The industry takes a step forward at Plasticity — now what's next?

By Don Loepp
Editor

Published: August 6, 2014 9:49 am ET
Updated: August 6, 2014 9:52 am ET

Image By: Rich Williams

The Plasticity Forum, held June 24 in New York, was a promising step forward for the plastics industry.

The question now: What’s the next step? Who’s taking the lead to make sure that the debate about the sustainability of plastics does not continue to just be a fight against product bans and taxes?

The conference brought together industry leaders (both the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. and the American Chemistry Council were represented), entrepreneurs and environmentalists to discuss the future of plastics. The emphasis was on treating plastic as a resource, not as trash or litter.

Attendees included innovative thinkers who have put significant effort into coming up with alternative uses for plastic. People like Arthur Huang, co-founder and managing director of Miniwiz, a Taipei, Taiwan-based company dedicated to upcycling trash into high-performance and low-carbon materials suitable for uses ranging from buildings to consumer products.

And William McDonough, an architect and author of Cradle to Cradle, who has made a name for himself by repurposing older buildings and maximizing their sustainable benefits.

Plus Monique Maissan, CEO and founder of Waste2Wear, a company that recycles 100 percent post-consumer plastic bottles into eco-friendly fabrics.

Not to mention our old friend Michael Biddle, the founder of MBA Polymers Inc., who has spent most of his career proving that durable, difficult-to-recycle plastics can be retrieved and reprocessed economically.

Loepp

This was the third-annual Plasticity — the first two were held in Rio de Janeiro and Hong Kong. The event is organized by the Ocean Recovery Alliance and the Republic of Everyone, and has a goal of bringing together leaders to collaborate and to help scale up solutions that are coming to market, and to showcase some of the best ideas.

Biddle told the group that “there’s money to be made” in plastic waste, and that should be enough to get everyone’s attention. That’s really the key of making plastics more sustainable.

We know plastics have a great story to tell on things like carbon footprint and energy savings. But end-of-life issues will persist as long as plastics are such a visible problem in litter and marine debris, and for as long as recycling rates for plastics plod along at pedestrian rates.

I know that it’s not going to be possible to recycle all plastics — or even all single-use plastics. In some cases, it just doesn’t make sense. But there’s so much low-hanging fruit!

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, expanding state container deposit programs is an easy first step that the plastics industry should be behind 100 percent.

Loepp is editor of Plastics News and author of “The Plastics Blog.


Comments

The industry takes a step forward at Plasticity — now what's next?

By Don Loepp
Editor

Published: August 6, 2014 9:49 am ET
Updated: August 6, 2014 9:52 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Toasting the best and worst of 2014

December 17, 2014 6:00 am ET

The plastics industry offered some amusing distractions too, but maybe you were too busy actually working to notice. That's OK, we keep track. Ladies ...    More

Image

Plastimagen highlights Mexican success

December 12, 2014 11:28 am ET

The dust has settled. The exhibitors and public have gone home. But Plastimagen México 2014, the 19th edition of the show first held in the Mexican...    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 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 billion 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

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