Plastics Industry Association Announces 2023 Refocus Sustainability Innovation Award Winners

April 26, 2023

Washington D.C.—The Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS) has announced the winners of its 2023 Re|focus Sustainability Innovation Awards that recognize outstanding innovations in plastics manufacturing that further environmental advantages in design, material, and end-of-life management.

PLASTICS’ Vice President of Sustainability, Patrick Krieger, congratulated the winners stating, “The plastic industry is innovating every day to find new ways to keep plastic in the circular economy and out of the environment. I congratulate our winners and am proud to be part of an industry that is committed to sustainability and advancing the circular economy.”

Sustainable Innovation in Design Award

Avient Corporation is the winner of the design award for their Color Prediction Service (CPS). It’s the first digital tool of its kind that can illustrate the color possibilities or limitations of certain types of recycled resins (PCR) prior to laboratory trials. This can help shorten the time-to-launch of new product ranges, allowing fast and reliable checks prior to initiating sample development and simplifying the overall decision-making process for brand owners and technical colorists.

“Avient is fully committed to increasing opportunities to expand the use of recycled polymers, helping customers to incorporate or increase PCR content into new and existing applications,” said Mayendran Pillay, Director of Marketing for Color & Additives, U.S. and Canada, at Avient. “We were honored to collaborate with major cosmetics brand L’Oréal for their global Redken launch in 2022. As early adopters of our PCR Color Prediction Service, L’Oréal achieved consistent colors across various PCR grades in different countries, enabling them to launch with fewer color iterations and color trials thereby reducing complexity and increasing speed.”

Sustainable Innovation in Materials Award

Envision Plastics is the winner of materials award for their EcoPrime® Fit for Food Contact HDPE and PP PCR. EcoPrime® is made of postconsumer containers that started out as food packaging, and leveraging Envision Plastics’ patented, post-extrusion, and chemical-free devolatilization process to decontaminate and clean the recycled resin by removing odors, volatiles, and semi-volatiles from the resin so that it is safe to be used again in direct food contact.

“We’re excited to receive the Re|focus Sustainable Innovations in Materials Award,” said Khosrow Hallaji, Senior Director of Technology and Innovation for Envision Plastics. “As the market leader and expert in fit for food contact HDPE and PP PCR solutions, we are proud to be partnering with and enabling brands around the world as they work to achieve their sustainability goals, meet legislative requirements, and contribute to the circular economy.”

Sustainable Innovation in End-of-Life Award

ExxonMobil is the winner of the end-of-life award for their ExxtendTM Technology for Advanced Recycling. The technology breaks down difficult-to-mechanically-recycle plastic waste into feedstock used to create new virgin-quality plastic and other valuable products.

“We’re thrilled to receive this recognition of our team’s hard work over the past couple of years to develop one of the largest advanced plastic recycling facilities in North America,” said Melanie Bower, head of external and regulatory affairs for advanced recycling at ExxonMobil. “Through scaling this technology around the world, ExxonMobil is making it possible for a broader range of plastic waste to be recycled and helping to meet growing customer demand for plastics circularity.”

People’s Choice Award

Solvay is the winner of the People’s Choice Award for their Amodel® Bios PPA. Amodel® is a partially bio-sourced long-chain PPA made from non-food competing biomass and which resin is produced using 100% renewable electricity. This sustainable combination results in Solvay’s Amodel® Bios PPA having the lowest Global Warming Potential (GWP) of all PPA resins.

“We are extremely proud to receive the 2023 Re|focus Sustainability Innovation Award,” said Brian Baleno, Head of Marketing Automotive at Solvay Materials. “This Award truly celebrates our efforts and initiatives to pioneer the sustainability focus on the industry today. Amodel® Bios PPA is a partially bio-sourced long-chain PPA made from non-food competing biomass and produced using 100% renewable electricity, ideal for automotive and electronics industries, and in particular e-mobility and electrical applications like surface mount devices, connectors, circuit breakers, switches and fluid connectors. It is great to see appreciation for a solution that reduces environmental impact, without compromising on material performance!”

Leadership in Sustainability Innovation Award

The Leadership Award, the award for the company with the best overall score across the three categories, was awarded to Amcor Rigid Packaging. Amcor submitted three innovations:

QuantumTM  Premium Lightweight Finish Technology: a two-step lightweighting technology that eliminates unnecessary material – more than 50% – of the weight in the finish of a PET bottle.

PowerPost™ Lightweighting Technology: the most advanced lightweighting technology for hot-fill beverages. This technology delivers a bottle that is up to  30% lighter and can be made with up to 100% recycled material and is fully recyclable.

PepsiCo 2.5 L PET Returnable, Reusable, and Refillable Bottle: a 100% recyclable and refillable 2.5 L polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottle created in partnership with GEEP, PepsiCo’s exclusive bottler in Mexico.

“Amcor is proud to receive the 2023 Re|focus Leadership in Sustainability Innovation Award which underscores our commitment to sustainability and advancing the circular economy for plastics. Our QuantumTM lightweighting technology for bottle finishes, PowerPost™ vacuum absorbing base, and the PepsiCo returnable, reusable, and refillable bottle from Latin America, demonstrate Amcor Rigid Packaging’s ongoing commitment to innovate and deliver sustainable packaging solutions for our customers,” said Dr. Terry Patcheak, Vice President R&D, Sustainability and Program Management at Amcor Rigid Packaging.

The Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS) is the only organization that supports the entire plastics supply chain, including Equipment Suppliers, Material Suppliers, Processors and Recyclers, representing over one million workers in our $468 billion U.S. industry. PLASTICS advances the priorities of our members who are dedicated to investing in technologies that improve capabilities and advances in recycling and sustainability and providing essential products that allow for the protection and safety of our lives. Since 1937, PLASTICS has been working to make its members, and the sixth largest U.S. manufacturing industry, more globally competitive while supporting circularity through educational initiatives, industry-leading insights and events, convening opportunities and policy advocacy, including the largest plastics trade show in the Americas, NPE2024: The Plastics Show