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Plastics recycling technology wins prize from The Economist

News magazine The Economist is for the ninth time recognizing creativity with its Innovation Awards, and this year's awards ceremony will include Michael Biddle, founder and president of MBA Polymers, which works to separate polymeric materials from highly complex waste products. The company says it has recovered more than 100 million lb of plastic in the last three years.

A large panel selected the winners in seven categories: bioscience, business process, computing and telecom, consumer goods and services, energy and the environment, social and economic innovation, and no boundaries. Biddle won the Energy & Environment category award. An eighth award, the Reader's Award, will be announced at the awards presentations on Oct. 21, 2010 at the Science Museum in London.

Biddle founded Michael Biddle & Assoc. in his home in 1992 to demonstrate that it was possible to recycle plastics from complex waste streams. MB&A was expanded to a pilot line in Berkeley, CA and renamed MBA Polymers in 1994 after he brought on his former colleague, Laurence Allen. The company now has a headquarters and a research center in Richmond, CA, and recovers materials from a variety of sources, including computers, electronics, appliances, and automobiles. MBA claims its recovery process requires less than 10% of the energy compared to making plastics from petrochemicals.  

His company now has recycling facilities in California; Guangzhou, China; Kematan, Austria; and one to open in Britain on Oct. 1. The privately held company does not report its sales.

With its Innovation Awards, the staff of The Economist seeks to identify individuals responsible for innovations that have been a proven success in the past decade.—[email protected]

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