Friday, April 12, 2024

VDMA’s Mumbai conference forecasts a boost for circular economy in 2025

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In Mumbai, a one-day conference hosted by VDMA – the German association of mechanical and plant engineering companies – successfully convened representatives from top-tier consumer brands, converters, recycling technology, and machine manufacturers. The central theme of the conference revolved around the burgeoning concept of the circular economy, a pivotal response to the global challenges posed by environmental issues, particularly those tied to plastic packaging.

The inaugural session of the day took a deep dive into sustainability, where prominent voices from industry leaders such as Kellogg’s, Pureplay Skin Sciences, and L’Oreal took center stage to discuss a greener future. Swaran Singh Grover of Kellogg’s shed light on the innovative Kellogg’s Green Horizon initiative, while Sridhar J of Pureplay Skin Sciences provided insights into the circular economy, focusing on aspects related to packaging, design, and technology.

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During the conference, Manish Patil from L’Oreal shared insights into his company’s vision for sustainable packaging, highlighting significant milestones in achieving initial goals. He also discussed the tools employed to measure progressive innovations and commitments towards sustainability and recyclability. Patil concluded his presentation by calling for widespread cooperation and collaboration within the industry.

The conference proceeded to delve into the practical aspects of circularity, with two parallel tracks dedicated to exploring plastic waste management and the processing of regranulates. In the first track, specialists addressed the challenge of plastic waste, engaging in discussions about inventive solutions for its collection, handling, and recycling. Cutting-edge technologies for processing PET bottles, efficient material handling systems, advanced washing techniques, and sophisticated sorting methods were all featured, providing a comprehensive roadmap for addressing the escalating issue of plastic waste.

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Simultaneously, the second track delved into the realm of regranulates. Presenters from Huhtamaki, Hosokawa Alpine, and Reifenhauser unveiled their recent breakthroughs in circularity specifically related to flexible packaging and PCR blown films. Through their presentations, they illustrated the considerable potential of these technologies in establishing closed-loop systems within the industry.

Intricate processes of regranulation and processing were also discussed during the event, featuring expertise from Banyan Nation Recycling, Coperion, EREMA Group, KraussMaffel, and Arburg/Unimark Hi-Tech Solutions. These experts shared valuable insights into techniques for regranulating PET and various other plastics. The presentations also highlighted innovative extrusion technologies designed for producing high-quality compounds from recycled materials.

Furthermore, the potential of injection molding solutions for circular economy applications captured attention, painting a vivid picture of a future where sustainable products are not only conceivable but also readily achievable.

A notable insight emerged from Rashi Agrawal of Banyan Nation when addressing a query about scaling up India’s plastic packaging recycling industry. She mentioned that more brands needed to catch up with the use of recycled resins that could be utilized laterally. She emphasized the importance for brands to comprehend the issues. Additionally, she suggested that the recycling industry might experience a boost from upcoming regulations and compliances, expected to have a more profound impact in 2024 and 2025. “On our end, we are expanding and have successfully persuaded some leading brands eager to fulfill their stated commitments. Remarkably, we are even observing the return of some containers containing our recycled resins for the third or fourth time,” she concluded.

Manash Das
Manash Das
Manash Das is associate editor at The Packman. He has been contributing editorially to The Packman since 2016.

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