The Plastics Live exhibition and conference is a new annual event for the plastics sector in the UK and Ireland, which took place 5th – 6th July in Coventry. UKCPN’s Dr. Sally Beken spoke at the event.
Dr Sally Beken presented a paper at Plastics Live, incorporating AMPLAS, Industry 4.0 in Plastics, and Sustainability in Plastics, with a focus on sustainability and sustainable projects in the plastics sector. Beken is the founder and lead of the UK Circular Plastics Network at Innovate UK KTN, where her remit includes building collaborations and partnerships for innovative projects. Beken has recently worked with £97m worth of successful projects in the Smart Sustainable Plastics Packaging challenge, and she has a 15-year professional background in knowledge transfer.
In respect of Sustainable Plastics Live, the base line is that plastics manufacturing moving forward must make sustainability a guiding principle at all levels of the operation. Manufacturing plastics sustainably require companies to conduct business in a way that seeks to drive value creation for society, the environment, and industry. It also seeks improvement to reduce impacts on natural resources, minimising waste generation, and shifting towards renewable energy options, all of which reduce the impact of greenhouse gases.
Focus should be on measuring the impact of the numerous lifecycle stages of plastic products, consistent with the values of sustainable materials management, and manufacturers should strive to keep materials in circularity for remanufacturing whenever it yields the greatest environmental benefit. These activities should be measured and reported with integrity and transparency.
The Plastics Live event provided a forum for exchange of views on these issues, and also provided a venue where attendees could see the best fit technological and service solutions that will help them reach their goals.
Industry 4.0 has a role when looking at sustainability as well, and plays to the fact that all the shows that reside alongside Plastics Live are interconnected. Industry 4.0 contributes to sustainable development goals as it builds connectivity between the plastics industry and sustainability by finding a significant relation between their components.
The combination of AI, robotics, and other advanced technologies applied across many sectors of the plastics economy including supply chain, distribution channels, and manufacturing, provides a significant impact on the natural environment leading to a reduction of pollution, decrease in greenhouse gases emission, decrease in energy consumption, and increase in profits simultaneously. The emergence of Industry 4.0 opens the opportunity of connectivity of technology with resources and skills in terms of sustainability benefits (zero impact — lower cost — social equity), and Industry 4.0 can reduce the environmental impact of a product, a process, or a service based on footprint data availability and traceable analysis. Additionally, it helps to leverage a greater efficiency of functions such as reduction of resource consumption.
The Plastics Live exhibition and conference is a new annual event for the plastics sector in the UK and Ireland. It redefines the way business and networking is conducted for anyone who manufactures in plastics today. Plastics Live is scheduled to run in the UK in 2022 and 2023 and will then run in Ireland in 2024. Plastics Live will enable broad-based business opportunities with movers and shakers from all parts of the plastics-based industries.