Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

Top Five Things to Do In Orlando When In Town For NPE2015

NPE_logoAs the number one tourist destination in the country, Orlando offers loads of unique and exciting entertainment options for you to discover. To help you make the most of your trip while convening in Orlando for NPE2015: The International Plastics Showcase, we’ve compiled a list of the top things to do and see.

#1 – New and Exciting Dining

Orlando continues to grow its dining scene with local restaurants racking up national recognition with recent awards and accolades, impressing foodies worldwide. There are a number of new restaurants in the convention district worthy of a visit. Like Yard House in the new I-Drive 360 entertainment complex, a modern public house where food and beer lovers unite with a plethora of craft beers to try. Or if you’re in the mood for wine, check out the new Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant which combines an upscale casual restaurant, a working winery, and tasting room with specialty food and gift items. Another local favorite is Vito’s Chop House, recognized as one of Zagat’s Top Italian Restaurants. And of course, the place to be seen is The Pointe restaurant and entertainment complex in the heart of the convention center, which has expanded and added a number of new eateries and local hot spots like RA Sushi, Minus 5 Ice Bar and Blue Martini. Or check out international favorites like The Pub, a true British Pub experience complete with signature Fish-n-Chips or Cuba Libre perfect for those who like ceviche and tapas, among others. At the other end of the convention district, you won’t want to miss Universal CityWalk entertainment complex with sumptuous restaurants, live entertainment, and nightclubs where you can dance the night away. New restaurants include Anotojitos, Vivo Italian Kitchen, and CowFish – the first ever burger sushi joint, among national favorites like Emerils and Hard Rock Café.

#2 – Live Shows

If you’re looking for fun entertainment full of surprises, check out Orlando’s many live shows like Cirque du Soleil’s La Nouba in Downtown Disney, offering a journey of the imagination. Or in the same complex, 1611_clownyou’ll find the inspiring House of Blues and Ragland Road both offering live music. Another popular show is the Blue Man Group, whose live shows combine music, comedy and multimedia theatrics located in Universal CityWalk. While you’re there, you can also see who’s playing at the Hard Rock Live performance venue where many of the industry’s top musicians and comedians play in concert. Or take the stage yourself at CityWalk’s Rising Star karaoke club and perform with a live band and backup singers. On I-Drive the Improv Comedy Club & Dinner Theater is also a big hit welcoming the biggest names in comedy, as well as supporting local talent in the Central Florida. Or if mystery is more your style, the Sleuths Mystery Dinner Show lets you become the detective offering improvisation and audience participation while mingling with outrageous characters. And last but not least, if you’re looking for something completely different, Orlando’s best kept secret is DRIP which offers an in-your-face explosion of the senses with color and movement backed by a live rock band, all in an industrial bar.

#3 – Unexpected Outdoor Thrills

Skydiving, without jumping out of a plane, at Orlando's IFLY.

Skydiving, without jumping out of a plane, at IFLY Orlando.

Orlando has plenty unexpected thrills and unique experiences to be discovered with a wide-range of outdoor activities full of adventure – from race cars, airboat rides and eco-safaris to zip lining and hang gliding. For indoor fun, start with IFLY Orlando Indoor Skydiving to experience true free fall conditions, just like skydiving–without having to jump out of an airplane. For your adventurous side, check out Orlando Tree Trek Adventure Park, a 15-acre outdoor adventure park located in the Walt Disney World® Resort area. The park has six color-coded courses, two giant zip lines and 97 challenging elements. Or if you’re looking for something more relaxing, try Painted Horizons Hot Air Balloon Tours to experience a spectacular sunrise. At Wallaby Ranch Hang Gliding Flight Park, visitors are towed to a height of 2,000 feet by a specially designed ultra-light tow plane to enjoy views of some of Central Florida’s nature landscape. To get your adrenaline pumping, try your hand behind the wheel at The Walt Disney World Speedway offers several unique stock car and exotic car experiences from NASCAR race cars to the world’s finest supercars. Driving enthusiasts can enjoy a variety ride-and-drive programs.

And of course, if you’re looking to hit the greens Orlando is also home to 176 golf courses, with three of the area’s best – the Shingle Creek Golf Club, Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and Grande Pines Golf Club –  are located closest to the Orange County Convention Center.

#4 – Theme Parks

Orlando is home to seven of the world’s best theme parks including Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and SeaWorld offering new and unique ride and entertainment experiences each time you visit. Universal Studios Orlando made headlines this year with the opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley.4899_fireworks Inside, you’ll find cool things to do for both muggles and wizards. But you won’t want to miss the most innovative ride yet, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, providing a multidimensional adventure thrill ride through the mines below Gringotts Bank. Many of the theme parks offer discounted convention delegate tickets for before or after your conference, as well as discounted afternoon delegate tickets if you want to stop in and try one of these innovative new rides.

#5 – Local Attractions

As far as attractions go, Orlando has more thrills and spills than anywhere in the country with over 100 attractions across the destination. If you’re looking for thrills on a smaller scale, check out Fun Spot America Orlando for amusement rides, go carts, and Orlando’s only Wooden Roller coaster. Or for the ultimate thrill seeker, test your courage on the world’s tallest SkyCoaster standing at 300 feet! Also new to the convention district is NASCAR’s I-Drive Indoor Kart Racing offering exciting futuristic electric race karts that will get your blood pumping at speeds up to 45 mph. And if you haven’t experienced the local wildlife yet, you might want to stop by Gatorland and get up close and personal with hundreds of alligators and crocodiles. cs_convention_district_1For heart-pounding adventure, try out the new Screamin Gator Zip Line and soar over top 130 giant alligators!

Orlando is in the midst of its largest expansion in history with something new and different to discover each time you visit. So if you haven’t been to Orlando lately, you’re in for some truly amazing surprises!

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

At NPE2015, Plastics Hall of Fame Program Honors Plastics Pioneers, Innovators, Educators and Leaders

At NPE2015: The International Plastics Showcase, SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association and the Plastics Academy will induct nine global manufacturing innovators, educators and plastics industry leaders into the Plastics Hall of Fame, awarding them the highest honor bestowed by the plastics industry.

The ceremony will take place on Sunday, March 22 at the Linda W. Chapin Theatre in the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) in Orlando, Fla., one day before NPE2015 officially kicks off.

This year’s Hall of Fame honorees hail from across the globe, and are receiving the honor of induction for a diverse array of reasons, achievements and contributions to the plastics industry as a whole.

John Beaumont

John Beaumont

John Beaumont of Beaumont Technologies, Inc., for example, was one of three founding members of Penn State Erie’s Plastics Technology Program, and has helped shaped the future of hundreds of plastics professionals by working as a professor at the same school for 25 years






Terry Browitt

Terry Browitt

Terry Browitt, director and founder of Terinex International, Inc. has also continually supported the cause of plastics growth and education through the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE), formerly serving as the organization’s president and continuing to support it while founding and running Terinex.





William Carteaux

William Carteaux

2015 is also a year of milestones for the Plastics Hall of Fame. William Carteaux, president and CEO of SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association will become the youngest-ever Plastics Hall of Fame inductee, for reinventing SPI by taking a business approach to association management and reenergizing SPI’s triennial trade show NPE, which will break all records for exhibition space this year.




Maureen Steinwall

Maureen Steinwall

Dr. Maureen Steinwall, president and owner of Steinwall, Inc. is only the second woman to ever be inducted into the Plastics Hall of Fame, and received the honor for her outspoken advocacy for employee training and motivation, her leadership activity with SPI and her success in growing Steinwall, Inc. into a well-respected, profitable injection molding business.





Robert DeLong

Robert DeLong

All of this year’s nominees are known as innovators, and many of them have made contributions and inventions that are used throughout the plastics industry. Robert DeLong of Blasformen Consulting is a major pioneer in blow-molded dairy bottles like the kind that contain milk in supermarkets across the globe who also supervised the formulation of a best-in-class dairy blow-molding resin in the 1960s.




Eugen Hehl

Eugen Hehl

Eugen Hehl, co-founder of ARBURG GmbH & Co. KG helped grow his company from its humble roots in Germany’s Black Forest into a major international player in injection molding machinery, patented the “ALLROUNDER principle” for achieving up to 10 different working positions on a machine in 1960.





Edward Hunerberg

Edward Hunerberg

Edward Hunerberg of Uniloy Milacron is a leading expert in the plastics industry niche field of structural foam molding, known for his reputation for world-class customer service and an inventive streak that resulted in several notable improvements to structural foam molding machines industry-wide.





Manfred Lupke

Manfred Lupke

Manfred Lupke, president and CEO of Corma, Inc. and a leader in the field of creating equipment for manufacturing corrugated plastic pipe has registered 848 patents in countries around the world and led Corma to become an industry leader in the field of corrugated plastic pipe-making machinery.





Donald Norwood

Donald Norwood

Finally, Donald Norwood is the father of several industry-advancing technologies, most notably the loop reactor, used for ethylene and polypropylene polymerization, that he invented decades ago and has continued to develop and improve over the course of his career.





On March 22, all of these individuals will join their colleagues in the Plastics Hall of Fame, which resides at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, honored for their dedication and perseverance that have significantly contributed to the development and growth of the plastics industry. “We are thrilled to welcome this diverse group of industry innovators, from across the globe and across the global plastics supply chain, into the Plastics Hall of Fame,” said Don Loepp, a board member of the Plastics Academy and editor of Plastics News. “Each of them embodies the spirit of what the Plastics Hall of Fame was founded to recognize: leadership, creativity and above all commitment to the growth and development of the entire plastics industry.”

Friday, February 20th, 2015

Pursuing Zero Waste Fashion Show Highlights Plastics Recycling at NPE2015

A world-class fashion show featuring cutting edge, one-of-a-kind outfits designed by students from the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) will kick off NPE2015, the largest and most sustainability-minded NPE in history.

Recycled plastic materials will take center stage at the Pursuing Zero Waste Fashion Show at the opening ceremony of NPE2015: The International Plastics Showcase.

A SCAD student working on one of the designs that will be modeled at the Pursuing Zero Waste Fashion Show at NPE2015.

A SCAD student working on one of the designs that will be modeled at the Pursuing Zero Waste Fashion Show at NPE2015.

Produced by SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association, NPE2015 will kick off with a high-energy fashion show wherein every design and outfit modeled on the runway will be made from recycled, reused or repurposed plastics. The garments themselves will be based on designs selected by SPI from submissions by the students of the Savannah College of Art and Design’s School of Fashion, and will also feature 3D-printed plastic accessories.

“In 2012, when SPI expanded its mission to include the pursuit of zero waste, the idea was to engage its members in addressing the issues of sustainability  and recycling through sound solutions,” said Kim Holmes, SPI’s senior director of recycling and diversion. “The SCAD project demonstrates SPI’s commitment to zero waste by giving plastic materials more than one life, and using art, like fashion, as a tool for education.”

After they premier at the NPE2015 opening ceremony on March 23 in Orlando, Fla., the designs will be displayed throughout the remainder of the trade show in SPI’s Zero Waste Zone. This special section of the show floor will be devoted to the plastics industry’s mandate to reduce, reuse or recycle its materials. NPE attendees will have the opportunity to get an up-close look at the materials selected and used by the SCAD students and learn more about their inspiration for the designs. Commonly-used plastic materials that made it into some of the students designs include bubble wrap, plastic shelf paper and plastic bags.

A work in progress.

NPE2015 is both the largest and the most sustainability-focused conference in NPE history. Starting off NPE2015 with the Pursuing Zero Waste Fashion Show is meant to send a message that eliminating plastic waste and finding new lives for plastic materials is a major priority for SPI and for the plastics industry at large. “The reduction of waste through reuse and recycling of plastics is central to SPI’s priorities as the nation’s only trade association representing all segments of the plastics manufacturing industry,” said Holmes. “Along with our members, we are working diligently to educate and inform consumers that most plastic products and materials have a life beyond their initial use, and that burying plastics in a landfill is burying valuable resources.”

Learn more about the Pursuing Zero Waste Fashion Show here. Learn more about NPE2015 here.


Friday, January 30th, 2015

Atlanta Fashion Students Create Couture from Recycled Plastics

One-of-a-Kind Designs to Take Center Stage at SPI’s NPE2015 Trade Show

By Kimberly Coghill, SPI, Director of Communications

As society becomes more environmentally conscious, the fashion industry – like the plastics manufacturing industry – is rethinking some of its recycling rituals to ensure that Mother Earth doesn’t feel negative effects from its presence. To illustrate some reuses of plastics materials, SPI entered a partnership with the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in Atlanta to create original clothing made from repurposed post-consumer plastic products.

Previously-used plastic shelf paper along with recovered chandelier pieces are the basis for a dress created by a SCAD student.

Previously-used plastic shelf paper along with recovered chandelier pieces are the basis for a dress created by a SCAD student.

“When SPI expanded its mission to include the pursuit of zero waste, the idea was to engage its members in addressing the issues of sustainability and recycling through sound solutions,” said Kim Holmes, SPI’s senior director of recycling and diversion. “The SCAD project is an example of SPI’s commitment to zero waste by giving plastic materials more than one life and challenging people’s thinking about what is possible with recycled materials.”

Holmes and Brad Williams, SPI’s director of trade show marketing and sales, advised the students on the use of appropriate materials while helping them locate products such as bubble wrap, plastic mesh, a parachute, vinyl, yoga mats, drawer liners, plastic foam and acrylic plastic sheets.

The result is a one-of-a-kind collection of high-fashion women’s formal wear and accessories that will premiere at the Pursuing Zero Waste Fashion Show during the opening ceremony of NPE2015, March 23, 2015 in Orlando, Fla. The outfits will be displayed throughout NPE2015 in SPI’s Zero Waste Zone.

Revelations about Plastic

Working with plastics was a lesson in itself, the SCAD students said, noting that plastic behaves favorably, but different than most fabrics. In its criteria guideline for the project, the group determined that all materials had to be recycled and if fabrics were used, they had to contain at least 25 percent post-consumer plastic.

A few students admitted to entering the project with preconceived notions that weren’t necessarily positive. They described plastics as “manmade, hard/rigid and inexpensive.” But after some research, they realized how integral plastics are to their daily lives. “From potato chip bags to hair accessories to sleeping bags and inflatable beds, it seems plastics are everywhere,” the group’s project report said, noting that as artists, they are advocates for their generation and have an opportunity to effect change. At the end of the project, students talked about their new understanding of plastics, whether recycled or re-used, as a viable material for design, and noted a desire to continue working with plastics in the future.

SPI couldn’t have scripted a better reaction, said Holmes. “SPI is driven to show that plastics are valuable, necessary materials that, if managed properly, have more than one life.”

SCAD 2 Student

Piece by piece, SCAD student Aida Bajramovic begins the process of creating an original design.

Latonya Lark, a SCAD sculpture major who usually works with wood and natural products, said she cringed slightly at the thought of using plastics for the design class. Nevertheless, she forged ahead with an open mind and was pleasantly surprised when she discovered that plastics are flexible, therefore easy to manipulate and mold, and very capable of producing attractive accessories with market appeal. After realizing the design freedom that plastic affords, Lark said she will likely continue to use plastics in her art going forward.

Classmate Aida Bajramovic agreed, using a shower curtain to create a beautiful gown that’s accessorized by acrylic prisms removed from an old chandelier. Meanwhile, Siobhan Mulhern transformed a military parachute manufactured in 1966 into a formal dress that’s lined with a military sleeping bag. She further demonstrated her talent by creating a second design using plastic bubble wrap and sliced playpen balls to make a cape that overlays a light blue bathing suit for a sporty look.

Some materials used for the project were donated by SPI via its members, while others were collected on the SCAD Atlanta campus and in second-hand and online stores.

The handmade garments displayed at NPE2015 will be based on designs selected by SPI from submissions by students at SCAD’s School of Fashion and will include 3D printed plastic accessories. Follow us on Twitter @SPI_4_Plastics and feel free to Tweet/Retweet using #SCADNPE.


Thursday, December 18th, 2014

What the Entire Plastics Industry Can Learn from the APBA

apba logo_2012Many of you probably already know the American Progressive Bag Alliance (APBA) as a protector of the plastics industry – and with good reason. The APBA is on the front lines of plastics advocacy, most recently gathering the roughly 505,000 valid signatures required to qualify a California referendum in opposition to SB 270, the nation’s only statewide ban on plastic bags. If this law went into effect, it obviously would set a dangerous precedent.  That’s why the APBA is working to defeat this and other erroneous pieces of legislation.  They do it often, and they do it well. In fact, signature collection is going even better than expected, and SPI and the APBA are confident that the referendum will be on the ballot in November 2016.

But that’s not all the APBA does. As we’ve highlighted here on In the Hopper and on SPI’s website, again and again (and again), the APBA also encourages innovation and promotes environmental progress.  Those efforts often get overshadowed: that is, the APBA spends so much time educating the public and serving as an example of how to proactively address challenges and capitalize on opportunities that its innovation and outreach messages get lost. But the APBA has a great deal more to offer the plastics industry at large.

abagslifelogo2For instance, you may not be aware that the APBA strongly supports A Bag’s Life, a public education campaign that unites non-profits, community and government organizations to support the common goal of promoting the three R’s—reduce, reuse, recycle. A Bag’s Life hosts many school recycling competitions around the country, including an ongoing initiative in Galveston that runs from America Recycles Day 2014 through Earth Day 2015, and which to date has resulted in the collection of roughly 1 million plastic bags and films. That’s just one event of several that is designed to teach kids and their communities how they can make a meaningful impact on the environment by increasing recycling efforts. The A Bag’s Life website also provides resources for visitors looking for locations to drop off their plastic bags and films and information on how to host a recycling event.

Rep. Luke Messer (R-IN) tours Novolex's North Vernon plant.

Rep. Luke Messer (R-IN) tours Novolex’s North Vernon plant.

The APBA also focuses on encouraging innovation, particularly as it pertains to closing the recycling loop on plastic bags. Recently representatives from the APBA and employees from Novolex were joined on a tour of the North Vernon, IN closed-loop recycling plant, by Rep. Luke Messer (R-IN). This tour was an opportunity to show the Congressman just how innovative Novolex’s Bag-2-Bag program is.  This groundbreaking program takes 35 million pounds of recycled bags and films a year, cleans them, processes them and repelletizes them so they can be made into new plastic bags. It’s the definition of closed-loop manufacturing, and it all takes place at a plastic bag plant, putting a new face on the industry and modeling modern, sustainable manufacturing processes.

While the APBA continues to publicly protect the industry, as well as promote environmental progress and encourage innovation, they’d like to do more.  They just need your help to do it. Proactive educational efforts that highlight the plastics industry’s inherent commitment to innovation and environmentalism will help us all. With resources from other plastics partners the APBA could learn from and do more for the industry at large. We hope you’ll visit the APBA at NPE, where the organization will see what they can learn from you and share what you can learn from them.