The Society of Plastics Engineers Environmental Division gave out a host of awards for recycling and environmental performance at the group's conference, honoring companies that have made strides in the marketplace to use plastics for environmental benefits. The awards were presented at the group's Global Plastics Environmental Conference in Detroit in February.
The categories and winners are:
* Enabling technology. First place went to the Plastics Lumber Trade Association in Akron, Ohio, for its general contributions to the industry, establishing standardized testing procedures, keeping industry statistics and helping to divert material from landfills.
Second place in the category went to Crompton Vinyl Additives of Greenwich, Conn., for its work developing an organic-based heat stabilizer for PVC. The product was developed in response to European Union efforts to phase out lead as a PVC stabilizer. It is commercial in Europe, and the company hopes to commercialize it in the United States.
* New technology. Spartech Corp. of Clayton, Mo., and Geocell Systems Inc. in Mountain View, Calif., received a first-place award for developing a rapid-deployment flood wall made from interlocking sheets of copolyester resin.
Second place went to Phoenix Technologies LP in Bowling Green, Ohio, for its work in developing technology to make food-grade recycled PET. The company has been very involved with Coca-Cola Co.'s efforts to put RPET into its bottles.
* Emerging technologies. Cargill Dow LLC of Minnetonka, Minn., picked up a first-place award for its development of a biodegradable polylactic acid-based resin, made from nonfood-grade corn and other plant fibers.
Mobius Technologies Inc. of Grass Valley, Calif., won second place for developing and constructing a polyurethane foam recycling plant and for a process that recycles the thermoset.
* Environmental stewardship. SPE gave several awards in this category: American Commodities Inc. of Flint, Mich., for developing a process to recycle multilayer, laminated plastic and foam assemblies used in automobiles; Intelligent Irrigation Systems of Lilydale, Australia, for an inexpensive pipe irrigation system that can be made from recycled-content blown film; and Phoenix Plastics Inc. in Conroe, Texas, for an additive that can be used as a pesticide in banana transport packaging.
* Environmental Design. The single winner in this category, G.A.I.M. Engineering of Bensenville, Ill., uses post-consumer and post-industrial plastics to make injection molded, reusable tote-bag handles.
* Chairman's Award for Community Service. The honor went to YW Generation 2 Plastics in Milwaukee, which provided training in injection molding and compounding to welfare-to-work recipients. The operation closed Dec. 31.