Corporate News

2020: The Year of a Pandemic, Innovation and Progress

9th Jan 2021 | 4 min read
Paul Lalonde

2020 was a year of challenges, from a global pandemic to economic and environmental crises.

The year 2020 offered some good news too. For leading companies in the plastics recycling sector, this past year saw the introduction of several positive practices. Specifically, we’ve seen great steps in the areas of:

  • Innovation,
  • Validation, and
  • Partnerships

Even in the midst of 2020’s challenges, Lavergne has been at the forefront of these positive innovation, validation and partnership accomplishments for recycled plastic resins.

Let’s recap 2020.

Innovation — Turning Ocean-Bound Plastic into Great Products

Some of Lavergne’s innovative work begins in Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

With limited infrastructure for water, most Haitians get their drinking water from plastic bottles. And with inconsistent waste management or recycling programs, millions of those discarded bottles end up littering the country’s towns, roadways and waterways. A lot of those discarded bottles are Ocean-Bound Plastics (OBP) that risk entering and polluting our marine ecosystems.

Lavergne’s work in Haiti provides employment for hundreds of independent collectors gathering discarded plastics and bringing them to collection centers for Lavergne to pick up.

Plastics entering the Lavergne facility are then sorted and separated, and our state-of-the-art “washing line” cleans the plastics of dirt, sand, labels and glue. We shred the material into small flakes that will be transported to our North American facility.

Those plastics started as discarded bottles, but they will soon become new plastic resins to help companies create great products. For example, The HP Dragonfly, a laptop computer made by tech leader HP, was made using Lavergne’s recycled resins.

While helping to clean the Haitian environment, Lavergne’s partnership with HP has given way to advancements that have improved the quality and cost-efficiency of post-consumer recycled plastics.

Validation — UL 2809 Environmental Claim Validation Procedure 

Lavergne’s partnership with HP led to other innovative breakthroughs in 2020, as global certification body UL validated that HP computers using Lavergne’s recycled resins were the first products to meet UL Standard 2809 – Environmental Claim Validation Procedure (ECVP) for Recycled Content

The UL 2809 Validation evaluates the amount of recycled content in products including:

  • Post-consumer recycled content
  • Pre-consumer (post-industrial) recycled content
  • Closed loop recycled content
  • Total recycled content

An added bonus of the HP-Lavergne collaborative work leading to the UL 2809 validation is that since much of those recycled materials are Ocean-Bound Plastics (OBP), this project is helping to reduce ocean waste.

Partnerships — Keurig Relies on the Strength of Lavergne Recycled Plastics 

This year Lavergne also partnered with an innovative company providing Canadian household products. In November of 2020, Keurig Dr Pepper Canada (KDP) announced that their coffee makers were now made with Lavergne’s post-consumer resin (PCR) plastics. Specifically, two new PCR plastic-containing Keurig models were announced:

  • Keurig ® K-Mini ® coffee maker in black made with at least 20% PCR plastic
  • K-Mini Plus ® coffee maker in black made with at least 30% PCR plastic

The Lavergne-KDP announcement aligned with KDP’s goal of using 30% PCR plastics across its product suite by 2025. This goal follows continued steps corporations around the world are now making to minimize their virgin plastic usage.

KDP and Lavergne are already looking ahead at the next big leap towards a circular economy: a complete closed-loop process, which consists of integrating recycled plastic coming from reclaimed Keurig coffee makers into new ones.

Global Connections

The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed remote working to the next level. In 2020, Lavergne invested in virtual platforms connecting our sites in North America, the Caribbean and Asia. Now we use our VR system to:

  • Deliver live plant tours to people watching from their home workspaces
  • Connect engineers with on-the-ground operators to fix technical issues
  • Help teams install machinery by “walking them through” the steps
  • Facilitate company meetings across continents

It’s bringing all our people and resources together for greater outcomes.

Looking Ahead to 2021

The future of plastic recycling will be driven by partnerships and collaboration with leading companies. Innovative companies are working together in a shared vision of creating great products, enhancing sustainability and advancing a healthier future for our planet. 

Lavergne and our collaborative partners are transforming the way companies and households think about plastic products. With the right technology and partnerships, it’s possible that the world already has enough plastics to fulfill its needs. 

Subscribe to the Lavergne newsroom today.