Wednesday, June 24th, 2009
Stroll through every hall at NPE2009 and you will find innovative products and technologies that show just how critical plastics are to finding solutions to environmental issues and making the world more sustainable. Resource conservation, renewable resources, recycling, degradability, solid waste source reduction, energy efficiency, elimination of pollutants, shrinking carbon footprints—virtually every visitor at NPE2009 now has a vital interest in one or more of these goals. Many exhibitors offer at least one technology to help achieve them, as do a wide range of conference presenters. If there is a central theme for NPE2009, it’s sustainability.
For example, the surge in growth of bioplastics — materials that are biodegradable and derived from corn, castor beans, soybeans, potatoes, tapioca, and other renewable resources – are evident throughout the show floor. Thirty-eight exhibitors offer bioplastics-related technology, from resins to specially designed additives and machinery to processed goods, and there are well over 50 conference presentations on the subject.
Plastics’ role in energy efficiency and generating new sources of energy are also well-represented at NPE2009. Fuel savings are the advantage cited for new materials and processing methods that yield lightweight or more compact products that reduce gasoline consumption. In addition, alternate energy sources increasingly require plastics as essential materials of design, and a number of NPE2009 exhibitors are spotlighting the role of their products in solar energy, lithium-ion batteries for electric-drive cars, and wind energy systems.
Exhibitors are also doing their part by recycling scrap generated at NPE as part of the NPE2009 Recycling Program. The huge bins filled with materials waiting to be recycled at the NPE2009 Recycling Center – right in the middle of the show floor in South Hall — are a testament to the effort. From 46 acres of carpet to 100,000 attendee badge holders and more, SPI has collaborated with RTi, Freeman, Maine Plastics, EcoEducators and other partners to expand the NPE2009 recycling program beyond the scrap from the show floor.