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Fourth Quarter 2020
NAPCOR Releases New Report on Recycling of PET Thermoforms
Since the 1990s, postconsumer RPET has been used as a raw material feedstock in PET thermoforms for both food and non-food packaging. Over the past five years, the number of PET thermoforms recycled has continued to grow. In 2018, according to the NAPCOR 2018 PET Recycling Report, the U.S. and Canada recycled 139 million pounds of PET thermoform packaging, a 60 percent increase over 2017. Most reclaimers that purchase curbside PET bales in the US and Canada will accept, and process for next use, some percentage of thermoforms in their PET bottle bales.
In today’s environment, with sharp focus on ways to reduce our carbon footprint, postconsumer RPET is an obvious choice to incorporate into both bottle and thermoform containers. NAPCOR projects a shortfall of postconsumer PET material in the future, based on existing supply and public commitments to increase RPET content by leading beverage brands. Postconsumer PET thermoform material will be required to help address this shortfall, as demand for RPET rises.
A Benchmark for ABS
Acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) resins are widely used for applications such as appliances, toys, office equipment, sanitary wares, building & construction, transportation and more. Extrusion of ABS covers around 25% of the total ABS market in North America, namely through sheets, pipes, edge bands, and profiles. ABS extruded into sheets and formed into final parts, finds its way into furniture, automotive, buses, trucks, recreational and utility vehicles, sanitary applications, advertisement boards, luggage and doors. For optimum product performance and cost efficiency, the ABS resins require specific attributes. These are an excellent lot-to-lot consistency, a white and thermal stable base color, an adequate UV stability, a low amount of unmelts and a high product purity. Because sheets and edge bands are demanded in a wide range of colors, self-coloring has become a key cost driver through necessities such as color matching, UV absorbers, and optical brighteners. Limited run sizes and regrinding also lead to increased scrap and constant color adjusting. Because the surface quality of thermoformed parts is so critical, presentation of unmelts and high levels of volatile organic compounds in the resins affect aesthetics.
There are two main methods for commercial production of ABS: solution polymerization and emulsion polymerization. The first is also called mass polymerization. The industry typically labels these as mass ABS (mABS) and emulsion ABS (eABS). MAGNUM™ ABS is produced using the mass polymerization process. Although most of the ABS worldwide is produced through the emulsion process, the mass process has a number of advantages that are described in this chapter.
In the emulsion process (1), first, rubber latex is produced by means of emulsifiers, followed by the polymerization of styrene and acrylonitrile in the presence of the rubber latex. Part of the polymerized styrene-acrylonitrile is grafted onto the rubber. This grafted rubber concentrate (GRC) is then either mixed with additional emulsion-prepared styrene-co-acrylonitrile (SAN) copolymer and then coagulated, or first isolated and then compounded with SAN. The emulsion process is a batch type of process, offering greater production flexibility.
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