Earlier this month, the International Converting Exhibition, ICE Europe 2011, saw record numbers in visitors, exhibitors and floor space in its new venue, the Munich Trade Fair Centre.
According to show organiser Mack Brooks Exhibitions, this year’s event attracted 5,700 visitors from 65 countries (up by 7% on the 2009 show) and 384 exhibitors from 23 countries (up by 17%), across a net exhibition space of nearly 10,000m² – also an increase of 24% on the previous event. This was the seventh edition of this two-day biennial exhibition.
Indeed, comments from exhibitors on the stands were very favourable, and not only about the number and quality of international visitors they were seeing, but also the show’s new home. They were generally impressed with the modern, well-lit, airy halls and spacious aisles, as well as the ease of access, via the Munich underground and the speedy shuttle-bus link to the airport.
We’ll be reporting on the exhibition in the next edition of Converting Today. In this issue, we take a look at the moves towards more sustainable plastics films for packaging converters. In a presentation at the international plastics exhibition, Interplas, at the NEC last month, Michael Stephen of the Symphony Environmental Technologies Group said oxo-biodegradable plastics will not only survive competition from other plastics, including bio-based, but looks set to increase its worldwide market share dramatically. He pointed out that no other plastics was as suitable as oxo-biodegradable for solving the problem of plastics in the environment, which would otherwise lie or float there for generations without degrading.
It has, according to Symphony, the same strength and versatility as normal plastics, but at the end of its pre-determined lifespan it converts in the open environment into a material with a completely different molecular structure. At that stage it is no longer a plastics and is inherently biodegradable in the same way as a leaf.
All well and good, but, no matter how biodegradable the material, its final resting place ought not to be in the open environment. Therefore, the ‘green’ pressure should not just be on the material but also on the end user to dispose of waste responsibly.