• The North American converted flexible packaging market accounts for approaching 30% of global consumption with an annual spend of US$20.7 bln in 2013. Growth is forecast to average around 4% pa to reach over US$25 bln by 2018, with growth in Mexico expected to bounce back to grow at US and Canadian levels over the period. Demand in the Middle East and Africa will grow by around 5% pa over the next five years as confidence in the region’s growing economy encourages inward investment and greater emphasis on mass food processing, amid a rapidly growing young population and increased urbanization, growth in modern retailing and increased penetration of pre-packed foods, etc. Read more in Flexible packaging market in North America to reach US$25 bln by 2018, to be driven by mass food production in Middle East & Africa
  • A revolutionary clothes laundering technology in which the use of water is largely replaced by polymer beads, due to their ability to agitate, attract and transport away stain and soil from textile surfaces. As a result, great cleaning can be achieved at lower temperatures, and with less detergent than has previously been possible. The process claims a 70% reduction in water usage compared with standard washing, less heating, and an estimated 50% cut in energy use. Read more in Polymer bead cleaning - A new revolution in clothes laundering
  • A first-of-its kind technology, which enables see-through windows to generate electricity by ‘spraying’ their glass surfaces with electricity-generating coatings has been unveiled. The coating works with natural and artificial light. The coating can be sprayed on to glass at room temperature. The coatings are ultra-thin, inherently lightweight and flexible, which potentially allows unique applications for moving and non-planar surfaces such as aircraft components, flight suits, and helmets and visors. Read more in A see-through technology generates electricity on glass and flexible plastics surfaces
  • Iron oxide nano particles coated in a polymer mesh that can hold up to 10 times their weight in crude oil – a material that can safely soak up leftover oil, not captured using conventional mechanical means. Another hydrocarbon polymer (oil-based) with a porous internal structure, attracts and absorbs the oil within its pores, encapsulating it and preventing its release. The cost-effective technologies are capable of dramatically reducing the environmental impacts from oil spills. Read more in Soaking up crude oil spills with polymer mesh magnetic nanoparticles, hydrocarbon polymer
  • Inspired by carbon-capturing processes found in nature, a US based company has developed, patented, and commercialized a carbon capture technology that extracts carbon molecules from air containing greenhouse gas and re-arranges those molecules into long-chain thermoplastic polymers that can match the performance of oil-based plastics and out-compete oil-based plastics on price. The company’s technology has been continuously operated at large scale over a number of years on a variety of gas sources, ranging from methane-based biogas to CO2-rich air. Read more in High performance thermoplastics from methane
  • An increasing number of states in USA and other countries are enforcing a ban on the use of thin-film plastic bags. This article explores that plastic bags are better for the environment than reusable or paper bags, and there are no economic or environmental reasons for banning or taxing plastic bags. Proponents of plastic bag bans primarily argue that such bans reduce the amount of waste entering landfills, lessen litter problems, help protect the environment and reduce petroleum consumption. Are any of these claims supported by facts? Read in Are plastic bags better for the environment than their alternatives?