part of the EU's larger Eur750 billion (USD870 billion) recovery fund, would look to levy Eur800/mt on non-recycled plastic packaging waste.

"At this stage, it is completely unmanageable because no one knows the details," one recycler said.

Ultimately, participants feared the levy would force the packaging sector away from plastic toward other forms of packaging such as glass, paper and aluminum, which they say can have a greater impact on the environment than plastic.

However, once it was clearer how the tax worked, recyclers did show some optimism that it would give a welcome boost to the recycled plastic market at a time when demand this summer had been low.

Three main areas of concern were put forward by market participants on the announcement of the tax.

The first was how the weight of non-recycled plastic packaging waste would be calculated, at which stage of the waste stream this would take place, and on whom the burden for reporting this information would fall.

"No one has good enough data on this. Will they count it at the recycler or finished product? They don't understand the differences between collection rates, recycling rates and yields," a PET recycler said.

This is a crucial aspect of the tax, which has yet to be clarified, since weight of waste input is different to the weight of usable output from a recycling plant. Additionally, some recyclers fear that if reporting this data falls solely on them, they will be responsible for the majority of investment, which would be difficult given the current economic climate.

The second area of concern is that individual EU member states would be responsible for reporting data and achieving the goals, but currently there is no harmonized approach toward effective recycling.

"There needs to be auditing of data provided to Eurostat," one polyolefin recycler said, suggesting this would be the source of data used to determine whether member states are liable for the tax. "Data reported to Eurostat varies from country to country and is inconsistent."

Currently, member states adopt different approaches to waste collection and sorting, to varying degrees of success. However, sources put forward that a one size fits all approach to taxation would only be effective if reporting standards and waste collection and sorting systems were harmonized across the EU.

The third area of concern is that effective recycling for many plastics used in packaging, such as polystyrene and polyvinyl chloride, are not advanced enough for participants in those markets to be able to adhere to the tax.

Recycling infrastructure in Europe has, for many years, focused on the PET market and, more recently, polyethylene. However, large sections of the PS and PVC industry are made up of packaging, and there is significantly less infrastructure in these markets to both effectively collect and to recycle these polymers.

"For PET it is manageable, but we need to figure out what to do with small flexibles and other polymers, that slip through the net. To meet this new EU target needs several million more tonnes (of all plastic) to be collected and recycled," another recycler said.

In order to boost recycling in these markets, participants suggested that countries had to move away from mixed curbside collection systems and into segregated waste streams, such as the deposit return schemes for PET bottles in many countries. This, however, requires significant investment at a government level.

As MRC informed before, members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are proposing ways to step up green energy storage solutions such as hydrogen or home batteries, in a report that was adopted in one of the Parliament’s voting sessions on Friday, 10 July. The proposals outlined in the report are set to play a crucial role in reaching the goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, as more efficient energy-storage options in the EU will help "spur decarbonization," the EU Parliament says. In addition, since solar and wind have a variable electricity output, more storage solutions should become available to secure supply, MEPs say.

According to MRC's DataScope report, PE imports to Russia dropped in January-June 2020 by 7% year on year to 328,000 tonnes. High density polyethylene (HDPE) accounted for the main decrease in imports. At the same time, PP imports into Russia rose in the first six months of 2020 by 21% year on year to 105,300 tonnes. Propylene homopolymer (homopolymer PP) accounted for the main increase in imports.

RusVinyl resumes PVC production

MOSCOW (MRC) -- RusVinyl, joint venture of SIBUR and Solvay, has resumed its polyvinyl chloride (PVC) production after a scheduled turnaround, according to ICIS-MRC Price report.

The plant's customers said RusVinyl had brought on-stream its production capacities by 28 July, as scheduled, after maintenance works. The outage was short and lasted for about two weeks.

As reported earlier, SayanskKhimPlast shut its PVC production for a 30-day turnaround on 8 July, whereas Kaustik Volgograd idled its production capacities in May-June. Bashkir Soda Company does not plan to shut its production for maintenance works this year.

RusVinyl was put into operation in the second half of 2014. The plant's design capacity is 300,000 tonnes/year of suspension polyvinyl chloride (SPVC) and 30,000 tonnes/year of emulsion polyvinyl chloride (EPVC). Its caustic soda production capacity is 225,000 tonnes/year.

PVC imports to Kazakhstan up by 25% in Jan-May 2020

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Imports of unmixed polyvinyl chloride (PVC) into Kazakhstan rose in the first five months of 2020 by a quarter year on year to 24,000 tonnes, reported MRC analysts.
Demand for PVC increased from local companies in May under the pressure of seasonal factors, and May imports of unmixed PVC were 5,400 tonnes versus 4,200 tonnes a month earlier. Thus, overall imports of resin reached 24,000 tonnes in January-May 2020, compared to 19,300 tonnes a year earlier. It is also worth adding that such a significant increase in this year's imports was caused by a further resale of resin to Russia.
Due to the geographical position, Chinese producers with the share of about 94% of the local market over the stated period were the main PVC suppliers to Kazakhstan. Russia was the second largest PVC supplier, shipments of Russian resin reached 3,900 tonnes over the stated period.