Plasticity Forum Completes Fifth Annual Conference in Shanghai
The Plasticity Forum wrapped up its fifth annual conference in Shanghai, China, on April 27th with more than 20 expert presenters providing a diversity of insights, data, innovations, opinions and inspiration about how better to reduce plastics waste and leverage this valuable material to help drive the circular economy.
With a conference theme of “Material Solutions for Undervalued Resources,” more than 130 high-level Plasticity attendees got a crash course in promising and emerging technologies, collaborative legislative and environmental initiatives, and numerous real-life examples of organizations making tangible progress toward reducing waste, reusing resources, creating business opportunities, and improving their brand value.
Speaker Larry Black, Senior Adviser to Sustainability consultants McDonough Innovation, suggested that a long-term goal should be to “eliminate the concept of waste by identifying every material as a nutrient for a future circle, thus creating a circular economy and the systems to support it.”
Dr. Richard Mattison, CEO of UK-based Trucost LLC, unveiled the impressive results of a recent study titled “Scaling Sustainable Plastics: Solutions to Drive Plastics Towards a Circular Economy.” In it, Trucost suggests that companies using sustainable plastics simply by expanding initiatives such as Dell Inc.’s closed-loop computer recycling project and use of Algix LLC’s algae-based, low-carbon bioplastic Solaplast, across their respective industries, could deliver USD 3.5 billion in environmental savings. This new net-benefit analysis offers a mind-set change in how managers make long-term decisions on their sustainability programs, putting value on positive externalities which benefit the company, employees, communities and customers they serve.
Kim Siu, General Manager of marketing for A.S. Watsons, outlined how his firm moved from zero to 100% recycled PET material for Watsons Water bottles in Hong Kong in 2015, saving 75 million bottles from the waste stream as a result, and creating a large demand for recycled PET material from the region.
Steve Davies, Director of Public Affairs, NatureWorks, and Dr. Lars Boerger,Vice Director, Head of Global Marketing – Biodegradable Polymers at BASF, both spoke on the Myths, Realities and Opportunities associated with bioplastics, and how they can soon be created directly from CO2 , and also be designed to be recycled, or composted, depending on the application. Material prices are now also becoming competitive with plastics made from oil (and linked to oil prices), due to economies of scale and increasing demand from users.
Some of Plasticity’s attendees then also participated the following day in an interactive, green-design workshop hosted by CBi China Bridge, Successful Design Organization and Green Initiatives, in which teams brainstormed about possible solutions to packaging and products that fit into a circular economy with resource/material recovery along the way.
The next Plasticity Forum will take place on September 21, 2016 in London, as part of the London Design Festival.
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