Here's what's on the plastics industry's wish list for 2020
It was one hell of a [insert your adjective] year, but one thing you can't say is that it was boring. That was true of the movies—The Irishman! Ford v Ferrari! Once Upon a Time in Hollywood! Parasite!—music—Billie Eilish! Lizzo! Billie Eilish!—and, last but not least, politics—Trump! Brexit! Impeachment!
It was a year to remember for the plastics industry, as well, 2019 being a K year, after all. We had a great time at the show, discovering new products, identifying trends and catching up with folks in the industry from around the world.
But 2019 is winding down and our attention turns to the year ahead, which gave us the idea of asking people associated with the plastics industry what was on their wish list for 2020. Here's what they told us.
A special thanks to all of the folks who shared their 2020 wish lists with PlasticsToday, and now we invite you, dear readers, to share your wishes for the new year in the comments section below. And allow me to take this opportunity to wish each and every one of you a happy new year. Let's hope it's a good one, without any fear, as someone once sang.
Circularity of the economy is a must for the future
“As a materials innovation company, Eastman is working toward creating infinite value from our finite resources as we strive to improve the quality of life globally in a material way. We believe circularity of the economy is a must for the future and that chemical recycling is a critical tool for making that happen. In this arena, our greatest wish for 2020 is that chemical recycling becomes accepted as a legitimate recycling option, facilitated by a mass balance credit approach. As a subset of that, we want to see policies and infrastructure created to drive the collection, aggregation and distribution of plastic waste to companies like ours that can use it right now as a feedstock to create new, circular materials.”
—Mark Costa, Board Chair and CEO, Eastman
We will drive digitalization even further
“Digitalization is paving the way for solving some of the toughest challenges of our time. One important field are the emerging initiatives regarding the circular economy. Only by connecting companies along the value chain, will we be capable of implementing a sustainable recycling network. Digitalization is the enabler of a modern, healthy and eco-friendly life. For 2020, I wish that together, with our customers, we will drive digitalization even further.”
—Dr. Stefan Engleder, CEO, Engel Holding
Plastics is strong
“Plastic bans continue and may be gaining some momentum, but I can’t state the actual effects since much of it is based on emotion and there are hardly any better materials to replace plastics. We see more advances in plastics applications in the medical field that continue to save lives and push life expectancy. It’s too bad the public isn’t learning how plastics are saving lives and contributing to our sustainability. As governments add more bans and brand owners demand recycling, while China isn’t taking our trash, we might start to see the real change that I believe is possible. Landfills are not the answer.
"The U.S. division of Wittmann Battenfeld had a super year. After 12 years of a wonderful economic climb, I don’t expect 2020 growth necessarily, but if we actually do see growth, I will be very pleased.
"If we don’t follow the negative news media, we are still so fortunate here in the United States. Plastics is strong, and we all should be proud. If a partial slow down comes, just maybe we slow the issue we face in not having enough of a technical trained workforce and slow the challenges in such a low unemployment situation (technical unemployment is below 2%!).”
—David Preusse, President, Wittmann Battenfeld USA
Main image: Phunrawin/Adobe Stock