In a video interview posted on the Chinaplas live streaming, Europe’s Association for Plastics and Rubber Manufacturers (EUROMAP) Secretary General, Thorsten Kühmann, provides his insights on the current condition of the plastics industry and the many challenges it faces today.
As Mr. Kühmann puts it: “Our industry is in a good shape. Plastics and rubber machines grew by 7% in 2020. This was a little bit bumpy in the beginning of the year but then it went up with the strong demand coming from medical, packaging and hygiene, and there was an improvement in the automotive industry.”
Looking at Europe’s exports to China, Mr. Kühmann states that there has been good development. While a downturn in February was recorded, the scenario in the market has stabilised following China’s efforts to control the pandemic situation. “Also with view on 2021, we think this will be a very good year so our industry is in a good shape,” Mr. Kühmann said.
Mr. Thorsten Kühmann, Secretary-General, EUROMAP
Overcoming industry challenges
The challenges for the plastics industry need to be overcome as Mr. Kühmann explained. “It is quite obvious: the image is very much under pressure. We’ve got a littering problem worldwide. Some 250 million tonnes of post-consumer plastics are floating around, 77 million tonnes are dumped in the oceans; they’re on land and they are really troubling our environment, and this has to be solved, we have to stop littering,” Mr. Kühmann stressed.
For Mr. Kühmann, the way to go is circular economy. He pointed out that there are two aspects to circular economy. First is to stop littering; the second one is to raise the level of recirculates and bring the recirculates into the loop again by turning them into new products. These fundamentals are expected to help improve the image of plastics globally.
On the role of plastics in climate, Mr. Kühmann cited that lightweight construction in automotive that is, reducing the weight of the car can help reduce fuel consumption thereby cutting CO2 emissions. Another example is in food. As Mr. Kühmann explained, around two-thirds of the foods are lost on the way from the farmers to end consumers, as per World Health Organization figures. “We have to keep in mind that food has a very big carbon footprint. In Europe, one-half of all CO2 emissions go to the account of food production. Now if we can preserve food and package food the right way, we can reduce carbon footprint and that is good for climate.”
In conclusion, Mr. Kühmann expects the plastics industry to remain in good shape but the industry needs to advocate for the attainment of a circular economy and promotion of the beneficial impact of plastics on our climate.
For the live streaming of Chinaplas 2021, visit: www.chinaplasonline.com
For more news and updates on Chinaplas 2021, visit: http://www.industrysourcing.com/client/exhibition/details.html?id=319606
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