Putting out a trade magazine in the summer is always a challenge. August is for many people a month in which to relax and escape from their everyday labours, and to forget about what’s going on in the industry. Although it’s also a time to get caught up, for those who can’t quite let go. And of course, there’s always the rest of us who are still here, holding the fort.
A summer issue, therefore, ideally needs to have something for everyone. And I think we’ve succeeded there, at least. From BEVs to buildings and biodegradability to bag closures, the stories in this edition are therefore a varied lot and illustrative of just how broad the impact of sustainability in the plastics industry is.
Inevitably, one of the topics highlighted is that of the entry into force of the EU’s Single-Use Plastics directive on 3 July. Interestingly, it seemed to happen quite quietly, with no major announcements or campaigns. In fact, the first I noticed about it was that the little spoon that came with the single serve yoghurt cups I sometimes buy was no longer made of plastic, but from bamboo.
However, what’s really important to realise is that the directive’s ban on the 10 single-use plastic items most commonly found on Europe’s beaches – the measure that generated the most publicity - is just the start. There is far more to the new law, and it will ultimately have a far greater impact than many people are aware. We’ve briefly described the main elements of the directive and what this will mean in the future for consumers, packaging manufacturers and even producers of fishing gear.
For a change of pace, our Q&A this time is not with one, but with three company leaders – all women and all from the same company. The three are sisters and together run Kwik Lok, the family business founded by their grandfather.
Kwik Lok produces what is surely one of the best-known but unregarded plastic products on the market. The company makes bag closures: the little plastic clips used to close consumer bag packaging. The sisters have changed the focus of the company in ways that the previous generations of owners could not have conceived. As they said: “We knew we needed to make strides in sustainability as a company, beyond just our products. … How are we going to solve the problem of trash as well as the impact of not only the things we’re producing, but also the production process?”
Elsewhere, much the same thing is being asked, and perhaps nowhere more than in the automotive industry, which is in the throes of its own transition, with battery-powered vehicles leading the charge. And new opportunities are opening up for plastics. Mobility is headed for a new, more sustainable future. And plastics will enable the ride.
This latest issue of Sustainable Plastics is ready for you to download or read on our website. Subscribers will see the print issue delivered straight to their door in just a few days.