Across the Atlantic, the Innovation in Plastics Recycling Awards were held in Washington DC.
The annual event is open for entry to any US business, person or government body involved in plastics recycling. Let's talk a little about the winners.
Geo-Tech Polymers, from Westerville, Ohio
Geo-tech developed a plastics recycling process for removing ink, chrome, labels, films and paint coatings from plastics before reprocessing. The patented process has helped increase the value and utility of recycled plastics and also has been proven to leave no residual chemicals. Their innovative ideas really made a significant contribution to local plastics recycling and hopefully will lead to a wider scale expansion. In their business statement, they say:
'At Geo-Tech, our proprietary, exacting and environmentally friendly coatings removal process is unlike any other method of plastics recycling. We have pioneered a fresh, water-based process that enables our customers to transform millions of pounds of low-value plastics waste into high-quality products each year.
Geo-Tech uses gentle, FDA-approved detergents to achieve powerful outcomes that can be used for high-end applications. Our approach not only enables removal of paints and other coatings from plastics, it promotes smart business by turning waste into savings, and reducing energy usage and emissions in our world. '
GreenBlue, from Charlottesville, Virginia
GreenBlue set up the 'Sustainable Packaging Coalition' as a non-profit project to provide the education and science to make products more sustainable. One of their ideas, the idea that bagged them a trophy at the Innovation in Plastics Recycling Awards is their 'How2Recycle Label', which is a sticky label to place on packaging, clearly communication the recycling instructions. The ideas was originated from complaints that bad labelling and poor knowledge of what can and can't be recycled was hindering the local plastic recycling process. Many large American businesses are now using the labels on their products.
Their mission statement says:
'The How2Recycle Label was initiated by GreenBlue's Sustainable Packaging Coalition to address these issues, and to:
- Reduce confusion by creating a clear, well-understood, and harmonized label that enables industry to convey to consumers how to recycle a package after its use.
- Improve the reliability, completeness, and transparency of recyclability claims through a nationally relevant data set on access to recycling for all packaging materials and forms.
- Provide incentive for industry to participate in a pre-competitive labelling initiative that follows FTC Green Guides.'
QRS Recycling, from Nashville, Tennessee
These plastics recycling gurus came up with the brilliant idea of setting up Plastics Container Recovery Facilities within close proximities of MRFs. They that the plastics that the MRFs cannot (for whatever reason) recycle, and then they sort, washing and grind them to recover individual polymers. The facilities not only divert waste from landfill and the waste stream, but they re-enter these plastics into the marketplace, whether domestic or internationally. Currently their process recovers PET, polyethylene and polypropylene, but there are hoping that a plastics recycling solution will arrive so that they can also capture PVC and polystyrene.
It is our opinion that these winners were very deserving of their awards. We hope that some of these contribution to plastics recycling will make it over to Europe so that we too can increase our plastics recycling rates and become more sustainable.