Published On: Sat, Jul 30th, 2011

Innovators in Plastic Recycling Awarded

The American Chemistry Council announced the very first winners of their Innovation in Plastics Recycling Awards.

“We wanted to call attention to the advancements and innovative thinking going on in plastics recycling,” said Steve Russell, Vice President of Plastics for the ACC. “As we looked closely, these three companies really rose to the top.”

Axion International, Inc.

Axion is a New Jersey-based company that develops extremely strong and durable building supplies, including railroad ties made from 100 percent recycled plastic. It has already recycled 20 million pounds of plastic this year, and anticipates increasing that by as much as five fold in the coming years.

“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,” said Jim Kerstein, founder and CTO for Axion, in a press release.

Nepco Industrial Company Ltd.

Nepco makes high-end picture frames from expanded polystyrene. It processes about 4.2 million pounds of post-consumer material per year.

“Nepco prides itself on being an innovator in both recycling technology and recycled products, such as high-end picture frames,” said Tommy Kim, director of U.S. operations for Nepco, in a press release.

“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.”


Trex has been around for over 15 years, processing primarily plastic bags and wraps into fencing, decking and outdoor living products. For the past three years, it has focused on educating America’s youth about the value and benefit of recycling packaging.

“We are proof that plastic recycling is a sustainable business model,” said Dave Heglas, Director of Material Resources for Trex.

Collectively, the winners employ 700 Americans and recycle about 325 million pounds of post-consumer materials.

Russell said that innovations like these have made our cars lighter and our food stay fresher on shelves longer. “It’s important that plastic is recovered properly at the end of its useful life,” he said. “And it’s great that we are beginning to understand its value and the jobs that plastics recycling can create.”


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