Congratulations to our 2022 Sustainability Innovation Award Winners!
This year’s group of Sustainability Innovation Award winners challenges the limiting idea of “this is the way we’ve always done it, therefore we always will do it this way”. Shaking up the status quo, each of these innovations reaches the next level of plastic sustainability.
We are proud to celebrate these achievements in design, materials, and end-of-life innovation as well as each individual who contributed their transformative ideas.
Thank you to our esteemed panel of judges for taking the time to read through and score the 34 submissions we received this year.
Ron Vance, Chief, Resource Conservation Branch: EP
Leadership in Sustainability Innovation Award Winner
Ford Motor Company is the proud recipient of the Leadership in Sustainability Innovation Award this year! All three of Ford Motor's innovation submissions received high ratings from each of our three esteemed judges.
Seat Clip in the Ford Bronco Sport made of 100% Recycled Ocean Plastic ‘Ghost Gear'.
Ford Motor Co. demonstrated within their ecosystem how to best utilize ocean waste materials to make car parts resulting in cost-saving and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Industry's first 100% PCR PA 6 based Seat Clip. The process begins with DSM harvesting ocean plastics by collecting spent nylon fishing nets. The plastic is washed of saltwater, dried, and extruded to form small pellets, which are then injection-molded by supplier HellermannTyton into the desired clip shape. The result is a PA6 material with equal strength and durability to its predecessor while offering 10% cost savings, reduced energy consumption, and improved stability in the supply chain.
Nanocellulose Enhanced Flexible PU Foams used for automotive parts.
Ford researchers capitalized on their strengths to disrupt the current PU industry and partnered with industry experts (SAPPI, BASF, and Creative Foams) to develop a nanocellulose reinforced PU foam that improves customers’ experience in the vehicle. Incorporating micro and nanofillers into foam systems improves physical and mechanical properties, especially Noise Vibration Harshness (NVH) properties. Additionally, there are increasing environmental and ecological concerns due to petroleum-based chemicals and products.
Industry's first closed loop recycling of Additive Manufacturing Waste to replace injection molded automotive parts.
Typically, even in the most efficient 3D printing processes, there is the material that is not consumed, and there are prototype parts that do not have long lifespans. Hence, scrap is generated and, without a way to reuse it, it is destined for a landfill. Here, Ford offers a solution for recycling this waste material into a high-quality injection molded part.
Ford partnered with HP, Lavergne (Tier 2), and A Raymond (Tier 1) to recycle waste polymer additive powder and 3D printed parts from HP’s high-capacity MultiJet Fusion (MJF) printers. The waste polymer is compounded into pellets that are then injection molded.
Sustainable Innovation Award Winners In Design, End of Life, and Material
Klockner Pentaplast is the proud recipient of the Sustainable Innovation in Design Award with their fully recyclable pharmaceutical blister film - kpNext™ R1.
kpNext™ R1 is the first of its kind, pharmaceutical blister film designed to be recycled in the RIC 1 recycling stream. Typically, pharmaceutical blister films are produced from materials that are not readily recycled. They are usually produced from vinyl or combinations of polymers constituting a #7 RIC number (other) and are subsequently landfilled or incinerated. kpNext™ R1 is produced from a special PET formulation that allows it to be fully recycled directly with other #1 PET products such as water bottles.
JP Industrial Products won the Sustainable Innovation in End of Life Award with their AERO Screening Technology (Aspiration-Elutriation-Reduction-Optimization). This technology captures and converts PVC materials into a reusable form for a variety of applications.
The proprietary process by which JPI captures and converts PVC materials to reusable form is called AERO Screening Technology. The materials this process allows us to recover are a high-grade PVC powder that can be used in a variety of quality applications. JPI's proprietary processing line is aimed at reclaiming PVC that has been historically designated as waste. This line optimizes byproducts of the recycling process as it pertains specifically to vinyl window scrap materials.
Starlinger viscotec was awarded the Sustainable Innovation in Materials Award for their rPET100 - a heat resistant and fully recyclable sheet material to be used in thermoformed packaging.
rPET100 sheet material for thermoformed packaging is a game-changer for circular packaging solutions: it is designed for recycling, AND it is made from recycled PET. This is a huge advantage compared to the status quo.
Heat resistant of temperatures up to 100 °C or 212 °F; fully recyclable, containing no other stabilizers or polymer additives; and small CO2 footprint. The material has been designed for tray-to-tray recycling while maintaining the highest packaging quality in terms of mechanical strengths and a high-quality optical appearance.
People's Choice Award Winner
The People's Choice Award goes to Novoloop, Inc. for their Oistre™ Thermoplastic Urethane (TPU). This material is made from advanced chemical recycling.
Oistre™ is the first polyester thermoplastic urethane (TPU) made from advanced chemical recycling. It contains up to 50% content from upcycled post-consumer waste and has up to 46% lower CO2e than conventional TPUs (per 3rd-party screening level LCA). Unlike mechanically recycled TPU, Oistre™ matches the performance characteristics of conventional TPUs. Oistre™ is made using upcycled monomers from Novoloop’s patented ATOD™ process. ATOD™ is an advanced chemical recycling process that transforms post-consumer polyethylene waste into diacid monomers, a very important building block for many polymers. Through Oistre’s production, Novoloop puts plastic waste back to use by keeping it out of landfills and incinerators.
Congratulations to the 2021 Re|focus Sustainability Innovation Award Winners
View All Past Award Winners
Sustainable Innovation in Design
Awards an innovation in product, equipment, or process design that appeals to recyclability, anti-liter, compostability, and innovation in equipment allowing for new product design.
Sustainable Innovation in Materials
Awards an innovation in or use of bioplastics, recycled content, and additives for upcycling.
Sustainable Innovation in End of Life
Awards an innovation in recycling or composting process or equipment.
About the Re|focus Sustainability Innovation Awards
The Re|focus Sustainability Innovation awards provide a platform for sharing and celebrating some of the great work being done across the globe to push sustainability in manufacturing forward. These awards are designed to recognize outstanding innovations in plastics manufacturing that further environmental advantages in design, material, and end-of-life management.
Five awards are given each year:
Leadership in Sustainability Innovation Award
Awards the "front-runner" in all areas of the judging criteria. This winner can be an applicant of any of the three categories.
Sustainable Innovation in Design Award
Awards an innovation in product, equipment, or process design that appeals to recyclability, anti-litter, compostability, and innovation in equipment allowing for new product design
Sustainable Innovation in Materials Award
Awards an innovation in or use of bioplastics, recycled content, and additives for upcycling
Sustainable Innovation in End of Life Award
Awards an innovation in recycling or composting process or equipment
People's Choice Award
All nominations for the Innovation awards qualify to be a part of the People's Choice Award contest. All proposals will be shared on PLASTICS' social media channels and the nominee with the most votes wins
A panel of judges composed of authoritative sources in plastics manufacturing, materials, and recycling who are qualified to determine what truly represents the state-of-the-art innovation will select one award winner for each of the categories. Each submission will be graded on the following criteria:
Innovation: How novel is the idea being proposed?
Environmental impact: How significant is the environmental benefit?
Market impact: How scalable is this innovation? How significant would the market impact be if it were to reach commercialization?
2022 Submissions are now closed
The Re|focus Sustainability Innovation Awards program is an annual competition honoring forward-thinking companies that are driving environmental advancements in product design, sustainable materials, and end-of-life recovery. Submissions for the 2022 Sustainability Innovation Awards are now closed.
The 2023 Award Nomination Period will open in October, 2022