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Record-setting IFAT showcased booming environmental technology sector

Filtering of microplastics, more effective recycling of plastics and the digital transformation of the entire industry: for five days, the world’s leading trade fair for environmental technologies IFAT revolved around the issues of the management of water, sewage, waste and raw materials management. The industry sector’s products, technologies and services are in rising demand all over the world.

Sustainable plastics management was one of the key issues discussed during the IFAT 2018 opening panel (photo courtesy Messe München).

Held in Munich, Germany, IFAT was, as it was anticipated to be, a recording breaking event. Figures from the organisers, Messe München counted over 141 000 visitors – a 4 percent increase on the previous edition in 2016 and 3 305 exhibitors – a 7 percent increase, from 58 countries

The fair displays the significance of the industry and the issue. IFAT presents the technologies of the future for a clean environment; hence, it is driving the public discourse more actively than ever before. This was reflected in the visits of international politicians, the numerous delegations from all over the world and technology experts who came to share ideas, experiences and know-how, said Stefan Rummel, Managing Director of Messe München.

Consumers drive the industry

It is above all the consumers’ increased awareness and their demand for sustainability that make the industry boom. German Federal Environmental Minister Svenja Schulze said what many people around the globe are concerned about.

We need to use resources and recycle plastics and other materials more effectively and avoid plastic wastes being disposed of into the environment. It is to avoid unnecessary plastics. Here, technologies have a key role. The IFAT presents smart and innovative environmental technologies that are already part of a solution to many of our environmental challenges, said Minister Schulze.

German Federal Environmental Minister Svenja Schulze and Bavarian Minister of State Dr Marcel Huber on their tour of the fair (photo courtesy Messe München).

Herwart Wilms, Managing Director of Remondis SE & CO KG was one of the industry representatives to appeal to the public.

Technologies are ready and on standby. To achieve a closed raw materials cycle the makers of products now need to significantly raise their recycling quotas for raw materials, Wilms said.

Local authorities and industry on the same page

At the same time, representatives of the manufacturing industry visiting IFAT showed a rising interest in resource-conserving and efficient methods.

Demand from industry has increased significantly, said Falk Olaf Petersdorf, Managing Director of Xylem Water Solutions Deutschland GmbH.

IFAT boss Stefan Rummel is also convinced that this edition has successfully addressed both local authorities and the industry.

Digitally linked pumps, waste containers with sensors, autonomous road sweepers—digital innovation is a feature of many innovations at IFAT. The new hall allocation based on the subjects of water/sewage and waste/secondary raw materials was very much appreciated. Hence, also the issue of drinking water is now firmly established in Munich.

Now, IFAT has also become the world’s leading trade fair for drinking water; the record figures achieved reflect its importance for the environmental industry, commented Udo Jirmann, Managing Director of Georg Fischer GmbH.

IFAT 2018 welcomed over 141 000 visitors and 3 305 exhibitors to Munich. In May 2020 it will be time again (photo courtesy Messe München).

The next IFAT takes place in Munich, Germany from May 4-8, 2020.

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