Sponsored By

Greening of an Industry: GPEC honors achievements in sustainability

March 18, 2008

3 Min Read
Greening of an Industry: GPEC honors achievements in sustainability

Orlando, FL—Some 317 attendees and 40 exhibitors representing material, additive, and machinery suppliers, as well as brand owners, OEMs, and even private equity, gathered at the Florida Hotel and Conference Center (Orlando, FL; March 11-12) for the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE; Brookfield, CT) Plastics Environmental Division Global Plastics Environmental Conference (GPEC). The event culminated in the 2008 Environmental Awards, presented during a dinner banquet.

Collecting a trio of awards, as well winning funding, Nextek Limited was the most decorated attendee, with its managing director, Edward Kosior, also named as an SPE fellow, the first Aussie so recognized. Nextek, using funding from the London-based Waste and Resource Action Program (WRAP), was honored in the Plastic Recycling Technologies and Applications category for its bottle-to-bottle recycling program for high-density polyethylene (HDPE) milk bottles, achieving post-consumer recycled content of up to 50%. In addition, Nextek beat out MicroGREEN Polymers Inc. (Arlington, WA), which has a proprietary solid-state microcellular expansion process to lightweight parts while allowing 100% recycled content, in the inaugural Clean Technology Business Plan Forum & Competition. The contest was sponsored by research endowment Batelle, which awarded Nextek and MicroGREEN checks to further technology development.

In the Emerging Technologies in Materials, Processes, and Applications category, Interface Inc. (Atlanta, GA) won for its technology to reclaim post-consumer nylon 6/6 fibers. Custom molder Cascade Engineering (Grand Rapids, MI) won in the New Technologies in Processes group for its coinjection molded EcoCart which adds 30-50% postconsumer HDPE to large trash bins, without affecting performance. Soliant LLC (Lancaster, SC), which was recognized at GPEC 2006 in Atlanta for its paint-film product that obviates traditional painting in automotive and now has 50 million parts in the field, was recognized once again, winning the Enabling Technologies in Processes & Procedures award for its Fluorex Bright Film. The thermoplastic film mimics chrome without the use of plating chemicals and with lower weight. The company has successfully adhered it to TPO, ABS, PC, PVC, and PC/ABS in molding, thermoforming and extrusion.

Ford Motor Co. and supplier Lear won in the Plastic Materials from Renewable Sources & Applications category for the use of partially soy-based foam for seating in the Mustang. Plastic composite rail road ties, launched by TieTek LLC (Houston, TX) after initiating work with Union Pacific 13 years ago, won the New Environmental Technologies in Conventional Plastic Materials prize. Company founder Henry Sullivan said the technology, which annually uses 50 million lb of recycled HDPE and 1 million recycled tires, saving 75,000 mature hardwood trees, is applied in 1 million ties with 28 railroads around the world.

Tandus (Dalton, GA) won the Design for Sustainability award for converting, along with Tier One automotive supplier Collins & Aikman, polyvinyl butyral, which is used as an adhesive in automotive glass, into carpet backing, creating an alternative to polyurethane and polyvinyl chloride, while finding a use for a waste material. The Dan Eberhardt Environmental Stewardship award, named for founder of compounding and recycling firm MRC Polymers Inc. (Chicago, IL) who died in a plane crash in 2006, went to Hewlett-Packard Co., which along with Butler MacDonald and The Lavergne Group has created a closed loop plastic-recycling program for its ink-jet cartridges. The company expects to use 10 million lb of recycled plastic in cartridges in 2008, up from five million in 2007. GPEC 2009 will be held February 26-27, 2009, with Orlando, and other sites, still under consideration.—[email protected]

Sign up for the PlasticsToday NewsFeed newsletter.

You May Also Like