K 2019 underscores its popularity with the global industry by addressing the current challenges in regard to "plastics for sustainable development" and the "circular economy". A special exhibition "Plastics Shape the Future" will see itself as a podium for solutions and answers to current social trends and discussions. Crucial topics will be discussed in detail, including packaging waste, marine litter and climate change on the one hand and resource conservation, energy efficiency and recycling on the other.
The Science Campus of K 2019 stands for the dialogue between science and industry, with sustainability and recycling management also being examined intensively. Last but not least, the joint appearance of VDMA (German Engineering Federation) and its member companies will also be focused this time on the topic of the circular economy.
Almost three years ago – during K 2016 in fact – EuPC, PlasticsEurope and Plastics Recyclers Europe launched the Polyolefin Circular Economy Platform (PCEP). Secretary General Venetia Spencer describes it as a forum for collaboration and action, bringing together everyone active in polyolefins to transform our industry and advance the circular economy.
Spencer said, "Our membership is open to the entire value chain, producers, converters, recyclers, brand owners, retailers, waste management companies and all the remaining actors who interact at any stage of the material cycle." PCEP has pledged to increase by one million tonnes the volume of recycled polyolefin content used in product in Europe. This is the largest polymer pledge made as part of the European Union’s Plastic Pledge campaign, which aims to see 10 million tonnes of recycled content in products in Europe in 2025 through voluntary industry action. "We are also committed to reusing or recycling 60% of collected polyolefin packaging by 2030 and having more than 75% of polyolefin packaging designed for recycling," Spencer added.
In a move that resonated with India, the European Parliament approved the single-use plastics directive in March. It is likely to be implemented across member states by 2021. The rules address the ten most found items on EU beaches. Measures include a ban on selected single-use plastics products for which alternatives exist on the market – cotton bud sticks, cutlery, plates, straws, and stirrers, as well as cups, food and beverage containers made of expanded polystyrene and on all products made of oxo-degradable plastic – plus sticks for balloons. Also included in the Directive is a 90% separate collection target for plastic bottles by 2029 (77% by 2025) and the introduction of design requirements to connect caps to bottles, as well as a target to incorporate 25% of recycled plastic in PET bottles as from 2025 and 30% in all plastic bottles as from 2030.
K was first organised by Messe Düsseldorf in 1952 and takes place every three years. The last K in 2016 saw 3,293 exhibitors from 61 countries on more than 173,000 m² of net exhibition space and 232,053 trade visitors, 71 per cent of whom came from abroad.