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On February 1, 160 delegates from the entire PET value chain from Europe and beyond convened in Brussels for the annual Petcore Europe Conference 2017.

Under the theme “PET 2020 – The future of the PET industry”, the complete industry - from PET resin producers, masterbatch producers, packaging designers and manufacturers, equipment manufacturers, label producers to major brand owners, EPR schemes, waste management organisations, recyclers, waste sorting and recycling machinery manufacturers - presented and shared their visions on the future of PET and the PET industry. Additionally, speakers from the European Commission, the European Environmental Bureau and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation gave an outlook on the development of the Circular Economy and other environmental challenges ahead.

"In all its ongoing activities, Petcore Europe is already well engaged as a significant contributor to the Circular Economy," emphasised Patrick Peuch, Executive Director of Petcore Europe, who moderated the event. "PET is one of brand owners’ packaging materials of choice due to its outstanding performance in safely delivering products and its recyclability." However, the PET value chain is also facing major challenges that were reflected in the conference debates.

PET Packaging 2020

From the PET producers’ side, Antonello Ciotti, Vice President of CPME (Committee of PET Manufacturers in Europe) started with a business overview on PET global demand and the European market. Nicolas Rivollet from Husky and Carsten Lauridsen from Faerch Plast focused their respective presentations on the trends in PET packaging and design, while illustrating past and future developments. "In 2020 we expect to see 5% more bottles per ton of PET in a bale of recycled bottles: this results from the combination of the slow to negative growth of Carbonates Soft Drinks, an increased share of low volume formats and resin efficiency gains for a given format,” explained Rivollet.

Finally, leading brand owners outlined their perspective on PET packaging and sustainability. Gian de Belder and Johannes Burghaus from Procter & Gamble as well as Françoise Poulat from Danone explained their respective companies' sustainability packaging solutions and innovations. P&G presented a range of new packaging such a PET aerosols and its new Head and Shoulders shampoo bottle made from recycled plastics collected from beach clean-ups. Danone emphasised their efforts in using recycled PET, while insuring food safety compliance, using eco-design tools in new projects, and considering bioplastics in the future.

PET Sustainability 2020

During the afternoon session, speakers from the European Commission, the European Environmental Bureau and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation were invited to give an outlook on the future environment in which the PET industry will operate. Focusing on the implementation of a Circular Economy, they emphasised the need for increasing recycling rates and also discussed critical environmental challenges such as marine litter.

The next Petcore Europe Conference will take place in the first quarter of 2018.

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