Like most newspaper and magazine readers, I love top stories lists. And my favorites tend to be the ones selected by readers — which is easy in today's world of web journalism. Just look at the stories that get the most "clicks."
So it's time again for the most-read stories on PlasticsNews.com. As always, there are a few surprises here. But if you keep in mind that PN readers love our coverage of mergers & acquisitions and resin pricing, it will help you guess many of the top headlines.
In honor of Plastics News' 25th anniversary, this year we'll go with the top 25 stories:
No. 25: Bayer spinning off plastics business. Major news, yes. So why so far down on the list? I imagine because it wasn't a surprise. See No. 22.
No. 24: $4 billion PE project for North Dakota. There's a lot of skepticism about whether this project will ever get off the ground. So that makes is more interesting. Plus it's potentially huge. Can you imagine getting your resin FOB Bismark, N.D., instead of Houston?
No. 23: Kraft Foods looks to inspire with HQ. This story surprised me, but I think it was helped by being included by some websites that aggregate content from other sources. A nice story from the Society of Plastics Engineers Blow Molding Conference.
No. 22: Report: Bayer considering plan to sell plastics business. The April story that foreshadowed the September announcement.
No. 21: Flextronics making injection tooling moves. A big scoop in the injection tooling sector. I recommend reading our follow-up story, Acquisitions add more tooling capabilities for Flextronics, for more details.
No. 20: Trex wins court approval to settle class action lawsuit.
No. 19: Bioplastics maker Cereplast files for Chapter 11 protection.
No. 18: Private equity firm buys ITW industrial packaging business. There was a time I thought we could just about have a full-time reporter just following ITW. But the company has been getting out of some of its plastics businesses.
No. 17: Polyethylene makers are trying for September price hikes. Our first pricing story on this year's list, but not the last.
No. 16: Reynolds considering sale of Closure Systems International unit.
No. 15: Coca-Cola closing its recycling division. The saga of Coke's interest in recycling PET goes back at least to the start of Plastics News in 1989.
No. 14: Dunkin' Donuts looking at PP to replace foam cups. It helps when you're one of the first publications to have a story, and your story is more interesting and thorough than what readers can get elsewhere.
No. 13: PE prices drop for first time in two years, PP down 5 cents. This was our man-bites-dog story of 2014. With energy prices falling, it was inevitable. Still, it may mark a huge turnaround in the commodity resin market.
No. 12: Hilex Poly buys world's largest paper bag maker. Yes, the company that's spending millions to fight plastic bag taxes and bans is hedging its bets by getting into paper bags, too.
No. 11: Prices jump for polypropylene and suspension PVC. Resin pricing volatility, always a hot topic.
No. 10: Chevron Phillips, Equistar declare force majeure limits on polyethylene.
No. 9: Recycler Maine Plastics shuts down. A big name in plastics recycling — this is the company that handled recycling at the NPE trade show for many years — unexpectedly shut down.
No. 8: Berry Plastics buying Rexam's remaining healthcare operation.
No. 7: Plastic balls protect California reservoirs.
No. 6: Worker killed at Michigan molding plant. Safety-related stories always get high interest from our readers.
No. 5: Plastipak Packaging buying Constar International. Watch those big M&A deals announced late on a Friday afternoon. Fortunately we were able to send out a news alert on this before readers shut down for the weekend.
No. 4: New caps give Coke bottles '2nd Lives.' Another surprise, this was a story from our sister paper Advertising Age.
No. 3: Lego looking for a sustainable replacement for ABS. In the plastics industry, Lego and ABS go together like Kraft and cheese. This was a surprise, and a good story that put all the angles into perspective, from the Innovation Takes Root conference.
No. 2: Canoe thermoformers scramble for Royalex replacement. Another excellent feature that covered all the bases.
No. 1: Deck lawsuits against Azek consolidated in New Jersey. We're getting some clicks from outside the plastics industry on this story.
I hope you enjoyed this year's list of top stories. For more lists, see my previous posts on the top stories of 2013, 2012 and 2011.