January: The Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. slashes processor dues.
February: ITW Inc. closes its Plastic Recycling Alliance PET recycling plant in Chicago.
February: The number of automotive suppliers has dwindled from 30,000 in 1988 to 8,000 projected for the end of 1997, according to a study conduted by International Business Development Corp. In the past 22 months, the company estimates, 320 mergers or acquisitions have occurred, with $32 billion changing hands.
March: A Plastics News story sports the ultimate in recyclable headlines: "SPI-APC merger talks set sail, hit rock."
April: Greenpeace launches its "PVC — The Poison Plastic" campaign.
April: The Environmental Protection Agency fines Hasbro Inc. $120,000 for allegedly claiming some Play-skool toys protect children from infectious diseases caused by bacteria. The EPA's new anti-microbe division promises to issue guidelines on germ-resistant products, but Hasbro is only the first of many firms whose claims run afoul of the federal agency.
May: In a deal that is only the tip of the iceberg, Newell Co. announces it will buy Rubbermaid Inc.'s Office Products business, which had $162 million in 1996 sales.
May: Plastech Engineered Products Inc. acquires United Screw & Bolt Corp., the parent of Bryan Custom Plastics, in a $128 million cash deal. The buy makes Plastech one of the country's biggest minority-owned automotive suppliers, with projected 1997 sales exceeding $310 million.
June: In an implausible pairing, Monsanto Chemical Co. and Greenpeace announce that Monsanto's biodegradable Biopol resin will be used to replace PVC in a Greenpeace Visa card.
June: Shintech Inc. says it will proceed with plans for a major PVC plant in Convent, La., despite local efforts to stop the project on the grounds of environmental racism. After a yearlong battle, Shintech settles for a smaller-scale project in Plaquemine, La.
June: The American Plastics Council changes the way it calculates recycling rates. Using the new math, the rate for plastic bottles and rigid containers fell from 22.2 percent in 1995 to 21.2 percent in 1996. Using the old formula, it fell to 17.9 percent.
June: After being rebuffed several times, Huntsman Corp. buys Rexene Corp. for $600 million.
June: The Plastics Hall of Fame welcomes its first female inductee, Kevlar inventor Stephanie Kwolek.
July: DuPont Co., already the world's largest PET film producer, with annual capacity of 352 million pounds, agrees to buy Imperial Chemical Industries plc's 264 million-pound-per-year PET film business for $650 million. The deal, totaling $3 billion, includes ICI's polyethylene naphthalate films business and ICI's titanium dioxide business.
August: W.R. Grace & Co. announces it is selling its packaging division, including Cryovac, to Sealed Air Corp. in a deal valued at $5 billion in stock and cash.
August: Exxon Chemical Co. leaves SPI, stating that the trade group no longer is capable of representing the resin industry.
August: Chrysler Corp. announces the development of a small car with a body structure made entirely of plastics.
September: A new Greenpeace report charges that dangerous plasticizers and additives leach from soft PVC toys. The move marks the beginning of an all-out war on plasticizers.
October: Hoechst AG announces it will sell all its plastics units by 2000, to focus on its pharmaceutical and agricultural products businesses.
October: APC President Red Cavaney steps down to become head of the American Petroleum Institute. In December, Ronald Yocum, president and CEO of Millennium Petrochemicals, assumes the post.
October: SPI seeks and receives federal intervention in the Union Pacific railroad system gridlock in Houston.
November: S.C. Johnson & Son Inc. enters film, announcing it will buy DowBrands in a deal pegged at $1.5 billion.