JIRI SLEZAK

8 – 10 NOVEMBER, 2022

STUTTGART, GERMANY

STUTTGART, GERMANY

8 – 10 NOVEMBER, 2022

Exhibitor Interview

 

JIRI SLEZAK,

Business Director ARPLANK, JSP

 

What will you be exhibiting at the show?

We are exhibiting ARPLANK, a high-resilient, closed-cell, bead foam made from expanded polyethene (EPE). ARPLANK has been available in Europe since 2021. We will be showing several ARPLANK packaging applications.

 

What are the benefits of the products/services that you will have at the show?

ARPLANK has a combination of properties that allows for a weight reduction of packaging of up to 40% vs other PE foams. ARPLANK is 100% recyclable, and we supply it in Europe with 25% recycled content and plan to increase this to 30%. ARPLANK is an isotropic material vs other extruded foams available on the market. It is suitable for reusable packaging, long-term storage packaging and overseas transport.

 

Will you have any demonstrations, competitions, or attractions at your stand?

We will have several ARPLANK packaging applications on display for visitors to see, touch and feel. These applications will show how versatile the material is and ARPLANK’s potential.

 

Why is this event important to your business?

We introduced ARPLANK to Europe in 2021. We have received a lot of positive feedback from foam fabricators. Foam Expo has a broad focus on foam fabrication, and we would love to network with all foam fabricators. ARPLANK is the new strategic packaging material which solves quality and sustainability requirements.

 

Do you have any recent news you’d like to share with us?

ARPLANK is a new material in Europe, but it can still be processed on most common machinery, which means it is a cost-effective investment for customers. It can also be delivered as planks on wooden pallets. The planks can be split on most existing machinery and can be cut to any desired thickness, starting from just 1mm. As no 2mm skive of skin is required, there is limited waste, helping towards sustainability goals.

 

What sustainable measures are you taking? Any targets you’re proud of hitting?

Sustainability is a major focus for ARPLANK as the material is 100% recyclable and is made using recycled content. We show our customers and partners the CO2 footprint per KG of ARPLANK; our main customer and partner in Germany, Wetropa GmbH claim we are their only supplier that shows accurate CO2 footprint data, including the method of calculation.

 

By replacing conventional EPE material with ARPLANK, companies can take a positive step towards reducing CO2 emissions and contributing to the circular economy. JSP takes responsibility for reducing environmental effects by voluntary stewardship and regulatory guidance. Since 2011 JSP has reduced CO2 emissions at our manufacturing sites by 33%, in part, due to 100% renewable electricity. Our target is to reduce emissions by a further 40% by 2027 and use biogas. 

 

How important is recycling to you? How have you adapted to regulatory updates?

We estimate European fabricators are using 10k tons/year of cross-linked PE materials that are not recyclable and have no recycled content (some material waste is reused, but the majority is incinerated). ARPLANK offers alternative materials as it is sustainable and ready for the circular economy, and all fabricators can close the loop when using ARPLANK. Plus, the 25% recycled content will soon increase to 30%. ARPLANK waste and end-of-life products can be used in our new ARPLANK production. Every fabricator in Europe can be part of this circularity.

 

What challenges do you currently face?

Like most manufacturing companies, we face challenging times of high energy costs and volatile PE raw material costs. To support our customers, we announced in February that we would fix the price of ARPLANK for an entire year. We absorb all the volatility of costs, meaning ARPLANK will sell at the same price during 2022. All our customers have valued this and appreciated the support.

 

What lessons have you learnt over the past year?

Sustainability and circular economy are easy subjects on paper; however, it is much more challenging when implemented in real life. The main issue is that ARPLANK is a foam meaning it is a lightweight product full of air. This lightweight property is killing economies of scale of the recycling concept due to high shipping costs, especially now when fuel is reaching record levels in Europe. We’ve learnt that we must offer customers a comprehensive solution, which should solve transport cost issues.

ARPLANK can be compacted as fabricators, meaning the volume is reduced by 20% which can be compared to non-compacted ARPLANK waste. A truck of ARPLANK waste and end-of-life products can be compacted on 1 pallet. Our main recycling partner, General Industries, has lots of collection points all over Europe. If you offer customers this, it is easier to implement the ARPLANK sustainability concept.

 

What fascinates you about your role?

 I am fascinated by educating the industry to change the mindset and approach to non-cross-linked materials such as ARPLANK to help take a small step to make the foam packaging industry greener. I am JSP’s Business Director ARPLANK and have worked for the company for 16 years. Since 2021, I have been responsible for bringing ARPLANK to Europe and I have developed relationships with partners and customers to bring a sustainable product to the market to help make the industry greener due to the circular economy.

 

To chat to JSP this November, you’ll need to pre-register here. You’ll also be able to network with 180+ other exhibitors from industry-leading brands.

 

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