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Current Trending Topics in the News with Links to Articles:
- Governmental and Lobbying:
Packaging ‘durability, not disposability’ focus of Senate hearing
Federal policy is needed to help build the infrastructure to scale up reusable packaging, including as a part of a national bottle bill, witnesses told a Senate environment subcommittee hearing on July 27.
The hearing, the third in a series on plastics pollution led by Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., looked at whether reusable packaging could reduce waste from single-use products.
Some witnesses said reusable packaging can have a lower environmental footprint than single-use materials, and government policy like extended producer responsibility programs or bottle bills can help reusable systems scale up.
NASEM study seeks opportunities for more recycled plastics in infrastructure projects
A new federal government report finds major potential to use recycled plastic in infrastructure items like pipe but also highlights significant economic and environmental challenges to growth in other building applications.
A detailed July 18 report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine said drainage pipe is currently the only infrastructure market that uses significant amounts of recycled plastics.
Other applications that attract major interest — such as filler in asphalt roads — continue to have lingering questions over performance, recyclability or microplastic leakage, it said.
- Features and News Articles:
Commodity resin buyers all see lower prices in June
Summer temperatures caused North American selling prices for major commodity resins to melt in June.
Prices for polyethylene, polypropylene, PVC, polystyrene and PET resins all declined for the month, as demand growth slowed and inventories grew.
PE prices were down an average of 3 cents per pound for the month, according to market sources contacted by Plastics News. Prices had been flat for the previous two months. PE prices now are up a net of 3 cents so far in 2023.
Polystyrene, nylon, polycarbonate and ABS see price decreases
North American prices for some engineering resins have continued to decline in recent months, with regional prices for polystyrene resins down as well since July 1.
Regional prices for nylon, polycarbonate and ABS resins all have declined since May, according to market sources contacted by Plastics News. Low demand growth from processors and full inventories at the producer level were cited as reasons for the declines.
Post-consumer PET prices fall
Recycled PET resin pellets have declined in North America over the last few months into the second quarter of 2023.
On average, recycled PET resin prices have decreased by 8 cents per pound this quarter according to market sources in discussion with Plastics News.
Clear post-consumer pellets are down 10 cents and green post-consumer pellets are down 5 cents. These pricing changes are shown on this week’s Plastics News resin pricing chart.
Recycled HDPE prices drop
North American prices for recycled high density polyethylene pellets declined in the second quarter of 2023.
On average, recycled HDPE resin prices were down an average of 15 cents per pound for the quarter, according to market sources in discussion with Plastics News.
Natural post-consumer pellets were down 24 cents, mixed color post-consumer pellets declined 15 cents and mixed colors industrial pellets dropped by 8 cents. These changes are being shown on this week’s PN resin pricing chart.
- Recycling and Sustainability:
Environmental groups push EPA on review of vinyl chloride
Beyond Plastics, Greenpeace and other groups are urging the Environmental Protection Agency to speed up a review of vinyl chloride’s health risks as a first step toward banning it, but vinyl industry officials said they’re confident EPA will find the science is in its favor.
At a July 27 news conference outside EPA headquarters, the environmental groups said EPA needs to speed up a decade-old work plan that lists vinyl chloride among 90 legacy chemicals to prioritize for cancer and toxins reviews.
They also pointed to a February train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, where five train carloads of vinyl chloride monomer were burned off, as evidence that EPA should quicken its VCM review under the Toxic Substances Control Act.
House Republican EPA budget backs chemical recycling, bioplastics, reuse
A budget from Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives that calls for sharp cuts in Environmental Protection Agency spending is also signaling support for chemical recycling, bioplastics development and reusable and refillable packaging initiatives.
The spending plan, adopted by the Republican-controlled House Appropriations Committee July 19, is early stages in the work for a new federal budget for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1. With Democrats controlling the Senate and White House, what ultimately passes could be quite different.
But the House Republican plan notably includes language directing EPA to support chemical recycling, in contrast with a position the Democratic Congress took last year.
Plastics Recycling World Magazine
July/August 2023 Issue has yet to publish.
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