Ton Emans is possibly the most influential man in plastics in Europe. His powerful advocacy comes from his vision and leadership experience in manufacturing. He is incisive and persuasive in arguing the case how plastics and industry must change with significant and rapid increases in recycled content in plastics packaging and products. He has been a key negotiator in the Circular Economy Strategy, embracing and recommending significant changes rather than resisting them. Ton supports all the measures proposed by the European Commission, including requiring that all single use plastics are recyclable.
This interview contains some revolutionary comments from Ton about the turning points for recycling of plastics in Europe. He is thrilled at China’s ban seeing it as a bonus for greater industry investment and innovation in Europe, and a stronger, more competitive and resilient Europe. He also predicts that the plastics and chemicals industry will undergo major structural change, growth in jobs and productivity as companies and communities shift to greater recycling and reprocessing in Europe. He is concerned that other developing nations may be under pressure to accept poor quality unsorted plastics as China did in the past.
Note: Ton speaks quickly, and this interview was conducted at the busy European Plastics Recycling Conference and Expo in Amsterdam on 25 April, 2018. The interview is unedited.