Chemical Plastic

September 29, 2010

Plastics Recycler MBA Polymers wins Energy and Environment Award

Michael Biddle, founder and president of MBA Polymers, will receive the Energy and Environment award at the The Economist magazine’s Innovation Awards ceremony, to be held on 21 October at the Science Museum, London.

Dr. Michael Biddle founded Michael Biddle & Associates in his garage in 1992 to demonstrate that it was possible to recycle plastics from complex waste streams. MB&A was expanded to a pilot line in Berkeley, CA and renamed MBA Polymers in 1994 after he brought on his former colleague, Laurence Allen.

From this humble beginning, MBA Polymers now has headquarters and a research centre in Richmond, California, and recovers materials from a variety of sources, including computers, electronics, appliances and automobiles. The company has developed numerous proprietary processes for separating polymeric materials from highly complex waste products.

These are then reused in a number of different applications, making it a more sustainable option than using new virgin plastics. MBA’s process requires less than 10% of the energy compared to making plastics from petrochemicals.

MBA Polymers now has headquarters and a research centre in Richmond, California, and recovers materials from sources including computers, electronics, domestic appliances and automobiles. The company has developed proprietary processes for separating polymeric materials from complex waste products for reuse in a variety of applications.

The Innovation Awards, now in its ninth year, seek to identify the individuals, rather than companies, who are responsible for innovations that have been a proven success in the past decade. The seven categories are: bioscience, business process, computing and telecoms, consumer goods and services, energy and the environment, social and economic innovation, and “no boundaries”.

Commenting on the decision by an independent judging panel, Tom Standage, digital editor at The Economist said: “With this award, the judges have recognised Michael Biddle for the outstanding contribution his innovative way of dealing with plastics has made to improving the environment. MBA Polymers and the US Department of Energy estimate that 5.4m tonnes of mixed durable plastics are discarded in America each year. By using MBA’s recycled plastic pellets as raw material, plastics manufacturers can save lots of money and significant amounts of energy. MBA’s sorting technology also means that material that might otherwise end up in landfill can be recycled.”

The Awards ceremony will be followed by the Innovation Summit on October 22nd, which will celebrate those people whose ideas have shaped the world we live in, and also explore how these ideas can be identified in their early stages. How should entrepreneurs, investors and business leaders decide which ideas to put their faith in?

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