PP growth driven by light weighting and sustainability

30 October 2012 01:33  [Source: ICIS news]

CHICAGO, Illinois (ICIS)--Even as volatility in the US polypropylene (PP) market has scared away some processors, others said on Monday that they expect to see growth as light weighting and sustainability efforts become more prevalent.

New technologies now allow PP to offer more clarity and flexibility, which will allow the resin to compete with and, in some cases, perform better, than other resins, said some processors, speaking on the sidelines of the 2012 Pack Expo in Chicago.

Nesha Tucker, in market development at Milliken & Co, a specialty chemicals and additives maker, said her company is seeing more interest in PP as a substitute for materials such as polystyrene (PS) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET).

PP tends to maintain its strength and flexibility even when less resin is used, Tucker said, adding that those properties are causing companies to give PP a second look, particularly as interest grows in sustainability.

"People are worried about the [price] volatility," she said. "But hopefully that will get better with time."

Amit Nayak, an account manager at Jokey plastics, said PP has advantages over materials such as polyethylene (PE). For instance, PP is less brittle than PE, which can sometimes shatter when it is thinner, Nayak said.

"Everyone wants to go with thinner walls," he said. "So PP is cheaper in that regard, because you are using less material."

Pansy Leo, a marketing director with Ropak Packaging, agreed that cost savings are possible when less material is used.

Leo said her company's "diamond weave technology" which creates a diamond pattern on the internal surface of PP containers, offers structural strength to the containers, and yet allows for a weight reduction of 20-35%.

"PP is easier to process for thin walls," Leo said. "It is more cost effective, because you are using less material."

When packaging weighs less, it costs less to make and less to ship, she said, adding that those factors make PP a good material from a sustainability standpoint.

The Pack Expo will continue through 31 October.

By: Michelle Klump
+1 713 525 2653

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