US PET recycling rate posted modest increase in 2021

US PET recycling rate posted modest increase in 2021

US PET recycling rate posted modest increase in 2021, said Recyclingtoday.

The U.S. recycling rate for postconsumer polyethylene terephthalate (PET) increased to 28.6% in 2021, up from 27.1% in 2020, while the North American rate (U.S., Canada and Mexico) increased to 36.8%, up from 34.2% in 2020, according to a report released by the National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR), Charlotte, North Carolina.

NAPCOR notes a number of first-time achievements in its 2021 PET Recycling Report, including the largest amount of postconsumer PET ever collected, with PET bottle collection in the U.S. exceeding 1.9 billion pounds. Additionally, thermoforms collected for recycling in the U.S. and Canada reached 142 million pounds, setting a new record.

“These rates mark two major milestones in the growth of PET awareness, appreciation, use and reuse,” says Laura Stewart, NAPCOR executive director. “The 2021 increase is a powerful indicator that pandemic-driven disruptions to recycling services are getting back on track. It is also important to point out that the North American rate is over the 30 percent recycling threshold suggested by the Ellen McArthur Foundation. This is viewed by many industry pundits as the postconsumer benchmark for proving that recycling works in practice and scale across multiple regions representing at least 400 million inhabitants.”

“The rebound in the amount of PET bottles collected in 2021 is encouraging,” says Tom Busard, NAPCOR chairman and chief polymers and recycling officer for Plastipak Packaging Inc., Plymouth, Michigan, and president of Clean Tech, Plastipak’s recycling affiliate. “PET recycling is working, but there is a need to see increased collection to meet both legislated and voluntary recycled content demands of the future.”

Supporting the conclusion that COVID-19 disruptions to PET recycling have been overcome, NAPCOR points to these findings in its report: The volume of PET collected via deposit redemption systems, or bottle bills, increased by 46 percent compared with 2020. For the second consecutive year, more rPET was used in the Food/Beverage and Nonfood/Beverage Bottle categories, surpassing demand in the rPET fiber market in the U.S. and Canada.
Food/Beverage alone took the largest share of rPET consumption.

The U.S. rPET textile fiber industry faced higher prices and more competition for clear rPET in 2021 but still achieved total rPET fiber production of more than 1 billion pounds by sourcing greater volumes of colored rPET flake (57 percent) and greater volumes of postindustrial rPET flake (11 percent) relative to 2019.

Evidence points to a movement toward thermoformed tray-to-tray circularity, with 11 million pounds of PET thermoforms having been used by thermoform converters to produce more of this type of packaging. Also, a record 142 million pounds of PET thermoforms were collected for recycling, 73 percent of which were processed by PET reclaimers in the U.S. and Canada.

We remind, ExxonMobil Corp., Irving, Texas, has announced plans to build its first large-scale postuse plastic advanced recycling facility in Baytown, Texas. The company says it expects to begin operations at the facility by the end of 2022.

Dow packaging adhesives receive RecyClass approval in Europe

Dow packaging adhesives receive RecyClass approval in Europe

The approval makes way for packaging converters and brand owners to improve the recyclability of laminated flexible PE-based packaging, the company says.

A pair of Dow adhesive systems commonly used for a broad range of polyethylene (PE) film packaging applications have been approved as compatible with mechanical recycling, following what the company says is a rigorous scientific evaluation by the European nonprofit, cross-industry initiative RecyClass.

Dow says the approval covers its solvent-free Morfree L 75-300/CR88-300 and water-borne Robond L350/CR-3 lamination adhesives, which will add an adhesive component to its Revoloop technology platform.

According to Midland, Michigan-based Dow, which has European headquarters in Horgen, Switzerland, RecyClass assessments follow rigorous scientific protocols to present a comprehensive evaluation of the recyclability of plastic packaging. The assessments consider all criteria needed for a closed-loop value chain, looking at most used technologies of sorting and recycling infrastructures used in Europe to verify that packaging is compatible with recycling or can be effectively recycled.

Dow says its customers can benefit from this external validation as they apply these adhesives in their mono-material laminated packaging designs. The company adds that value chain partners already using these adhesive systems can now have an additional favorable data point when designing packaging for recyclability, and use of the adhesives requires no changes to existing production processes nor additional staff training or retooling of equipment.

Fabrizio di Gregorio, technical director at Brussels-based Plastics Recyclers Europe, says, “Innovation is key in furthering the circularity of plastics, but at the same time, it is essential to ensure that these new packaging technologies comply with existing recycling systems. This is exactly what the RecyClass recyclability approval awarded to Dow’s technologies proves. We are delighted to work with companies like Dow and strive to support companies in implementing recyclability principles into the core of their strategic decisions.”

Izzat Midani, Dow Packaging & Specialty Plastics EMEA marketing manager, says sustainability is front and center in the company’s innovation strategy and the main focus of the industry.

“I am very proud that two different technologies in our laminating adhesives portfolio have been approved for mechanical recycling by RecyClass,” Midani says. “This enables our customers and brand owners to reach a wider scope of applications and performance requirements while facilitating packaging recyclability, which will be crucial as they strive toward achieving ambitious sustainability targets.”

The approved adhesives will be added into Dow’s Revoloop platform, which is set up to help enable high-quality mechanical recycling through various product offerings in postconsumer recycled resins (PCR), and now also including adhesives, that are engineered to deliver exceptional performance for customers.

The company says this first European approval for the adhesive products follows last year’s critical guidance recognition in the U.S. for three product categories that meet the recyclability protocols of the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR), Washington. Robond adhesives, Opulux optical finishes and Surlyn ionomers were each recognized for solving packaging design challenges.

We remind, Dow announced the launch of V PLUS Perform™ next, an evolution of its legacy V PLUS Perform™ polyurethane technology for insulated metal panels. The offering brings together the high-performance energy efficiency and fire safety features of V PLUS Perform™, with low carbon and circular ingredients designed to customer specifications.

Uniper and Shell award contracts on the Humber H2ub project

Uniper and Shell award contracts on the Humber H2ub project

Energy players Uniper and Shell have awarded contracts for the design studies of the main hydrogen production and carbon capture plant for the proposed Humber H2ub project, said the company.

The project aims to produce low-carbon hydrogen using gas reformation with carbon capture technology at Uniper’s Killingholme power station site on the South Humber bank in the UK.

Air Liquide Engineering & Construction, Shell Catalysts & Technologies and Technip Energies have now been awarded contracts to deliver the process design studies.

The three companies will participate in a competition to engineer the technology and plant design needed for the project to move to the front-end engineering and design (FEED) phase, ahead of a final investment decision expected to be taken in the mid-2020s.

The selected company at the end of the design competition will become the Humber H2ub project’s preferred low-carbon hydrogen production technology provider during FEED, engineering, procurement and construction and into the operation of the plant.

We remind, the Board of Shell plc announced the pounds sterling and euro equivalent dividend payments in respect of the third quarter 2022 interim dividend, which was announced on October 27, 2022 at USD0.25 per ordinary share, said the company. Shareholders have been able to elect to receive their dividends in US dollars, euros or pounds sterling. Holders of ordinary shares who have validly submitted US dollars, euros or pounds sterling currency elections by November 25, 2022 will be entitled to a dividend of USD0.25, EUR0.2398 or 20.61p per ordinary share, respectively.

BASF, StePac partner to develop sustainable produce packaging

BASF SE, Ludwigshafen, Germany, and StePac, Tefen, Israel, are partnering to create new sustainable packaging specifically for the fresh produce sector, said Recyclingtoday.

BASF says it will supply StePac with its Ultramid Ccycled product, a chemically recycled polyamide 6 that will provide StePac with greater flexibility to advance contact-sensitive packaging formats to a higher sustainable standard within the circular economy.

StePac, which specializes in developing packaging, says it is pioneering the use of chemically recycled plastics for the packaging of fresh perishables and was recently certified to incorporate chemically recycled polyamide 6 into its flexible, modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) products. The company’s two brands, Xgo and Xtend, are based on MAP technology with built-in humidity control that slows respiration inside the packaging, delays the aging process, inhibits microbial decay and preserves the quality and nutritional value of the produce during prolonged storage and long-haul shipments.

The companies say that Ultramid Ccycled will make up 30 percent of the packaging material, with options for integration at a higher percentage.

“This alliance will help strike a balance between creating plastic packaging that is as eco-friendly as possible to keep fresh produce longer through more prudent use of lean plastic films,” StePac Business Development Manager Gary Ward says. “These upgraded packaging formats will continue to maintain their role of significantly reducing food waste, a most important task considering that global food waste is responsible for about 8 percent of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.”

BASF says its chemical recycling process, called ChemCycling, has broken new ground in the recycling of plastic materials. It adds that chemical recycling primarily involves plastic materials that would have been used for energy recovery or landfilled and complements mechanical recycling by yielding food-grade recycled plastic.

“In a thermochemical process, our partners obtain recycled feedstock from these end-of-life plastics, which is then fed into the BASF Verbund,” says Dr. Dominik Winter, vice president of BASF’s European polyamides business. “Using a mass balance approach, the raw material can be attributed to specific products, such as Ultramid Ccycled. This helps to replace fossil raw materials and is an important step towards circularity. As chemically recycled plastics have the same quality and safety as virgin material, the scope of plastics that can be recycled for fresh produce packaging is widened.”

StePac says Colombian passion fruit exporters Jardin Exotics S.A.S. will be the first to use the new packaging brand Xgo Circular, which is supplied as film for horizontal form fill-and-seal. The company says the packaging’s MAP properties will slow the ripening process and preserve the quality of the fruit during its long sea voyage from Colombia to Europe.

StePac adds that packing at-source in the final retail packaging format also eliminates the need for repacking after arrival. For passion fruit, the company says the combination of the produce specific modified atmosphere properties of the film and its high-water vapor transmission rate are what makes film unique in its performance.

We remind, BASF’s Polyol and Polyurethane Systems (PU) plant in Nansha, China, is now ISCC+ certified. With the mass balance certification, BASF offers customers certified low-carbon mass balance PU solutions with equivalent product performance.

North American chemical rail traffic fell by 13.0%

North American chemical rail traffic fell by 13.0%

North American chemical rail traffic fell by 13.0% year on year to 41,696 railcar loadings for the week ended 10 December – marking a 12th consecutive decline, according to the latest freight rail data by the Association of American Railroads (AAR) on Wednesday.

Declines in the US and Canada more than offset an increase in Mexico. The four-week average for North American chemical rail traffic was at 45,673 railcar loadings.

Despite the 12th decline in a row, for the first 49 weeks of 2022 ended 10 December North American chemical railcar traffic was still up 0.4% year on year to 2,237,997 railcar loadings.

Shipments of chemicals, coal, motor vehicles and parts, nonmetallic minerals, and oil and oil products rose for the first 49 weeks, while shipments in the remaining freight railcar categories fell.

We remind, North American chemical rail traffic fell by 19.7% year on year to 40,951 railcar loadings for the week ended 3 December – marking an 11th consecutive decline. Increases in Canada and Mexico were more than offset by a 26.6% decline in the US.