Another major consumer package is moving from oil-based plastics to plant-based plastics. The iconic Heinz ketchup bottles will be made in part (30 percent) from sugarcane ethanol produced in Brazil. The Heinz bottle will be based on Coca-Cola’s breakthrough PlantBottle packaging.
PlantBottle packaging looks, feels and functions just like traditional PET plastic, and remains fully recyclable. It is not biodegradable. Heinz’s new technology will be the biggest change to its ketchup bottles since they were converted to plastic in 1983. Heinz will introduce PlantBottle in all 20-ounce ketchup bottles in June. Coca-Cola launched the bioplastic packaging in 2009 on brands that include Coke, Sprite, and Fresca.
An initial life-cycle analysis conducted by Imperial College London showed that the use of PlantBottle packaging provides a 12-19 percent reduction in carbon impact. In 2010 alone, the use of this breakthrough packaging eliminated the equivalent of almost 30,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide, or approximately 60,000 barrels of oil, according to Coca-Cola.
At the JEC Europe 2015 composites show in Paris last month, makers of composite materials, software, and process equipment showed off their latest innovations. This year's show saw some announcements related to automotive applications, but many of the improvements came in the world of aerospace.
The DuPont-sponsored Plastics Industry Trends survey shows engineers want improved performance in a broad range of plastics and better recycling technology. These concerns top even processing enhancements that improve productivity.
Plastics leader SABIC recently announced a global initiative to help its customers take advantage of additive manufacturing (AM) and also advance 3D printing (3DP) technologies in several application areas. The company's plans go way beyond materials, and also include design, processing, and part performance.
A theme that was reflected in several ways at NPE 2015 was the use of 3D printing to assist in, or improve on, injection molding, as well as improvements in 3D printing materials and processes that are making better functional prototypes and end-use parts.
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