Chicago — The Society of Plastics Engineers is all about innovation. Plastics firms Tupperware Brands Corp. and Solvay Group share that focus.
Officials with all three organizations spoke at Global Plastics Summit 2016, Sept. 28-30 in Chicago. SPE managing director Russ Broome said that plastics will enable new devices such as flexible screens on computers and similar devices like Google Glass. Self-driving cars also create opportunities for more plastics use through weight reduction, he said.
Plastics also are being developed in bicycles that charge a battery as they go and then run on that power. Other potential new plastic applications are shoes that can tie into a mobile device and track steps while providing heat.
Broome added that it's important to find ways to let people know about these new applications.
“There's been a demographic shift,” he said. “Half of the population is now Generation X or baby boomers, and people of all ages use social media.”
Broome added that YouTube now a highly used online search engine, so the plastics industry “needs to get videos of good technology out there.” SPE has had success with its own video campaign and with its Plastivan mobile education unit, which has visited 92 schools and reached more than 35,000 students. The organization has almost 20,000 members worldwide, with a U.S. office is in Bethel, Conn.
Innovation also is at the top of the priority list for Orlando, Fla.-based Tupperware, an iconic producer of plastic containers and related items. New efforts from the firm are focused on food conservation and culinary uses, according to David Kusuma, worldwide vice president of product development and R&D.