Plastics News readers enjoyed lots of big stories in 2018. Based on reader views, these were the top stories of the year:
(1) LyondellBasell buying A. Schulman for $2.25 billion in big materials shakeup. One of the biggest M&A stories of the year, and we were among the first to report the news. Our readers benefit from Frank Esposito's years of experience covering the materials sector. Frank's story included insight from an exclusive interview with A. Schulman Chairman, President and CEO Joseph Gingo.
(2) It's official: US-China tariffs will begin to hit plastics. Plastics News readers were hungry for all the information they could get on tariffs in 2018. This story got the most clicks, but it was just a brief confirming that the levies we'd already reported in detail had been implemented. (More to come on this one).
(3) Bemis Co. Inc. closing Illinois plant. 2018 was a big year for flexible packaging company Bemis Co. Inc. Surprisingly, our August story on Amcor Ltd. buying Bemis didn't make the top 10 ... but it did make the top 30.
(4) Nylon 6/6 shortage looking worse: Ascend declares force majeure following plant fire. Stories on this resin shortage were big in 2018, as were follow-up stories on suppliers' efforts to fix the problem.
(5) Latest US tariffs on China include more plastics. Remember what I said about tariffs? Readers couldn't get enough information. More to come...
(6) McDonald's tosses EPS cups and trays. Talk about back to the future! In November 1990, three months before I joined Plastics News, McDonald's announced it was dropping the polystyrene burger clamshell. At the time, observers noted that the fast food company still used plenty of EPS. Not any more.
(7) The Plastics Group Inc. shutting down two sites. Another scoop for our readers — a local paper in Ohio had reported one plant closing, but we had the full story. Fortunately for TPG workers, a private equity firm ended up buying the Illinois plant and keeping it open — which was also a scoop for our readers.
(8) Trump signs ocean plastics pollution law. Steve Toloken, our news editor-international based in Washington, has been on a roll with his D.C. coverage this year. And with topics like tariffs, ocean plastics and product bans (don't forget about straws!), he's had plenty to keep him busy.
(9) Processors and producers struggle with nylon 6/6 resin shortage. This was Frank Esposito's most comprehensive story on the nylon 6/6 shortage: the cause, the impact on molders, potential solutions.
(10) China, US add plastics to their trade war. A great team reporting effort by Steve Toloken, Bill Bregar and Audrey LaForest, which covered all the plastics-related angles to the tariff battle with China.