Welcome to the Plastics Unwrapped podcast

Join us on a journey to explore and better understand the world of sustainability and plastics, through bite-sized episodes featuring a range of guest experts.

Plastics Unwrapped explores key topics across each episode–from exploring the emotional responses we associate with plastics to what the future of recycling in Europe could look like.

Society has come to rely on plastic’s social and economic benefits, leading to growing demand. But plastic’s low-cost, everyday presence in our lives means we often take it for granted. This has resulted in it being too easy to use and then needlessly throw-away. At Dow we believe plastic is too valuable a resource to be thrown away or lost to landfill.

We believe plastics can absolutely be part of a sustainable future when it is used wisely and offers a low environmental impact.

Episode One: Emotion vs Science

In this episode, Dow’s Marco ten Bruggencate, Commercial Vice President for P&SP in EMEA, and Carsten Larsen, Commercial Director for Plastic Recycling in EMEA, are joined by Jim McClelland, Editor of SustMeme magazine, to discuss ‘Emotion versus Science’ and how that plays out in today’s debate around plastics. It’s a conundrum those of us in the plastics industry face on a daily basis, especially when confronted with images of plastic in our environment – where it absolutely doesn’t belong. But we know plastics have an important role to play in our society and that we have to consider the unintended consequences of eliminating plastic in favour of other alternatives that may result in higher emissions. Our guests discuss how we can balance the emotional response we all feel when seeing plastic waste, with a more logical, scientific approach when it comes to choosing materials.

Episode Two: Bioplastics

Dow P&SP’s Product Director, Thomas Reutter, and Panu Routasalo, Vice President at UPM Biofuels talk about market growth for renewable feedstocks and how this fits with the industry’s plans to reduce its carbon emissions. They discuss why approaches like mass balance are important in supporting market growth for bioplastics, as well as the industry's role in ensuring the growth of renewable feedstocks and the need to continue working together to find more sustainable solutions.

Episode Three: Designing for Recycling

This episode tackles some of the key issues around recycling plastics. Why is it so difficult? What is the difference between recyclable and recycled? Why do recycling rates change so drastically from country to country and even street to street? Dow's Romain Cazenave, Marketing Director for Packaging & Specialty Plastics (P&SP) in EMEA, and Karin Katzer, Marketing Director in EMEA, shed light on this topic and explain how plastic manufacturers can create products that are easier to recycle as well as support recycling systems. We are also joined by Krzysztof Krajewski, Director of Packaging Sustainability at RB, one of the world’s largest consumer goods companies.

Episode Four: Advanced Recycling

This episode discusses game changing advanced recycling technology, which takes hard-to-recycle and mixed plastic waste and breaks it down into its basic chemical elements, allowing waste to become infinitely recyclable. The panel discussion with Dow's Carsten Larsen, Commercial Director for Recycling, Iain Gulland, CEO of Zero Waste Scotland and Sirt Mellema, CEO of Fuenix Ecogy Group, looks at what this means for both industry and consumers.

Episode Five: African Landscapes

Tune in to Episode 5 of Plastics Unwrapped to hear an open discussion on the opportunities and challenges we face with plastic waste in Africa and an exploration into how key collaborations are shifting the dial on collecting, sorting and recycling rates to build an effective circular economy. Adwoa Coleman, Africa Sustainability & Advocacy Manager from Dow’s Plastics business, joins Arese Lucia Onaghise, Executive Secretary at The Food and Beverage Recycling Alliance (FBRA) and Keiran Smith, CEO and Co-Founder of recycling company, Mr. Green Africa, to talk about the landscape for plastics on the continent.

Episode Six: Plastics and the European Green Deal

In this episode, Dow’s Director of EU Affairs, Dennis Kredler, is joined by Plastic Europe’s Director of External Affairs, David Carroll, to discuss the EU’s Green Deal and what it means for the plastics industry. Dennis and David discuss the content and ambitions of the Green Deal, the opportunities and challenges it presents for the plastic industry and what actions organisations such as Dow are taking to ensure they meet the Green Deal’s goal of circularity and climate neutrality by 2050.

Episode Seven: Reducing the Carbon Footprint for Plastics

In this episode of Plastics Unwrapped, special guest and sustainable development expert, Kaj Embren, joins Dow’s Howard Chase and Erika Sánchez Garrido to discuss the need to reduce CO2 emissions in the plastics industry. Together, they unpack how plastic manufacturers can make a real impact through the production process, and the ways in which Dow is working toward producing circular plastics with the lowest CO2 footprint.

Episode Eight: Tackling the Plastic Waste Challenge Through Design

In this episode, Dow’s Julie Zaniewski, North America Sustainability Director for Packaging and Specialty Plastics, is joined by Jay Fitzgerald from the US Department of Energy, and Kathleen Liang from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. Together, they look at the challenges of innovating, encouraging investment, and working in partnership to scale solutions that will ensure that plastics can be part of a sustainable future.

Episode Nine: Working with Africa’s Informal Waste Sector

Tune into this episode to hear about the progressive partnerships taking place across the Africa continent to transform the way plastic waste is collected through new business models for sustainable development. Dow’s Africa Sustainability and Advocacy Manager, Adwoa Coleman, is joined by two trailblazing CEOs - Vivien Luk, Executive Director of non-profit organization WORK, and Cordie Aziz-Nash founder of Environment 360, who together share their expertise on the changes needed to transform the informal waste sector on the continent and transform the lives of waste pickers through meaningful work that keeps plastic out of the environment and in a closed-loop for a more sustainable future.

Episode Ten: Is plastic the new coal?

In this episode, Dow’s Carolina Gregorio is joined by David Carroll of Plastics Europe, and David Croft of Reckitt, to discuss the criticism of plastics in the mainstream media and consider the pressure this is putting on the industry. Together, they dive into last year’s COP26 climate conference, exploring the main hurdles we face in decarbonization and some of the work being done behind the scenes to help the plastics industry achieve net zero.

Episode Eleven: Decarbonization and circularity – why they must go hand-in-hand

In this episode, Dow’s Marc van den Biggelaar is joined by Oliver Borek, Chief Commercial Officer of Mura, and Virginia Janssens, Managing Director of Plastics Europe, to discuss the importance of decarbonization and circularity working together to help the European Union (EU) meet its ambitious climate goals.