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  • Ophelie Gourdou

Closing the loop at K 2019



I had the honour to be invited to K-Fair in Dusseldorf by Solar Impulse Foundation, being one of their experts. K is the world's largest trade fair for the plastics and rubber industry, happening every 3 years. This year the focus is given to the subjects of energy efficiency and resource conservation. Indeed, there has been a lot of plastic bashing lately and the Plastic Industry is eager to react and be part of the solution to prevent plastic pollution. Surprisingly, the sector is still growing : +2,5-3% in Germany in 2018!

In this context, the message often heard was that all players of the supply chain need to cooperate and collaborate to close the loop and switch from a linear to a circular economy. Besides many technology advancements to optimise the recycling, one crucial step needs to be improved: collection! With no plastic waste going to the collection system, nothing can happen!


To encourage people sorting the recyclable waste, different aspects are to be considered:

  • Giving incentives : this is the most effective way. Deposit schemes have very high return rates (>95% in Germany and EU Nordic countries). In developing countries organisations such as Plastic Bank, rewards are distributed against collection of recyclables plastic, with the aim to tackle poverty and plastic pollution.

  • Making sorting easy: With the trend of looking greener, some flexible plastic packaging are sometimes difficult to differentiate from paper, even from an expert! Why not collecting all packaging waste (except glass) in the same bin and make it sort in specialised facilites? This is already partially the case in France where carton bricks, plastic rigid containers and metal are collected in the same bin, picked up at home, and sorted in a factory.

  • Regain people trust with more transparency: is it really recycled and not incinerated or sent to South Asia? Efforts to sort will increase if people are reassured that the loop is really closed to protect the environment.


Another highlight was to meet my expert fellows from the Solar impulse Foundation and Bertrand Piccard in person. His initiative to gather 1000 efficient solutions to protect the environment is progressing with nearly 250 certified solutions. The most innovative ones were already presented to Heads of States such as during the G7 last August in Biarritz. We had a very open brainstorming session on how to bring this efficient solutions forward, and make them actionable.


We are in a changing world and all actors of the supply chain has a role to play to reinvent the way it operates to contribute to a sustainable world.

Do you want to be part of it? I can help you!

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