Aside from the design of the samples, Positive Plastics' creative thinking stands out in other ways as well.
"It is, as far as we know, the first kit to contain samples from different producers. Normally, when a sample kit is received from a raw materials producer, it contains only the materials available from that producer," Friedland said. "This is a curated sample collection of various innovative, commercially available polymers."
The kit contains materials from companies who were invited to participate, including Arkema, Biowert Industrie, Borealis, Lignin Industries, Mocom, Sappi, Sirmax, Stora Enso, Trinseo, UBQ and UPM.
"We've included a transparent, mass-balanced grade and two white grades. Both are highly sought after by designers for their aesthetics. There is also a 54 percent bio-based TPU grade, so not all the samples are of rigid polymers," she explained.
Through their long experience in working with different members of project teams, the trio of experts behind Positive Plastics knows what is needed in the way of information. They also know how to reach the designers who need this information. So, when sending out the kit, Friedland said, it will not be sent to a random project manager.
"We will send it to the principal designer or design director of, say, the small domestic appliances department or the design director of the whitegoods division because we know them personally, as they are our clients," Friedland said.
From the point of view of the raw materials manufacturers, it is a great door-opener, she added. Usually, their contacts are with the procurement department or with a product manager, or perhaps even the engineers on the production floor.
"They rarely have contacts with the designers, and that's where we come in. We have cherry-picked 100 brands to send a complementary edition of the sample kit to, and we know it will reach the people we intend it to reach. And that is a very attractive idea to the producers of these materials," she said.
Positive Plastics has also created a form on its website that will allow designers to contact the materials suppliers directly.
"Not only will this create leads from our website directly to their mailboxes, but it will also enable us to generate quarterly traffic reports from our website to our partners," Friedland said.
Positive Plastics is confident that the number of participants in the initiative will continue to grow.
"Right now, we have 16 materials," she said. "We hope the kit will grow so that by 2022, we will have the second edition with additional and new materials to present. Because this is not a one-off product; we are in this for the longer term."