Gepubliceerd op 18 maart 2022

NLBC.FR: Young Professionals 2022 - Report

On 10th of March 2022, the Netherlands Business Council France organized an event on Circular Plastics. The event started off with insights about current trends, numbers about the French production and consumption of plastics. These numbers were presented by Astrid Laurans from NBSO Lyon on a report written by RVO Nederlands. This presentation was followed by a good example of the circular plastic economy; Dopper. Dopper is a Dutch company that uses recycled plastics to create bottles with a unique form and colour. Finally, a presentation was given by NLinBusiness while using Virtual Reality Technology to show Dutch solutions through the use of VR glasses. They presented the topic with the use of a short video highlighting the issues across the globe and possible solutions.

The presentations were followed by a short debate, initiated by a short serie of questions about numbers. During the presentation, information was shared that the objective of France is to reach 100% recycled plastics by 2025. By asking the audience if this would be feasible, we clearly saw some doubt and questions. On 10 participants polled, 2 believed that this would be feasible, 3 not at all and the rest had no comments to give on this.

The last part of this event engaged a discussion between the members of the audience and the presentation team. These are the keynotes:

1. When buying a product, Do you choose consciously recycled plastic? If yes, give an example:

This question did show significant misinterpretation. Answers as costs and user awareness came up. One point of relevance mentioned is that today it is unclear if the packaging is made of recycled plastics. Therefore, buying on preference could be compromised. This also made the bridge to the question of price. A member of the audience mentioned that recycled plastic adds one step to the process of creating a product and therefore enhances its price. This led to another member of the audience to mention that normalizing the process on a broader scale would decrease the overall pricing.
Finally, another member of the audience jumped in by highlighting the carbon footprint of the recycling process.
To close this question, the moderator asked the audience who would prefer to buy recycled plastics even if the price was higher. A certain amount of people raised their hand. But the moderator then asked. “Whom of you would really buy the product and did not raise he’s hand for good consciousness?”
It appeared to be half of the people less. This does highlight a social norm bias on the willingness to act and the concrete step.

2. Do you believe that culture has an impact on user awareness when buying plastic?

To this question, the audience answered from two different perspectives. The first one is by mentioning that the people who suffer the most from this worldwide pollution would tend to have more interest in buying recycled plastic in comparison with countries less impacted.
The second perspective is that culture does not have an impact on user awareness but that it really depends on the level of education, the resources and organizations that work to inform the population and the actual state of development. Culture would have an impact on consumption but not user awareness.

To conclude, we had an implicated and interested audience of all ages. The topic is the core of international politics and worldwide corporate strategies. More than a topic, it is responsible for polluting our oceans, killing our biodiversity and more generally affecting the health of our earth. We have seen user awareness when buying recycled plastic but also people confronted to the reality of high-priced products. We have seen people willing to engage themselves but for a lower cost. Therefore, as a word to finish, we should all, no matter of age, no matter of culture, develop our activities on recycled plastic and make people aware that solutions exist and that this needs a common step to make this accessible to all.

Charles-David d'Artagnan, NLBC