PlasticsEurope cautiously optimistic about 2012

Charlotte Eyre

Published: January 9, 2012 6:00 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Materials, Public Policy, Suppliers, Sustainability, Automotive, Construction

BRUSSELS (Jan. 9, 1:10 p.m. ET) — PlasticsEurope director Wilfried Haensel says there are still opportunities for the region’s plastics industry, despite all the ongoing economic uncertainties facing the Eurozone.

This year has brought the industry back from the lowest point of the crisis and we are back to the same level of manufacturing as 2005. However, it is not back to pre-crisis levels and still needs to grow 10 percent, which is obviously relevant to next year, he said in an exclusive interview with European Plastics News.

“Looking at 2012, we need to think: ‘Can we grow 10 percent or not? Is this a double dip recession? A rebound?’” he said. “Our first assessment is that recovery will take longer than the optimists first thought, but there are significant opportunities.”

Haensel is keen to stress the importance of sustainability initiatives in the plastics sector, which he says can be financially as well as environmentally beneficial.

“This duo - the environment and the economy - will be the driving force next year,” he said. “Governments will look to reduce CO2 emissions and energy use, both to help the environment and bring down costs.”

Two areas of note where plastics will play a key role are housing and automotive, he added.

In Europe, a massive amount of total energy consumption goes into heating houses - more than 40 percent, he pointed out. Plastics companies will therefore benefit from huge efforts to insulate homes. And in automotive, plastics can help with lightweighting, as well as developing electric cars.

“Remember with electric cars there are different physical challenges for the materials as well as the design, and plastics will play a key role,” he said.

Looking at the other side of the coin, however, the industry must also ensure that consumers accept plastics and understand how they can help with environmental problems to ensure industry growth, said Haensel.

The same goes for safety concerns, for example, the public’s perception of use of Bisphenol A, he added.

“We want to base safety standards on science and need to stick to these principles,” he said. “Sometimes we see people argue on emotional grounds but as an industry we have to stick to scientific evidence. Can we give people the confidence to trust us? We have to earn this trust and still have a long way to go.”

In terms of region, Haensel said that consumption is higher in Western Europe but growth rates are higher in the east.

However, all European countries continue to waste plastic resources, both in the East and the West, he added.

“Some European countries send 80 percent of waste to landfill and we need to reduce this to 0 percent by 2020,” he said. “This is especially important in light of the economic crisis. At the moment 8 billion euros is wasted every year in Europe by discarding plastics in landfill. If allowed to develop, recycling as an industry will grow; thus, zero landfill is an economic stimulus packaging with significant ecological benefits.”

However, he indicated that political decisions will play a very important part in what will happen to the plastics industry.

“Provided the political environment doesn’t worsen dramatically, I am confident we will see further growth,” he said. “Policy makers will determine the future of our industry next year.”


Comments

PlasticsEurope cautiously optimistic about 2012

Charlotte Eyre

Published: January 9, 2012 6:00 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

FTC warns bag makers to take care before making biodegradeability claims

October 23, 2014 12:30 pm ET

Makers of oxodegradable or oxo-biodegradable plastic bags should consider themselves on notice, according to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.    More

Image

Westlake adding ethylene capacity in Louisiana

October 23, 2014 9:54 pm ET

Westlake Chemical Corp. will add 250 million pounds of annual ethane-based ethylene capacity as part of a $330 million expansion project in Lake...    More

Image

PolyOne increases quarterly profits despite falling sales

October 23, 2014 4:55 pm ET

North American compounding leader PolyOne Corp. saw its third-quarter profit increase, even as sales fell vs. the year-ago period.    More

Image

Toyoda Gosei's growth strategy places a big focus on North America

October 23, 2014 1:21 pm ET

Sometimes, knowing your weaknesses is just as important as knowing your strengths. And if 2014 is any indication, automotive supplier Toyoda Gosei Co....    More

Image

Geist Plastics changes name to Lincoln Plastics

October 23, 2014 12:31 pm ET

Custom profile extruder Geist Plastics Inc. is changing its name to Lincoln Plastics, the company announced Oct. 23.    More

Market Reports

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Plastics in Mexico - State of the Industry Report

This report analyzes the $20 million dollar plastics industry in Mexico including sales of machinery & equipment, resins and finished products.

Our analysts provide insight on business trends, foreign investment, top end markets and plastics processing activity. The report also provides important data on exports, production, employment and value of plastics products manufactured.

Learn more

Plastics Caps & Closures Market Report

The annual recap of top trends and future outlook for the plastics caps & closures market features interviews with industry thought leaders and Bill Wood’s economic forecast of trends in growing end markets. You will also gain insight on trends in caps design, materials, machinery, molds & tooling and reviews of mergers & acquisitions.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

More Events