(Styron.com) – Paul Moyer, Vice President & General Manager of Plastics, was a featured speaker at the Plastics News 14th Annual Executive Forum, January 30 – 31 in Tampa, Florida. This conference brings together high-level executives from the plastics industry each year to share thoughts and insights on the direction of the industry and their expectations for the future.
Paul was invited to discuss Styrenic, Polycarbonate & Specialty Resins – What’s Hot, What’s Not and Why. Besides highlighting broad trends, he challenged industry peers to consider sustainability – specifically end-of-life management of plastics through energy recovery – as influencers of future growth opportunities in the plastics industry in the U.S.
His talk highlighted results from a recent American Chemistry Council opinion survey indicating that the primary consumer concern with plastics is environmental, i.e., the growing problem with litter and landfills. This tells us that we, as plastics professionals, have an opportunity to change perceptions of the industry by addressing this challenge.
Noting how an energy recovery solution is also a chance to enhance our nation’s energy independence, Moyer said, “As stewards of plastic products that have a tremendous intrinsic value as a resource for producing energy, we have a responsibility to help the environment through energy recovery.”
What is Energy Recovery?
Energy recovery, also referred to as energy-from-waste and waste-to-energy, encompasses a broad range of technologies that convert solid waste into energy to power homes, businesses and transportation, and to produce feedstock materials that can be used to manufacture new products. Typical methods include:
- Combustion: uses heat to convert waste materials into steam or electricity
- Gasification: breaks down organic material using a combination of high heat and combustion to produce syngas, which is useable fuel
- Pyrolysis: thermally decomposes organic material either in the complete absence of air or with a very small amount of it
Most energy recovery facilities convert waste to energy or feedstock materials after readily recyclable materials have been removed. Non-recycled plastics are an important component of these processes because of their high energy value, which is as much as 25 percent higher on a unit basis than coal.
Citing research from Columbia University, Moyer stated: “Each year in the U.S. we bury enough non-recycled plastics in landfills to provide electricity to power 5.2 million households. This is all the homes in Georgia and Oklahoma combined.”
Styron is a leading global materials company, dedicated to innovate and deliver for its customers. Styron’s unique and balanced product portfolio brings together plastics, rubber and latex businesses that share feedstocks, operations, customers and end users. The company benefits from global scale, a long-standing tradition of unrivaled customer relationships and a robust innovation pipeline. Styron has approximately $5 billion in revenue, with 20 manufacturing sites in all geographies. Styron’s 2100 employees are committed to listen to customers’ needs and provide them with innovative and sustainable solutions in markets such as appliances, automotive, building and construction, carpet, commercial transportation, consumer electronics, consumer goods, electrical and lighting, medical, packaging, paper and paperboard, rubber goods and tires. More information about Styron can be found at www.styron.com.
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