Manfred Hackl knows. And so does Gerold Breuer. The plastics industry has to do a better job promoting its environmental efforts and qualities. And it needs to come together to do so, the two men at Erema Group believe.
And so the Ansfelden, Austria-based plastics recycling machinery company is doing just that at this version of the K show.
With a 480-square-meter building erected in the open space near halls 11, 15 and 16, Erema is conducting what it calls the first full-fledged recycling effort on the Düsseldorf show grounds.
Running from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. for each of the show's eight days, the company expects to reprocess about 30 tons of material over the course of K 2016.
“The image of plastics is negative in the world. There is a lot of waste there, and everybody believes our world will be disturbed by plastic. And we have to look toward what the glass industry, the paper and the metal industry has done. They have closed the loop as one integrated industry,” said Hackl, Erema's CEO.
“This is nowadays in plastic not the case. The industry of virgin producers are never thinking about recycling. The converters are never thinking about the recycling. Only the recycler. And the closed loop was not there,' he said.
So Erema is hoping to kick-start those in the industry at the show as well as educators and politicians to start thinking about the importance of more of an integrated approach for the plastics business.
The company is showcasing its Intarema recycling system as part of its Careformance Recycling Center that's in addition to the company's traditional booth space in Hall 9.
Careformance combines the Intarema system with the company's QualityOn package that measures melt volume rates, colour and moisture. Also included is re360, a manufacturing execution system that tracks data and productivity.
The recycling demonstration will handle both flexible and rigid plastics, including waste created at the show. A pouch-making machine that is running a laminate film using Borealis polyethylene will operate in the recycling centre. Output from that machine will then go into the Intarema recycling machine for processing.
Flexibles being recycled include heavily printed as well as metalized films. Post-consumer film flake also is being brought on-site to show the various waste streams the system can handle, the company said.
While limited recycling has taken place at certain booths for short periods of time in the past, Hackl said this is the first time a substantial recycling effort is taking place on the show grounds.
“We want to show what is possible with recycling and with recyclate. Just to show recycling is not a low-grade procedure,” said Breuer, head of marketing and development. “These are great products.”
To prove his point, Breuer tried on a $160 pair of Italian sunglasses that he said are made from recycled fishing net. The glasses are part of an educational display at the recycling center that will highlight just what can be made recycled plastics.
“A very hip product,” he said.
Erema is trying to have in influence on the whole value chain at the show. But it also hopes the center has an impact on students and educators who will come through the building, spurring them to think of the industry more holistically.
Regulators, who some believe are an important part of advancing recycling initiatives, are also a target. A contingency from the European Union is scheduled to come through the facility during the show.