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Tag Archives: plastics

Europe’s plastic recycling drive pits consumer demand against economic realities

Recognition of plastic waste as a global problem has spurred legislation and industry initiatives in the last two years, and driven growth in demand for recycled plastics. When it comes to developing recycling as a sustainable business, Europe leads the way, and in particular the market for polyethylene terephthalate (PET), best known as the material of choice for plastic drinks bottles. But the evolution of PET and recycled PET (R-PET) markets in 2019 highlighted underlying concerns around...

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Colombia halves major store plastic bag consumption, ramps up deterrents

Colombia’s consumption of single-use plastic bags at major stores more than halved in the past 18 months and the government is mulling greater deterrents to their use, as the outlook for applications of plastics and petrochemicals grows gloomier in the South American country. A program promoted by Colombia’s Ministry of Environmental Affairs’ to reduce the use of plastic bags in large stores and supermarkets resulted in a 54% decrease in the consumption of single-use plastic...

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Energy and commodities highlights: Hormuz tensions, trading houses vs NOCs, recycled plastics

After a calmer start to the week in geopolitics, US-Iran tensions erupted again on July 18 when President Donald Trump said the US Navy had shot down an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz. Brent crude prices responded with a near 2% increase by in Singapore morning trading hours. However, the impact of US sanctions on Iran and hostilities in the Persian Gulf on oil prices has been blunted by a global supply glut, according to a US official. Brian Hook, the US State Department’s...

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Energy and commodities highlights: Algerian politics, Brazilian autos and plastics-to-fuel tech

Oil markets had their eyes trained on North African politics this week, and developments in Libya and Algeria in particular. Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s resignation on April 2 threw the state’s long-delayed oil and gas reforms into doubt. Bouteflika had just a few days earlier appointed Algeria’s fourth energy minister in three years. In Libya, eastern military leader General Khalifa Haftar looked to be pushing for greater control over the country, adding to other...

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Tariffs frustrate US-China trade in plastic resins and finished products

Trade in polyethylene resin and finished products slowed in the fourth quarter of 2018, becoming a casualty of the US-China trade war. Last year, the Trump Administration launched a full-scale trade war with China, imposing three rounds of tariffs worth a cumulative $250 billion on Chinese products. The move was intended to counter China’s practice of requiring US companies to turn over intellectual property as a condition for gaining access to the world’s second-largest...

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Is European recycling up to the plastic waste challenge?

This is the concluding article in a three-part series exploring oil, plastics demand and sustainability. European governments and corporates are setting ambitious goals on plastics recycling, but there are practical and economic hurdles to get over if the policies are to be a success. Not only do some countries’ domestic markets lag behind, but there is a general reliance on material from countries such as Germany and the Netherlands where more inroads have been made to cope with high levels...

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The Middle East’s petrochemicals push signals oil’s future

This is the second installment in a three-part series exploring oil, plastics demand and sustainability. Plastics and chemicals will account for the largest share of global crude demand growth by 2030, and a third wave of petrochemicals expansion underway in the Middle East is looking to cash in on the trend,  as investment into downstream petroleum industries will become a critical demand driver for oil markets in the future. Industrialized economies use up to 20 times more plastic and up to...

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Consumer push for sustainability masks massive growth in plastic demand

This is the first installment in a three-part series exploring oil, plastics demand and sustainability. Barely a week goes by without another headline decrying the use of plastics and plastic packaging in Europe. Plastics are clogging up our oceans, overflowing our landfill sites and even finding their way into our food. But as the world wakes up to the environmental damage caused by plastic waste and pollution, it may come as a surprise to learn that the industry is looking to dramatically...

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Insight: Aluminum costs push Japan’s brewers to put new beer in new bottles

From relatively traditional roots, the Japanese beer industry became a hotbed of innovation in 2018 — giving rise to new and esoteric brews, and causing brewers to think again about the use of costly aluminum as a packaging material. For over 100 years, legislation dictated that beer had to contain 67% malt, with the balance of 33% strictly water, hops, yeast, corn, rice, or more malt. But a revision of the country’s alcohol laws – or “Shuzei ho” – which went into effect April 2018, allowed...

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Vietnam’s plastic end-users set to gain as US-China trade spat intensifies

The global plastics supply chain is changing as the US-China trade war intensifies, and Vietnam’s plastic resin end-users are poised to benefit. While Vietnam is already a manufacturing hub for plastic finished goods due to its low labor costs and business-friendly environment, the recent trade war between global giants is providing an additional boost as key resin costs decline. US polyethylene, which was slapped with a tariff by China in the opening shots of the trade war, is now...

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