Plasticity forum to focus on reducing plastics waste

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Plasticity Forums will focus on plastic pollution, recycling, waste streams and related topics on April 21 in Dallas and May 9 in Anaheim, Calif. At least a dozen presentations are planned at each sustainability oriented event.

"Society is facing a great challenge," said one of the speakers, Trish Hyde, CEO of the Sydney-based Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation Ltd., a sustainable packaging initiative.

"We know that plastics play an important role in everyday life from contact lens to clothes to product protecting packaging," she said via email. "What we don't know is how to be completely sustainable with plastics to prevent the marine degradation that we have today."

Hyde views the Plasticity Forum as a way "to share knowledge and insights into achieving sustainability. It approaches the issue from a collaborative viewpoint so that we can all — industry, community and governments — play a role in finding the ways forward."

Another presenter, Libby Bernick, said in a statement: "Plastic offers many environmental benefits such as reducing carbon emissions due to its lighter weight compared to alternatives. However, there are also downsides including pollution by plastic waste — especially in the ocean."

Bernick is the New York-based global head of corporate business for the Trucost part of the S&P Dow Jones Indices division of S&P Global Inc.

"Trucost's environmental data and analytics provides insights that can help companies develop more sustainable plastics," she noted.

Another speaker, Edward Kosior, managing director of London-based plastics recycling consultancy Nextek Ltd., said: "Every plastic item can have a circular destiny; we just have to imagine it — and then do it."

He added via email: "Plastics are created from the imagination of chemists, engineers and designers from the time they are manufactured as granules to when they are sold as a product that makes an impact on our lives. We have the enormous opportunity and, indeed, responsibility to make sure that this creativity also encompasses the way these products will end up after being used. Every item can have a circular destiny.

"It must start with the design of every package given the huge volume and short life," Kosior said. "We know how to do it, and there is no excuse for any future products not having the benefit of our imagination."

Previous Plasticity Forums took place in Rio de Janeiro in 2012, Hong Kong in 2013, New York in 2014, Cascais, Portugal ,in 2015 and Shanghai and London in 2016.

The Dallas event occurs in the Fair Park building formerly housing The Women's Museum and during the April 21-23 Earth Day Texas events.

The Anaheim symposium takes place in the Hilton Hotel during May 8-10 Antec technical conference of the Society of Plastics Engineers in the adjacent convention center.

Environmental advocate Doug Woodring founded and is managing director of the Plasticity Forum. Robert Grace, president of R.C. Grace LLC, is the forum moderator.