January ... Procter & Gamble Co. launches a Downy bottle made of 100 percent post-consumer high density polyethylene.
February ... The Polystyrene Packaging Council Inc. merges with the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc.
March ... Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp. consider a campaign to make suppliers of custom parts acquire and pay for tooling.
April ... The Environmental Protection Agency comments on a proposed rule that would require plastic ring carriers for beverage cans to be degradable.
April ... Ball Corp. spins off its plastics operations, including Unimark Plastics, Plastic Packaging Products Co. and Ball's Plastics Division - along with several other operations - to create a publicly held company called Alltrista Corp.
April ... Some 1,009 U.S. facilities handle or reclaim post-consumer plastic, according to a survey by W.R. Beck and Associates for the American Plastics Council - 98 percent more than Beck reported the year before. Also, 6,850 U.S. communities collect plastic for recycling, according to APC and the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
May ... Plastics News runs its first Recycling Report Card. Receiving A's are Sonoco-Graham, Procter & Gamble, Johnson Controls Inc., the Aseptic Packaging Council and the Association of Foam Packaging Recyclers. The Council for Solid Waste Solutions earns an A-. Some less-than-stellar performers include MassPIRG, F; Congress' Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, D-; and the Plastic Recycling Alliance, D-.
July ... Buried in plastics collected under its tough recycling law, Germany says it will permit incineration of some plastic waste.
October ... C.R. Bard Inc. pleads guilty to 391 counts of selling faulty heart catheters in one of the largest health-care fraud investigations in U.S. history. Bard agrees to pay $61 million to settle the case. The catheters never were approved by the Food & Drug Administration and caused at least one death and 20 emergency heart surgeries, according to the charges brought by the Justice Department.
November ... Cincinnati Milacron Inc. pays $56 million to buy Kl"ckner Ferromatik, making Milacron one of the world's largest plastics machine makers.
November ... The North American Free Trade Agreement passes Congress.
December ... Now that the SPI recycling code is 5 years old and mandatory in 39 states, a joint committee of SPI and the National Recycling Coalition officials recommends that the symbol be abandoned in favor of the International Organization for Standardization's code. The existing SPI code has been criticized by environmentalists who charge that consumers believe all packages marked with ``chasing arrows'' are recyclable.