GCC countries recycling less than 10 percent of plastic

Packaging waste has become a global concern with increasing consumer demand for reduced plastics use and regional variations in packaging requirements

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GCC countries recycle only 10% of plastic, said Kaunain Shahidi, Senior Packaging Manager for Al Marai, Saudi Arabia ahead of the inaugural Gulf Packaging & Polymers Show (GPPS) which will take place on Feb. 1-3, 2016 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC).

Shahidi will be one of the resource speakers and deliver topic on “Sustainability – A Challenge for the Packaging Industry”.

“Currently, less than 10% of all plastic is recycled in the Gulf region, and our industry plays a significant role in contributing to the sheer volume of plastics in the marketplace. The race is on for all of us to implement eco-friendly materials into our packaging and collectively commit to investment into new innovations and technology to fast-track change. It is also a shared responsibility to communicate with the end user and stress the importance of reducing consumption and, where possible, supporting local and regional recycling initiatives,” said Shahidi.

A recent report from the European Association of Plastics Recycling and Recovery Organizations (EPRO), conducted in association with PlasticsEurope and Consultic GmbH, revealed that in 2014, European Union member states recycled 36.5% of their total 15.9 million tons of plastic packaging waste, with overall household and trade and industry recycling rates increasing but 3.5 million tons still ending up in landfills.

“This is a $41 billion industry, yet the pressure to plough additional investment and technological resources into sustainability is mounting, with all stakeholders including governments, consumers and from within the packaging sector, fully aware of the need to address one of the industry’s toughest challenges. And GPPS is the perfect platform at which to examine, debate and analyze potential solutions in line with dynamic industry development,” said Alexander Heuff, Exhibitions Director, Fleming.

The two-day conference, which will feature more than 20 renowned industry speakers from across the region and key international markets, will cover the full spectrum of current industry hot topics from the latest developments in convenience packaging to smart labels and advancement in tracking technology.

With packaging waste a global concern, increasing consumer demand for reduced plastics use, and regional variations in packaging requirements, the issue of sustainability will also be addressed at several dedicated sessions.

The conference will open with a keynote address by Dr Alaa Nassif, CEO, Royal Commission of Jubail and Yanbu, Saudi Arabia.

Three further sessions taking place on the afternoon of day one of the conference, will also examine different elements of the sustainability landscape.

Alaa Alsharif, Founder & CEO of Saudi Arabia’s Green Kingdom Industries, will lead a 30-minute discussion on how Plastic Packaging Recycling Saves Next Generation Resources, with Dr Trevor Hutley – a renowned polymer specialist giving us a unique perspective on the polymer sector’s innovations in the packaging industry.

Wrapping up the sustainability agenda, the final seminar session of the day will focus on Agthia’s sustainability agenda and the Initiatives Taken to Reduce Carbon Footprint/Environmental Impact.

“Any form of new packaging innovation comes with its own unique challenges and obvious supplier limitations, and with Agthia an expert in the arena of food and beverage industry sustainable packaging solutions, this session will provide a fascinating insight into local/regional client supplier expectations vis-a-vis the realities and cost implications of meeting their end user requirements,” said Heuff.

Other leading industry luminaries speaking at the conference include Dr Raed Al Zubi, VP – Middle East Section, Society Of Plastics Engineers, UAE; Tommy See Tho, Packaging & Design Manager, Nestlé Middle East; Fatih Erguney, Ph.D., Fp/Nw R&D & Hayat Innovation Manager, Hayat Kimya Research & Development Center, Turkey, as well as panelists from Germany, India and Tunisia.

Bringing together thousands of the top suppliers and buyers from the world of packaging and polymers, GPPS provides a unique platform for the entire MENA packaging value chain to meet under one roof. Supported by World Packaging Organization (WPO), the inaugural event will facilitate knowledge-sharing and business interaction on a global scale.

A three-day exhibition will be running alongside the conference with Borouge, as the Strategic Sponsor along with LyondellBasell, one of the world’s largest plastics, chemical and refining companies as silver sponsor with EPAL the European Pallet Association. Bronze Sponsors include Kautex, SIPCHEM and Saudi Paxxel. The Royal Commission of Jubali and Yanbu will be present as the Official Guest Host from KSA, with support from the World Packaging Association.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on Jan. 14, 2016.

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