Plastics and Sustainability to be Focus of Seminar at World Petrochemical Conference, March 19-22, 2019, by IHS Markit
Industry leaders from across plastics chain to address plastics bans, the industry’s role in developing solutions to plastics waste, recycling infrastructure and growing consumer activism
HOUSTON (March 11, 2019)–Changing consumer sentiment toward plastics and the need for the plastics and petrochemical industry to help develop systemic, sustainable solutions to address plastics waste, will be an overarching theme of The WPC 2019: The Golden Age of Chemicals: A Question of Sustainability, the world’s premier petrochemical conference, March 19-22, 2019, hosted by global business information provider IHS Markit (Nasdaq: INFO). The event takes place at the Henry B. González Convention Center in San Antonio. The 34th Annual World Petrochemical Conference (WPC) will welcome more than 135 speakers and 1,500 attendees from more than 40 countries.
The issue of sustainability and plastics waste has become so significant to producers and other companies in the value chain that it will also be the focus of a special sustainability seminar on Tuesday, March 19, 2019, during WPC 2019.
Global demand for polyethylene (PE), the world’s most used plastic, has nearly doubled since 1999*. (*According to IHS Markit, global demand for PE was 50 million metric tons (MMT) in 1999, and in 2019 demand is expected to exceed 105 MMT.).
"As more consumers in developing countries such as China and India increase their spending power and join the global economy, we are witnessing truly phenomenal growth in demand for the key plastics that are critical to so many of the products and life essentials we rely on every day, such as cell phones, computers, food and beverage packaging, clothes, cars and even life-saving medical devices,” said Nick Vafiadis, vice president of plastics for IHS Markit. “That consumption growth, though, comes with greater expectations and responsibility, both for plastics producers and consumers. We at IHS Markit are focused on how producers and consumers can work together to address the issues of sustainability and management of plastics recycling, reuse, or waste reduction. This will drive our discussions during the sustainability seminar at WPC.”
The issue of sustainability is perhaps the most critical influencer for the plastics industry, both today, and in the future, Vafiadis said. “Many communities across the globe are exploring bans on plastic bags, but marine waste is an issue that the plastics industry must take a leadership role in addressing because the industry has learned it needs a cooperative, multi-organizational approach that brings all the stakeholders together to solve such a very complex problem. Based on our discussions with industry leaders, that challenge is something they are committed to addressing.”
As announcements of additional polyolefins capacity and images of plastic pollution share the headlines globally, the need for a differentiated and sustainable plastic industry is emerging, IHS Markit said in its recent report on sustainability: Plastics Sustainability - A Sea Change: Plastics Pathway to Sustainability. The transition from a linear (“take-make-dispose”) economy to a circular economy (“recover-innovate-reuse”) represents a shift to ensure industry sustainability and value creation, IHS Markit said.
“In my conversations with the leaders of plastics resins producers and manufacturers, it is clear the plastics industry understands the need to be very proactive in embracing sustainability across the entire supply chain,” Vafiadis said. “This includes leading stakeholder discussions and finding ways to partner with retailers, consumers, recyclers, and even with designers, to plan for second-life uses for products after they are initially consumed.”
The World Petrochemical Conference is the premier annual international gathering of chemical industry leaders, experts, government officials, and policymakers, as well as leaders from key end-use markets and technology innovators. To view the current agenda for The WPC 2019: The Golden Age of Chemicals: A Question of Sustainability, and register for the event or the training workshops please visit WPC 2019.
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