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Up To 45% Fewer Students In Plastics Technology

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Up To 45% Fewer Students In Plastics Technology
Up To 45% Fewer Students In Plastics Technology

Video: Up To 45% Fewer Students In Plastics Technology

Video: Up To 45% Fewer Students In Plastics Technology
Video: MLTalks with Douglas Rushkoff 2023, May

The GKV / Techpart - Association of Technical Plastic Products - is alarmed: In the past three years, registrations by freshman students in the field of plastic technology / processing have decreased by up to 45 percent. The association surveyed 33 universities and technical colleges in Germany.


Plastic technology at universities and in training

In Germany you can study plastics technology and processing at a few universities as an independent course. Alternatively, plastics technology / processing is offered at many universities as a specialization, for example within mechanical engineering. Especially the independent course in plastics technology and processing is affected by the declines.

In addition to university education, there is also training as a process mechanic for plastics and rubber technology. Here the numbers are minimally declining - according to the GKV, there were 0.9 percent fewer trainees in 2018 than in the previous year.

Criticism comes from professors like the association - too few courses are represented, the course has a bad reputation.

Criticism: Plastic-related courses are underrepresented

Prof. Thomas Seul from the Schmalkalden University of Applied Sciences sees plastic-related courses as clearly underrepresented in comparison with the university landscape. There is a need for action at the universities: “It is a big nonsense to live out regional competition structures among the universities in this regard. The industry needs every available teaching and research institution to meet the needs. What is needed here is not particular, regional interests, but cooperative cooperation in terms of attracting students."

Prof. Thomas Seul

In order to steer the choice of course towards plastics technology / processing, young people would have to be shown attractive career opportunities, the professor continues. "Anyone who thinks only of chemical structures when it comes to plastics technology and processing has not understood the diversity of the industry. Chemistry is not everyone's cup of tea, but many are enthusiastic about technology and engineering. That is an approach. And also an argument of conviction."

Demand: The course must become more attractive

Association manager Michael Weigert demands, among other things, that the plastics industry has to organize better to make the course more attractive, too few companies in the industry support a positive image financially.

This is one of the reasons why the GKV, the plastics packaging industry association and Plastics Europe have decided on a special budget for an image campaign to present plastic products positively. Plastics would play a major role in CO 2 reduction, emphasizes Weigert and criticizes what he says are higher CO 2 emissions from alternative products.

Weigert sees the topic of plastic waste as less important because "the climate changes because of higher CO 2 emissions, not because of more plastic waste." in the products."

Plastic waste problem

So much is really recycled

However, only a fraction of the 99 percent recycled plastic waste is recycled. According to the fact finder of the Tagesschau, 60 percent is “used for energy”, ie burned, which causes carbon dioxide and toxins, which have to be filtered in a complex process.

A third of the remaining 40 percent is exported abroad for recycling and is not followed up - German waste is always found in wild foreign dumps.

Almost a third of the remaining waste has to be sorted out and incinerated, since it cannot be recycled, for example because it is made of inseparably fused plastic. In the end, around 17 percent are really recycled- Often, however, this only results in low-quality plastics from which high-quality products can no longer be manufactured.

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