PlasticsEurope cautiously optimistic about 2012

Charlotte Eyre

Published: January 9, 2012 6:00 am ET

Related to this story

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

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

Ferro sells another piece of its plastics business

December 19, 2014 3:33 pm ET

Ferro Corp. has sold its North American polymer additives business to a private equity firm for $154 million in cash.    More

Image

Judge limits scope of jury verdict against JM Eagle

December 19, 2014 2:30 pm ET

A federal judge in Los Angeles said Dec. 18 that last year's jury verdict issued against J-M Manufacturing Co. — now JM Eagle — for...    More

Image

The return of HPM's big presses

December 19, 2014 11:47 am ET

HPM is back in big injection molding machines.    More

Image

Antimicrobial polymers firm TiFiber launching pilot production in Ark.

December 19, 2014 10:58 am ET

TiFiber Inc., which makes synthetic compounds to control dangerous microorganisms, will locate a pilot production facility and its future company...    More

Smithers Group relocating some jobs to Ohio

December 19, 2014 10:05 am ET

Smithers Group will relocate its North American Information business unit from Portland, Maine, to Akron, Ohio, and as a result will move more than 20...    More

Market Reports

Flexible Packaging Trends in North America

Our latest RESEARCH report examines trends in FLEXIBLE PACKAGING impacting the North American market including a review of economic conditions, key drivers of growth, materials pricing, M&A activity, sustainability challenges and the outlook for 2015.

Learn more

Plastics in Brazil - State of the Industry Report

This in-depth report examines the Brazilian plastics industry from a historical and geographical context. Our analysts provide insight on economic trends and forecasts, growing manufacturing sectors that utilize plastics, private investment opportunities, market environment challenges, and innovations in R&D.

Data tables and charts on producer prices, trade, plastics production and end market indicators is also included.

Learn more

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

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

October 27, 2015 - October 29, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - New York - 2015

More Events