MCC Verstraete’s Product and Circular Economy Manager, Nico Van de Walle, is in the running to become Recycling Ambassador of the Year, an award by Plastics Recyclers Europe. The finalists have been selected based on their contribution to European plastics recycling. In a list of 6, Nico is taking it up against established plastic industry professionals like Prof. Edward Kosior, founder of Nextek Limited, and Amaya Rodríguez Sola, CEO and Cofounder of Gravity Wave.
Here's why we think the nomination for Recycling Ambassador of the Year is well-deserved!
Teamwork makes the sustainable dream work
When asked about his nomination, Nico’s modest answer is:
This is not just my nomination. Where we stand as a company, and what MCC Verstraete offers its customers, is the result of continuous teamwork. If I could nominate the team supporting me in my day-to-day activities, they’d be the big winners!
Nico manages the MCC Verstraete product portfolio, focusing on a circular economy. Some recent milestones:
- The development of SealPPeel, a PP heat-seal die-cut lidding solution as an alternative to aluminum lids, making PP packaging mono-material. SealPPeel won the Plastic Recycling Europe Award for ‘Product Technology Innovation of the Year’ in 2020, as well as the Packaging Europe Readers Award in 2022.
- Introducing Interactive IML, which are in mold labels enhanced with a Digital Watermark, which now plays a crucial role in the HolyGrail2.0 project.
- And, very recently: the development and launch of NextCycle IMLtm , a revolutionary in mold label technology designed to maximize the value of mechanically recycled PP. NextCycle IMLtm is paving the way to high-purity (circular) rPP.
In a fast-evolving industry and in a time where ‘plastic’ was seen as the number one enemy by the media and society, Nico played a pioneering role in developing not only MCC Verstraete’s sustainability strategy, but also cross-industry initiatives such as the HolyGrail project.
Collaboration & Engagement
Which leads us to Nico’s participation in some groundbreaking projects and initiatives supporting the packaging and recycling industry on its mission to circularity.
MCC Verstraete – as the first label producer- is co-founder of the HolyGrail2.0 project. Nico is a Leadership team member, leads the Rigid PP working group, and WP2 on printed digital watermarks, convinced we need intelligent sorting to get more high-quality feedstock to the recyclers.
Within RecyClass, Nico is part of the decoration taskforce and representing the Advisory Board in the PP Technical Committee. Being a strong believer of harmonized DfR guidelines, Nico invited Recyclass to present the organization and it’s activities during the MCC Verstraete 2022 industrial partner event. Sharing know-how and cooperation is key in order to drive a circular economy.
May 2022, MCC Verstraete became part of NextLOOPP, dedicated to closing the loop on food-grade post-consumer polypropylene. Launching NextCycle IMLtm is a crucial introduction to the market which can support this goal.
For more information about the Plastics Recyclers Awards Europe and the complete list of finalists: PRAE website.