Kickstart: Plastics and a high-profile truck

When Ford Motor Co. rolled out its aluminum-bodied F-150 truck, it also introduced all-LED headlights that included a distinctive light pipe pattern around the light. It was a case where plastics made it possible for the truck to stand out.”It is a new design language,” Gordon Platto, chief designer of the F-150, . “It gives a unique character to the truck’s front end, especially at night.”Now light pipes are being used to help a new 150 stand out: the all-electric F-150 Lightning, introduced May 19.”The Lightning features a light bar that runs horizontally across the front of the vehicle and connects the tops of both headlights, with a similar taillight design. The grille area is closed off but largely resembles the size, shape and color of the grilles on gasoline-powered trucks,” writes .The grille also opens to a front storage area, termed “the frunk” for “front trunk,” using plastics to provide easy cleaning with a drain, along with power outlets that can charge everything from laptops to speakers and even crockpots.We expect that more plastics-intensive elements will also turn up now that the truck has been unveiled. We’ll let you know what we find.If you’ve tried to buy some appliances or invest in home improvements in the past few months, you’ve probably run across either far higher costs or a much-delayed delivery.That’s been the case for nearly a year, since the start of the pandemic disrupted production and supply chains. (Full disclosure, the vinyl replacement window I ordered in April isn’t expected to arrive until July.)New import numbers from the U.S. International Trade Commission show the status of just one in-demand type of appliance: the refrigerator. In March 2021, the U.S. imported 959,500 refrigerators. This is an vs. March 2020.Granted, that data compares very different months. In March 2020, many retailers had limited sales hours, and most consumers were holding back from spending at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. But for comparison, for all of 2019, refrigerator imports were down nearly 7 percent vs. 2018.Considering the rise in domestic demand, it makes sense that — owned by China-based Haier Group Corp. — announced in 2020 that it is investing $43 million in the production of high-end refrigerators at its Kentucky facility.Will Americans retain their appetite for home improvements once they can travel again? That’s something some manufacturers seem to be betting on as they invest in U.S. production. Waste Plastic is at the center of a new startup that wants to convert trash into building bricks. That’s been a common strategy by a lot of groups, but Greenbrick Workshops may be the first one that has developed a production system that fits in a van, making it easy to set up in a variety of locations.The United Kingdom-based company was developed by Ben Gibbons and Connor Winter, who had been doing aid work in Nepal before the pandemic sent them home.During the shutdown, the pair worked with nongovernmental groups in Zimbabwe and Mozambique to set up local workshops that can use their technology to build affordable houses.The van production could be replicated easily and the group has a target of 1,000 workshops set up within 10 years, able to recycle 800,000 metric tons of waste plastic.  Do you have an opinion about this story? Do you have some thoughts you’d like to share with our readers? Plastics News would love to hear from you. Email your letter to Editor at Staying current is easy with Plastics News delivered straight to your inbox, free of charge. Subscribe to Plastics News Plastics News covers the business of the global plastics industry. We report news, gather data and deliver timely information that provides our readers with a competitive advantage.Customer Service:

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