What is the role of plastics in a Circular Economy?  Why is innovation so important for the transition towards a resource efficient Europe? What is full life cycle thinking?  

These and other equally challenging questions were on the agenda of the event "Innovation with plastics for a circular and resource efficient Europe”, organized by PlasticsEurope. The event took place on 18 September in Brussels and gathered more than 100 attendees, including policy and decision makers, representatives from the plastics manufacturing, converting and recycling industry, NGOs, media, science and academia to discuss the role of plastics in a resource efficient circular economy.   

The new President of PlasticsEurope, Mr Daniele Ferrari said: "The European plastics industry enables our society to enjoy a higher quality of life while fostering innovation, facilitating resource efficiency and climate protection. The upcoming Strategy on Plastics is a unique opportunity for Europe to recognize such a role and help our industry contribute even further to address global challenges.”   

20170919 ado_lõhmus (1).jpg"We need urgently to adopt a more sustainable, more resource-efficient and more climate-resilient economic model ", said Ado Lõhmus, Deputy Secretary General at the Environmental Management Department of Estonia, speaking as representative of the Estonian EU Council Presidency. "To this aim, we need innovative smart solutions and initiatives that employ new business models and reduce environmental impacts of production and consumption. Action-oriented Estonian Presidency facilitates these discussions under eco-innovation priority topic”. 

20170919 charlina_vitcheva (1).jpgCharlina Vitcheva, Deputy Director-General at the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, stated that "Innovation plays a key role in fostering economic growth and prosperity in Europe. It is a building block that contributes to a sustainable and competitive Europe. For innovation to happen, we need the cooperation of all stakeholders in order to move towards a circular and resource efficient economy”.   

The conference served as a platform to discuss PlasticsEurope’s views on the plastics strategy, which is the subject of the upcoming EC conference on 26 September.   

The event hosted the presentation of the second European Plastics Innovation Awards (EPIA), organised in collaboration with the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE), during which 10 companies were awarded with 11 prizes in the following categories: 

  • Best Plastic Application Design: 
    Winner: SABIC – 3D printed Aircraft Seat 
    Runner-up: Borealis Polymers N.V. – The Full PE Laminate
  • Intelligent and Smart Plastics Winner:
    SABIC – Thin 3D In-Mold HMI 
  • Material Innovation: 
    Winner: LyondellBasell – Koattro KT MR 05 – a polymer with "self-healing” properties Runner-up: Total Research & Technology Feluy – Polyethylene RPE 6306 
  • Hybrid Product:
    Winner: EMS-CHEMIE AG – PROCLINE LITE BOOT (Ultralight ski alpinism boot by Arc’terix, Amer Sports group)
  • Best Application for Enhanced Sustainability: 
    Winner: TEXYLOOP – Texyloop Green Roof 
    Runner-up: Braskem Europe GmbH – new material VA4018R 
  • Best Lightweight Innovation: 
    Winner:  F.S. Fehrer Automotive GmbH - Soft Look Roof (Smart Fortwo C453) 
    Runner-up: Covestro Deutschland AG - Laptop "A” Cover: Ultra-Thin, Lightweight, Polycarbonate-based Carbon Fiber Composite 
  • New Surfaces for Plastics Parts:
    Winner: Dow Europe GmbH (Switzerland) - POUCHUG® Sensory Packaging Technology 

20170919 epia_awards (1).jpgFrom left to right: Best Application for Enhanced Sustainability (winner): Jacques De Gerlache, Manager Greenfacts/Serge-Ferrari; Best Lightweight Innovation (runner-up):Michael Schmidt, Co-CEO Global Polycarbonate Composites Business & Managing Director Covestro Thermoplast Composite GmbH; Best Application for Enhanced Sustainability (runner-up): Henri Colens, Public Affairs Manager, Braskem Europe; Material Innovation (runner-up): Herman Van Roost, Refining & Petrochemicals – Polymers Business Development Manager Recycling, Total; Intelligent and Smart Plastics (runner-up): Luc Govaerts, SABIC; Best Plastic Application Design (winner): Rudy Miller, SABIC; New Surfaces for Plastics Parts (winner): Carolina Gregorio, Food Packaging Marketing Manager EMEA, Dow Europe; Material Innovation (winner): Michael Berger, Assoc. Director, LyondellBasell; Best Lightweight Innovation (winner): Wolfgang Ehnert, Director Product Development PU Products, F.S. Fehrer; Hybrid Product (winner): Omar Bouguedra, Key Account Manager, EMS-Chemie; Best Plastic Application Design (winner): Eugenio Longo, Head of Sustainability & EU Affairs, Borealis. Finally, Karl-H. Foerster, Executive Director, PlasticsEurope.