As far as years go, 2020 has definitely been one for the books.
In some ways, it certainly exceeded the expectations we had in January, when we embarked on the whole adventure of launching a new magazine. But of course back then, the world was a whole different place.
We launched Sustainable Plastics this year on 1 February. The idea was to create a platform for a plastics industry striving to reinvent itself. A plastics industry aligned with the ongoing transition towards circularity and a greener world, where concepts such as recycling – mechanical and advanced — or mono-material structures play a dominant role.
Six issues later, it is fair to say that we’ve succeeded in our initial aim. The platform is there and it’s been incredibly exciting to see the market responding with enthusiasm and support. And the good news: in 2021, we’ll be back with six new issues that will all appear in print and online.
However, it has been a far different process than we ever envisioned. With the advent of Covid-19, and the outbreak of the pandemic, suddenly conversations became all about face masks, number of cases, social distancing, lockdowns and working from home. Huge adjustments were required to be made. Single-use plastics, multi-layered plastics: all were back with a vengeance as hygiene and safety concerns overruled all else – or at least, it seemed that way.
As well, this was the year the world went virtual. Travel became impossible. The conferences, trade shows and fairs that the plastics industry has traditionally depended on to keep in touch and up to date on what is happening were, for the most part rigorously cancelled; new formats were experimented with as companies sought alternative ways to maintain contact with the market.
Yet through it all, it’s been heartening to see that the industry has held fast to its sustainability and circularity ambitions. Yes, plastics use has soared; oil prices have plummeted and virgin oil-based plastics became less expensive than recycled materials. But the ambitions have remained intact, with now, too, more and more really big industry players also joining in.
And let's not forget: there is also a certain virtue in going virtual.
That said, I should add that I, for one, am truly excited for this year to be coming to an end - and I am pretty sure most of you would agree.
As from today, we, at Sustainable Plastics, are on our winter break. We’ll be back 4 January 2021, picking up where we left off. In the meantime, stay well and take care!