The American Chemistry Council (ACC), Washington, D.C., has announced the three winners of its Innovation in Plastics Recycling awards. KW Plastics, Safeplay Systems and Sony Electronics Inc. were recognized for developing innovative processes and products using post-consumer recycled plastics.
Steve Russell, vice president of plastics for ACC, says, “Thanks to the creative advancements brought about by these recyclers and others like them, we are able to keep more valuable plastics out of landfills than ever before. Used plastics are too valuable to waste and can be recycled to make high-quality, innovative products, such as furniture, car parts, home building products, fashion and packaging.”
The ACC recognized KW Plastics, Troy, Ala., for its approaches to recycling post-consumer polypropylene (PP) packaging. Despite difficulties experienced by many reclaimers in handling PP, KW Plastics has developed processes, specifications and equipment to allow the processing of PP yogurt cups, butter tubs, ketchup bottles, juice boxes and corrugated yard signs as part of an integrated processing system.
In addition, KW Plastics was recognized as the first domestic reprocessor to collect and recycle woven and nonwoven flexible PP. The company currently has the capacity to reprocess 450 million pounds of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and 300 million pounds of PP annually.
“As the world’s largest plastics recycler, KW Plastics has often been the leader in developing new markets and technologies to divert plastics from the landfill while creating jobs and revenue for the domestic economy,” says Stephanie Baker, director of market development for KW Plastics’ recycling division. “The innovations we have implemented, together with cooperative efforts with our partners and suppliers, are making plastics recycling easier than ever before.”
Safeplay Systems, based in Marietta, Ga., won for EcoPlay, its line of playground equipment for schools and parks made from a minimum of 95 percent post-consumer recycled HDPE. Safeplay has its own recycling program and accepts all its products for recycling at the end of their useful lives.
Eric Torrey, director of marketing for Safeplay Systems, says, “We are proud of our high-performance polypropylene structures that don’t splinter, crack, swell or rust and are virtually maintenance free. But more than that, environmental stewardship is an integral part of Safeplay Systems’ business, and we are honored to be recognized for our innovations in plastics recycling.”
Based in San Diego, Sony Electronics Inc. won for its development of SoRPlas, a material made from 99 percent recycled polycarbonate (PC) that is used in the housings of some of Sony’s popular consumer products, particularly in high-end cameras. To make SoRPlas, Sony uses 50 percent post-industrial scrap from optical disc manufacturing and 50 percent post-consumer recycled plastics from end-of-life products, containers and other items. In total, the Sony Group uses more than 17,000 tons of recycled plastics per year, including SoRPlas, in various products.
“Sony is dedicated to protecting and improving the environment in all parts of our business,” says Doug Smith, director of corporate environmental affairs for Sony Electronics Inc. “We are excited to be recognized for developing SoRPlas, a durable resin made from recycled polycarbonate that helps to conserve resources and reduce emissions in the manufacturing process and we are committed to expanding the use of recycled plastics in our products as research continues.”