Communication as the key to the circular economyThe presentation of selected pioneer projects made it absolutely clear that the plastics chain can only grow through communication. Engel with injection moulding and Haidlmair in the tool making sector, for example, showed that it is not automatically necessary to develop existing products even further in order to use recycled pellets, often all that is needed in the first step is knowledge transfer between producers and recycling specialists. New and further developments by mechanical and tool engineers aim more at increasing process consistency when using recycled pellets in order to use them in an even broader spectrum.
The idea of the LIT Factory, a public 4.0 pilot facility under the leadership of the Linz Institute of Technology (LIT) at the Johannes Kepler University, showed how production could be in the future. Local companies will be able to try out digitalised production technologies in this test lab and develop business models parallel to them.
Exchanging experience today leads to the solutions of tomorrowThe discussion between raw material producers confirmed once again that sustainability is playing an ever increasing role in company visions. The title of this particular discussion was "Circular economy and raw material producers – parallel worlds or a complementary concept?" which enabled participants to outline their own respective strategies for the future. The result: recycling is not a contradiction in terms, it is an asset in raw material production. Sustainable end products call for the know-how of raw material producers in combination with the experience of recycling specialists. The remarks of Plastics Recyclers Europe (PRE) focused on European initiatives such as EuCertPlast and RecyClass which aim to drive uniform quality standards in the use of plastic materials and design for recycling. The European recycling industry can already turn to a wealth of experience in the field of innovative circular economy and has a significant lead as a result, according to Manfred Hackl: "The circular economy is not only an ecological must, it also gives Europe the chance to position itself as a pioneer of the green economy."