Tag Archives | plastics

Midway Atoll becomes “plastic island” due to our throwaway society

Plastics have made an enormous contribution to improving our quality of life over the past 75 years.  Polyethylene (discovered in 1933), polypropylene, PVC, polystyrene, PET and many others have made our lives safer, and easier:   Plastic pipes have removed the risk of lead poisoning from our water, and helped to reduce water lost in […]

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Sustainability replaces globalisation as key driver for economy

2 weeks ago, India ratified the COP 21 Agreement.  This means the Agreement enters into force on 4 November.  81 countries, responsible for more than 55% of greenhouse gas emissions, have now agreed to reduce emissions in line with the decisions made in Paris last December.  And last week saw another landmark Agreement, with 150 countries agreeing to […]

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The digital vortex is coming to a business near you

The average smartphone now has “more computing power than the computers used during the Apollo era to put the first men on the moon.“ The question facing all of us, is “How will this power be used to disrupt our current business? We can already see some of the early impacts from the transformation taking place: □  Most […]

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US polypropylene imports rise as China aims for self-sufficiency

Difficult times lie ahead for global polymer markets, as I note in a new analysis for ICIS Chemical Business. In the short-term it is clear that downstream users have, once again, been busy building stock in recent weeks as the oil price rose. But now, finance directors are getting calls from their bankers asking about […]

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Plastics lose market share to lightweight steel in US sutos

Plastics consumption in US autos is going down, not up.  Steelmakers and glass manufacturers have recaptured ground lost in the years to 2009, and are capturing new sales as auto standards demand lighter-weight cars.  And yet, if you had asked polymer suppliers about future demand in the US auto market a few years ago, they […]

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What If 3D Printing Was 100x Faster? | TED Talks

Major change is underway in manufacturing and supply chains.  China’s slowdown has exposed the myth that its demand would support ever-increasing production of commodities such as metals and oil.  As the Financial Times reported yesterday: “Back in the summer, Glencore’s combative chief executive Ivan Glasenberg led a chorus of mining executives in blaming speculative funds for driving […]

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China’s auto slowdown to push spare capacity into export markets

Where would the world’s auto industry, and its suppliers, have been without China in recent years?  And how will they manage now China’s demand for new cars is slowing fast?  These are the question troubling companies and investors as Q3 sales are analysed. The chart above shows the recent history of sales in the Top […]

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Supply chain revolution is on the way

Imagine a world where your local garage uses 3D printing to provide you with a new car bumper. You have had a bump in a car park, and just want to get it fixed. Unlike today, there’ll be no more waiting for the part to arrive. The garage will simply download the design from the […]

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Affordability

Europe can win despite age trends

We all know that Europe has an ageing population.  Germany and Italy, for example, have median ages of 45 years.  And fertility rates have been below replacement levels for 45 years, so the relative number of higher-spending young people is reducing.  Instead, there are more and more older people, as life expectancy at age 65 […]

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Saudi lets ‘market decide’ on oil prices to maximise local jobs

I was kindly invited last week to give a keynote address at the annual ME-TECH conference in Dubai.  Naturally, there was intense interest in my argument that oil prices were most unlikely to recover to the $100/bbl level. Instead, I suggested they would likely return to their long-term historical average of $33/bbl (in $2014).  And I argued that this would be good news […]

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