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The plastics pioneers of 2018 revealed

The Netherlands – Every household has one, though we don’t think much about it. What is it? The vacuum cleaner. Turkish firm Arçelik A.Å., however, has demonstrated that the quickly growing e-scrap waste flow has a lot of valuable materials to offer, and that it can inspire smart product design. Its innovation ‘Grundig’ was one of the winners at yesterday’s Plastics Recycling Awards Europe ceremony in Amsterdam.

Appliances manufacturer Arçelik, headquartered in Istanbul, has set up two e-scrap recycling facilities where its end-of-life products are disassembled and transformed into a variety of new products. A leading example of this is the ‘Grunding’ vacuum cleaner that is made almost entirely of recycled plastics from discarded electronics.

Shiny but not new

‘The wonderful thing about this vacuum cleaner is that it looks like any other: shiny and functional, having the same properties as any other product made out of virgin plastics,’ explained Ton Emans, president of Plastics Recyclers Europe at the group’s annual plastics pioneers award ceremony in the Dutch capital.

‘This ultimately is exactly how it should be: customers buy it because it cleans the house. Because it is a competitive product. At the same time, they support sustainable design,’ he told the audience.

Entrepreneur Willemijn Peeters was one of the winners at the Plastics Recycling Awards.

Courage and conviction

Another game-changer celebrated at the awards show – in the category “Plastics Recycling Ambassador of the Year” – was Willemijn Peeters, founder of Searious Business. Her company specialises in helping producers ‘turn disaster into design’, namely by transforming typically overlooked production waste into high-end products.

‘She has put the full force of her personality and very considerable capabilities into establishing an initiative to prevent plastics from ending up in the environment, by helping businesses implement more sustainable ways of producing and distributing goods,’ summarised Emans with a proud nod to Peeters.

‘She has done this by herself, not as part of a large organisation. That takes courage, conviction and commitment, which she has shown and which is why she was unanimously voted ambassador of the year,’ he went on to state as he handed her the first prize trophy.

The awards were created by the Better Future Factory. Emans pointed out that the base is 3D printed from 100% recycled ABS plastic car dashboards and the multi-colour top is laser cut from compressed HDPE beach clean-up bottle caps.

‘Extremely important step’

Mondi also went home as a winner, claiming first prize in the category “Technology Innovation in Plastics Recycling” thanks to its ‘functional and recyclable PE-based laminate packaging’ called BarrierPack Recyclable. The judges saw this innovation as ‘extremely’ important step forwards for flexible packaging design.

Additionally, the Systalen PRIMUS HDPE (by Green Dot System Germany) was hailed to be a leading example of a high-quality bottle made from recycled HDPE material that has been successfully implemented since 2016.

Last but not least, DS Smith was the winner in the “Building & Construction Product” category due to its Beaulex rainwater buffers. The Beaulex balls replace the use of old tyres for rainwater buffering systems under hardened surfaces and can easily be dug up and recycled again.

‘They are clean and efficient in use, and it is an application for recycled plastics we had not seen before,’ the judges commented.

Stay tuned for more details about the Plastics Recyclers Europe conference in Amsterdam!

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