Two more California cities pass PS bans
SAN LEANDRO, CALIF. — Two more northern California cities have banned polystyrene takeout food-service packaging, bringing the total number of PS bans in the state to nearly 50.
A ban on the use of PS takeout packaging for prepared foods in San Leandro — approved earlier this month — will go into effect Nov. 1. A nearly identical ban in Foster City, approved at a second reading Oct. 17, will go into effect April 1.
Both bans bar the use of single-use PS disposable food-service items — such as plates, cups, trays, clamshell, hinged and lidded containers. However, both bills exclude single-use straws, drink lids and utensils from the ban.
The two bans apply to anyone selling prepared food within city limits, including food vendors. The San Leandro ban further requires anyone selling prepared food to use compostable or recyclable food-service ware.
Forty-five cities and four counties in California have bans on PS takeout packaging.
Truck parts maker expanding into plastics
MUSKEGON, MICH. — Metal truck parts maker Fleet Engineers Inc. is expanding into plastics with a $2 million expansion that will allow it to injection mold parts now made by outside suppliers.
The Muskegon City Commission approved an industrial property tax abatement Oct. 11 that will help finance a 10,500-square-foot expansion and new equipment. City officials said the expansion will include the purchase of one injection molding press.
Muskegon-based Fleet makes a variety of commercial truck products including fenders that use polypropylene in addition to metal. It has purchased the parts from other firms, but will now be able to make them alongside metal components.
The company told the city it expects to create four new jobs as part of its expansion into plastics.
Flint Hills seeks buyer for Ill. EPS plant
WICHITA, KAN. — Flint Hills Resources is seeking a buyer for its expanded polystyrene resin plant in Peru, Ill.
“The company has decided to explore the potential sale of the plant,” spokesman Jake Reint said by phone. “We're in the early stages of the process and expect to have preliminary discussions with potential buyers in the coming weeks.”
Wichita-based Flint Hills acquired the 265 million-pound-capacity Peru plant from Huntsman Corp. of The Woodlands, Texas, in 2007. Profitability for EPS — and for solid PS — has been rocked in recent years by high prices for benzene and related feedstocks. Numerous market consolidations have occurred as a result.
Annual U.S./Canadian EPS demand was close to 1 billion pounds in 2004, but has been in steady decline, totaling less than 800 million pounds each year since 2008.
Flint Hills ranks as one of North America's largest EPS makers, along with Nova Chemicals Corp. and BASF Corp.
Berry Plastics closing former Rexam site
EVANSVILLE, IND. — Berry Plastics Corp. will close its Madisonville, Ky., closures plant in the first quarter of 2012, affecting 124 employees.
The Madisonville plant is part of the specialty and beverage closures business that Berry acquired from London-based Rexam plc in August for $360 million.
“This action will help Berry streamline operations, improve our cost structure, and enhance our ability to meet our customers' needs,” Chief Operating Officer Randy Becker said in an Oct. 18 news release.
According to the release, some business currently in Madisonville will be transferred to Berry's Evansville closures plant, which also was acquired from Rexam. The Evansville plant will increase staffing by about 20 as a result.
The plant's remaining business will be transferred to other Berry locations in Maryland, Illinois and Florida. Evansville-based Berry has not decided on its future plans for the Madisonville plant.
Berry will provide Madisonville employees with job-placement assistance within the company and the local job market, according to the release.
The Rexam SBC unit acquisition added eight manufacturing facilities to Berry's 75 manufacturing plants worldwide.