Dubai – MENA Herald: Plastics producers in the Arabian Gulf region are taking strides forward in doing their part to contribute to climate protection, says the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association, on the sideline of the 21st edition of the Conference of Parties (COP21) climate talks underway in Paris from 30 November to 11 December. Discussions during COP21 have led governments from the Arabian Gulf and the rest of the world pledge billions of dollars towards greener living standards, for which plastics could play a major role by providing numerous energy saving solutions.
“Plastics are lightweight, versatile and durable which is significant to energy and resource savings in strategic business sectors including retail, construction, healthcare, automotive and renewable energy,” says Dr. Abdulwahab Al-Sadoun, Secretary-General, GPCA. “Although plastics in our region are made out of fossil fuels, plastics save more energy than it takes to produce and recover them and therefore is one of the most resource-efficient materials around. These plastics provide significant environmental benefits for the transportation of products around the world and specific advantages to the automotive, infrastructure, energy and packaging markets.”
Dr. Al-Sadoun added: “Plastics made for the global automotive industry, significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions, because plastics are a lighter replacement for steel and other metal components. These plastics are produced in a region that is focused on shifting itself from an oil based economy into a value added economy by addressing global challenges such as this. GCC producers export plastics to car manufacturers around the world so that the region can make a global contribution.
Plastics are also lighter and therefore transporting them as final goods, whether they are white goods or food bottles and packaging, or industrial infrastructure products, is an advantage to the environment.”
In addition, plastics produced in the Arabian Gulf for the construction industry provide effective insulation from cold and heat and prevent air leakages. Across their entire life cycle, plastic insulation boards save up to 150 times the energy used for their manufacture. The low weight of plastics pipelines that are used to distribute valuable drinking water, meanwhile, means less energy in transport, handling and installation. Their smoothness reduces pumping energy.
Plastics also play a key role in the success of the renewable energy industry by providing important components which enable solar energy to be converted into electricity with wind turbines’ rotor blades also containing large amounts of plastics and where high voltage cables transfer the energy to the national grids. Another industry in which plastics are delivering sustainable solutions is food packaging: by delivering more efficient protection, reducing food waste and extending shelf life, thereby saving energy and greenhouse gas emissions.
“The new set of downstream industries and services will further enhance the region’s support of solutions that reduce CO2 emissions,” says Dr. Al-Sadoun. “Where the Arabian Gulf region should still make a major leap frog is in the area of plastics recycling, which offers a lot of opportunities to small and medium size enterprises in particular.
The GCC plastics producers are making special efforts to reduce their own manufacturing environmental impact, for example through region-wide benchmarking studies, emphasizing the importance the region places on being a responsible industry and contributor to the sustainable development of the region. “
New plastics solutions and trends will be discussed during the upcoming 7th edition of GPCA PlastiCon, which will take place from 10-12 January in Dubai under the theme ‘Evolving GCC Plastic Conversion | Technology meets Business’. One of the sessions will be dedicated to opportunities for expanding the plastics recycling industry in the GCC.