Strategy for PET in the Circular Economy

Strategy for PET in the Circular… On 7 and 8 February, more than 200 delegates from the entire PET value chain from Europe and beyond gathered in Brussels for the annual Petcore Europe Conference 2018.

Under the theme “Strategy for PET in the Circular Economy”, the complete industry shared perspectives and strategies for a succesful future. From PET resin producers, masterbatch producers, packaging designers and manufacturers, equipment manufacturers, label producers to major brand owners, EPR schemes, waste management organisations, recyclers, waste sorting and recycling machinery manufacturers - the entire value chain was represented. Additionally, speakers from the European Commission (DG GROW), the Ellen MacArthur Foundation as well as PCI Wood Mackenzie shared their thoughts on the PET market as well as the plastics industry in the European Circular Economy.

"Petcore Europe brings together the entire PET value chain. The strenght of the organisation is the engagement of its members, which are all participating actively in the working groups and other projects", emphasised Christian Crepet, Executive Director of Petcore Europe, when opening the conference on Wednesday, 7 February.

"This engagement, in combination with Petcore Europe's commitment to improving the Circular Economy, is a great value for the entire industry. Petcore Europe's growth over the past years is remarkable. Every year the association can count on more and more members", added Paola Arlotti, President of Petcore Europe, before welcoming the first speaker on the stage.

Day 1 - PET Business & Strategy

The focus of the first conference day was to set the agenda with an overview of the latest PET market, collection & recycling rates. Helen McGenough from PCI Wood Mackenzie gave an overview about the 2016 PET collection and recycling rates as well as the key drivers of the market. According to her "economics is still a key driver of the PET market, however, sustainability is moving up the agenda." Alessandra Funcia, Head of Marketing at Sukano, presented in addition the two big working groups of Petcore Europe: PET Thermoforms and Opaque & Difficult to recycle PET containers.

After this introduction, experts from the PET value chain gave a detailed market overview. First, Antonello Ciotti, President of CPME, spoke about the perspectives of the European PET manufacturers. According to him, "the Circular Economy Directive requires a major modification in the actual packaging chain. That is why CPME members are introducing and supporting innovative and sustainable packaging solutions in PET." Antonello was followed by representatives from the PET converting industry. First, Ana Fernandez from Klöckner Pentaplast stressed the importance of sustainability when it comes to PET thermoforms: "We need to design packaging for the circular economy. PET has an excellent environmental profile due to its lightweight and recyclability." Ana also emphasised that "end-users have to be informed in a better way since they represent the first step of recycling." Paulo Correia, CTO at Logoplaste fully agreed with Ana during his presentation on PET bottles. For Paulo "design for recycling is key in a circular economy".

At the end of day 1, Casper van den Dungen and Herbert Snell from Plastics Recyclers Europe (PRE) gave an outlook on PET recycling. The two experts emphasised the importance of optimising the value of collectables. To achieve this optimisation PRE will focus on collecting, sorting and recycling standards. Casper ended the presentation with a call to the entire industry: "Don't ask what PET can do for you but ask what you can do for PET."

Before the networking evening completed the first successful conference day, Petcore Europe announced its new Plastic Aerosol Recycling Special Industry Group (SiG) in order to anticipate the need to recycle higher amounts of plastic aerosols.