Plastics Industry Association introduces 2019 Re|focus Sustainability Innovation Awards

Plastics Industry Association introduces 2019 Re|focus Sustainability Innovation Awards

Awards recognize innovations in product design, sustainable materials and end-of-life recovery.

October 30, 2018

The Plastics Industry Association (Plastics) Washington, and the Bethel, Maryland-based SPE Sustainability Division have launched the Re|focus Sustainability Innovation Awards, which will be awarded at the 2019 Re|focus Sustainability & Recycling Summit. The summit is planned for May 20-22 at the DeVos Place Grand Rapids Convention Center, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The awards are designed to recognize the companies that are pushing the boundaries of innovation, driving environmental advantages in product design, sustainable materials and end-of-life recovery, according to the organizers.

Awards will be given in three categories:

  • Design (such as design for recycling, design for anti-litter and innovation in equipment allowing for new product design;
  • Materials (such as innovation in or use of bioplastics, innovation in or use of recycled content or additives for upcycling); and
  • End of Life (such as innovation in recycling or innovation in recycling or composting equipment).

Winners in each category will be selected in January and announced in February. Plastics says winners are strongly encouraged to attend the 2019 Re|focus Sustainability & Recycling Summit to receive their awards in person.

In addition to the three award categories listed above, two additional awards will be announced during the ceremony at Re|focus:

  • The Leadership Innovation Award winner will be determined by the judging panel.
  • The People's Choice Award will be determined by Re|focus attendees. All proposals will be shared with attendees, and registered attendees will be asked to cast their vote for their favorite innovation proposal.

The winners of the Design, Materials and End of Life categories will be determined by a panel of six judges made up of members of Plastics and the SPE Sustainability Division. Each submission will be graded on the following criteria:

  • innovation – How novel is the idea being proposed?
  • environmental impact – What is the environmental benefit? If this can be quantified (CO2 savings, water reduction, energy reduction, etc.), this should be included in the submission. 
  • market impact – How scalable is this innovation? What is the potential market impact if it were to reach commercialization?

This competition is open to any corporation, partnership or other business entity located within or outside of the United States, except those whose employees, officers or directors are competition judges or are or were involved in the organization and development of this competition or provision of the award as well as any of their affiliates or subsidiaries. Entrants must be at least 18-years-old and an authorized representative of the company identified in the entry form.

Entries will be accepted until Dec. 31, and award winners will be contacted in January. A formal announcement of the winners will be made in February. 

To enter, complete and sign the awards entry form and return it to Patricia Lovell at Entries sent via email must be transmitted by 11:59 p.m. ET Dec. 31. Multiple entries can be submitted for different innovation categories, in which case each entry must be accompanied by a separate entry form.

Additional details on the awards process are available at