ArburgXvision Broadcast: Plastics and the Environment – Plastics Industry Presents Technical Solutions
- Topic of the 13th broadcast arburgXvision: “Using plastic to protect the climate as a way out of the environmental crisis”
- Cooperation: “Plastic is only a recyclable material when it circulates.”
- Great response: Over 1,250 viewers live, another 1,300 in the follow-up
It almost sounded provocative: “Using plastic to protect the climate as a way out of the environmental crisis” was the topic of the interactive Internet TV programme arburgXvision on 22nd November September 2022. Gerhard Böhm, Arburg Managing Director Sales and Service, Bertram Stern, Sustainability Manager at Arburg, and Prof. Dr.-Ing. Hans-Josef Endres, Managing Director of the Institute for Plastics and Recycling Technology (IKK) at Leibniz University, joined host Guido Marschall in the TV studio to discuss the apparent contrasts and prospects in plastics processing.
The issue is a concern for society, science and industry alike: What do we have to do to live with plastic as a recyclable material and find a way out of the environmental crisis in the process? Around 1,250 viewers followed the programme live and made active use of the opportunity to ask the experts questions via chat. In the follow-up (as of 26 September 2022), a further 1,300 interested people found out more about this exciting topic on the event website and in the social media channels.
Circular economy: the whole value chain in demand
Three issues were of crucial importance in the expert discussion for a successful circular economy: Design for Recycling, high recyclate quality and the need for all parties involved in the manufacturing of plastic products to work closely together along the entire value chain.
First of all, there is the original material. For Gerhard Böhm, one thing is certain: the fewer materials there are in a package, the simpler and more cost-effective, and thus also more profitable, the recycling process is. It is also important to design the product features in a sensible way. “Why is coffee packaged in capsules that have a shelf life of ten years or more? Hardly anyone keeps coffee for so long,” says Gerhard Böhm as an example. We also have to think about whether it makes sense, for example, to wrap plastic yoghurt cups in paper. While it is good to increase consumers’ awareness of material separation, if such containers are completely disposed of in the yellow bag, efficient, recycling by type into new products becomes impossible. This in turn touches on the issue of sustainability. For Prof. Dr Hans-Josef Endres “a hot potato”. The clear goal is less combustion and less exports. “We are working to drive recycling rates upwards.” After all, the quantity and quality of recyclates is an important building block in finding a way out of the environmental crisis.
Application expert from Lossburg joins in
A contribution from the Arburg headquarters in Lossburg was a fitting accompaniment. Christian Homp, Group Manager Applications & Industries, presented projects and technologies such as “R-Cycle” or “HolyGrail” for innovative labelling and single-sort recycling of plastic products. He also invited customers to come to Lossburg or to the K trade fair to test the processing of alternative materials together and to discuss new solutions.
Getting consumers on board
The quality of the recyclates is the key question, says Bertram Stern. But here, too, all those involved have to work together, as only closed loops are effective! Prof. Hans-Josef Endres added that the advantages of plastics must be made much clearer to the consumer. For example, that regenerative energy would not even be possible without the use of plastic. “The processing of recyclates is an innovation driver,” Gerhard Böhm emphasised and suggested getting consumers on board and explaining what progress the industry has made in the last three or four years. He believes that there has already been enough said about what is not possible. Now it is time to show what the industry can already achieve, for example at K 2022 in Düsseldorf. In this context, all participants regretted that the world’s leading trade fair is only open to trade visitors and not to the general public.
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