Plastics Sustainability Research Lab Announced at UMass Lowell

The Plastics Industry Trade Association joined the University of Massachusetts Lowell (UMass Lowell) Plastics Engineering Department to launch the UMass Lowell Plastics Sustainability Research Lab. SPI has been instrumental in procuring equipment for the comprehensive industry-university collaborative laboratory that will be used for studying plastics recycling and sustainability.

“The willingness of SPI member companies to contribute to the UMass Lowell Plastics Sustainability Research Lab is testament to the industry’s support of education and the future of the plastics manufacturing industry,” said William R. Carteaux, SPI president and CEO.

“Because of the lab, students who study at UMass Lowell, one of the nation’s top programs for plastics engineering students, will not only receive a world-class education in prime plastics, but will become versed in the technologies and processes related to recycled plastics. UMass Lowell’s effort to add the lab to its curriculum and research capabilities demonstrates that the university is truly ahead of the curve in plastics engineering education and sustainability,” Carteaux said. “I hope this success encourages other member companies to consider similar partnerships with our nations educational system.”

Robert Malloy, chairman of the UMass Lowell Plastics Engineering Department, echoed Carteaux’s statement adding that industry partnerships are critical to plastics engineering programs.

“As educators, we rely on industry to provide advice and guidance to help ensure that our program remains relevant and produces the necessary supply of trained plastics engineers. We could not do this effectively without the generous support of the plastics industry,” Malloy said.

So far, SPI members have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars in state-of-the-art recycled materials handling and reprocessing equipment and instrumentation. The effort to secure the necessary equipment critical for plastics recycling is ongoing. Member companies interested in participating should contact David Palmer at 202-974-5527.

Jim Holbrook, president of the ACS Group, stated that although he is relatively new to the plastics industry, he is a strong proponent of recycling and sustainability. Holbrook said, “ACS Group is a leader in the auxiliaries market for plastics processing equipment and is very pleased to be able to donate five different pieces of equipment for the Sustainability Research Lab at UMass Lowell, both for the advancement of the state of the art in plastics recycling technology and for the training of the next generation of plastics industry leaders.”

In addition to the ACS Group, which donated $40,000 in equipment under its AEC, Cumberland, Sterling and Carver brands, other companies that donated equipment include Bay Plastics Machinery, Hi-Tech, Davis-Standard, Dynisco, Thermo Scientific.

"From resin suppliers and equipment makers to processors and brand owners, SPI is proud to represent all facets of the U.S. plastics industry," said William R. Carteaux, president and CEO, SPI. Our most recent economic reports show that the plastics industry as a whole is resilient, and has come through the recession significantly better than other U.S. manufacturing sectors."

After being displayed during NPE in the first-ever Zero Waste Zone, all equipment was shipped to UMass Lowell and will be installed for use after the lab renovations are complete. Those interested in sponsoring recycling research should contact Bob Malloy at UMass Lowell at 978-934-3435.

For more information, visit: www.uml.edu/Engineering/Plastics/default.aspx

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