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ACC honors plastics recycling innovations

By: Jeremy Carroll

November 14, 2013

DiversiTech Corp., Entropex and Preserve have been named winners of the Innovation in Plastics Recycling awards handed out by the American Chemistry Council.

"This year's award recipients … have brought about successful innovations that are helping to significantly increase the recycling of rigid plastics like yogurt cups, deli and dairy containers, and caps and lids," said Steve Russell, vice president of plastics for the American Chemistry Council, in a statement. "Rigid plastics represent one of the fastest growing segments of plastics recycling, which has nearly tripled since just 2007."

Duluth, Ga.-based DiversiTech was honored for its use of post-industrial polypropylene in air conditioning unit condenser pads, ACC said. The company moved away from virgin PP and began using 100 percent recycled PP scrap.

"The integration of recycled polypropylene has enabled DiversiTech to continue leading in our product line segment, while innovating in tangential channels," said Mark Minor, vice president, eastern operations at DiversiTech in a statement. "We have been able to use post-industrial polypropylene material streams that are difficult for other processors. This flexibility has driven our engineering teams to innovate with a number of internally developed processes."

Entropex was honored for developing a technology to recover various plastic containers that often get lost along the way. Approximately 70 percent of the materials collected through the RigidReclaim system would not have been recycled by typical systems, the ACC said.

The technology sorts, cleans and processes the mixed plastics. The Ontario-based company said the system recovers 55,000 tons of plastic that normally would have gone to the landfill.

Keith Bechard, president of the company, said in a statement that they are proud to receive the award.

"Plastic containers and lids are too valuable to waste and should be recycled after use," he said.

Preserve was honored for collecting PP for recycling through its "Gimme 5," program. The company, which makes various items, including reusable food storage containers from 100 percent recycled PP, says it collects 242,000 pounds of PP annually through the program. Burt's Bees lip balm, Stonyfield Farm yogurt and Brita water filters are among the companies and products signed onto the program.

"Preserve's products and Gimme 5 program are a testament to what is possible with recycling in the USA," said John Lively, director of environment and materials science at Preserve, in a statement. "With the help of the millions of consumers who recycle, we can transform everyday items like yogurt cups into new products."

The winners were announced ahead of America Recycles Day, celebrated on Nov. 15.