Humankind is facing serious global challenges, from climate change to digitisation, and these are the result of human activities. It is our responsibility to control this development with sustainable, pioneering solutions in order to ensure that our planet will remain a hospitable and habitable place for generations to come. The international plastics and rubber industry that will meet at Messe Düsseldorf’s exhibition centre for K 2019 in October next year is well aware of its responsibility and will address the issues with the seriousness they deserve.
Climate and environmental protection, food and a supply of clean water are among the most important and challenging issues faced by humankind. Tackling them will require vigour and sustainable strategies that also take a critical look at consumer behaviour. Scientists have found that in 2018, we had completely used up the estimated annual share of the earth’s available resources by 1 August of that year, and that we reach the so-called “earth overshoot day” sooner every year.
In order to avoid restrictive measures that would infringe on individual freedom and the right for self-expression, we must find an increasing number of sustainable solutions that can improve the future. More than ever, low-emission, energy-efficient methods and technologies are in high demand, as are smart, high-performance materials that are perfectly adaptable to the application in hand without placing a burden on the environment.
In this context, polymer materials make a valuable, pioneering contribution. Already, they have proved their worth in virtually all areas of application, from packaging and food conservation to environmentally friendly electricity generation and traffic-emission reduction. Plastics and rubber are prerequisite for many modern applications.
Yet, polymer materials also present us with major challengess – and not simply because of the problem of their disposal after use. Plastics and rubber are valuable materials, which can be produced in a sustainable way and, ideally, should be reintroduced into the production cycle, i.e. be reused to make high-quality products. This requires a certain type of material design, which guarantees a high recycling quota and a maximum recovery of high-quality recyclable constituents.
The plastics and rubber industry are addressing these aspects and are offering interesting solutions. This is also shown by a current survey on the material stream situation for plastics in German: “Stoffstrombild Kunststoffe in Deutschland 2018”, conducted by the plastics associations PlasticsEurope and its partners, which proves that recyclable polymer materials are becoming an increasingly popular alternative and have emerged as an important starter material for new plastics products.
The K 2019, which will take place from 16 until 23 October, will show the potential, opportunities and what the industry is currently working on in cooperation with a variety of institutes. Become a witness, take part in this event and see for yourself how the industry is writing history.