Plastics News - Show Daily - October 20, 2023 - 20

20 * Plastics News, October 20, 2023
FAKUMA SHOW DAILY
Plastics circularity will require a range of solutions
By David Vink
Plastics News Correspondent
Are plastics problematic or do
they have great value?
At Fakuma 2023, event organizer
P.E. Schall GmbH & Co. KG
hosted a roundtable discussion
on Oct. 17 to discuss the issue.
Discussion partners were Ingemar
Bühler, main managing director
of PlasticsEurope Deutschland;
Achim Haid from the environment
ministry of the Federal German
state of Baden-Württemberg;
Martin Bastian, the head of SKZ
Süddeutsches Kunststoffzentrum;
Werner Koch, founder and managing
director of ancillary equipment
producer Koch-Technik; and
Lothar Zapf of the ZLV food packaging
and technology center.
Asked what fascinates the panel
about plastics, Bühler said it
was circularity, for Koch the performance
that other materials
such as metals cannot achieve,
while Zapf noted protection of
food from becoming spoiled.
In terms of great challenges,
Zapf considered a chance had
been missed with the introduction
in 1991 in Germany of the
green dot system for recycling
light consumer packaging waste.
Instead of providing a stimulus
for recycling in Germany, much of
the waste packaging plastics ended
up by being shipped to China.
Zapf said mechanical and chemAre
plastics
Zapf
ical recycling should both be developed
without prejudice so the
industry will develop a number of
techniques instead of choosing
one to the exclusion of others at
the outset.
Koch said PET bottle recycling
has been a great success, with
consumers incentivized by paying
a refundable deposit to bring
bottles back for recycling. A suitable
means to ensure similar success
with other plastic packaging
waste materials could be use of
additives to assist in material
identifi cation and sorting, Koch
said. Bastian agreed, suggesting
the Polysecure technology as being
suitable here.
Bastian sided with Zapf in favoring
an open approach to various
techniques, which should also include
thermal energy recovering
by incineration. He warned that
" we have so far only achieved 10
Bastian
Koch
percent real recycling in our northern
latitudes. " Haid insisted incineration
should only be used if a material
simply cannot be recycled.
Bühler stressed the importance
of alternative feedstocks such as
biomass and CO2 while reducing
dependency on oil-based products,
warning that if industry
doesn't solve these issues, there
would be a risk of government intervention
with tax policies and/
or bans.
For him, it is important to provide
incentives for circular products.
Electronic products have
been developed for maximum
performance at minimum cost,
leading to most smartphones being
impossible to disassemble for
repair or recycling.
Zapf suggested recycling
is
impeded when recyclate is more
expensive than virgin plastics,
although enlightened company
Haid
problematic or do
they have great
value? Industry
leaders and
researchers take
on the topic at
Fakuma 2023.
management should consider giving
more priority to recyclate.
A discussion developed on how
German centralized municipal collection
of nonpackaging plastics
ceased when the green dot was
introduced with its residentially
located yellow bags and bins just
for light packaging waste. This resulted
in products as diverse as
coat hangers and Playmobil toys
going into the gray residual waste
bags or bins for incineration, despite
the plastics involved being
perfectly recyclable.
The roundtable participants
thought the long-sought separation
of such materials by households
in " valuable material " bins
on their premises, without needing
to visit recycling yards, would
be ideal. But the wheels of governmental
bureaucracy move too
slowly to bring early relief here,
they concluded.
Koch said there is too much resignation
in the face of such obstacles.
Industry should proceed with
its own solutions anyway, starting
in a small way, and if needed, to
develop solutions abroad, then
to show politicians that solutions
work abroad and should also be
applied in Germany. It should be a
bottom-up rather than a top-down
approach, he said. For example,
coloring fi lm blue might end up
becoming a standard for identifi -
cation, Koch said. Bastian agreed,
suggesting doing many such
things in initially small steps.
Bastian said consumers could
accept more expensive yet more
sustainable products. He cited
Schleich-brand toys that have
been more expensive to produce
in bioplastics, yet they fetch a
three times higher price in the
market. " This shows it works, if
you want to do it, " he said.
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Plastics News - Show Daily - October 20, 2023

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Plastics News - Show Daily - October 20, 2023

Plastics News - Show Daily - October 20, 2023 - 1
Plastics News - Show Daily - October 20, 2023 - 2
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Plastics News - Show Daily - October 20, 2023 - 4
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