Two companies greased the wheels of progress last month in a move to increase productivity, reduce cost and deliver more value to customers. Buckhardt Compression signed a collaborative agreement with lubricants supplier ExxonMobil to work on new technology for reciprocating compressor systems. The former has units installed at PP and PE production facilities and food and beverage plants.

Elsewhere, two converters that have worked together for more than two decades decided to join forces and establish a parent company, which bundles the strengths of six individual businesses. Flexibles specialist Anton Debatin and PE foil maker Riba are equal partners of the newly-formed Deriba Group.

Two industry associations have formed an alliance with the aim of ensuring that packaging is easily recyclable and clearly labelled to engage consumers in recycling. Valpak, the UK’s largest packaging and compliance scheme, and OPRL, the industry standard for packaging recycling labelling, will work together to support their overlapping memberships.  

Two firms in flexibles and packaging development have released a 100 per cent recyclable pouch made of polyethylene with detachable decorative parts. Mondi and Werner & Metz’s pouch will replace conventional flexible packaging for Frosch products. The design aim of the pouch was to ‘reverse-engineer’ the recycling process.

While two was the magic number in the collaborations, United Caps scored a brace of its own recently with the launch of two standard closures derived from sugar cane. The results of joint development with Brazil’s Braskem, the closures are designed for still drinks and dairy products respectively.

Braskem was again in the news when it provided the sugar cane-based ‘I’m Green’ biopolymer for US-based pet supplies brand Only Natural Pet. The company is integrating at least 30 per cent bioplastics into every bag of its Mindful Meals dry dog food.

Another bottle derived from marine litter hit the shelves in the UK recently as Ecover launched its Ocean Bottle, made from 50 per cent ocean plastics waste and 50 per cent recycled plastics. The bottle for Ecover’s Sea Kelp and Orange scented washing-up liquid is part of the company’s strategy to use only recycled plastics for all its products, and trial bio-sourced alternatives by 2020.

The magic number is 50 per cent when it comes to recycled plastics content, says Phoenix Technologies, after the recycled PET producer identified this as the ideal content level to help meet sustainability objectives and avoid compromising the recycling stream for future lifestyles.

Also in recycling, a New Zealand dairy brand has collaborated with packaging suppliers to incorporate recyclable black plastics packaging into its line of yoghurts, and Dutch supplier Avery Dennison introduced a label liner made from rPET.

Despite the recent media furore about plastics packaging, UK MP Richard Harrington said at a parliamentary reception in London that the contribution the plastics industry makes to the country has not gone unnoticed by the government. A second MP noted that although plastics in the oceans needs to be cleaned up, the government is aware that plastics is not the problem and the issue is how to deal with plastics waste.

Back to marine litter, Canadian polyethylene producer Nova Chemicals initiated a three-year investment programme of nearly $2 million to prevent plastics debris from reaching the ocean. Project STOP will include the  implementation of methods to reduce marine plastics pollution, especially in countries with high leakage of plastics into oceans.

Rounding up the last month’s news with an update on M&A activity, RPC Group is in preliminary discussions with private equity firms Apollo Global Management and Bain Capital over a potential buyout, while RPC bpi recycled products was busy acquiring PLASgran, a recycler of rigid plastics.

Flexible and rigid packaging producer Berry Plastics completed its purchase of Laddawn, a specialist in plastics e-commerce, and dispensing and sealing solutions firm Aptar Group acquired CSP Technologies.

Styrenics supplier Ineos Styrolution agreed to acquire two polystyrene production sites in China from Total SA, marking its first production move into the country, and Chroma, Breen Color Concentrates, Carolina Color and Hudson Color confirmed that they would become a single entity called Chroma Color Corporation.


And finally…

Australian packaging giant Pact Group Holdings’ chief executive Malcolm Bundey resigned suddenly as Plastics in Packaging was about to go to press. It was reported that Bundey would take leave and depart the company, but still be available to assist while the board searches for a new leader.

Pact recently reported a profit decline in its financial year results and analysts blamed an aggressive acquisition strategy.