Montachem Media Monitoring Report, October 2023

Plastics News

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Current Trending Topics in the News with Links to Articles:


  1. Governmental and Lobbying:


Break Free reintroduced in Congress; industry groups call it ‘even worse’


Democrats in Washington are bringing back their most comprehensive plastics environmental legislation with what they say are stronger targets aimed at reducing single-use plastics, eliminating toxic substances in packaging and strengthening environmental justice provisions.

The new version of the sprawling Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act, which was introduced Oct. 25 by Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and Rep. Jared Huffman, D-Calif., renews a call for national extended producer responsibility programs requiring companies to pay more to support recycling and it includes a 10-cent national bottle deposit.

Environmentalists praised the bill for putting more onus on companies for cleaning up plastic pollution, including an EPR similar to that passed in California and three other states.

Industry groups said the law is more extreme than earlier versions of Break Free and moves further away from what they consider workable.

Bioplastics, reuse eyed in Senate hearing to shift from fossil fuel-based plastics


For Oregon Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley, the federal government should do more to find and help commercialize alternatives to single-use, fossil-based plastics, and look specifically at bioplastics and reusable packaging.

That was a message he brought to an Oct. 26 Senate hearing that he led, “Evaluating Material Alternatives to Single-Use Plastics,” one day after he re-introduced Congressional Democrats’ main plastics environmental legislation, the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act.

The hearing didn’t debate specific legislation, and it wasn’t always clear what the best federal policy options would be to encourage a move away from fossil fuel-based plastics.



  1. Features and News Articles:

Recycled PET prices, margins remain under pressure in Europe


The European recycling industry has, for the most part, continued to suffer from falling prices and profitability during the last two months.

Recycled plastics prices are under severe pressure because of persistent weak demand, competition from the falling cost of off-spec virgin plastics and cheaper imports from Asia. The inadequate returns mean it is highly likely that some recyclers may be forced to leave the industry over the coming months.


PS prices soar in October

A major hike in benzene feedstock prices has sent North American prices for polystyrene resin up since Oct. 1.

Prices for all grades of solid and expanded PS are up 6 cents per pound for the month, according to market sources contacted by Plastics News. Prices had increased 3 cents in both August and September.

All three consecutive hikes are connected to fluctuations in price for benzene feedstock, which is used to make styrene monomer. Benzene prices surged 21 percent to $4.04 per gallon in October — a jump of 70 cents vs. September prices.

Commodity resin buyers paid more in September


Three major commodity resins saw higher prices in the North American market in September.

Prices for polyethylene, polypropylene and polystyrene resins were up for the month, according to sources contacted by Plastics News. All three increases were somewhat surprising to buyers, since they came relatively late in the year, when pricing activity typically slows down.

PE resin prices moved up an average of 3 cents per pound for the second consecutive month in September. Regional PE prices had been flat in July after dropping 3 cents in June. Counting the September increase, regional PE prices now are up a net of 9 cents so far in 2023.


Plastics in focus as EPR rules heat up


Plastics and its recycling challenges will be getting a lot of attention as states start the long process of implementing their new extended producer responsibility packaging laws.

That came through clearly at a recent conference of state environmental officials, where leaders from the four U.S. states that have passed legislation mandating EPR for packaging — California, Colorado, Maine, and Oregon — outlined how they’ll meet strict targets for plastics.

California may be the most ambitious. Its EPR law, passed in mid-2022, has a goal of reducing single-use plastics sold in the state by 25 percent by 2032, from a 2023 baseline.

M&A demand growing for small- and mid-cap plastics processors


Demand is growing for small- and mid-cap plastics processors, according to an investment banker who specializes in plastics deals.

“There’s a growing number of consolidators, they are looking to create demand for these thousands of mid-cap and small processors and converters,” said Thomas Blaige, chairman and CEO of Chicago-based Blaige & Co.


  1. Recycling and Sustainability:

Recycling moves from mainstream to faltering industry


The last edition of Fakuma, back in October 2021, was hailed as the show when recycling moved from niche to mainstream.

The industry had started its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic with sales books filling up quicker than in 2019. Regulations calling for recycled content and public pressure were highlighted as main factors driving demand on the show floor.

In the meantime, high prices for virgin resin, which guide the price of recyclates, were allowing recycling companies the margins to further invest in new products and technologies.

Fast forward to 2023 and recycled resin prices are under severe downward pressure because of persistent weak demand, competition from the falling cost of off-spec virgin plastics and cheaper imports from Asia. Recycled PET has been particularly affected.



Plastics Recycling World Magazine


Link to October 2023 Edition:



Current Trending Topics:


Dire warnings about the impact of low recyclate prices in Europe

The problems caused by prevailing low prices for recycled plastics in Europe have led two leading recycling associations to speak out.  Plastics Recyclers Europe (PRE) and the plastics recycling marking in Europe has been heavily destabilized throughout 2023.


“Since the beginning of the year, prices of recyclates have decreased by up to 50%, while cheap imports of materials from outside the EU have significantly increased.  If urgent measures are not taken to alleviate the pressure on recyclers, there is a risk that the Europe will fall short of achieving its legally binding and newly proposed recycling and recycled content targets,” said PRE.


Making extruders do more

Extruder technology groups in the recycling and compounding sectors are coming together to optimize plastics recycling and compounding lines.


The continuing industry focus on adding value to waste materials is highlighted by the acquisition or collaboration between companies along the recycling and compounding value chain, the establishment of test centres to investigate ways to optimize and advance efficiencies in processing, and technology innovations that imbue waste materials with higher value.



Plastics Recycling: a guide to stable production

Read the article to get the details and solutions to these seven common plastic recycling operation problems:

  1. Material feeding instability
  2. Contamination of the plastic material
  3. Blocakges and hopper bridging
  4. Overheating
  5. Sticky plastic pellets
  6. Hollow plastic pellets
  7. Non-uniform pellets or chunks


Additives hold the key to better recycling

Lifting the quality – and quantity – of recycled plastics will require specialty additives.

With plastic producers and their customers placing an ever-increasing focus on sustainability goals, demand for recycled content is growing and its use proving critical in meeting targets.  However, the mechanical recycling process subjects polymer materials to intensive mechanical forces and elevated temperatures, leading to degradation that can compromise mechanical, thermal, or rheological qualities.



Cleveland set to welcome US recycling industry

Doors open in November on the fourth Plastics Recycling World Expo in Cleveland, Ohio. Check out the preview and who’s attending…



Getting on top of bad odor in plastics

Increasing the use of recycled resins means tackling the challenge of bad odors.


As demand for more recycled materials in end products continues to rise, odor reduction has become a critical factor. It is especially relevant in applications such as automotive interiors, where the confined space makes odors more perceptible, and in food packaging, where an unpleasant smell conveys an impression of inferior quality and can instantly put customers off, possibly leading them to form a potentially long-lasting negative association with a brand.



Upcoming Events:


Plastics Recycling World Expo – North America

November 15 – 16, 2023

Cleveland, Ohio


For details and to register:


AMI Plastics World Expos – Europe

September 11 – 12, 2024

Brussels, Belgium

For details and to register: