What are the companies that put plastic packaging into circulation undertaking to resolve the related problems? Does the answer lie in recycling and closed-loop circulation? And how does one recover plastic waste from the seas? These and other questions will be discussed by the participants in the online talk on the platform "Ihre Chemie" with experts from the consumer goods trade, environmental protection and a technology start-up.
"Ihre Chemie" (Your Chemistry) is an information and dialogue service from "Dialogue with the Chemical Industry", a communication initiative by the German Chemical Industry Association (VCI) and other associations as well as companies in the chemical industry. Their public online events are directed with topical questions at experts from politics, industry and science and to everyone who is interested in these future-oriented questions. On March 1, 2022, "Ihre Chemie" issued invitations to participate in the discussion on the topic of marine plastic, for which, both online and in advance, questions had been directed to the panel. On the panel were Ulrike Sapiro, Chief Sustainability Officer of Henkel AG, Viola Wohlgemuth, expert for consumption and resource protection at Greenpeace, and Clemens Feigl, CEO of the start-up "Everwave", which develops technologies for cleaning seas and rivers. The talk was chaired by Dr. Margit Aufterbeck from the consulting company ifok GmbH. On the question about the causes of the global environmental problem of plastic waste in the seas, the panel was in agreement that they are highly varied and complex. Simply the term "plastic" can refer to many different materials and applications, also including packaging, which can itself be highly diverse. During the discussion, which lasted one and a half hours, the two topics "Discharges of plastic and microplastic into the environment" and "Role of the circular economy for plastics and chemical recycling" were addressed and answered by the panel from the expert’s respective viewpoint. Also covered as possible solutions during the course of the discussion were returnable systems for plastic products, zero-waste and unpacked solutions, the reduction of virgin plastic and the introduction of a plastics tax. The participants also talked about the importance of consumer education and the shaping and efficiency of measures to clean up beaches and oceans. Ms. Sapiro, Ms. Wohlgemuth and Mr. Feigl were in agreement that a global approach is needed to tackle the pollution of the seas by plastic litter, such as the now approved global agreement of the United Nations, which was still at the preparation stage when the experts’ discussion took place. There was also agreement among the experts that plastics must not be demonised as a material but that better use should be made of them, especially at the end of their useful life.
Further information: to the video recording of the experts talk
- Ihre-chemie.de (1.3.2022)
- Photo: unsplash.com (Meeresplastik)