Ahead of the upcoming Sustainability in Packaging Asia 2020 conference, we spoke with Dr. Jiang Nanqing, Secretary general of China Plastics Reuse and Recycling Association. She gave us a sneak peek of what we can expect from her presentation, on day one of the conference, in our 'Circular economy and recycling consideration in packaging' session. Here's what she had to say...
Current Industry Focus:
Q. As consumers/end users continually push for more sustainable/greener solutions, what do you think is the biggest concern regarding packaging?
Consumers have got limited knowledge on plastic packaging, mainly via media, who are normally aware of plastics bags only. When it comes to packaging, they’re more likely to think of ocean plastics, and the impact to marine animals. A lot of people want to do something about it, however do not know what they can do.
Q. What are some of the biggest opportunities gaining attention within the packaging industry? (Based off the Answer) How has your company/organization chosen to react/adapt to stay on trend?
New opportunities of packaging come from current policies of plastics reduction, plastics ban and usage restriction, which will bring impact to the industry, and also from the global attention on plastics and enterprise commitments worldwide. Companies of conventional model will have a hard time to survive, and new models will be needed, especially those constructed for a closed - loop economy according to circular economy. It may involve companies controlling both upstream and downstream in a larger scale. CPRRA pays attention to plastics recycling and reuse industry when promotes policies, exploring the responsibilities of upstream and downstream enterprises in Chinese packaging industry on plastics recycling.
Q. What industry topics are getting the most attention at this time? How are these factors influencing the future of packaging?
Companies care most about policies on plastics packaging, renewable material for packaging and standard certification etc. The main issue in China is that there’s a lack of relevant regulation on packaging recycling. When it comes to packaging design, only function is considered, not the need of recycling and renewal.
Q. What does your company/organization hope to achieve over the next 5 years with regards to the future of packaging industry?
We want to become the leading force of renewing industry in China, with main work on standard, exemplary model and education for plastic packaging.
Q. What recommendations do you have for packaging professionals starting new sustainability initiatives?
Plastics is a topic closely connected with sustainability, from environment, climate change to poverty overcoming, the goals and targets of sustainability need to be clarified, and how to take initiatives to reach the goals, instead of getting bogged down in specific technologies.
Q. How do you expect to see the recycling infrastructure change in Asia in the next few years?
Alongside the development of recycling and renewing trend, and the fact Asia countries lack the infrastructure and investment in recycling systems, they are now working more on the system, and have already clearly taken the responsibilities, and will promote more design standards and renewing applications.
Q. Your presentation at this year‘s Sustainability in Packaging Asia will cover Plastic reuse and recycling status in China, Why is it important for others in your industry to hear this message? What are some of the key take-aways?
The globe does not fully understand Chinese plastics recycling and renewing system, especially companies in industry, it’s hard for them to understand Chinese policies and current status, thus they could not promote relevant work. As China is the biggest country producing and consuming plastics in the word, the changes happening here will bring huge influence regionally and globally.
Q. Which presentations (what session topic) are you most looking forward to hearing about at Sustainability in Packaging Asia?
I would like to see what’s done in other Asia countries and their needs.