2017 has become the year of marine litter, with various campaigns, studies and reports focusing on the issue as the world seeks to find a solution. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation joined up with the Prince of Wales International Sustainability Unit and American philanthropist Wendy Schmidt recently to launch a $2 million design competition, which is seeking ways to keep plastics packaging out of the environment.
While this competition aims to improve the environment, US President Donald Trump met widespread international condemnation recently for withdrawing the US from the 2015 Paris climate agreement. US recycled PET producer CarbonLITE voiced its opposition to his decision, and encouraged the industry to continue taking steps to reduce carbon emissions.
Doing its bit for recycling, Indian firm Manjushree Technopack donned capes featuring printed guidelines on plastics recycling at the TCS World 10K Run in their bid to educate the public about recycling as a way of life.
Meanwhile, UK supermarket Co-op announced plans to have 80 per cent of its own-brand packaging recyclable by 2020. Packaging partner Coveris followed suit by developing a multilayer film with integral sealing capabilities that enables current polyethylene-lined trays to be more easily recycled.
As converter and retailer come together on one hand, two chemical juggernauts look set to link up after Clariant and Huntsman confirmed a ‘merger of equals’. The combined business, to be called HuntsmanClariant, will create a global speciality chemical company with sales of $13.2bn.
In other M&A news, Pregis made a sharp move to secure its fourth acquisition in three years. The company has agreed a deal to buy US-based Sharp Packaging Systems for an undisclosed sum, to expand its portfolio to include a complete line of flexible packaging bagging systems and materials.
German recycling business Reclay Group is to take over Slovenia’s Trans Impeks to expand in Eastern Europe, while United Caps is to buy the caps, closures and handles business of Dewit Plastics, and private equity firm Advent International is to acquire Danish food packaging company Faerch Plast as part of plans to expand into France, Spain and Germany.
Meanwhile, plastics packaging and medical devices manufacturer Sanner has acquired Plastina Holding AG, parent company of Jaco SA, based in Kirchheim, Germany, converter Alpla has acquired the West Bend (Wisconsin, USA) bottle manufacturing plant from Gehl Foods, and integrated packaging solutions provider Pro Mach has acquired high-speed labelling systems manufacturer P.E. Labellers.
It is also reported that Jindal Poly Films is negotiating a deal to acquire the European operations of DuPont Teijin Films for $300m.
Aside from its planned merger with Huntsman, Clariant has increased its presence in the Asian market with an investment by its Additives business unit of two fully-owned production facilities in China. And it is not the only company investing in the future this month.
The Wittmann Group is increasing the capacity of its injection-moulding machine manufacturing facility in Kottingbrunn, Austria, with an investment of €15m ($16.7m), flexible packaging and labelling manufacturer Jindal Films Americas is planning a new US plant for polyester films at its Georgia headquarters, and Sepro is starting a three-phase €11m ($12.4m) plan to expand its robotic operations in France and the US.
Elsewhere, pharmaceutical packaging manufacturer Gerresheimer is targeting the Asian market after opening a production facility at Kosamba in India, and US firm Tekni-Plex is making its single largest recent investment with the construction of a $15 million facility in Suzhou, China.
Not so much news in the bioplastics sector this past month, but The European Joint Undertaking on Bio-Based Industries (BBI), which is made up of representatives from the European Union and the bio-based industry, did grant €25 million ($28m) to the PEFerence consortium coordinated by Synvina.
And Novamont of Italy decided to introduce a 40 per cent minimum threshold for bio-based content in all of its MATER-BI bioplastics, which it says will help reduce carbon emissions by an annual equivalent of 75,000 city cars from the streets.
In the shire of Oxford, a recycling mascot called Binbo Baggins is now helping a UK county council to get its recycling message across to the public. The name secured more than a third of the vote in an online competition, narrowly beating off competition from Binny McBinface and Recyclasaurus Rex as the appointed lord of the bins.
Recycling might never become anybody’s hobby (or hobbit) in life but it is something we all should view as an environmental duty. At least, that’s what the council hopes to get across in its message.