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Monday, May 27, 2013 | Feiplastic 2013 - The end of the journey

Our final week begins on Monday morning with a visit to Döhler in Limeira, Sao Paulo. Here we are welcomed by Martin Tolksdorf, General Manager, and Jane Vieira, Marketing. Döhler is a manufacturer and supplier of fruit concentrates and flavours to a number of industries including the PET sector. As Waldemar and I know very little about how the fruit is processed to make Döhler products, we bombard our hosts with questions. Mr Tolksdorf goes to a lot of trouble to answer all our questions. To help our understanding we taste some of the intermediate products which go to make up the concentrates, and we begin to understand why it is not easy to create a great tasting drink.

At lunch, we return to more mundane matters, as Ms Vieira explains where we can park our Editourmobil for the night. Their helpfulness does not end here. They manage to get us connected to the internet which enables us to exchange some vital information with our colleagues in Heidelberg. Before we leave, Cesar Rodolfo, Technical Key Account Manager, invites us on a comprehensive and extremely interesting tour of the factory. When the Döhler office doors finally close behind us, dusk is already falling. Have we really spent the entire day at Döhler? Incredible though it seems, we have! A wonderfully entertaining and informative visit!

On Tuesday morning we trundle out of the supermarket car park heading towards Sorocaba, where we are to meet Ferdinando Roberto Carvalho, Commercial Director of Ecoplaca. In a side street a lorry is parked, laden with plastic folders. This must be the right place! After a quick coffee in reception, Mr Carvalho receives us in his office. Ecoplaca processes recycled PET amongst other materials, transforming it into objects as varied as folders, pens and traffic signs. Throughout our trip we have heard a lot about recycling, so we are really looking forward to our discussions with a genuine Brazilian expert. We quickly learn that recycling in the city of Sorocaba has an important social dimension.

In the afternoon we drive into the centre of São Paulo, where the Feiplastic exhibition is taking place. Confidently we make for the official exhibition car park, where we spent the night last week. At the entrance our confidence quickly turns to disillusionment: admission is strictly reserved for exhibition employees only. Then follows a 60 minute long odyssey involving an army of jobsworths who shrug their shoulders, shake their heads and send us away with pitying glances. The upshot of all this is that all the managers are on holiday, no-one can help, and, by the way, there is absolutely no way you can park the Editourmobil here. By the time I reach the tenth supervisor my patience is beginning to crack. Eventually I give full vent to my frustration on the hapless security guy, who suggests I have a word with the exhibition management. This proves a more positive experience. Within half an hour they have helpfully organised for us a covered parking space near the exhibition entrance. Even better, it has an electricity and water connection. So all’s well that ends well!

At Feiplastic we have taken a small stand and this gives us the opportunity of arranging a few interviews. The posters that we have been lugging around in the storage area since Peru finally come into their own. We are pleased to welcome a few of the interviewees from the past four months who drop by our stand. Waldemar and I take turns in tracing our route on the map for a few of our more interested visitors, and attempt to convey some of the experiences of the last few months.

"So, leaving the interviews aside for the moment, the whole thing has just been one huge adventure, right?"

Yes, absolutely. Travelling across South America with the Editourmobil, learning something of the PET industry is a lot more than just exciting. We have got closer both to our customers and to the people generally. We have listened to the heartbeat of the continent not only in the PET industry but on the streets as well. For Waldemar and for me, the trip has been the experience of a lifetime.

Kind regards,
Florian Roscheck and Waldemar Schmitke