How big is the Chinese plastics industry?

More than 13,000 Chinese plastics converters, each with sales above $3.2 million annually, operated in China in 2011, says the China Plastic Product Industry Association. These companies employed more than 2.5 million workers and shipped 110 billion pounds of products that year.

The principal products made by Chinese firms include pipe and profiles (17 percent of the industry’s output), film (13 percent), filament (12 percent), consumer goods (11 percent), containers (nine percent) and technical components (eight percent).

Resin consumption in 2011 approached 104 billion pounds, led by PE (36 billion pounds), PVC (28 billion pounds) and PP (26 billion pounds).

ISRI highlights plastic progress

The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries has released its 2012 Scrap Yearbook, which provides a comprehensive overview of the scrap recycling industry in the U.S. with sections on specific commodities.

Citing numbers from the National Association for PET Container Resources, the Yearbook states that the gross recycling rate for PET container bottles grew from 22 percent in 2011 to 29 percent in 2011.

“While one can picture so much opportunity for growth in plastics recycling, many challenges exist, ranging from the false perception by many that recycled materials are somehow inferior to virgin materials to archaic laws and regulations that never contemplated the possibility of recycling plastics,” reads the yearbook. It also states that other challenges to increasing plastics recycling include a patchwork of state laws and a lack of direction from industry stakeholders.

Scientists hatch plan to recycle eggshells into plastic

“Go to work on an egg” was the slogan of a successful British television advert and “green chemists” from the UK are doing just that with plans to create plastics made from eggshells. Scientists from the University of Leicester in England are experimenting with a process that extracts the proteins found in eggshells, called glycosaminoglycans, which are commonly used in the pharmaceutical industry to help people with cartilage and connective tissue problems. The aim of the current project is to adapt the proteins to create a starch-based plastic that could then “bulk up” existing plastics and be molded into anything from shop fitting to supermarket meal trays.