Film & Foil

Aluminium foil deliveries recover in Q3, as exports continue to grow

he third quarter of 2020 saw some welcome recovery in deliveries of aluminium foil, which experienced growth of 1.7% in the period. This was caused, to a large extent, by a stronger export performance, with sales outside Europe increasing by 13.7%, according to figures just released by the European Aluminium Foil Association (EAFA). Total deliveries in the year to date now stand at 709,000 tonnes (2019: 715,000 tonnes), a slight decrease of 0.8% These figures were helped by improved deliveries of thinner gauges, used mainly for flexible packaging and household foils. This category added 5.2% in the third quarter and for the first nine months of 2020 it increased by 1.3% compared with 2019 figures. Thicker gauges, typically used for semi-rigid containers, technical or other applications fared less well, recording a decline of 4.7% in the three months to September and overall YTD deliveries are 4.5% below the year before.


While domestic consumption continues to be flat, showing a 0.6% drop in the three months period, the first nine months for these markets remained stable – and even positive in the packaging sector. The return to growth for exports reflects the easing of COVID-19 disruption to trade in the summer. The first six months of this year saw a steep decline in deliveries outside Europe, but as factories reopened across the world, the demand for aluminium foil improved. Commenting on the figures, EAFA executive director, Guido Aufdemkamp said: “The figures reflect a period when the pandemic seemed to be in retreat and the business world was seeing a certain recovery. We now know that coronavirus is not going away as we had hoped and new measures to fight its spread will cause more disruption to trade until the end of this year and beyond.”

He added: “The lead up to the holiday season is normally a good time for the

aluminium foil sector, but if lockdowns continue this could severely impact sales in our traditional markets in both directions. While most factories continue to operate and the food packaging sector has been very robust, it is hard to predict what the next three or six months will bring. Fortunately, the foil rolling sector is experienced in dealing with fluctuating demand patterns, so should be able to adapt accordingly.”


Chase Plastics urges film manufacturers to embrace plastic packaging tax challenge


ith just 15 months left until the introduction of the UK Plastic Packaging Tax, leading UK

recycler Chase Plastics is urging polythene film manufacturers and converters to prepare now.

While 2020 has been an unprecedented year for business disruption, the Packaging Tax is still scheduled to take effect in April 2022. With the time required to develop packaging that contains at least 30% recycled content elongated due to the pandemic, the window available for developing packaging films – that will not attract the £200 per tonne tax – is narrowing fast.

Recothene, a high-performance range of recycled polythene pellets, was launched by Chase Plastics last year and the company has reported growing demand from the packaging film sector, as companies reformulate their product ranges ahead of the tax next year.

CEO David Harris says: “The Government published draft primary legislation on 12 November, paving the way for the Packaging Tax. As the implementation of the Packaging Tax draws near, it is important that manufacturers prepare now.

“We are committed to supporting our customers with this challenge and are already seeing rapidly-growing demand for our Recothene range of recycled polythene pellets... We would urge anyone who has not yet started the process to do so now.”

He continues: “Developing products, running trials and securing customer acceptance takes time and the restrictions necessitated by the pandemic can impact this further. Our concern is that some manufacturers may not leave sufficient time to select, trial and stock materials with which to upgrade their product range, so that it does not incur the Plastic Packaging Tax in April 2022. There is also the issue of material availability... Companies who are late to embrace the challenge of 30% recycled content may struggle to procure sufficient recycled raw materials to meet the performance levels required.” Mr Harris concludes: “We understand the issues customers face with upgrading their product range... We are well set up to support customers but we would encourage companies not to leave it too late.”


December/January 2021


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