Beautiful pictures, smart statements, fascinating insights: How plastics and the environment can be brought into harmony was the central topic of Gerhard Böhm, Arburg Managing Director Sales, in conversation with Plas.TV presenter Guido Marschall. During a summer hike through the northern Black Forest, the two plastics experts discussed current projects relating to the circular economy and the future potential offered by the resource-saving use of plastic as a recyclable material. The two also highlighted the philosophy and values of Arburg and the goals pursued by the arburgGREENworld programme.
Filming took place in the region of Arburg’s central Lossburg site, which includes the high altitudes of the northern Black Forest and the accompanying national park. The German-language video is available in the media library on the Arburg website (www.arburg.com/de/mediathek/videos/aktuellste-videos/) and on the YouTube channel “ARBURGofficial”.
Plastic belongs in the recycling system
“A world without plastics is barely conceivable today,” according to Guido Marschall. Given that the material not only plays an important role in medical and packaging technology but also in modern life, helping the earth to cope with huge numbers of people, the presenter’s initial question is why the image of the industry had nevertheless deteriorated. “The material is so high-quality and durable that it doesn’t simply disappear of its own accord when it is thrown away,” replies Gerhard Böhm, also mentioning a possible solution: “Recycling has been working for a long time when it comes to metals, paper and glass. We need to treat plastic as a recyclable material too, and establish a functioning recycling economy for it.”
Recyclates open up new business models
Böhm believes that plastic itself is not the problem, it’s more that the material is being disposed of incorrectly, or not at all. “If value-adding products can be made from valuable recyclates, then the plastic is collected instead of being thrown away as rubbish. A lot of countries could develop new business models from this and earn money,” he insists. “However, generating value from plastic starts here with us. The plastics industry is tackling this from the ground up. Together with waste management companies, we have already developed approaches and technical solutions.”
Becoming a systems provider with arburgGREENworld
Asked how Arburg manages the balancing act between environment and plastics with its arburgGREENworld programme, Böhm explains: “We can’t just look at what we produce and how we distribute it. Instead, we want to use arburgGREENworld to tread a path towards becoming a system provider that ensures sustainability as part of the circular economy. Arburg’s one-location strategy is very beneficial here.” Böhm adds that Lossburg generates a lot of green energy and the machines are produced with low emissions and a relatively small carbon footprint. The company actively participates in various projects, including the marking of plastics for recycling, for example.
Committed to the environment
“We are proud to be actively involved in change,” says Böhm, explaining that this runs through the entire company and also has to do with the location. “Our employees are surrounded by nature and live and work in the country. We feel committed to the environment.” Arburg’s Managing Director sees plastic as an elementary component of the future: “Perhaps in 20 years’ time we will have plastics that are made from organic components or can be processed into new material – then we wouldn’t have to work with waste. But we will certainly have a functioning circular economy much sooner.”
The German family-owned company Arburg is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of plastic processing machines. Its product portfolio encompasses Allrounder injection moulding machines with clamping forces of between 125 and 6,500 kN, the Freeformer for industrial additive manufacturing and robotic systems, customer and industry-specific turnkey solutions and further peripheral equipment.
An international sales and service network ensures first-class customer support at a local level: Arburg has its own organisations at 34 locations in 26 different countries and, together with its trading partners, is present in more than 100 countries. Its machines are produced exclusively at the parent company in Lossburg, Germany. Of a total of roughly 3,200 employees, around 2,650 work in Germany. About 550 further employees work in Arburg’s organisations around the world. Arburg has triple certification, in accordance with ISO 9001 (quality), ISO 14001 (environment) and ISO 50001 (energy).
Further information about Arburg can be found at www.arburg.com