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Once per year Europe's entire PET value chain meets in Brussels for the annual Petcore Europe Conference. Due to its success in recent editions this year's conference was held for the first time over two days and welcomed more than 200 industry experts. On 7 and 8 February, more than 200 delegates from the entire PET value chain from Europe and beyond gathered in Brussels for the annual Petcore Europe Conference 2018.

Under the theme “Strategy for PET in the Circular Economy”, the complete industry shared perspectives and strategies for a succesful future. 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 - the entire value chain was represented. Additionally, speakers from the European Commission (DG GROW), the Ellen MacArthur Foundation as well as PCI Wood Mackenzie shared their thoughts on the PET market as well as the plastics industry in the European Circular Economy.

"Petcore Europe brings together the entire PET value chain. The strenght of the organisation is the engagement of its members, which are all participating actively in the working groups and other projects", emphasised Christian Crepet, Executive Director of Petcore Europe, when opening the conference on Wednesday, 7 February.

The focus of the first conference day was to set the agenda with an overview of the latest PET market, collection & recycling rates. Helen McGenough from PCI Wood Mackenzie gave an overview about the 2016 PET collection and recycling rates as well as the key drivers of the market. According to her "economics is still a key driver of the PET market, however, sustainability is moving up the agenda." Alessandra Funcia, Head of Marketing at Sukano, presented in addition the two big working groups of Petcore Europe: PET Thermoforms and Opaque & Difficult to recycle PET containers.

At the end of day 1, Casper van den Dungen and Herbert Snell from Plastics Recyclers Europe (PRE) gave an outlook on PET recycling. The two experts emphasised the importance of optimising the value of collectables. To achieve this optimisation PRE will focus on collecting, sorting and recycling standards. Casper ended the presentation with a call to the entire industry: "Don't ask what PET can do for you but ask what you can do for PET."

One highlight of this year's conference was the presentation of the EU Plastics Strategy by Eric Liégoise from the European Commission - DG GROW, who emphasised that there is finally a concrete strategy for plastics in the circular economy on the table: "Our plan should bring not only economical but also social and environmental growth while boosting the competitiveness of Europe's plastics industry." The presentation stressed the fact that an industrial commitment to use more recycled plastics as well as global action is essential. After explaining the strategy worked out by the EC in detail, Eric Liégoise took the time to thank Petcore Europe for its voluntary commitment to 65% recycling and reuse of PET packaging material collected by 2030.

caption: Eric Liégoise from the European Commission - DG GROW

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