#sustainabilitychallenge: Innovative Ideas for sustainability and environmental protection
As a pioneer in the industry, motan has been developing strategies that bring more sustainability to plastics processing and its application for many years. For the first time, in cooperation with the Indo-German Centre for Sustainability (IGCS), the company has initiated a digital workshop for students to discuss, develop and elaborate their ideas for cross-sectional strategies for more sustainability in the plastics industry.
Established scientists and young professionals worked on various topics related to plastics and environmental protection for two days. “Together we want to take another step towards sustainability and link practice and research,” Sandra Füllsack, CEO of the motan group, explained the project. On the one hand, the aim is to provide students with an interdisciplinary overview of challenges and strategies in dealing with plastics on a high level. On the other hand, ideas developed by students from different disciplines to promote sustainability in the plastics industry were elaborated in several thematic project groups. These will be examined in detail for usability for new approaches in industrial practice.
Six high-ranking lecturers from renowned universities, institutes and companies from Germany, India and other countries formed the professional basis. A broad spectrum of current knowledge was represented, from professors to material developers, recycling suppliers and process specialists to designers. Students from different disciplines were to be given a holistic understanding – perhaps the most important prerequisite for achieving more sustainability. Current and convincing examples from the practice of companies, presented for example by LEGO, supported the theoretical considerations.
Engineering and materials science can provide tools, but other factors are also crucial for more sustainability. The concept of responsibility ran like a red thread through the presentations. Sandra Füllsack: “Today’s students and future employees in industry must increasingly create cooperations to promote sustainable solutions and strategies in dealing with plastics and the associated environmental problems.”
From a game around the use of plastic packaging to a model of financial incentive systems for waste collection in less industrialised countries to an app – in several thematic working groups the students developed different ideas to increase sustainability in the processing and use of plastics. motan and the IGCS will support the further development of the ideas and some will find their way into practice. In addition, the successful bridging between different fields of study and practice enables a holistic understanding that will positively influence the degree of sustainability in future developments.
Following the workshop, motan also made a further contribution to environmental protection: the group supported an innovation start-up company called everwave, which collects waste from bodies of water around the world in large-scale projects, with a donation to compensate for 5000kg of waste.
The IGCS is an Indo-German centre that promotes interdisciplinary basic and applied research, teaching, training and information in various areas of sustainability. Engineering, environmental and social sciences cooperate in this area. The centre aims to provide innovative solutions in sustainable research through bilateral relations between India and Germany. The IGCS is coordinated by RWTH Aachen University and IIT Madras and funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) under the programme “A new Passage to India”. The coordinators are Prof. Dr. Krishna Vasudevan at IIT Madras and Prof. Dr. Klaus Reicherter at RWTH Aachen University.