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The plastics industry facing the pandemics

02 december 2020
Industry representatives disagree with the negative image of plastics. Bluntly stated - today’s world can’t function without plastics

The latest data published by the leading pan-European association of plastics converters, i.e. PlasticsEurope, shows that the demand for plastics to be converted in Poland in 2019 amounted to approx.3.6 million tonnes, which means an increase of approx. 3% compared to 2018. Demand for plastics still ranks Poland sixth in Europe, right after Germany, Italy, France, Spain and the United Kingdom.   Taking into account the application, the most plastic products are used in the packaging production (33.5%), construction (25.1%), automotive (10%) and the electrical and electronic devices industry (6.7%).

Food products and protection

Undoubtedly, the pandemic time has demonstrated the critical role plastics play today.  With its barrier properties, e.g. plastics protect food and beverages against the harmful effects of external factors which may reduce products’ shelf life - says Andrzej Mochoń PhD., CEO of Targi Kielce - the PLASTPOL organiser. This counterweights the considerable problem our civilisation is facing - goods go wasted in some places whilst people in other regions of the world are facing severe shortages.  It is worth emphasising that plastics, by and large also fit into the idea of sustainable development. This is owed to packaging, which significantly extends the durability of goods.  According to the PlasticsEurope report, up to 50% of food resources in developing countries go wasted, because packaging materials such as plastics are not used widely enough to protect and extend the shelf life of food products.  In the era of the COVID-19 virus spread, protection plays the most important role. Adequate food protection has now become the priority for both food producers and consumers: - In the coronavirus era, the health and life of many people can be properly protected thanks to plastics. Plastics are one of the main materials used in the production of personal protective equipment - says Jacek Szczerba, tworzywa.pl website

Plastics in the combat against coronavirus

Recent events, especially those related to many doctors, paramedics and nurses hard work and their dedication in the combat against the coronavirus, show how extensive plastics use in many health-protection areas. Medical coveralls, shields and half-visors, goggles, aprons, shoe covers, disposable gloves are made of plastics, but also thermometer housings for temperature measurement - the later are now used, among others in all institutions, educational establishments and companies: - Plastics are present in every area of our lives. Plastics will even mark a stronger presence, because without them there it would not be possible to produce modern medical equipment or devices which save human life. - says Jacek Szczerba, tworzywa.pl website

During the International Fair of Plastics and Rubber Processing PLASTPOL in Kielce (6-8 October), the expo participants and visitors were offered the opportunity to see manufacturing technologies, components and machines used, among others in the production of protective equipment. Growing demand for plastic products, meeting places where global organisations and industry representatives can talk about the development direction for this economic segment are of key importance: - Every business means a relationship between people. There is no business without relationships.  There is no relationship without face to face meetings. Even with a mask on - claims Wojciech Filek, the Tworzywa Quarterly. 

The great potential of plastics in climate protection

Plastics and their wider use in the construction sector can also help to improve the climate;  in the European Union, buildings currently consume about 40% of primary energy and generates 36% of greenhouse gas emissions. The aim of the assumptions of the European Commission and EU Member States is to achieve climate neutrality by Europe by 2050.  Then, the CO2 emission in industry, transport and energy are to be maximally reduced. Increased emissions absorption, e.g. by planting trees, is designed to compensate for those emissions that have not been reduced. Construction technology based on plastics fits perfectly into climate measures. The materials based on plastics are durable, easy to assemble and shape, to combine into appropriate forms. In addition, materials made of plastics are resistant to corrosion. They also offer good electrical and thermal properties.

(AO)

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