World Resources Forum: are plastics the sustainable material of the future?


Which material, due to its versatility and valuable properties, is indispensable for successfully tackling many societal challenges and kick-starting the circular economy? The answer? Plastics are the sustainable materials of the future, but then recycling rates must increase and the issue of plastic waste must be tackled decisively. That was the message today at the World Resources Forum in Antwerp, one of the world's leading conferences on circular economy and sustainable materials management.

World Resources Forum 2019 Antwerp

essenscia PolyMatters, the plastics division of the chemistry and life sciences sector federation, and Catalisti, the chemistry and plastics innovation cluster, demonstrated the sustainable future of plastics during a workshop at the World Resources Forum today. In doing so, sector companies showed with practical examples how they are getting started with circular plastics. 
Together with Ghent University, Indaver gave an insight into the promising possibilities of chemical recycling. Jindal focused on the importance of considering optimal recyclability of packaging already in the design phase. Total is building an innovation platform for the high-quality recycling of polystyrene, one of the most widely used plastics.

"We cannot deny that plastics today struggle with a negative image. For example, the 'plastic soup' in the ocean is indeed an unacceptable problem that urgently needs to be addressed. Everyone agrees on that and the plastics industry is also taking responsibility for it," says Saskia Walraedt, director essenscia PolyMatters. "On the other hand, it is hard to imagine life without plastics. It is a very diverse and valuable material that helps make our society more sustainable in many different applications. This added value of plastics too often remains underexposed. There is a need for a serene debate in which facts and figures prevail over superficial conclusions."