Opportunities in recycling and smart packaging
Accounting for 40% of the Turkish plastics industry and 70% of its exports, packaging plays a large part in guiding plastics out of the turbulent waters of additional taxation and bans. Developments in the packaging industry impact everyone from manufacturer to feedstock supplier, machine operator and distributor, yet each threat gives rise to a new opportunity. At this year's International Plastic Packaging Congress, PAGEV enabled the discussion of current threats and opportunities in the industry. The Congress began with introductory remarks by PAGEV Chair Yavuz Eroğlu and continued with the leading names in the industry.
The Turkish Plastics Foundation (PAGEV) held its sixth “International Plastic Packaging Congress" on October 22, 2019 at the Istanbul Swissotel the Bosphorus. Subject matter experts, industry representatives and academics convened around the theme of "Current Threats and Opportunities in Plastic Packaging". Additional taxes and bans appear to be the greatest threats to the industry, giving rise to opportunities such as sustainability, recycling, and smart packaging.
The anti-plastic winds that sweep Europe are being felt in Turkey too. European Commission Policy Officer Werner Bosmans gave firsthand information about plastics being a hot discussion topic in Europe. The 6th PAGEV International Plastic Packaging Congress featured distinguished speakers such as EuPC Managing Director Alexander Dangis, PlasticsEurope Regional Director Giuseppe Riva and INEOS Styrolution Director of Global Strategy Johannes Musseleck, who joined PAGEV Chair Yavuz Eroğlu in a panel discussion on “Circular Economy and Zero Waste”.
Another keynote speaker was Yoav Hoshen, Co-Founder and Senior Vice President of Water.io, known for creating IoT Smart Packaging as one of the best applications of digital packaging in the world. Smart packaging offers many solutions that make people's lives easier through mobile applications and the internet. Water.IO’s reusable water bottles are equipped with smart caps that let you track how much water you need to drink for the rest of the day on your phone. The smart cap also reminds you to take a drink of water. Yoav Hoshen gave examples to how packaging was becoming smarter, and provided a glimpse into what we might expect in the future.
Leading brands like Unilever, Coca-Cola and Danone shared their sustainability approaches and expectations from packaging with the attendees of the Congress.
The plastics industry will grow with sustainable products
In the introductory remarks to the Congress, PAGEV Chair Yavuz Eroğlu said, “The plastics industry of Turkey is a great contributor to the national economy with 35 billion dollars in revenue and 12 billion dollars in exports. One of the largest subsectors in the industry is packaging, which accounts for 40% of production and 70% of exports. Looking into figures, we see that 3.6 million tons of plastics worth 12 billion dollars were produced in 2018. In the first half of 2019, plastic packaging production declined by 14% by weight compared to the same period previous year to 1.7 million tons, and 21% by value to 5.4 billion dollars. According to our forecasts, production volume will drop by 7% to 3.4 million tons, and production value will decrease by 13% to 10.5 billion US dollars by the end of the year. The export growth of the industry is also slumping. Last year, we exported 2.6 billion dollars of plastic packaging. In the first half of this year, no increase was recorded in comparison to the same period in 2018. The industry's exports for the first 6 months stagnated at 1.3 billion dollars. Of course, we believe this to be temporary. Plastic is an indispensable material. This will ensure that the plastics industry and the plastic packaging sector will continue to grow. As we always say, plastics have no place in nature, but plenty of place in our lives. The industry will develop with new alternatives. Instead of the one-way street of make-sell-consume-dispose, we are transitioning to a circular approach of make-sell-consume-recycle-remake. The plastics industry is gearing for this revolutionary new approach. Plastic packaging will prevent food waste, contribute to the national economy, and achieve impressive growth. The Zero Waste Project in particular will be a boost to the recycling industry in Turkey. The plastics industry will succeed in environmental protection and economic development at once with sustainable products. We will keep growing while we keep a watchful eye over the environment.”
Organized by Packaging Waste Authorized Institution PAGÇEV and held in association with TOBB Plastics, Rubber and Composites Industry Assembly, the Congress was proudly sponsored by Akay Stand, Işık Plastik, Sem Plastik, Tesla Plastik, TSP Makine, Üner Plastik and Recycling Industry magazine.