The American Chemistry Council announced the winners of the 2014 Innovation in Plastics Recycling Awards on Friday, Nov. 14. The awards highlight innovations in the plastics recycling industry by recognizing companies and individuals who successfully bring new technologies, products, and initiatives to the marketplace.
The winners – Geo-Tech Polymers LLC, GreenBlue, and QRS Recycling – were honored at ACC’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. All three award recipients were celebrated for developing innovative ways to help increase the availability and quality of recycled plastics.
“This year’s award recipients – Geo-Tech Polymers LLC, GreenBlue, and QRS Recycling – are helping overcome some of the hurdles needed to take plastics recycling to new levels,” says Steve Russell, vice president of plastics for the American Chemistry Council. “Their innovations will help expand the ongoing growth in plastics recycling and make more recycled plastics available to manufacturers.”
- Geo-Tech Polymers has developed a patented process for removing coatings such as ink, chrome, paint, films, and labels from used plastics prior to reprocessing. These coatings can impact the value or utility of recycled plastics if not removed. Independent analysis also demonstrates that the process leaves no residual chemicals. According to Geo-Tech, the process decreases “the amount of plastics that are going to landfill while also increasing the number of applications” available for recycled plastics, according to the company.
- GreenBlue’s Sustainable Packaging Coalition has developed a recycling label for packaging that clearly communicates recycling instructions to consumers. The Coalition created the How2Recycle Label in response to variations in recycling programs, unclear labeling, and inaccurate recyclability claims that impeded recycling. As one example, polyethylene bags, films, and wraps can carry the Store Drop-off Label to inform consumers to recycle them at nearby drop-off locations instead of curbside. Major companies and brand owners such as Sealed Air, Target, Kimberly Clark, Clorox, and many more now use the Store Drop-off Label on their products, which could significantly increase plastic film recycling.
- QRS Recycling has established Plastics Container Recovery Facilities (PRFs) to collect plastics that local Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs) do not recycle for various reasons. QRS Recycling establishes PRFs within close proximity to numerous MRFs and equips them with sophisticated sorting, washing, and grinding equipment to recover individual polymers. These PRFs provide a domestic market for plastics that often were exported, and they capture plastics that could otherwise require significant processing or sorting equipment. PRFs divert more plastics from the waste stream and provide manufacturers with high quality post-consumer recycled resins, including PET, polyethylene, and polypropylene. The company is engaged in ongoing efforts to capture PVC and polystyrene, as well.
The awards contest is open to all U.S. companies, individuals, and government bodies (including schools) that either collect or process plastics for recycling, manufacture equipment used to collect or process plastics for recycling, or manufacture a new product made in whole or part from recycled plastic.
American Chemistry Council