The Circular Economy for plastics is moving forward in Europe, but challenges remain.
For the first time in recent memory, the AMI Thin Wall Packaging conference did not contain a single paper on coffee capsules. Perhaps this is because the consultancy has established a stand-alone conference to monitor the ubiquitous and troublesome pods (scheduled next in the US in Atlanta in March). There is still plenty of thermoforming in this sector, however, as the recent expansion of Phoenix Packaging in Virginia suggests. This year’s conference in Cologne, Germany featured a heavy focus on the circular economy and what it means for the plastics industry. To be sure, there are both opportunities and threats. But after two days of talks and debate, it became evident that the circular economy is not a natural phenomenon. Even as it gains momentum, it will require sustained, global efforts to truly disrupt the seemingly immovable forces of consumer demand and market capitalism.