Belgium: Flemish plastics industry implements a European voluntary commitment to reduce its energy consumption

Federplast.be (Belgian association of manufacturers of plastic and rubber articles), Flanders' PlasticVision (Flanders' competence centre for innovation in the plastics and rubber industry) and Sirris (Belgian collective research centre of the technological industries) started the InnEEPlas transformation project as part of the Flanders in Action - New Industrial Policy programme of the regional authorities of Flanders, Belgium. InnEEPlas intends to sensitize and to support the Flemish plastics industry on the implementation of process related energy reducing technologies. The project complements a European voluntary commitment to reduce the energy consumption in the plastics industry by 20%. Through this programme the plastics converting industry confirms its ambition to remain one of the most dynamic SME industry sectors of Flanders.

November 30th, 2011 a voluntary commitment was signed by EuPC, the European organisation of the plastics converting industry. The commitment was part of EUPlastVoltage, an initiative by which the European plastics industry intends to reduce its energy consumption by 20% in 2020. Plastics processing is one of the major European industry sectors representing approximately 50,000 small and medium sized companies, 1.6 million employees and an annual turnover of more than €280 billion. The voluntary long term commitment was co-signed by 8 national plastics industry associations in the Netherlands (NRK), Spain (ANAIP), Hungary (AHPI), Portugal (APIP), United Kingdom (BPF), France (La Plasturgie), Germany (IK) and Belgium (Federplast.be).

The EUPlastVoltage project was based on the knowledge, experiences and "best practices” defined within existing national initiatives such as the Climate Change Agreement of the British Plastics Federation (BPF) and the Meerjarenafspraak of the Dutch plastics and rubber industry association NRK. The EuPlastVoltage initiative has been supported financially by the European Commission as part of its Intelligent Energy Europe programme.

To reach the EUPlastVoltage objectives Flanders' PlasticVision has introduced a project proposal with the Enterprise Flanders agency. The InnEEPlas project - Innovative spearhead technologies for Energy Efficiency in Plastics processing - was one of 18 project proposals which have been granted funding as part of the second project call of the Flanders in Action - New Industrial Policy programme of the Flemish authorities. By means of the InnEEPlas project Flanders' PlasticVision intends to make international ‘best practices' about energy reduction accessible to the plastics converting SME companies, with the support of Federplast.be and Sirris. As energy represents the third cost factor for plastics processing companies, after raw materials and labour costs, achieving excellence in energy management becomes a necessity for Flemish companies to keep their top position in Europe and in the World.

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