Fruit and vegetable industry players release joint statement condemning European Commission plastic packaging ban

Fruit and vegetable industry players release joint statement condemning European Commission plastic packaging ban

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Copa-Cogeca, Freshfel Europe, the European Fresh Produce Association, and Europatat, the European Potato Trade Association have made a statement calling for the Regulation on Packaging and Packaging Waste to reconsider the ban on packaging for fruit and vegetables under 1.5kg and instead implement more nuanced incentives and strategies such as ecological labelling, said Packagingeurope.

Although the organisations say that they support the intentions of the new regulation to cut down on packaging waste, achieve a circular economy as per the ambitions of the European Green Deal, and protect the functioning of the internal market, they have expressed their concern about its ban on single-use packaging for fresh fruit and vegetables weighing less than 1.5kg, fearing that the move contradicts existing material uses and life cycle analyses.

A decrease in product shelf life and the compromising of hygiene, organoleptic quality, and traceability are listed as the potential consequences of focusing on prohibitions without implementing workable alternatives. In turn, the restrictions – said to lack thorough scientific evidence and display a disproportionate focus on the fruit and vegetable sector – could apparently increase food waste and environmental impact.

Therefore, the organisations call for the new regulation to respect the essential use of plastic in certain contexts and suggest that, instead of implementing overarching bans, it turns its attention towards cutting down on superfluous packaging; encouraging the adoption of recycled, degradable, or compostable packaging where technically and economically feasible; and improving the collection, sorting, and recycling management of packaging at a Member States level.

We remind, Burger King’s German restaurants are implementing reusable and recyclable polypropylene cups for their beverages, milkshakes, and ice cream products through the RECUP deposit return system in the hopes of conserving valuable packaging resources and reducing waste generated from single-use cup solutions.

SABIC appoints Abdulrahman Al-Fageeh as CEO

SABIC appoints Abdulrahman Al-Fageeh as CEO

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Saudi Basic Industries Corp., also known as SABIC has appointed Abdulrahman Al-Fageeh as its new CEO, effective from March 21, 2023, said Arabnews.

Al-Fageeh has been working with SABIC as the acting CEO since Yousef Abdullah Al-Benyan stepped down in September 2022. The decision to appoint Al-Fageeh was made after the board of director resolution on March 21, SABIC said in a regulatory filing on the Saudi stock exchange.

In the statement, SABIC noted that Al-Fageeh is currently the chairman of SABIC Agri-Nutrients Co. and the Nusaned Investment Co. He is also the Chairman of the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association and the Chairman of the Petrochemical Manufacturers Committee.

Al-Fageeh is on the Board of the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu and is also a board member of the Saudi General Authority of Foreign Trade. Al-Fageeh has been named the CEO of SABIC, just a few days after the company reported a 13 percent rise in total revenue to SR198.47 billion (USD52.88 billion) in 2022, up from the SR174.88 billion recorded in 2021.

SABIC’s net profit, however, fell by 28.35 percent to SR16.53 billion in 2022, due to a lower profit margin amid rising distribution costs.

"SABIC 2022 results remain strong despite challenging market conditions. Our sales volumes continue to grow, exceeding the previous year’s sales by 9 percent and driven by growth projects, improved reliability, inventory optimization and synergies with Saudi Aramco,” said Al-Fageeh after announcing the financial results.

Meanwhile, SABIC Agri-Nutrients reported SR10.03 billion net profit in 2022, registering 92 percent year-on-year growth, driven by higher average selling prices and sales volumes.

We remind, SABIC participated in a ceremony to announce the first package of Shareek projects involving large companies in Saudi Arabia. The event was held in the presence of several dignitaries, senior businessmen and heads of major companies participating in the program. During the ceremony, SABIC announced a strategic project to manufacture catalysts, aiming to transform Saudi Arabia into a manufacturing hub for specialized materials in line with the national industrial strategy.

Lummus and NER announce partnership to deploy waste plastic recycling technology at scale

Lummus and NER announce partnership to deploy waste plastic recycling technology at scale

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Lummus Technology, a global provider of process technologies and value-driven energy solutions, announced that its Green Circle business entered into a strategic partnership with New Energy Risk (NER), a wholly-owned division of Paragon Insurance Group, in which NER will serve as the preferred insurance supplier for Green Circle’s advanced waste plastic recycling technology, said the company.

Upon completing a thorough due diligence process, NER is prepared to provide technology performance insurance solutions to plant owners and operators who license Green Circle’s advanced waste plastic recycling technology. Since 2013, NER’s performance insurance has enabled the financing of over USD3 billion for development of new and renewable clean energy technologies and other circular economy projects.

"NER provides an extremely valuable service to project owners looking to deploy early-stage technologies at scale through project finance,” said Greg Shumake, Managing Director of Green Circle. “They thoroughly evaluated our advanced waste plastic pyrolysis technology and are confident in its commercial viability. And as a result, it will be easier for our clients to develop bankable projects to drive a more circular economy."

The waste plastic pyrolysis technology uses a thermochemical process for turning end-of-life plastics into a high-quality product that can be used to reduce the carbon intensity in the production of both transportation fuels and circular plastics. Green Circle is working across the sector, from Fortune 500 companies to independent project developers, to deploy technologies that close the loop of the plastic product lifecycle.

"Green Circle’s advanced waste plastic pyrolysis technology has been developed with a level of expertise and discipline that is rare,” said Brad Price, Managing Director of Technical Due Diligence at New Energy Risk. “We are proud to help accelerate the adoption of this technology by providing assurance to owners and investors that this technology will perform."

Green Circle concentrates and expands Lummus Technology’s capabilities to capture new opportunities in the energy transition and circular economy. Green Circle is a leader in providing economically and technically sound solutions to: process solid wastes containing plastics; process various renewable bio-based feedstocks to value-added chemicals, polymers and fuels; decarbonize refinery and petrochemicals assets; and expand production of blue hydrogen and biofuels.

We remind, Lummus Technology announced Butadiene LLP has selected its iC4 CATOFIN®, CATADIENE®, CDMtbe® technologies and BASF's butadiene extraction technology for units at Butadiene LLP's new petrochemical plant in Atyrau, Kazakhstan.

North American chemical railcar traffic fell

North American chemical railcar traffic fell

MOSCOW (MRC) -- North American chemical railcar traffic fell for a third straight week, with loadings for the week ended 18 March down 2.2% year on year to 45,200, led by a 5.8% decline in the US, according to the latest freight rail data by the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

For the first 11 weeks of 2023 ended 18 March, North American chemical rail traffic was down 3.5% year on year to 496,589 railcar loadings, with US traffic down 7.2%, to 352,779 loadings.

In the US, chemical railcar loadings represent about 20% of chemical transportation by tonnage, with trucks, barges and pipelines carrying the rest. In Canada, chemical producers rely on rail to ship more than 70% of their products, with some exclusively using rail.

We remind, North American chemical railcar traffic fell 2.1% year on year to 47,515 loadings for the week ended 4 March, with traffic falling in both the US and Canada, according to the latest freight rail data by the Association of American Railroads (AAR). The decline came after in the week before, ended 25 February, chemical rail traffic registered a first increase after 22 straight year on year declines.

Envicco gains approval to sell R-PET for domestic use

Envicco gains approval to sell R-PET for domestic use

MOSCOW (MRC) -- PTT and ALPLA under the entity Envicco received approval from Thailand’s FDA (Food and Drug Administration) to sell recycled polyethylene terephthalate (R-PET) for local use, said the company.

Envicco is the first recycler in Thailand to gain the seal after the government announced in June 2022 that R-PET pellets will be allowed for local food packaging. Thailand’s decision is a key development across Asia's R-PET industry which could potentially impact trade flows of the materials.

The approval opens substantial demand potential for R-PET materials as currently only virgin PET plastics are allowed for use in applications such as bottled beverages in domestic markets. Other major recyclers in Thailand which include Indorama and EcoBlue have also applied for the permits since last year and are waiting for approval.

Envicco produces up to 30,000 tonnes/year of bottle-grade R-PET pellets and exports to customers both within Asia and to long-haul clients. The opening of the local market bolsters demand for the food-grade pellets and could potentially divert overseas-bound cargoes to local consumers.

Most recyclers expect production rates at respective plants to remain sufficient to meet both local and overseas demand. The move is in line with Thailand’s steady push towards increasing its recycling rates for more sustainable plastic packaging solutions in the future.

Thailand has announced earlier this year that by 2025, it will completely ban imports of mixed plastic waste bales.

The ban could severely tighten available feedstock when R-PET pellets demand is robust due to higher sustainability targets from major brands in the coming years.

We remind, ALPLA Group, together with its joint venture partners Ecohelp and UPT, has opened its first PET recycling plant in Romania after a construction time of nine months and investment of around 7.5 million euros. The state-of-the-art plant is now producing around 18,000 tonnes of recycled material per year from household waste. The joint undertaking PET Recycling Team Targu Mures supplies the southeast European market with food-grade rPET and thus promotes the circular economy in the region.