Canadian Packaging

CPIA announces 2014 plastics industry leadership award winners

Winners chosen for leadership, sustainability, innovation and more.

July 4, 2014
by Canadian Packaging Staff

Toronto, ON—The  winners of the 2014 Plastics Industry Leadership Awards as determined by the Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA) has been announced.

The Canadian Plastics Industry Association is the national voice of Canada’s plastics industry, representing the interests of processors, material suppliers, equipment manufacturers and brand owners across the country, and these awards recognize outstanding individuals and businesses for their commitment and dedication to the growth and sustainability of the Canadian plastics industry.

“We are delighted to be able to celebrate the contributions of the winners in all of the award categories,” says CPIA president and chief executive officer Carol Hochu.

Since 1966, the Leader of the Year Award has been given to individuals that are recognized as having made important contributions to the Canadian plastics industry and continually use their knowledge and influence to improve the competitive, innovative and environmental performance of the industry.  In addition, they contribute their time and resources to community and faith groups or other organizations dedicated to society-building.

This year, the Leader of the Year Award recipient is Hilex Poly senior vice-president of sustainability & environment policy Mark Daniels.

Daniels has over 25 years experience in the plastic retail carry-out bag industry. He works relentlessly at defending the plastic industry while ensuring that factual information is given to the public and government bodies that will allow them to make informed decisions. Daniels is a true ambassador of recycling and works to improve the products his company manufactures to ensure they use and increase the amount of recycled content in them.

In addition to serving on CPIA’s plastic bag task force and providing support and guidance during the 2012 City of Toronto plastic bag ban, Daniels also serves as the chairman for the American Progressive Bag Alliance, a division of SPI, and sits on the board of directors for the Western Plastics Association, the Florida Retail Federation and Texas Retail Association.

The Plastics Innovator Award is for those companies or individuals that have contributed to the expansion of the Canadian plastics industry, through advancement of the Canadian plastics industry in the areas of materials, products, process/technology, or marketing/communications.

This year’s Plastics Innovator Award winner is Mark Lichtblau, corporate vice-president of Haremar Plastic Manufacturing, one of North America’s leading suppliers of custom PE  (Polyethylene) film packaging for consumer and industrial markets.

Lichtblau is an innovative leader and a driving force behind the technical and sales achievements of his company, with his vision and talents well represented in the success of Haremar Plastic Manufacturing.

Lichtblau is active in various industry associations including the Plastic Film Manufacturers Association of Canada (a council of the CPIA) and the CPIA where he serves as treasurer.

The Plastics Sustainability Award recognizes Individuals or organizations who have contributed to the sustainability of the Canadian plastics industry in an environmental, social or economic manner, including post-use plastics recovery. Nominee’s contributions could be for efforts related to sustainability in recycling or for products or packaging that has been produced in Canada and contains at least 20 per cent post-use plastics collected for recycling.

The first winner in the Plastics Sustainability Award category is Polyform Cellular Plastics Inc. Polyform heavily invests in R&D (research & development) to find sustainable solutions to expanded plastics including polystyrene, polypropylene and polyethylene which are re-injected into a building product that will be permanently embedded into concrete, giving the product a true sustainable use. These efforts also contribute greatly to LEED points, helping the construction industry to reach their own goals.

The second Plastics Sustainability Award winner is Cascades Inc. In early 2013 Cascades launched EVOK, the first line of polystyrene (PS) meat trays in North America made with 25 per cent recycled content, reducing the environmental footprint of its PS foam tray line by 20 percent. After 50 years of being a pioneer in paper recycling, Cascades is proud to be once again the example to follow in a market traditionally serve with virgin products.

The final Plastics Sustainability Award winner for 2014 is Polynova Industries Inc. of Richmond, BC. Early adopters of eco-friendly technologies, Polynova has used various biodegradable additive materials to polyfilm bags since 1991, including oxo-biodegradable, starch based, wood fiber PE and lately, bio-marine waste blended PE.

The combination of marine waste PE and recycled PE is a promising, affordable and sustainable formulation that offers one of the lowest carbon footprint values with bio-renewable content and it is recyclable.

The next award category is the CanPlast Award which honors individuals who have contributed their time, energy and expertise to improving the competitive and environmental performance of Canada’s plastics industry.

The first recipient is Cathy Cirko, recently retired CPIA vice-president, Post-Use committee. Cirko began her plastics industry association career with CPIA in 1997 as director responsible for CPIA’s programs related to sustainability, recycling and the environment, and health. In 2003, Cirko was named CPIA vice-president with primary responsibility for the association’s plastics post-use recovery program where she capably and effectively led the development of CPIA’s advocacy and partnerships to promote solutions that increase the recovery of plastics at their end of life and reduce marine litter. A dedicated advocate, Cirko skillfully represented CPIA throughout Canada and internationally as a vocal proponent for a sustainable plastics industry.

The next CanPlast Award winner is Charles Russell, market manager, bag, liner and wrap, NOVA Chemicals. Russell is recognized not only for his contributions to NOVA Chemicals but for his CPIA contributions. He joined the CPIA board in 2010, continuing NOVA’s commitment to CPIA and active, industry leadership. He was an involved member of the Post-Use committee and also chaired the Membership Development Committee.

The final honoree in the CanPlast Awards category is Michel Iliesco of Cascades. Iliesco specializes in marketing management and business development. He has worked with Cascades Specialty Products Group, Consumer product packaging since 2007. Iliesco  received this award in recognition for his contributions to lobbying efforts against the proposed increase to 2013 Polystyrene (PS) stewardship fees by EEQ. Iliesco is actively involved in several pilot projects relating to plastics recovery and recycling. For him, sustainable development means achieving the right balance between people, the environment and the economy.

The final category of awards for the evening was the Lifetime Achievement Award honoring individuals who have made outstanding achievements and contributed enduring legacies to Canada’s plastics industry.

This year’s honoree is Dr. Patrick Moore, a leader in the international environmental field for more than 40 years. Moore was a co-founder of Greenpeace and served for nine years as president of Greenpeace Canada and seven years as a director of Greenpeace International. In recent years, Moore has been focused on the promotion of sustainability and consensus building among competing concerns. From 2010 to 2012, he served as chair and chief scientist of Greenspirit Strategies, a consultancy focusing on environmental policy and communications in a number of industries. Now Moore is an independent ecologist/environmentalist with Ecosense Environmental Inc.

CPIA would like to congratulate all the award winners and commend them for their contributions to the plastics industry.

The awards were presented at CPIA’s Plastics Industry Leadership Awards Celebration on June 19, 2014 at the Holiday Inn, Toronto International Airport, in Toronto.

For more information on the CPIA, visit:

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