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Image of Plastics at Rock Bottom

Communication Campaign Aims to Convey Facts on Packaging

At the end of the year, PlasticsEurope Deutschland e.V. traditionally conducts a survey on the image of plastics as a material and the image of the plastics industry. The results were presented to the trade media by Dr. Rüdiger Baunemann (Fig. 2), Director General of the association (Fig. 3).

  • Detrimental to the image of plastics: about six times as many decision makers as a year ago now spontaneously associate plastics with marine litter. Among the “young educated people” (people with general qualification for university entrance or higher education), it is now about five times more than a year ago (source: PlasticsEurope)

  • These results of the survey of December 2018 were presented by Dr. Rüdiger Baunemann, Director General of PlasticsEurope Deutschland e.V. (© PlasticsEurope)

  • … at the end of March at the trade press day 2019 in Frankfurt on Main, Germany (© PlasticsEurope)

  • The perception by decision makers and “young educated people” is at its lowest level since the survey started 25 years ago (source: PlasticsEurope)

  • It indicates that the plastics industry has lost positive estimation and now lies significantly below the average of all the industries surveyed, while last year it was almost exactly equal to the average (source: PlasticsEurope)

  • Application fields rated differently: while plastics in medicine today (filled marks), for example in medicine (blue diamond, left top) are seen as somewhat less dispensable and somewhat less harmful than in the previous year, significantly more people than in the previous survey believe they can manage without packaging (circle right bottom), and see it as harmful (source: PlasticsEurope)

  • The trend of people believing they can manage without plastics and assessing them as harmful was already suggested in the survey of previous years, but has now accelerated dramatically (source: PlasticsEurope)

  • Absolute majority: the majority of the decision makers, young educated people and members of the public at large (from left) is now in favor of reducing the use of plastics in future (source: PlasticsEurope)

  • Mara Hancker, Head of Public Relations at the German Association of Plastics Packaging and Films enthusiastically presented the communications campaign by Plastics Europe and the IK (© PlasticsEurope)

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It found that the estimation of plastics has dramatically worsened in recent years compared to last year, when the values were still similarly positive to two years ago. In key target groups, it has fallen to values worse than at the beginning of the survey 25 years ago (Fig. 4).

Plastics Industry Falls Below the Industry Average

In comparison to other industries (Fig. 5), too, the plastics industry is now worse than a year ago: Compared to the chemical industry, which only had to cope with a decline of 12% to 61%, the plastics industry clearly lost ground: While, last year, the plastics industry showed 70% positive assessments, only slightly below the average of all the industries surveyed (71%), within one year it had fallen 21 percentage points, and thereby fared somewhat worse than the automotive industry (from 66 to 46%).

It is no consolation that the banks (from 69 to 43%) and the oil industry were even worse affected, so that the average of the industries surveyed sank by 17% to 54% - the plastics industry fell to a below average value of 49%.

Problem Application Packaging

It is hardly surprising that, among plastics applications, the packaging sector has now taken on a uniquely ignoble position in the popular imagination: While medicine, for example, showed slightly positive development, significantly more people than in the previous survey appear to want to give up packaging and regard it as harmful (Fig. 6).

Start of Communication Campaign on Packaging

At the trade press meeting, Mara Hancker of the German Association of Plastics Packaging and Films also announced a communication campaign comprising several modules and intended to draw more attention to the relevant facts. It is based on the plastics packaging newsroom started in October. In particular, social media activities will be employed to provide more coverage in the Internet. (kk)

Additional information
  • 11-27-2018

    Change of Leadership at PlasticsEurope

    Javier Constante New President of the European Association

    Michael Zobel (Lanxess) and Tim Stedman (Trinseo) have been nominated acting new Vice Presidents. Tom Crotty (Ineos) remains Vice President and Treasurer.   more


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