The third edition of Swiss Plastics, Switzerland's largest plastics exhibition, took place in Lucerne on January 17-19. In his opening speech, PlasticsEurope's Executive Director Wilfried Haensel insisted on how the worldwide consumption of plastics will continue to rise.
In 1950, only 1.5 million tons of plastics were produced worldwide. Sixty years later, this figure has reached 265 million tonnes thanks to an average annual growth rate of nine percent.
The future holds considerable challenges for society: population growth and demographic change, globalization, urbanization, climate change, resource scarcity, energy supply, global health issues and accelerated technological change are among the most important ones. According to Haensel, the plastics industry has a key role to play in facing these challenges and it will take this role very seriously.
Plastics can offer concrete contributions to tackling issues such as global warming, but they are equally a a success story from a economic perspective. The worldwide production of plastics started growing again only one year after the economic crisis the world experienced. In the years to come, further growth is already expected.
Would it mean that the European plastics industry can rest on its laurels? Not at all, Haensel insisted. The current growth in production largely originates from the Asia-Pacific region, while production and consumption on the "old continent" are rather stable.
Swiss Plastics: PlasticsEurope expects continued growth