Total Petrochemicals USA Inc. is taking aim at the market for clear drink cups with a new grade of homopolymer polypropylene.
The new grade is a clarified metallocene homopolymer PP. In clear drink cups, the material uses 25 percent less plastic than PET cups. Also, PET emits nearly twice as much greenhouse gas during production, according to Kim Davies, manager of polyolefins marketing and strategy for Houston-based Total.
The new material also has the clarity of a random copolymer, but the stiffness of a homopolymer, officials said. Total began producing the material in the second half of 2008 at its site in La Porte, Texas.
The company added 200 million pounds of PP capacity in La Porte during 2008, bringing the site's annual capacity for random copolymer, impact copolymer and metallocene PP to more than 2.3 billion pounds.
Total Petrochemicals, a unit of French oil firm Total SA, has annual sales of more than $10 billion and employs about 1,700 in the United States.