Thursday, March 5th, 2015

A Different Kind of Conversation: SPI Member Kenrich to Introduce New Compatibilizer at NPE2015 that Gets Mixed Resin Streams “Talking to Each Other”

NPE_logoCompatibilizers: hard to say three times fast, but a remarkably simple concept. These items make two or more typically incompatible substances compatible.

Long used in the prime resin industry to create special blends that give plastic materials desirable properties that any individual polymer would lack on its own, compatibilizers get resins that would not neatly blend together to “talk to each other,” as it were. Companies continue to explore new applications for compatibilizers in the recycling industry, where at least one SPI member is trying to start a similar sort of conversation between mixed recycled resin streams.

At NPE2015, SPI member, and member of the SPI Recycling Committee’s Technology and Equipment Subcommittee, Kenrich Petrochemicals (Booth #S20027) will introduce a new additive that can be used to recycle the mixed resin streams that are increasingly posing challenges to the world’s recyclers. The long name for the compatibilizer is Ken-React® CAPS ® KPR ® 12/LV Pellets, and KPR for short; it regenerates post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic mixtures in the extruder melt and gives them virgin resin-like properties, all while getting dissimilar polymers to talk to one another.

Here’s some more technical information from Kenrich President Salvatore Monte, who invented KPR, about how the additive can be put to good use: “Normally—although polypropylene (PP) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) are both considered olefins—HDPE cannot accept more than 5 percent PP without creating incompatibility issues. Add a third polymer and it really gets complicated.” The KPR® additive pellet can help make these issues disappear, which could provide a huge benefit to recyclers who, in an age of widening “single stream” recycling procedures, frequently have to handle various types of plastic materials that may be present in a recycling feedstream, or even in a single product. KPR® aims to change that.

“Conventional discussions on recycled plastic center around equipment that sorts, cleans, demagnetizes, washes, granulates, bales or melt processes recycling—or polymer compatibilizers based on maleic anhydride chemistry or bipolar thermoplastics that have affinity for two select recycle polymer streams,” Monte continued, referring to other additives with fewer potential applications than KPR. “Our new KPR® catalyst causes multiple polymers of divergent chemistry to repolymerize in the melt to form not alloys, but new complex co-polymers having much higher mechanical properties.”

SPI and its Recycling Committee have repeatedly urged plastics manufacturers and brand owners to consider PCR when making their materials decisions, for its sustainability bona fides and contributions to SPI’s goal of helping the industry achieve zero waste in manufacturing, among other things to recommend it. But part of what makes some companies reluctant to use PCR for all their plastic needs is that, in the process of being ZWZlogoWeb2used and recycled, the plastic materials themselves lose some of the properties that make them desirable for use in consumer plastic products. However, compatibilizer manufacturers, like Kenrich, are attempting to offer a unique solution to the problem, by making it easier for recyclers to produce higher-quality materials from lower-quality bales.

“It’s a new way to look at PCR and achieve high loadings of PCR in virgin polymers to meet sustainability mandates in consumer plastic packaging products such as blow-molded soap bottles,” Monte said.

Learn more about Kenrich at NPE2015 and more about new recycling technologies and SPI and its Recycling Committee’s efforts to achieve zero waste at the Zero Waste Zone.

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.

 

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

SPI, Dart Container Offer Recycling Exit Strategy for EPS Plastic Foam Materials

For Dart, a leading manufacturer of single-use foodservice material, among numerous other plastic products, New York City’s decision to ban plastic foam has raised questions, but hasn’t weakened their resolve to correct some of the most pernicious myths about this material.

“We’re still talking about it and determining our next steps,” said Christine Cassidy, recycling manager at Dart Container. “Dart is one of the leading manufacturers of single-use foodservice material and about half of it is foam. We also manufacture paper, rigid plastic and compostable products. If we’re sending it out to customers we want to make sure they have outlets to recover it at the end of the day,” she said.

This commitment to providing end-of-life opportunities for their products doesn’t prevent legislatures like New York’s from acting rashly, or, given the city council’s central assertion, from acting on false information. “A lot of people say it can’t be recycled, like New York did,” Cassidy said, “but that is not true.”

Dart Container’s PS foam recycling support includes collection/shipping containers.

Dart Container’s PS foam recycling support includes collection/shipping containers.

SPI’s Recycling Committee continually aims to combat falsehoods about plastic materials and their recyclability. But in addition to campaigning against misinformation, like the kind on which New York based its EPS ban, the Recycling Committee works to make recycling easier, and more widespread. Most recently it contributed to this effort with its EPS Recycling Equipment Guide, which offers materials recovery facilities (MRFs) across the country a useful tool for purchasing the equipment they need to make EPS recycling a part of their operations.

“It’s not too much equipment,” Cassidy said, offering a counterpoint to EPS recycling opponents who argue that the process is too expensive or too complicated for EPS recycling to go mainstream. The more widespread this equipment becomes at MRFs nationwide, the more easily this material can be recycled through curbside programs, Cassidy added. “With something like curbside recycling, you can add EPS into the bins and it’ll get collected just like paper, plastic and glass, and it’s sorted just like all those other materials at the MRF,” she said, noting that “NYC found adding EPS to their recycling program would not increase mileage or routes on their collection trucks. Haulers typically operate using a certain amount of weight as a threshold. Once a truck has accumulated enough weight, they have to trek to the MRF and drop off what they have. “With foam it’s lightweight so it is able to travel in the unused space on the truck,” Cassidy said. “EPS is only 1 percent of the waste stream.” Like other material bans elsewhere in the country, the good intentions of policymakers don’t exactly translate into real environmental benefits. For example, New York’s ban on foam only applies to foodservice foam, meaning takeout containers and things of that nature, but not egg cartons or meat trays, or the type of foam used to package electronics. “Those aren’t part of the ban,” Cassidy said. “It’s a small fraction of what foam is out there.”

This is an important point. While proponents like the simplicity of material bans, it’s hard to consider them a success when so much material still ends up going to the landfill, rather than to a recycling facility. “They’re really not accomplishing much with the ban,” Cassidy deadpanned. “If they really wanted to do something meaningful, they should have accepted the offer to have it recycled.”

Public education is a great deal of the battle for Dart, and for SPI’s Recycling Committee. “I find that many people do not understand the benefits of foam or that it can be recycled. They usually do not have an alternative once they ban it. Compostable cups are an alternative only if public composting is available and consumer dispose of it in the right way. If not, it is just going to a landfill.” Cassidy said. “You’re saying ban a product that Dart is willing to help the city and municipality recycle, in order to go to a product that you’re going to send to the landfill.”

Laws like New York’s never seem to think beyond the ban; they don’t provide an exit strategy for the material that inevitably comes to take the place when plastic materials are no longer allowed. “If you ban it, what are you going to do with the replacements?” Cassidy said. “Right now many communities don’t have a solution.” All the excitement about material bans seems to drown out that fact; in the long run, whatever material is banned needs to be replaced by something. People won’t start drinking coffee straight from the pot just because they can’t find an EPS cup. The only real solution that provides a plan for what to do with all of these materials at the end of their usefulness is recycling or composting. “New York City only banned a minority of the foam in the city, and they’re landfilling the majority of it,” Cassidy said. “If they went with a recycling program, they’d be able to recycle 100 percent.”

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.