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.


2 Responses to “Pursuing Zero Waste Fashion Show Highlights Plastics Recycling at NPE2015”

  1. If the plastics industry is pushing zero waste, why do all plastics produced not have a recycling symbol on them. Example plastic bottles are recyclable but the lids are not. There are a lot, if not all, plastic lids that should be recyclable. There is also a lot of packaging that should be recyclable but does not have the symbols so they can be recycled.

  2. Thanks for your question Tim! Those recycling symbols you refer to are actually part of the resin identification code (RIC) system. Different numbers signify different plastic materials (also called resins) and the system itself is actually quite complicated (here’s a brief history:

    Anyway, the important thing is that the presence of that symbol doesn’t automatically mean “recyclable,” nor does the absence of that symbol automatically mean “not recyclable.” The symbol itself just identifies what type of plastic the product is made out of; not whether or not it’s recyclable.

    Depending on where you live and what equipment your local recycling facility has at its disposal, many different types of plastics can be easily recycled. In fact many facilities around the country can handle plastic bottle caps and recycle them as effectively as they can recycle the bottles themselves. It depends on the facility though, which is something SPI and the plastics industry is trying to change by funding pilot programs and promoting the creation and adoption of new technologies that enable more facilities to handle more types of plastic materials.

    You make a good point though that not every plastic product we use today is designed with recyclability in mind. SPI and the plastics industry are working to change that too, with projects like the Pursuing Zero Waste Fashion Show, among others. By getting people to design their products with recyclability in mind, we can make recycling easier for everyone from the start, and, ultimately, make it so that all plastic products find second lives and none of them end up in landfills.

    Anyway, our goal is to make recycling easier and more widespread, so that none of these valuable plastic materials are ever wasted. Hope this is helpful and thanks again for reading!

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