Sold-out Success: Petcore Europe Conference 2019 "EU Plastics Strategy 2.0"

In the afternoon session of day two, the focus shifted to trends and solutions in the PET post-consumer collection. First, Gian de Belder, Petcore Europe ODR Working Group Chairman, from Procter & Gamble presented the Holy Grail project on markers and digital watermarks. Gian also gave an interesting overview of the five pillars for a circular economy: design for recycling, access to collection, participation/education, separation and product innovation. Gian was followed by Clarissa Morawski from Reloop, who gave an update about the current developments in deposit collection. Clarissa mentioned that Scotland, Malta, Portugal, Turkey, Romania, Slovakia and England are currently actively working on the implementation of Deposit Return Systems. The last presentation of the collection focused session was held by An Vossen from plarebel and focused on the Belgian PET collection system. According to An, Belgium plans to achieve 90 % of PET collection with curbside collection and improved sorting.

Three presentations focusing on collection and sorting were followed by four presentations about trends in PET trays, textile and ODR recycling. Paolo Glerean (Aliplast) gave an insight in Petcore Europe's PET Thermoforms Recycling Working Group. Paolo stressed the fact that chemical recycling on the one hand, and regional value chain alliances between packaging producers, recyclers and EPR schemes on the other hand, work synergistically to make PET trays truly circular. Paolo was followed by Karla Magruder from Fabrikology who presented the efforts of the textile industry to make polyester circular.

With his second presentation of the day, Gian de Belder presented the work of Petcore Europe's ODR Working Group in detail. Gian gave a summary of the sustainable sleeve and label workshop that Petcore Europe organized in October 2018. An important highlight of his presentation was the announcement of a 3-year temporary endorsement for perforated sleeves on Household and Personal Care (HPC) PET bottles by the European PET Bottle Platform. Following on, Johannes Burghaus, an associate of Gian at Procter & Gamble, shared an update from the PET Aerosol Recycling Special Industry Group that Petcore Europe and FEA are running in collaboration to conclude the session.

Fabrizio Di Gregorio from PRE proceeded with a presentation on design for recycling. He presented RecyClass, an online tool that ranks the recyclability of a plastic package, as well as other Design for Recycling Guidelines such as protocols by European PET Bottle Platform (EPBP) and Petcore Europe PET Thermforms Recycling Working Group.

The last session of this year's Petcore Europe Conference focused on chemical recycling which was generally seen as one of the most important long-term solutions to make PET even more circular. Wim Hoenderdaal from Indorama Ventures Europe kicked-off the session with a general overview and stressed the following points: Chemical recycling will not replace but complement mechanical recycling and will facilitate the recycling of PET thermoforms, opaque bottles and other difficult to recycle PET products.

After Wim's introduction, Martin Stephan from Carbios, Marco Brons from Cumapol, Frederic Favre from IFP Energies Nouvelles and Nelson Switzer from Loop Industries presented their companies' chemical recycling projects in detail and answered the questions from the audience in a panel debate to end a highly successful conference.

The next Petcore Europe Conference will take place in the first quarter of 2020. The exact date and place will be announced in the second half of 2019.

Trends in PET recykling discussion
Trends in PET Recycling Discussion, Credit: HorstWagner.eu

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