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Innovators in Plastics Recycling Honored


Contact: Jennifer Killinger (202) 249-6619  
Email: jennifer_killinger@americanchemistry.com

Axion, Nepco and Trex Receive American Chemistry Council’s First Awards for Innovation in Plastics Recycling

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 27, 2011) – Today the American Chemistry Council announced the inaugural winners of its new Innovation in Plastics Recycling awards. Three companies: Axion International, Inc., Nepco Industrial Company Ltd., and Trex Company, were selected to receive awards. Together, these three companies employ 700 Americans and process about 325 million pounds of post-consumer recycled plastics annually. The winners, all of which have successful business models, are being recognized for developing high-performing, popular products using post-consumer recycled plastics.

“Axion, Nepco and Trex are outstanding examples of how plastics recycling can help stimulate innovation, jobs and the economy, while benefitting the environment,” said Cal Dooley, president and CEO of the American Chemistry Council. “Their success demonstrates that the plastics recycling industry is a vibrant and growing part of the U.S. economy.”

  • The New Jersey-based Axion International, Inc. has received accolades for developing extremely strong and durable building products, including railroad ties made from 100 percent recycled plastics, primarily polyethylene. Axion’s products have been selected for use in numerous military and infrastructure projects.

    “Collecting plastics from the waste stream isn’t difficult. The trick is developing demand for the tens of millions of pounds that are being collected and encouraging municipalities, businesses, and individuals to recycle even more,” said Jim Kerstein, founder and chief technology officer for Axion International, Inc.

    “Plastics don’t degrade in the elements. That’s bad if they are dumped in a landfill or out at sea. If you turn that negative on its head and use the longevity and durability of plastics to create long-lasting, low maintenance products, you solve another serious issue, the aging of the U.S. infrastructure. Recycled structural bridges, railroad ties and marinas yield a winning combination,” Kerstein added.

  • Nepco Industrial Company Ltd. makes high-end moldings for picture frames from recycled expanded polystyrene at its 36,000-square foot facility in Chino, California. Nepco processes 4.2 million pounds of post-consumer polystyrene per year.

    “Nepco is honored to be recognized for our innovations in plastics recycling, said Tommy Kim, director of U.S. operations for NEPCO. “NEPCO prides itself on being an innovator in both recycling technology and recycled products, such as high-end picture frames. For example, our machinery can reduce the volume of expanded polystyrene by a factor of 80 to one, making it easier for businesses and communities to manage this valuable material, while helping to protect the environment.”

  • Every year at its manufacturing facilities in Winchester, Virginia, and Fernley, Nevada, Trex Company transforms 300 million pounds of post-consumer polyethylene—primarily used plastics bags and wraps—into durable, high-end fencing and decking products. Trex estimates that it recycles 1.3 billion plastic grocery bags annually.

    “Our company was built upon green principles and values,” said Dave Heglas, director of material resources for Trex, “and we feel it's our duty to help solve today's environmental challenges. After all, spending time outdoors feels a lot better when you're helping to preserve the outdoors as well.”

“The tremendous volumes of post-consumer plastics these companies rely on to manufacture products show that post-use plastics are valuable materials—too valuable to waste—and should be recycled,” said Steve Russell, vice president of plastics for the American Chemistry Council. “ACC’s Plastics Division is committed to educating consumers across the United States about growing opportunities to recycle many types of plastics, including bottles, caps, containers, bags and wraps.”

“In addition to railroad ties, picture frames and decking, recycled plastics are used to make a diverse range of products from women’s fashions to rugged outerwear, and from carpeting, car parts, and furniture, to new bottles, bags and containers,” Russell added.

Learn more about recycling plastics.

For photos of the products that the award-winning companies manufacture, please contact Allyson Wilson, (202) 249-6623.


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