The theme for this year’s Gothenburg Award for Sustainable Development is closing the loop. In comparison with nature’s eco-cycle in which waste products are of value in new processes, society’s current use of materials is unsustainable! As an example, only 5 per cent of plastics in the world are recycled. Raw materials are converted into products and eventually become waste, leading to resource shortage, waste problems and energy waste. Entrepreneurship and new innovative solutions are required to break this trend and instead create functioning eco-cycles. The 2012 Gothenburg Award for Sustainable Development is awarded to Michael Biddle and Björn Söderberg for their significant efforts in this area.
Dr Michael Biddle started MBA Polymers in his garage in 1992, shortly after completing his chemistry doctorate. He wanted to prove that plastics from complex waste streams can be recycled into high-quality raw material. He developed techniques for separating and refining plastic waste to produce attractive quality-assured raw materials that replace new oil-based plastics. The business has since grown from concept into large-scale industrial production in the USA, Europe and China.
Dr Biddle is awarded the prize for combining deep technical expertise and entrepreneurial brilliance with a drive to close the loop. His solutions contribute to reducing waste and saving the Earth’s non-renewable resources. Dr Biddle inspires other entrepreneurs to develop innovative hi-tech solutions in the waste sector.