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World News

Covestro employees support the groundbreaking ceremony for a new films production in Thailand, among them Dr Thorsten Drier, Global Head of the Films Segment (third from right)


Covestro breaks ground on new production line in Thailand

COVESTRO has started to build up a new manufacturing line for polycarbonate films at Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate, Thailand. With this new capacity, the company will serve the fast growing demand in Asia Pacific and strengthen its own position as a market leader. The project is the first step of a global capacity increase for Covestro´s film production. The total investment of more than €100-million also includes an expansion of the associated infrastructure and logistics. The existing films facility started operations in January 2007 and produces Makrofol® polycarbonate and Bayfol® polycarbonate blend films, which are used in industry sectors such as security and ID cards, automotive, medical, as well as electrical and electronics. It produces a selection of grades, including new optical grades, and the new facility is designed to extend the range of products in response to market demand.

Companies kick in $90 million to fight plastic pollution in Asia

MAJOR consumer product makers and chemical companies, including Dow Chemical Co, PepsiCo Inc and Procter & Gamble Co are kicking in $90 million to fight plastics ocean pollution in Asia, and trying to demonstrate that such projects can be viable investments. Other expected contributors to the fund include Group Danone SA, Unilever NV and Coca-Cola Co. Organizers said they hope to show that private capital can help to kickstart investment in plastic waste management in Asian countries that generate significant amount of marine pollution, but often lack resources to better manage the packaging waste from their growing consumer societies. Dow said it sees the effort as supporting practical methods of reducing plastic waste and ocean pollution. 72

Legalisation packaging

Only interested in the legal cannabis market AS the stigma of marijuana use, both medicinally and recreationally, continues to wane in the United States, more plastics packaging companies are embracing the market. According to, that was clearly evident at Pack Expo in Chicago, where companies openly displayed a willingness to jump into the market. Companies, both private and public, are typically risk adverse, so the fact that one of the largest plastics processing companies in the world is now openly talking about cannabis packaging signals both a market opportunity and a cultural shift. But Berry Global Group Inc CEO Tom Salmon, made one thing perfectly clear: His Fortune 500 firm is only interested in the legal cannabis market.

“As you see the proliferation of legalisation of cannabis, of medicalgrade marijuana, there has to be a responsible way to package it. So why not take advantage of those years of expertise, knowledge and know-how to deliver value to those customers that are using it for medical purposes, and in states where it is legal for recreational purposes, in a responsible way?” Salmon said. “This is taking advantage of a packaging know-how. If you think about what we are trying to do, we’re supporting, in all instances, a legal industry, right? A legal business on a state-by-state basis, region-by-region basis,” he said. “We’re not, obviously, going to drift beyond those confines.”

Southeast Asia countries adopting stricter plastic scrap limits STRICT new limits on plastics scrap imports in Southeast Asia, including announcements by authorities in Thailand, could have a ‘devastating’ impact on Chinese recyclers, according to the head of one of the country’s recycling associations. In the latest move suggesting Southeast Asian nations are following the Chinese government’s lead on limiting waste imports, Thai authorities announced a crackdown on electronic waste and plastic scrap, including waste plastics bound for recycling plants. President of the China Scrap Plastics Association, Steve Wong, noted that the tightening import rules come as some Chinese companies had moved operations there, or made plans to do so, as a response to Beijing’s earlier ban. Beijing-based CSPA said Thailand plans to inspect 2 240 plastics recycling factories to search for illegal imports of e-waste and other violations of environmental and labour laws, and import permits. “Major import problems came to

the surface over the past few weeks at the principal markets in Southeast Asia, including Thailand, Vietnam, and Malaysia,” Wong said. “The environmental concern regarding the smuggling of highly contaminated e-waste triggered a tightening of regulatory controls of plastic scrap imports by Thailand and has now virtually paralyzed the normal trade flow to this country.” CSPA said more than 30 000 containers are sitting idle in Thai ports, following similar problems at ports in Vietnam. “The latest changes have had a devastating effect on the recyclers, particularly those that moved their businesses from China due to the plastic ban,” CSPA said. Wong had previously estimated that about 20% of China’s plastics recycling companies that relied on imported feedstocks had moved to other countries in the wake of Beijing’s crackdown on plastic imports, mostly to Southeast Asia. About 60% of industry companies had shut down.

FEB / MAR 2019

WORLD NEWS-1.indd 72

2019/02/07 18:00

Profile for SA Plastics, Composites & Rubber

Southern African Polymer Technology