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6/4/2018 | 3 MINUTE READ

IHS Markit Sees Sustainability as Key to Global Plastics’ Future

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As global plastics demand expands rapidly, industry transitions from a linear (take-make-dispose) economy to a circular economy (recover-innovate-reuse).

At the PEPP 2018: Polyethylene and Polypropylene Chain Global Technology and Business Forum, the 26th year of this event, organized by Houston-based IHS Markit, the focus is on sustainability being key to the future of the plastics industry.

This year’s June-26-28 event in Düsseldorf, Germany, will feature a host of chemical and plastics industry leaders representing the plastics value chain—from resin suppliers, to processors and brand owners, as well as others involved in recycling and reuse, who will address the issue of sustainability, as the industry moves toward a circular economy mindset.

Policy makers and influencers on the agenda include the World Plastics Council and PlasticsEurope; resin producers Borealis, LyondellBasell and SABIC; major converters including Amcor and Constantia; as well as brand owners: Coca-Cola and Nestle S.A.

“As announcements of additional capacity and images of plastic pollution share the headlines globally, the need for differential and sustainable plastic industry is emerging. The transition from a linear (take-make-dispose) economy to a circular economy (recover-innovate-reuse), represents a shift to ensure industry sustainability and value creation,” says Nick Vafiadis, v.p. of plastics for IHS Markit.

According to IHS Markit, the global demand for the world’s most used plastic—PE, has nearly doubled since 1999. However, new analysis indicated this demand growth is being met with significant new market pressures that threaten the future of plastics demand growth, including a rise in consumer expectations regarding sustainability, and more stringent environmental regulations in key growth markets such as China

Says Vafiadis, “As more consumers in developing countries such as China and India increase their spending power and join the global economy, we are witnessing truly phenomenal growth in demand for the key plastics that are critical to so many of the products and life essentials we rely on every day, such as cell phones, computers, food and beverage packaging, clothes, cars and even life-saving medical devices…..That consumption growth, though, comes with greater expectations and responsibility, both for plastics producers and consumers. We at IHS Markit are focused on how producers and consumers can work together to address the issues of sustainability and management of plastics recycling, reuse, or waste reduction. This issue is top of mind for plastics industry’s leaders.”

Here’s a glimpse of some of the highlighted speakers:

  • Jim Seward, World Plastics Council and v.p. of joint venture and international business at LyondellBasell, will examine the role of plastics in the 21st century.
  • Karl Foerster, executive director of PlasticsEurope, will address increasing environmental sustainability requirements, including the new European policy to move to 55% recycled content by 2025, and how those changes will impact the plastics industry.
  • Andrea Landuzzi, global marketing director, technology solutions-polymer additives for Solvay, will discuss examples of how purpose-driven product development that leverages high-performance stabilizers can enable the polyolefins industry to become more economically and ecologically sustainable.
  • Hartmut Siebert, technical marketing manager/packaging for Clariant Plastics & Coatings AG, and Sander Coster, group leader for packaging food safety at Nestle S.A., will discuss safety in food packaging.
  • Izabella Lomacka, global procurement director, closures, labels and shrink film for the Coca-Cola Company, Cross-Enterprise Procurement Group, will discuss consumer packaging trends and sustainability.
  • Catherine Malchaire, technical  sales manager Europe, business unit polymer stabilizers Songwon International AG, will look at this dichotomy between consumer demand and market realities.
  • Enrico Dolce, product development and sales manager, Fater AHP Recycling Business Unit will discuss turning waste into usable raw materials.
Says Vafiadis, “The issue of sustainability is perhaps the most critical influencer for the plastics industry as a whole both today and in the future. Many communities across the globe are exploring bans on plastic bags, but marine waste is an issue that the plastics industry must take a leadership role in addressing because the industry has learned it needs a cooperative, multi-organizational approach that brings all the stakeholders together to solve such a very complex problem. Based on our discussions with industry leaders, that challenge is something they are committed to addressing, and it will be the overarching focus of our PEPP 2018 Business Forum.”

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