Week of 3/17 to 3/21: A green themed week and top 10 articles

While the U.S. was focused on all things green this past Monday in honor of the (boozy) tradition that is St. Patrick's Day, there were also plenty of 'green' themed articles from the PlasticsToday editors and contributors this week. Although, this green was of a different variety — from recycling to energy efficiency to even golf courses.  

For instance, Extrusion Expert and Plastics Engineer Allan Griff attended both the Plastics Recycling conference and associated exhibition and the SPE environmental division conference.

"Recycling of plastics is alive and well in Florida, and most everywhere else. The public thinks it's cool to be green, and that recycling is green," Allan wrote. "That means money to those who are good at buying and selling. There are still issues -- commercial, technical and political -- around the quality and quantity of supply and the separation into streams for maximum value, but it hasn't dampened the enthusiasm. Recycling is in."

In a subsequent issue of PlasticsToday, he'll have a summary of the SPE technical papers: speakers, affiliations, and his condensation of the subject and conclusions. So stay tuned.

Another somewhat 'green' themed article was covered by Senior Editor Norbert Sparrow. Norbert wrote about how Nike and DuPont developed what they are calling a "revolutionary advance in designing a golf ball that goes the distance yet provides good control around the green."

"Merging ball speed, distance, and stability with control has been the holy grail for golf ball manufacturers, says Jim de Garavilla of DuPont Packaging & Industrial Polymers (P&IP)," Norbert wrote. "A new resin composition for golf ball cores from DuPont P&IP combined with an interlocking design developed by Nike reportedly gets the balance just right."

"We knew we hadn't pulled 100% of the energy that we could out of the existing RZN core," says Rock Ishii, Senior Director, Nike Golf Product Development. "Working in partnership with DuPont, we were able to develop a softer and faster RZN material and created an interlocking core design to reduce energy loss at impact."

European Editor Karen Laird headed to the German town of Lossburg (population 6,700 people) for Technology Days, the three-day in house event held annually at machine manufacturer Arburg, high in the hills of the Black Forest.

"And each year, in a ceremony that takes place on the evening before the start of this event, the company presents the Arburg Energy Efficiency Award to a company which, like the injection molding machinery manufacturer itself, takes a comprehensive and in-depth approach to the topic of energy efficiency. The winning company this year was Festo, a Germany-based family-owned company, specialized in industrial control and automation technology. The award, which was presented this year for the seventh time, recognizes Festo's commitment to energy efficiency across the board within the company," Karen wrote.

For the third year in a row, the amount of post-consumer plastic packaging being recycled across Canada has increased. An additional 10% of plastic packaging was recycled in 2012 compared to 2011. This increase is the result of more material collected for recycling as well as more companies providing recycling information, according to the Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA). In total, more than 285 million kilograms of post-consumer plastic packaging was collected for recycling in Canada.

While any increase is good news, the survey notes that Canadian recyclers of plastics want more supply; they have underutilized capacity creating ample opportunity for consumers and businesses to supply recyclers with more plastics. It is estimated that the film and bag recycling capacity in Canada increased from 38% to 49% utilization of the capacity and non- bottle rigid recycling capacity went from 47% to 60% capacity utilization. As you can see, there is plenty of room to increase plastics recycling. 

Senior Editor Clare Goldsberry took a closer look at the latest building and construction products introduced by some of the biggest names in alternative decking, railing and roofing products. She wrote that many of these products are made with a percentage of recycled materials, making them attractive from an environmental standpoint. 

"At the recent International Builders Show in Las Vegas, Ply Gem also unveiled its new engineered slate roofing. Molded from nearly 100% recycled materials, using natural slate, Ply Gem's new engineered slate shingles feature deep shadow lines and chiseled edges. To make installation easy, Ply Gem's engineered slate shingles are lighter weight and manufactured with indented nail flanges, eliminating the need for additional framing support or any special tools," Clare wrote. 

Lotte Chemical Corp. (Seoul, Korea) is applying its carbon fiber-reinforced composites technology and eco-friendly materials in Hyundai's Intrado concept car, which was unveiled on March 4th at the Geneva Motor show, Automotive Editor Stephen Moore wrote.

"Jointly with Hyundai Motor, Lotte has developed super-light carbon fiber-reinforced composites for the main frame, a key factor in weight reduction. The carbon fiber composites have also been applied to other key components such as the roof and door side panels, and have helped achieve a 60% weight saving compared with traditional vehicles," Stephen wrote. "In the case of the door side panel, the use of Supran injection-moldable LCFT resulted in a 40% weight reduction compared with steel, and a 20% reduction in the number of assembly steps."

Top 10 most-clicked PlasticsToday articles 3/17-3/21

1.     Sorry, Mr. Customer - your non-conforming parts are your fault

2.     A real world glimpse at 3D printing hype

3.     Nike, DuPont bring core improvement to golfing

4.     Slideshow: The birth of cool wearable medical devices

5.     This exoskeleton is made for walking, among other things

6.     Lignin-derived compound to replace potentially harmful Bisphenol-A in plastics

7.     Composites, eco-friendly materials deployed in Hyundai concept car

8.     New alternative decking, roofing and more in the news

9.     Thermoplastic bearing helps prosthetic foot to walk the walk

10.   Preteen gives design pointers to insulin pump maker

— Heather Caliendo   

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