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The week that was: Highlights and the top 10 articles for 5/14-5/18

You read it here first (at least according to this May 18 Google News Search).

). The automotive industry has been buzzing about the how the CDT shortage is impacting PA12 production, but this week, more fall out from Evonik's Marl, Germany plant fire was reported on by Doug Smock, who followed up with a story on how Arkema declared force majeure on its Pebax elastomer, which is used in balloon catheters, with an interview with Aurelien Paumier, director of Arkema's Technical Polymers Business Unit. Paumier wasted no time in getting to the crux of the potentially huge problem, saying, "There is a lot of panic among the medical customers because they would require several months to validate new materials." Doug also picked the brain of ex-Baxter engineering and SPE president, Len Czuba, on the hottest topics of the day in the medical industry, including PVC bans, biomaterial pricing, and antimicrobials. Regarding pricing, Doug also got Solvay to weigh in on accusations that it and others are overcharging for implantable plastics.

"A swirling vortex of plastic bags, bottles and other debris, a landfill some say is twice the size of Texas." That's how Heather Caliendo described what's known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch; a point of concern for industry and environmentalists before a new study indicated that the problem may be much worse than initially assumed. Heather interviewed the study's lead author, who admitted that even for her, the results were "surprising." Heather had a number of stakeholders weigh in on the matter, including the American Chemistry Council's Keith Christman, who said plainly, "Plastics don't belong in the ocean." Heather also highlighted Coca-Cola's partnership with Eco Plastics to build up the U.K.'s plastics recycling capabilities, with some ambitious bottle-to-bottle goals for the upcoming Olympic summer games in London. Finally, Heather spoke with the respective CEOs of D&W Fine Pack and Clear Lam Packaging regarding the former's acquisition of the latter's thermoforming division. Get the leaders' respective perspectives here.

Clare Goldsberry piqued reader interest with the tale of River Bend Industries, which found life-after-Whirlpool, when the appliance OEM pulled the plug on its Fort Smith, AR facility. Read how diversification, proprietary products, and marketing helped keep River Bend going strong after a customer that once represented 80-90% of its business picked up and left. Clare also brought a discussion started on LinkedIn to PlasticsToday; namely, are successful companies and individuals currently being demonized in the U.S.?

Finally, how's this for "Nice work if you can get it, and if you can get it, tell me how." Some of you might have read Heather Caliendo's coverage of the recent TAPPI PLACE conference in Seattle. One company read it, and liked it so much, they pasted it on their site nearly verbatim and will be charging readers to receive it in a packaging newsletter.

Journalism is currently facing a myriad number of issues, and no doubt the wrenching changes that have already occurred are nowhere near done, but for my money, there's no issue as threatening, or pernicious, as aggregation. Folks that do it offer a number of reasons, but the scraping of independently reported journalism to prop up your own site, without investing in its original creation might be a sound business model, but that doesn't make it right.

With that, here are the Top 10 stories for the week, based on click throughs from our daily e-mail newsletter: NewsFeed.

  1. Marketing Musings: How to survive when customers leave town
  2. Sounding off on PVC bans, biomaterials' pricing and antimicrobials
  3. A deep issue: Plastic waste in Pacific Ocean increases 100-fold
  4. PLAST 2012 in perspective
  5. Do you know enough about silicone elastomers?
  6. PLAST 2012: Macro Engineering shows off low-shrink extrusion technology
  7. Polypropylene intake manifolds solve multiple challenges, acoustically superior to polyamide
  8. Arkema declares force majeure on Pebax elastomers
  9. 'Life-saving' medical applications get priority in elastomer force majeure
  10. European consortium to develop sustainable packaging that reduces food waste 
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