Trending in this month’s plastics news were recyclers, mergers and acquisitions, bottled water, wine, and release liners, but not necessarily in that order.

Consumption of bottled water will overtake carbonated drinks in the US for the first time this year, report researchers at Euromonitor. CSD consumption will drop to below 100 litres per capita in 2016 (from 102.3 last year), while bottled water will surge to 104.1 litres per capita (from 101.2).

Mind you, as most soft drink makers also produce bottled water, CSD producers have not been impacted too badly. But it does mean higher PET bottle use.

Turning from water into wine, global demand for packaging of oenological products is projected to increase by more than two per cent a year, to $22.8 billion in 2020, according to The Freedonia Group. Glass bottles continue to dominate the container segment, accounting for about 85 per cent of the global total in 2015, but this share is declining and alternatives including bag-in-box, aseptic cartons, plastics bottles, cans and cups are on the rise.

Asia is leading the way when it comes to release liner production capacity, says AWA Alexander Watson Associates, with China set to double its production within the next five years and Asia to grow by two per cent a year.

Domino Printing Sciences is also busy in China, with the company starting construction on a 26,000 sqm plant in Changshu.

Acquisitions were plentiful during the past month, particularly in the flexible packaging sector where Mondi took two companies to the check-out: ZAO Uralplastic-N of Russia and Turkey’s Kalenobel.

Uralplastic operates one plant in Russia, manufactures flexible packaging products for food, hygiene and homecare, and generated 2015 sales of $32.5 million, while Kalenobel produces flexible packaging for ice cream as well as aseptic cartons.

Fresh from selling its cellulose business, UK-based Innovia Films affirmed its strategy to strengthen in BOPP films.

Private equity firm Lindsay Goldberg was also getting in on the flexibles act, after agreeing to acquire flexible packaging products manufacturer Schur Flexibles Group for an undisclosed fee. Schur had sales of €370m ($406m) last year.

Not so vibrant as far as financial results are concerned, Harland Machine Systems went into administration but was acquired by Accraply Europe, which is keen to expand its presence on the continent. Harland manufactures bespoke labelling equipment.

Meanwhile, US firm Metabolix is planning to sell the assets of its biopolymers unit as part of a strategy to focus on its Yield10 Bioscience business. The company had announced back in May that it was looking at strategic alternatives for its biopolymers division.

Other deals saw Axium Group acquire KKT Kaller Kunststoff Technik in order to extend its PET packaging range and its presence in Germany, Sabert bought fellow US food packaging company Mullinix Packages, Plastics Capital purchased flexible packaging firm Synpac for $2.3m, and distribution firm Macfarlane Group continued its spending with a $5.1m deal for Nelsons for Cartons and Packaging.

After last month’s PlasticScene lulled us into a false sense of security over the UK’s recycling business, two companies hit the wall as a result of ongoing tough trading conditions. Both Plasrecycle and CK Group went into administration with the collective loss of more than 60 jobs.

The UK’s Pledge 4 Plastics campaign, however, continues to make impressive inroads with a world record attempt for the largest work of art made from recycled plastics packaging. Teaming up with the British seaside resort of Bournemouth, Pledge 4 Plastics is working with Viridor to collect recyclable plastics packaging from residents and tourists over the summer period.

Another company teaming up to pursue opportunities is Krones, which has agreed to a technology license with the The LiquiForm Group to further develop and commercialise the latter’s breakthrough forming and filling manufacturing technology.

In ‘pending’ deals news, AB-InBev and SABMiller continue to negotiate as they approach the day of their wedding, while shareholders of Dow Chemical and DuPont overwhelmingly voted in favour of tying the knot in a proposed $62bn merger of the two companies and planned split into three independent businesses.

 

And finally…

San Diego has become the 150th municipality in the US state of California to vote in favour of a ban on plastics bags at large grocery stores and pharmacies.

The ban precedes an election in November where Californians will be asked whether or not the state’s bag ban should be overturned, and whether the 10 cent fee grocers collected from each paper bag sold should be redirected to environmental projects.

Violators of the ban could face a fine of up to $2,500 a day. I’m not sure that the city’s American football team had such connotations in mind when they came up with the nickname San Diego Chargers.

Steven Pacitti