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PLASTICS Honors Sustainability Champions at NPE

Eastman, Bantam Materials, Ultra-Poly, and Polycarbin are this year’s winners of the Plastic Sustainability Innovation Awards. The People’s Choice Award winner will be revealed at NPE on May 8.

Geoff Giordano

May 2, 2024

3 Min Read
Eastman's molecular recycling facility
Eastman won in the design category for its new molecular recycling facility in Tennessee.Image courtesy of Eastman

Four sustainability innovators have been named by the Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS) and will be honored at NPE2024 in Orlando, FL, on May 8. A fifth winner — the People’s Choice Award — will be chosen during the event.

The winners of the 2024 Plastic Sustainability Innovation Awards are:

  • Design: Eastman, for its new molecular recycling facility in Tennessee. This material-to-material facility can process 110,000 metric tons of polyester waste destined for landfills or incineration. Eastman’s process reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 20% to 50% compared with traditional processes.

  • Materials: Bantam Materials UK, for its Prevented Ocean Plastic Initiative. The company creates a market for post-use PET in countries without robust recycling systems. The project has created 13 collection centers and prevented more than two billion bottles from ending up in the ocean. More than 2,000 jobs have been created, as have over 500,000 workdays for bottle collectors.

  • End-of-Life: Ultra-Poly Corp., for its ELV Bumper Recycling Program. The program turns about 1.2 million pounds a year of bumper covers collected from autobody shops into pellets for a wheel outer liner for GM heavy-duty pickup trucks.

  • Leadership: Earning the best score across all three categories was Polycarbin for its Circular Economy for Laboratory Plastics and Carbin Counter Platform. Polycarbin’s complete closed-loop system collects, recycles, and re-manufactures plastic lab products including pipette tips, tubes, tube racks, and more. The Carbin Counter tracking software gives users metrics like Scope 3 emission reductions, water conservation, landfill diversion, and other key environmental indicators. 

Related:Chemical Recycling of Plastics Continues to Gain Ground

“The plastic industry is constantly innovating to find new ways to keep plastic waste out of our environment and use resources responsibly,” said PLASTICS Vice President of Sustainability Patrick Krieger. “I congratulate our winners and look forward to presenting these companies with their well-deserved awards, and voting for the People’s Choice Award during NPE.” 

The five finalists for the People’s Choice Award are:

  • Amcor Rigid Packaging for its 100% post-consumer recycled (PCR) bottle for Blue Bin wine.

  • Avient for its Versaflex HC BIO BT218 plant-based material for single-use applications with a 25% smaller carbon footprint than petroleum-based elastomers.

  • Coperion for its ZSK FilCo filtration compounder, designed for recycling PCR or any highly contaminated polymer by allowing filtration and compounding in a single production step — reducing energy consumption and emissions by more than 50%.

  • Hoola One Technologies for its HO Wrack, a portable and mobile treatment plant for removing plastic pellet spills from unpaved areas. The HO Wrack separates plastic from rocks, dirt, and other materials.

  • PureCycle Technologies for its PureFive Ultra-Pure Recycling Process, a seven-stage purification process that extracts and filters color, odor, and other impurities out of polypropylene waste. The resulting Ultra-Pure recycled resin can be reused multiple times. 

The Sustainability Innovation Awards ceremony happens at NPE2024 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL, on May 8 at 11 a.m. in room W314A. Voting for the People’s Choice Award will take place at NPE on Monday and Tuesday and will be announced at the award ceremony.

About the Author(s)

Geoff Giordano

Geoff Giordano is a tech journalist with more than 30 years’ experience in all facets of publishing. He has reported extensively on the gamut of plastics manufacturing technologies and issues, including 3D printing materials and methods; injection, blow, micro and rotomolding; additives, colorants and nanomodifiers; blown and cast films; packaging; thermoforming; tooling; ancillary equipment; and the circular economy. Contact him at [email protected].

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