The K preview press conference in Düsseldorf attracted some 90 journalists from Europe and around the globe. They sought advance information about the K in October with its anticipated innovations and perspectives for the future of the plastics industry. Already now, it is quite clear that the world’s no. 1 trade fair for plastics and rubber will again offer many world premieres, showcasing a wealth of developments, solutions and trends for international trade visitors. However, a clear focus of the K will be once more on topics relating to the circular economy and sustainability.
K 2019 is eagerly awaited by all professionals: What technological developments will be presented? How do existing challenges, such as scarce resources and skills shortages, impact the industry? How does the plastics industry deal with the negative debate in the media and the trend towards more sustainability and new consumer solutions? For the second time since 2016 – the K trade fair takes place every three years in Düsseldorf – the three-day preview for media representatives started with a discussion round with recognised experts who answered the above and similar questions. The panel members came from Messe Düsseldorf, the K supporter organisations from plastics manufacturing, processing and machine building and also from the rubber industry.
Circular economy – a driver of innovation
The debate primarily addressed the guiding topics of K 2019. These include, inter alia, the circular economy, digitalisation and plastics industry 4.0. All actors in the plastics value chain highlighted that the global challenges of our time – e.g. climate change, population growth and progressing urbanisation – can be tackled only with low-emission and energy-saving processes and technologies. Plastics are an important part of the solution. For example, they keep foods durable and fresh in long-distance transport and contribute to the generation of environmentally friendly eco-electricity. Another example is the use of plastics in lightweight construction where they reduce pollutant emissions in road traffic.
The top executives from the K supporter organisations arrived at a near-identical conclusion, emphasising that the correct handling of plastics after their use is another essential aspect. Carelessly disposed packaging has turned into a major environmental problem. Therefore, a functioning circular economy needs to be built and resource management has to improve. Above all, this presupposes cooperation along the entire value chain, ranging from raw material producers and processors to distributors, retailers and recyclers. Dr Rüdiger Baunemann (director of PlasticsEurope Deutschland) underlined the following points:
Mechanical recycling technologies are being further developed, chemical recycling methods are used as additional options, and recycling plastics are increasingly becoming an alternative. The latter are an important raw material for new plastic products. Projects such as Design for Recycling or raising consumer awareness for the correct handling of waste are important cornerstones, in order to fully use the potential of plastics recovery and to thus largely close the carbon cycle.
Plastics shape the future
In hall 6, the special show “Plastics shape the future” with discussion rounds, lecture sessions and exciting guests provides a cross-section of all pioneering and forward-looking topics from the industry – with starting points for solutions and answers to current societal trends and debates. This makes “Plastics shape the future” a magnet for all trade fair visitors. PlasticsEurope Deutschland and Messe Düsseldorf have a lead role in the organisation of the special show.
Here you can find statements from the supporter organisations and exhibitors.