The five award winners were:
- Plastics Recycling Ambassador of the Year – Willemijn Peeters, Ocean Ambassador and Founder, Searious Business
- Building & Construction Product – Beaulex®, rainwater buffers, DS Smith Plastics
- Recycled Plastic Consumer Lifestyle Product of the Year – Grundig vacuum cleaner made from WEEE recycled plastics, Arçelik A.Ş
- Recycled Plastic Packaging Product – Systalen PRIMUS HDPE regranulates, Der Grüne Punkt – Duales System Deutschland GmbH
- Technology Innovation in Plastics Recycling – BarrierPack Recyclable, functional and recyclable PE-based laminate packaging, Mondi
“The Plastics Recycling Awards Europe winners have each successfully demonstrated how passion, innovation, ingenuity and determination can achieve practical, commercial and successful advances in plastics recycling,” said Ton Emans, awards judge and President of Plastics Recyclers Europe (PRE). “The very high standard and number of entries we received for each category is testament to the growing range of consumer and industrial applications in which recycled plastics and recycling technology are being used. They are making a huge contribution towards conserving resources, reducing CO2 and sustaining the circular economy.”
The winners each received a trophy designed and made by the Better Future Factory. 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.
“Willemijn Peeters, 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,” said Ton Emans. “She has done this by herself, not as part of a larger organisation. That takes courage, conviction and commitment, which she has shown and which is why she was unanimously voted ambassador of the year.”
Fellow judge Karen Laird, editor of Plastics News Europe said: “Beaulex are an excellent example of how a good idea, clever design and recycled plastics can come together in a construction product that is perfectly suited for its purpose.”
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. “The product is an innovative, sustainable solution for better rainwater management and an application for recycled plastics we had not seen before,” Karen Laird added.
The Grundig vacuum cleaner is a highly commendable initiative from Arçelik A.Ş., a household appliances manufacturer. Used appliances collected from customers are delivered back to Arçelik‘s two licensed Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) recycling facilities, where they are disassembled for sustainable recycling and eventually used in manufacturing of new products.
“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. “This ultimately is exactly how it should be: customers buy it because it cleans the house, not necessarily because they want to demonstrate how green they are by buying recycled.”
The Systalen PRIMUS HDPE is an example of high-quality bottle made from recycled HDPE material that looks as if it is made from virgin material. “This used only to be possible using PET,” explained Karen Laird. “The recycled Systalen PRIMUS HDPE bottle has been used to package Emsal Parkett cleaning agent since 2016, and Emsal Vinyl since 2017. This is a winner because it is a real advance that has been successfully implemented.”
It has long been impossible to recycle barrier packaging, because of the different layers used to create the necessary barrier. Mondi has developed a PE-based BarrierPack Recyclable sustainable flexible packaging material that is fully recyclable and still offering exceptional mechanical properties. “This is an extremely important step forwards in the development of barrier packaging materials,” said Karen Laird, “which is why they won.”
The distinguished panel of judges for the new awards included: Simona Bonafè, member of the European Parliament, Cyrill Gutsch founder of campaigning organisation Parley for the Oceans, design strategist and co-founder of Form Us With Love, Jonas Pettersson, Richard C. Thompson, Professor of Marine Biology at Plymouth University and marine debris specialist, Rune Thoralfsson, owner and director of Norfolier GreenTec, the largest film recycler in the Nordic region, Ton Emans President of Plastics Recyclers Europe and Director Group Recycling in CeDO and Karen Laird Editor of Plastics News Europe.