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

Study: 100 times less plastic than expected polluting ocean surface

July 23, 2014 3:46 pm ET

There's as much as 100 times less plastic floating on surface of the world's oceans than would be expected given the mushrooming use of the material...    More

Image

Molder provides quality parts and quality work for disabled adults

July 23, 2014 2:40 pm ET

Coarc Manufacturing Inc. does injection molding, assembly and all of the work of traditional manufacturer, but it also serves as part of Coarc Inc. a ...    More

Image

Asia to remain chemical giant but US shale will bring competition

July 23, 2014 1:00 pm ET

A new IHS Chemical report on global spending for chemical production predicts capacity additions will peak in 2014 at $120 billion and then will...    More

Image

DuPont quarterly sales drop, income rises

July 23, 2014 12:46 pm ET

DuPont Co.'s sales and net income experienced slight changes for the second quarter 2014, as operating earnings dropped to $1.17 per share in the...    More

OSHA probes alleged asthma link to Lear's Selma, Ala., plant

July 23, 2014 11:58 am ET

U.S. foam manufacturer Renosol Seating LLC is being investigated following allegations its workers are at risk of asthma from TDI exposure at its plan...    More

Market Reports

Injection Molders Market Report & Ranking 2014

This special package contains our 132-page 2014 Market Report on the Injection Molding segment and our exclusive 2014 RANKINGS database of 500+ Injection Molders for a discounted package price.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Market Review & Outlook 2014

This special report from Plastics News examines the North American plastics recycling industry and provides insight into indicators that impact market viability, including Resin pricing trends for virgin and recycled market material and historical Resin production trends for post- consumer and industrial waste.

Learn more

Shale Gas Market - Analysis of North American Region

This report highlights the impact of shale-based natural gas on the North American plastics market and features an in-depth analysis of production trends in the United States during 2013 and a forecast for 2014 and beyond.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

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

More Events