This Christmas period will be unlike any other, to wrap up a year unlike any other. Let us hope the year ends with moments of peace and warm connections with family and friends. Either virtually or in person.

Reflecting on 2020, in our minds Covid-19 has become all-encompassing. Many aspects of our lives have been affected. Family life, work, friends, sport, politics, you name it. Although heart-breaking reports are still emerging daily about hospitalisations and fatality figures we can take some hope. Positives including vaccine efficacy and the steady increase of dose deliveries should be noted.

There is no doubt Covid-19 will have a lasting impact on our world. In the final days of 2020 and with that hopeful spirit emerging from this exhausting year lets take a look at some of the more positive consequences.

New ways to meet, do business and socialise...

As someone who travels frequently visiting suppliers, attending trade shows and making lengthy journeys to drop in on family and friends 2020 has significantly reduced my usual mileage. The year started with many events simply cancelled, relocated or quite often relocated then cancelled. This disruption created a surge in popularity for online platforms allowing for virtual events to become commonplace.

In Teams, Zoom and Facetime, we have seen how business and social interactions can successfully move online. Has virtual fatigue set in? Absolutely. When live events either social or professional return to being a safe option they will undoubtedly be enthusiastically attended. However, I don't see us deleting this software any time soon and that's mostly positive. The ability to speak with family or attend meetings virtually when travel has not been possible allows us to be more flexible and connected.

A change in the public perception of plastics...

For many years plastics have endured a status as being destructive and harmful. The widely held and correct view has been to support a full ban on single-use bags and straws. Over time all plastics, single-use or not, have become increasingly targeted. Clearly, this reaction is not without cause. Plastic pollution and the requirement for better end of life options are real environmental problems. Many companies have committed to help resolve this issue. Our business is on target to achieve carbon-neutral status by the end of 2021. We have also promised to support environmental projects that have a positive impact on our planet.

In 2020 plastics have taken an essential role in battling the challenges we have faced. Whether it be the face shields required by health workers, takeaway containers keeping restaurants trading or the acrylic screens used to protect the public and employees alike. It is therefore clear that in modern life, plastics have an essential role to play in achieving and sustaining hygienic standards. They have contributed positively throughout this pandemic through masks and test kits to protective screens. Although work remains for the industry to engage and improve with environmental concerns the public might have had a rethink about the 'ban all plastics forever' mindset.

Common Cause...

Finally, it was inspiring to see our industry create a unified response, come together and help tackle the pandemic. Innovative solutions were found, emergency production runs were launched. The rapid design and subsequent manufacture of essential equipment within our own business is something we are all very proud of. As highlighted by our Managing Director, 'having worked for many years within this business, I've truly never been more proud of how our team responded to the challenges presented earlier in the year and how they continue to push forward in unprecedented and often difficult times'

As the New Year approaches we can look back on 2020 with a measure of proud reflection.