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Plastics manufacturings’ environmental footprint shrinking
The American Chemistry Council’s (ACC) Plastics Division released a report on the shrinking carbon and energy footprints from the production of four common plastic resins. While the production of these four resins increased over more than a decade, associated greenhouse (GHG) emissions decreased significantly — by the equivalent of removing more than one million cars from the road for an entire year.
King StarBoard™ WG outdoor cabinet
“The U.S. has newer facilities that use shale gas coupled with improved efficiencies that have reduced carbon emissions per pound of plastic produced. This has made our manufacturing emissions lower than in many parts of the world,” said Joshua Baca ACC’s vice president of plastics. “That progress is helping essential industries, from healthcare to transportation, meet their own sustainability goals while delivering on the needs of Americans. Any policies to restrict plastics production domestically would kill U.S. jobs and result in less efficient production overseas, which would be a step backward for the environment.” Based on life cycle assessments (LCAs) prepared by Franklin Associates, a division of Eastern Research Group, the report compared 2005 and 2017 data for low-density polyethylene (LDPE), linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE), high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and polypropylene (PP). Key findings from the report (per 1,000 kilograms of resin) show:

  • A 6% decrease in CO2 emissions and 4% decrease in energy consumption during LDPE production.
  • An 18% decrease in CO2 emissions and 7% decrease in energy consumption during LLDPE production.
  • A 10% decrease in CO2 emissions and 6% decrease in energy consumption during HDPE production.
  • A 13% decrease in CO2 emissions and a 2% decrease in energy consumption during PP production.
  • A total reduction of 4.97 billion kg CO2 eq. despite a total combined increase in production of the four resins by more than 4 billion pounds between 2010 and 2020 assessments (using data from 2005 and 2017).
The inventory data from the report was submitted to the U.S. Life Cycle Inventory Database and is accessible to LCA professionals, academics, policymakers and regulators for use in future studies or comparative analyses. Scan or click the QR code to download the report and a fact sheet.
2 in blue circle
Plastics now America’s 6th largest manufacturing industry
The PLASTICS Industry Association unveiled its 2022 Size and Impact report, the association’s flagship annual analysis of the plastics industry’s contribution to the U.S. economy. According to the report, the U.S. plastics industry accounts for nearly a million jobs (999,100); when suppliers to the plastics industry are included, that number rises to 1.5 million. In addition, plastics manufacturing employment grew 3.2 percent from 2020 to 2021, more than twice the growth of manufacturing as a whole (1.5 percent). U.S. plastics shipments totaled $468.0 billion for 2021; when suppliers to the plastics industry are included, shipments totaled $600.4 billion.

“This report shows that the plastics industry, while previously eighth is now the sixth largest manufacturing industry in the U.S,” said Matt Seaholm, president and CEO of PLASTICS. “Plain and simple, these numbers show that the plastics industry is growing and will continue to do so as part of a circular economy. Plastic is remarkable – It saves energy by being lightweight. It saves resources by being efficient to manufacture and transport, and it saves lives through protective gear, medical devices and so much more. “The plastics industry continues to develop new technologies that improve the manufacturing process to include more recycled content, less material, design for recyclability, and improved performance to better protect things like food and beverages, greatly reducing waste.”

3 in dark blue circle
Monthly Leasing & Finance Index new business volume up
The Equipment Leasing and Finance Association’s (ELFA) Monthly Leasing and Finance Index (MLFI-25), which reports economic activity from 25 companies representing a cross section of the $900 billion equipment finance sector, showed their overall new business volume for August was $8.8 billion, up 4 percent year-over-year from new business volume in August 2021. Volume was down 13 percent from $10.1 billion in July. Year-to-date, cumulative new business volume was up 5 percent compared to 2021. Receivables over 30 days were 1.5 percent, down from 1.6 percent the previous month and down from 1.8 percent in the same period in 2021. Charge-offs were 0.17 percent, down from 0.18 percent the previous month and down from 0.23 percent in the year-earlier period. Credit approvals totaled 75.2 percent, down from 78 percent in July. Total headcount for equipment finance companies was down 2.9 percent year-over-year Separately, the Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation’s Monthly Confidence Index (MCI-EFI) in September is 48.7, a decrease from 50 in August.

ELFA President and CEO Ralph Petta said, “August origination volume reflects an equipment finance industry that is fueling continued growth and expansion of businesses throughout the U.S. Up to this point at least, steadily rising interest rates do not appear to dampen enthusiasm of businesses that prefer the utilization of productive assets versus their ownership, which is the essence of the equipment finance sector. With the Fed’s most recent 75-basis point jump in short-term interest rates, and the prospect of a hard landing, time will tell whether — and to what extent — these same business owners continue to grow and invest in equipment.”

Thomas Sbordone, managing director and national sales manager, BMO Harris Equipment Finance, said, “While the economic data may be construed in any number of ways and can feel, at times, unsettling, the fundamentals of our equipment finance business remain strong. Companies invest in capital equipment, throughout all cycles, for a myriad of reasons and equipment obsolescence is certainly real. Productivity gains require capital and business owners are always seeking an edge on the competition. Once decision-makers get past the initial ‘sticker shock’ of seeing how their financing rates have climbed over the past year they make rational choices based on their individual circumstances. The August MLFI results look positive, generally, given the market environment with continued high inflation, supply chain issues and other challenges. It will be interesting to see the September end-of-quarter MLFI results when the effects of the Fed’s latest interest rate hike are clearer. A ‘wait and see’ approach never feels great, but we’re reminded that patience is a virtue.”

The latest MLFI-25, including methodology and participants, is available at