Market for recycled plastics will keep growing
A growing emphasis on sustainability in packaging will help drive up demand for post-consumer recycled plastics, according to a study published by the Freedonia Group. The Cleveland-based industry market research firm estimates that U.S. demand will rise 6.5% annually. Other factors pushing gains are advancements in processing and sorting technologies; higher quality resins; and an improved collection infrastructure, which raises the plastic recycling rate. Continued support by federal, state, and local governments for recycling efforts will also provide a significant boost to recycled plastic collection, processing, and demand.
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Packaging will continue to be the leading market for recycled plastic. Bottles will remain the leading source of plastic for recycling, accounting for over half of all plastic collected over the next five years, according to the report.
The recycled plastic industry will face some challenges, however. The overall rate of plastic recycling in the U.S. will remain relatively low — less than 7% of total plastic through 2016. Recycling is minimal in several major markets such as construction and automobiles. Export sales (mostly to China) siphon off a substantial portion of plastic scrap. High levels of contamination in some plastics also reduce the usable amount. As a result, only about half of the plastic collected for recycling makes its way to manufactured products in the U.S. market.
Big boxes juggle their appliance assortments
The Home Depot and Lowe’s are adjusting their lineups in their appliance assortments. At Home Depot, Samsung joins the fray, while Lowe’s introduced LG.
At Home Depot, Samsung Electronics America products will be available to be ordered in store locations nationwide and on Homedepot.com beginning Dec. 9. "Adding Samsung’s line of home appliances to the roster really bolsters our offering to meet the growing needs of our consumers," said Bob Baird, merchandising VP.
Lowe’s has announced the addition of LG Electronics brand refrigerators, washers, dryers, dishwashers and ranges starting in the first quarter of 2013. The appliances will be carried in Lowe’s stores nationwide, and also available on Lowes.com.
"Through this strategic alliance with LG, our stores will now have a broader assortment of innovation and leading designs in appliances to help customers improve and maintain their homes," said Craig Webber, Lowe’s merchandising VP. As with its other major appliances, Lowe’s will offer next-day delivery and in-house repairs and maintenance, he added.
Lowe’s and Home Depot, the two top home improvement retailers, are struggling to gain market share in the appliance category. Last July, Home Depot announced the expansion of its major appliance brands by adding Whirlpool, Electrolux and Frigidaire in a limited number of stores and on Homedepot.com.
Electrolux’s North American laundry products head to N.C.
Electrolux will relocate its North American laundry products research and development center to Charlotte, N.C., from Webster City, Iowa.
The move signals the company’s commitment to further product innovation in its fabric care business and builds on the design, testing and marketing capabilities that already exist in its Charlotte-based North American headquarters.
“Electrolux is driving a strong pace of new product innovation to continually create consumer value,” said Chris Harris, VP laundry and dish care products, Electrolux Major Appliances North America. “We are increasing our R&D investment, moving closer to major science, engineering and technology universities and leveraging on the state-of-the-art research facilities that we already have in Charlotte.”
Electrolux will bring 80 research and development jobs to the city, growing its local employment to more than 800. The new positions will include engineering, product design and testing. Despite challenges in the economy, the company continues to outperform the U.S. home appliance industry.
Product design and testing will be discontinued at the company’s Webster City, Iowa, facility in the third quarter of 2013.
“This was a difficult but necessary decision,” Harris added. “The company is committed to assisting our Webster City employees and we are making this announcement nearly a year in advance to help with the transition."