CHICAGO — Product manufacturers may start to shift away from polyethylene because of high prices, according to two major plastics processors.
The impact of high PE resin prices took center stage at the 2014 Global Plastics Summit in Chicago.
First-day sessions at the two-day event featured executives from leading North American PE maker Nova Chemicals Corp., as well as from major processors Bemis Co. Inc. and BWay Corp.
Bemis and BWay both buy PE from Nova as well as from other suppliers.
North American prices for PE — the world's most widely used commodity resin — have increased roughly 25 percent since early 2013. The North American market has seen six consecutive price increases during that span, according to the Plastics News resin pricing chart.
Mike Noel, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Oak Brook, Ill.-based BWay, said his firm is seeing makers of products ranging from kitty litter to paint to milk switching from PE back to metal or paper because of high prices. That list includes Canada's two largest dairy companies.
“We'd like our resin-based packaging growth to continue, but economics in the resin market is stunting our growth,” Noel said at the event, hosted by consulting firm IHS Inc. and the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. He added that BWay “is working hard to maintain that business vs. alternative packaging.”