The winners of the 2023 Re|focus Sustainability Innovation Awards have been announced by the Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS). The program recognizes innovations in plastics manufacturing that produce environmental benefits in design, materials, and end-of-life management, said PLASTICS.
The five categories and winners are as follows:
Sustainable Innovation in Design
Avient Corp. won the design award for its 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 post-consumer recycled resins 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, said PLASTICS.
Image courtesy of Avient
Cosmetics giant L’Oréal was an early adopter of the CPS tool, which it used for the global launch of its Redken line in 2022. “As early adopters of our PCR Color Prediction Service, L’Oréal achieved consistent colors across various PCR grades in different countries,” said Mayendran Pillay, director of marketing for Color & Additives in the United States and Canada. This enabled the company to launch with fewer color iterations and color trials, thereby reducing complexity and increasing speed, added Pillay.
Sustainable Innovation in Materials
Envision Plastics walked away with the materials award for its EcoPrime Fit for Food Contact high-density polyethylene and polypropylene post-consumer recycled resins. EcoPrime is made of post-consumer containers that started out as food packaging. Envision Plastics’ patented, post-extrusion, and chemical-free devolatilization process decontaminates and cleans the recycled resin, making it safe to use again in direct food contact.
Sustainable Innovation in End-of-Life
ExxonMobil’s Exxtend technology for advanced recycling took the end-of-life award. The technology breaks down plastic waste, which is difficult to recycle mechanically, into feedstock used to create new virgin-quality plastic and other valuable products.
ExxonMobil has developed 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.”
Solvay is the winner of the People’s Choice Award for its Amodel Bios PPA. Amodel is a partially bio-sourced long-chain PPA made from non-food-competing biomass that is produced using 100% renewable electricity. This combination results in Solvay's Amodel Bios PPA having the lowest global warming potential of all PPA resins.
The material is suited for automotive and electronics applications; in particular, e-mobility, surface mount devices, connectors, circuit breakers, switches, and fluid connectors, said Solvay.
Leadership in Sustainability Innovation
The Leadership Award is given to the company with the best overall score across the three categories. This year’s winner was Amcor Rigid Packaging, which submitted three innovations:
- QuantumPremium Lightweight Finish Technology is a two-step process that eliminates unnecessary material — more than 50% of the weight in the finish of a PET bottle.
- PowerPost Lightweighting Technology is described as the most advanced lightweighting technology for hot-fill beverages. It results in a fully recyclable bottle that is up to 30% lighter and can be made with up to 100% recycled material.
- The PepsiCo 2.5-liter PET returnable, reusable, and refillable bottle created in partnership with GEEP, PepsiCo’s exclusive bottler in Mexico.