Tue March 22, 2022

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS) has announced the winners of their 2022 Re|focus Sustainability Innovation Awards. Presented annually, the awards recognize companies that are driving environmental advances in product design, sustainable materials and end-of-life recovery of plastics.

The panel of judges for the 2022 awards included Kyla Fisher of Three Peaks Consulting, Ron Vance of the U.S. Environmental Protection Administration, and Lilli Sherman of Plastics Technology Magazine.

“We’re grateful to our panel of expert judges for lending us their time and talent,” said Tony Radoszewski, President and CEO of PLASTICS. “This is one of my favorite PLASTICS programs, because it gives companies an opportunity to prove that our industry is walking the walk when it comes to sustainability and protecting the environment.”  

The award for Sustainability Innovation in Design goes to Klöckner Pentaplast, for kpNext™ R1, the first pharmaceutical blister film designed to be recycled in the RIC 1 recycling stream. Where pharmaceutical blister films are typically produced from materials that are not readily recyclable, kpNext™ R1 is produced from a special PET formulation that allows it to be fully recycled in the same curbside recycling stream as plastic water bottles.

Klöckner Pentaplast’s easily recycled kpNext™ R1, pharmaceutical blister film.

In the Sustainability in Materials category, the 2022 winner is Starlinger visotec for rPET100, a heat-resistant and fully recyclable sheet material for thermoformed packaging that can be made from 100% recycled content and then recycled again while maintaining high quality in strength and appearance. Containing only natural-based mineral fillers, there are no stabilizers or polymer additives to prevent recycling in the existing food packaging loop.

Starlinger visotec’s PCR-based, heat-resistant, easily recyclable rPET100.

The 2022 Sustainability in End-of-Life Award winner is JP Industrial for its proprietary AERO Screening Technology that converts waste PVC into a high-grade PVC powder that can be used in a variety of quality applications. The process also captures and reuses material traditionally lost in the scrap recycling process. This material has been used in a variety of applications and products, particularly in the building sector.

Schematic for JP Industrial’s AERO Screening Technology.

The fourth category in the Sustainability Innovation Awards is the People’s Choice Award which, for 2022, is claimed by Novoloop, Inc. They impressed the public with Oistre™—the first thermoplastic urethane (TPU) made using advanced chemical recycling. Containing up to 50% content from upcycled post-consumer plastic waste, Oistre™ has up to 46% lower CO2 emissions than conventional TPUs and, unlike mechanically recycled TPUs, matches the performance characteristics of conventional TPUs.

Novoloop’s thermoplastic urethane made using advanced recycling.

In addition to the main-category awards, PLASTICS also presented an award for overall Leadership in Sustainability Innovation. Ford Motor Company takes that title with three unique concepts—one involving closed-loop recycling, one featuring parts made from 100% recycled ocean plastic, and another showing the advantages of using nanocellulose to lighten the weight of vehicles while decreasing dependence on fossil fuels in the manufacturing process.

Ford automotive parts representing three separate sustainability innovations.

"Innovation and sustainability have become inextricably linked in the plastics industry,” said Patrick Krieger, Vice President for Sustainability at PLASTICS, “We're seeing so many companies using plastics to improve the sustainability of so many other industries like food and the automotive industries."

The association will be celebrating the award winners at its Re|focus Sustainability & Recycling Summit, May 23-26 at Duke Energy Convention Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.

 

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