Dow executive makes sustainability plea to Europe plastics industry

Author: Linda Naylor


VIENNA (ICIS)--An executive from Dow made an impassioned plea to the plastics industry on Thursday to embrace recycling and sustainability to help protect the sector.

Javier Constante, EMEA commercial vice president for Dow's packaging and speciality plastics business, was speaking at the 7th ICIS Word Polyolefins Conference in Vienna.

“I care about the image of plastics and I care about the environment,” he said. “I may be a polyethylene producer but I am also a human being.

“We want to preserve the world for our children.

“We are under threat,” he continued, “and that is not going to happen in five years, it will be discussed tomorrow. The banning of 10 applications of plastic is going to be discussed in two weeks.

“This industry at this moment is on the TV and news every single day. NGOs are working hard on this and the EU is under pressure to address this problem.

“Is the EU against the industry? No. They understand the value along the chain, they are aware of this, but they need action from our side to help them protect the industry.

“If we want to have a sustainable industry going forward, we need to educate, and the polyeolefins industry is ready to invest.”

He went on to say that inevitable legislation against single-use packaging in particular would eventually affect demand, but the industry must take time to educate, and also invest in recycling.

“We need to design [packaging] for sustainability. If it’s not recyclable and sustainable, it will not survive. If it’s not sustainable we won’t support it.”

“This is our industry, and we need to be ahead of the curve. Everything in Europe is copied by the rest of the world.”

Constante highlighted the work of Plastics Europe, which has made a voluntary commitment to sustainability.

“The European plastics manufacturers are committed to ensure high rates of re-use and recycling with the ambition to reach 60% for plastics packaging by 2030. This will lead to achieve our goal of 100% re-use, recycling and/or recovery of all plastics packaging in the EU-28, Norway and Switzerland by 2040.,” the group said on 16 January.

Increasing re-use and recycling, preventing plastics leakage into the environment and accelerating resource efficiency have become key targets of the group.

The ICIS World Polyolefins conference runs in Vienna on 25-26 April.

Pictured above: Recycling containers in Basel, Switzerland
Source: Michael Peuckert/imageBROKER/REX/Shutterstock