Winners of the Plastics Recycling Awards Europe 2022 were announced today at the Plastics Recycling Show Europe in Amsterdam. Launched in 2017, the awards have witnessed a dramatic and inspirational rise in the circular use of plastics through increased recycling and recyclability over the last the five years.

The seven Plastics Recycling Awards Europe winners are:

•          Automotive, Electrical or Electronic Product: Sustainable modular headliner for vehicle interiors and downstream recycling solutions by Grupo Antolin

•          Building & Construction Product: SOLAR HEAT panels from recycled plastic by Montello spa & WET/Ecopixel srl

•          Household & Leisure Product: StepUp Pedal Bin by Brabantia

•          Plastic Packaging Product: Recyclable collation shrink film with outstanding PCR content by Freiberger Lebensmittel GmbH, alesco Folien GmbH & Co.KG, Ecoplast Kunststoffrecycling GmbH, Borealis AG

•          Plastics Recycling Ambassador: Mik Van Gaever, Fost Plus

•          Product Technology Innovation: Recyclable Mono PE Pouch by Procter & Gamble

•          Recycling Machinery Innovation: Mistral+CONNECT by Pellenc ST

In the Automotive, Electrical or Electronic Product, the winning submission stood out for a number of reasons. As a leading supplier of overhead systems, Grupo Antolin has developed a modular headliner that not only incorporates high percentages of recycled content but that also requires less energy to produce and generates less waste during production. The headliner answers market demand for more sustainable car interiors and, because of its modular design, has the potential to really make an impact in the industry.

In the Building & Construction Product category, the SOLAR HEAT panels from recycled plastic by Montello spa & WET/Ecopixel srl impressed the judges by the originality and aesthetics of the concept combined with the fact that the panels are made from minimally 95% post-consumer recycled plastics. In addition, the design allows for recyclability at the end of life, creating a circular product that has the potential to provide a sustainable source of heating in areas where the sun shines.

In the Household & Leisure Product category, the judges really liked Brabantia’s StepUp Pedal Bin, the company’s first waste bin that is also made from waste. A clear winner of its category, this one had it all. Made of 91% recycled post-consumer PP waste, the bin is sturdy yet attractive enough to fit into household and office interiors. A great design that delivers.

The judges selected the recyclable collation shrink film developed by Freiberger Lebensmittel GmbH, alesco Folien GmbH & Co.KG, Ecoplast Kunststoffrecycling GmbH, Borealis AG as the winner of the Plastic Packaging Product category, citing this as an excellent application for the use of recycled material. Staggering volumes of collation shrink film are used and the market continues to grow. Thin, strong, and lightweight, collation films can help to reduce packaging wastage and considerably reduce the weight of freight thus also contributing to a reduction in carbon emissions. Using recycled resin derived from commercial post-consumer and municipal waste further serves to enhance the eco-benefits of this product.

This year’s winner of the coveted Plastics Recycling Ambassador is Mik Van Gaever, of Fost Plus. While this is always an incredibly challenging category to judge, Mik Van Gaever’s formidable track record at Fost Plus, combined with his passion for ‘closing the materials loop’ and tireless efforts to establish a circular economy for household packaging, were decisive factors in naming Mik as the deserved winner of this honour.

Recyclable Mono PE Pouch by Procter & Gamble, the winning submission in the Product Technology Innovation award category, impressed the judges because of its underlying concept: as part of a refill system, consumers purchase the product in the recyclable PE packaging, pour it into a durable, recyclable aluminium container that will not rust in bathroom use. The pouch currently has a lid made from PP, but this will be replaced by one made from PE in the future, making it possible to recycle the pouch in a single stream. The judges called it a forward-thinking and creative alternative packaging solution, with built-in convenience for consumers seeking more sustainably packaged products.

Improvements in the sorting of waste are essential for ensuring high-quality plastic recycling and the judges were pleased to see several new sorting technologies in the Recycling Machinery Innovation category. The Mistral+CONNECT by Pellenc ST drew unanimous praise from the panel for its impressive sorting performance, in terms of material types, speed and accuracy which is achieved through the implementation of an array of sophisticated technology. This submission was the clear winner in its category.

The winners each receive a trophy, with a 3D printed base made from 100% recycled ABS plastic car dashboards and the multi-colour top which is laser cut from compressed HDPE beach clean-up bottle caps.

“As the use of recycled plastic continues to grow, we’ve seen both the number and quality of the submissions to the Plastics Recycling Awards Europe steadily rise,” said Ton Emans, President of Plastics Recyclers Europe. “It has not made the task of judging easy, but this year’s winners represent yet another high point in our path towards the truly circular use of plastics throughout the entire value chain.”

“Congratulations to all seven of this year’s winners, each of whom is advancing the recycling and reuse of plastics,” said Matt Barber, Global Events Director, Crain Communications. “It is heartening to see how well individuals and organisations are collaborating today to advance the successful use of recycled plastic for high quality, branded consumer goods in everyday use.”

The expert judging panel for the Plastics Recycling Awards 2022 includes previous winners of the Ambassador Award: Flor Peña Herron, Senior Sustainability & Circular Economy Manager EMEA at Avery Dennison (2021); Professor Kim Ragaert of Maastricht University (2020); Gian de Belder, Technical Director, R&D Packaging Sustainability at Procter & Gamble (2019) and Willemijn Peeters CEO of Searious Business (2018). They were joined by Ton Emans, President of Plastics Recyclers Europe (PRE); Karen Laird, Editor of Sustainable Plastics and Rune Thoralfsson, Owner and Director of plastic film recycler Norfolier GreenTec AS.

The Plastics Recycling Awards Europe are organised jointly by Plastics Recyclers Europe and Crain Communications, organisers of PRSE. Platinum sponsors of the 2022 Awards are EREMA Engineering Recycling Maschinen GmbH, Fimic SRL and Tomra Sorting Recycling.

The Plastics Recycling Show Europe is a free-to-attend exhibition and a conference designed specifically for plastics recycling professionals. It brings together key players from the plastics and recycling sectors to showcase innovative technology, share best practices, network and do business. A broad cross-section of the industry is represented at the event including plastics recycling machinery and equipment suppliers, plastic material suppliers and compounders, pre-processors, plastics recyclers, waste management specialists and industry associations.