It is “Time to act” said one Swedish chemicals producer this month on the back of a campaign that it has launched to encourage more responsible use and disposal of plastics. For each person taking on Perstorp’s quiz to increase plastics awareness, the company will make a donation to ‘save the planet’.pack2In the same week as Perstorp’s campaign launch, UK retailer The Co-op claimed that two thirds of all plastics packaging used for consumer products in the country is sent to landfill or incineration. The findings from the retailer set out a target to have 80 per cent of its packaging recyclable by 2020 and it called on other retailers to follow in developing new packaging and working with local authorities to improve recycling levels.

Trade association Pack2Go Europe has launched a circular economy initiative that aims to increase the recycling of packaging for food, beverage service and convenience products. The association claims that not enough of it is being recycled due to inadequate collection. It is seeking to bring stakeholders together across Europe this year and create a sustainable model.

By contrast, when it comes to PET bottles, Germany has it covered. The plastics group Forum PET released statistics showing that 90 per cent of PET bottles in the country are recycled, mostly within Germany. Deposit systems are responsible for the high rate of recovery, with the figure rising to more than 97 per cent for one-way deposit PET bottles.

While Perstorp highlighted plastics bag waste in its campaign, the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) had more positive news, claiming that the number of plastics bags found on UK beaches almost halved in a year since supermarkets starting charging for them in 2015.

The year ended with a number of acquisitions, led by the purchase of packaging supplier TricorBraun by private investment firm AEA Investors for an undisclosed sum. US-based TricorBraun is a major distributor of rigid plastics packaging with more than 40 locations around the world and annual sales in excess of $1 billion.

Elsewhere, Marpol secured permission from the Polish competitions watchdog UOKiK to acquire local flexibles producer GTX Hanex Plastic from investment firm Argus Capital, and Schur Flexibles Group acquired the majority holding in Dutch firm Drukkerij Zwart as the Austrian business looks to supplement its portfolio in packaging production for smaller order sizes.

Other deals included US-based distributor O.Berk Company buying VPI Packaging to expand its packaging capabilities in the personal care market, Indian

firm Manjushree Technopack acquire the rigid business of Varahi, and Italian firms DOpla and FLO jointly acquire Spain-based Nupik Internacional in a deal that includes the latter’s 22,000sqft facility in Barcelona.

Separation technologies firm Eriez is entering 2017 with expansion on the cards after pumping $425,000 into a new rotor manufacturing facility at its Wales headquarters. The expansion adds a third rotor manufacturing site to the company’s global network.

From Wales to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Omorika Reciklaza is to upgrade its PET packaging manufacturing facility after being granted an investment loan and technical cooperation support from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The money will be used to allow the company to meet European Union standards with investments including a new dryer and water chiller.

Flexible packaging converter Sealed Air Corporation has started work on a food packaging plant in Volgograd, Russia, which will provide a range of packaging products including multilayer PP film for the processed meat industry. Meanwhile, fellow flexible packaging producer Südpack has opened a facility in Poland following its acquisition of local company Bahpol last year.

In China, Yizumi Precision Machinery has inaugurated its mould making division, which is located next to its injection moulding machinery production base in the city of Shunde. The tooling shop has capacity for 300 sets of moulds, which will be used for thin-wall packaging and medical applications.

Still in Asia, Waldorf Technik has taken on Rieckermann’s sales and service team as a local partner in China, Indonesia, Thailand and Saudi Arabia. Both companies are now able to offer automation to injection moulders in those countries, where they can offer local support, a physical presence and availability for technical discussions.

And finally…

US president-elect Donald Trump is already making waves in the country’s manufacturing industry, with Dow Chemical’s chief executive Andrew Liveris citing his policies as the reason behind the company’s decision to invest in a new innovation centre in Michigan.

Trump has also named Liveris as the head of his new American Manufacturing Council, which he hopes will help revive the US manufacturing industry and bring work back into the country.

Liveris says that the centre will create new jobs in addition to bringing jobs back from overseas, which is exactly the strategy the president-elect has outlined in his vision. An early success for Trump?

Steven Pacitti