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Recap Empack 2024: “Collaboration as the key to circularity”

Recap Empack 2024: “Collaboration as the key to circularity”

April 25, 2024

Empack 2024 was leveraged by Brightlands Materials Center to address essential questions surrounding circular packaging and to present projects like Syschemiq and Closed Loop Buckets. Business Developer Marieke Havermans of Brightlands Materials Center reflects with satisfaction: “Empack 2024 was a valuable opportunity to connect with professionals from the packaging industry and to share our knowledge and vision on circular packaging.”

Empack is a leading event focused on the packaging industry, this year held at Evenementenhal Gorinchem from April 9 to 11. One of the key themes of Empack 2024 was circular packaging. The challenges and opportunities associated with the transition to a circular economy in the packaging industry were highlighted. Various theater sessions and the Pitch-Pack Square featured inspiring cases and innovative solutions.

Showcases

Brightlands Materials Center made a prominent appearance at Empack 2024 with a stand, showcasing two groundbreaking projects to the fairgoers. Niek Knoben had the opportunity to discuss the intriguing aspects of the Closed Loop Buckets project, which focuses on the recycling of packaging materials in the catering industry. Nithya Subramanian also had the opportunity to spotlight Syschemiq, an ambitious project exploring how post-consumer waste can be cleaned and then processed into new packaging, which garnered significant attention from the participants.

Collaboration in the value chain

The presentations on Wednesday highlighted all perspectives in the value chain, from design and production to recycling. Michael Tzintzoglou of Hatzopouos showcased how ‘design for recycling’ contributes to improved sorting and recycling, while Andrey Charkovskiy of Siegwerk emphasized the importance of ink choices and shared insights into the effects of different ink choices on recycling, and guidelines for better ink solutions. Nithya Subramanian of Brightlands discussed ‘Upgrading recyclate quality’, focusing on the technological aspects of recycling and the role of additives and stabilizers in enhancing the quality of recycled materials. Remy Notten from Dijkstra Plastics brought forward the producers’ perspective, pointing out the specific challenges they face in navigating regulations and market dynamics.

Closing panel discussion

In the concluding panel discussion hosted by Subramanian, speakers including Havermans addressed questions from the audience. Havermans particularly found the question about which partners are missing to be very relevant. As for her, these are primarily policymakers: “Changes are constantly happening in politics, such as the adjustment of targets. This makes it difficult for producers to invest based on that. There’s a widespread need for clarity and stability in policy.” Simultaneously, consumers are also missing ‘the big picture’: “Consumers often think paper is very sustainable, while it’s not always the most circular or sustainable solution. So, there’s still a lot of work to be done.”

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