Podium finishers at the F1 Brazilian Grand Prix on October 18 were presented with trophies made from recycled polyethylene (PE) water bottle tops collected during the event.
Brazilian petrochemical company Braskem (NYSE: BAK) is the driving force behind the project and is partnered by local industrial machinery producer Romi, recycler and resin distributor Fortymil, plastic recycling industry association Plastivida and selective collection cooperative Coopercaps.
"The project reinforces the importance of the plastics, which are 100% recyclable, and shows how a simple product can be turned into one with added value," Braskem's sustainability director Jorge Soto told BNamericas at a press conference held during qualifying at the Interlagos circuit in São Paulo.
According to Plastivida, approximately 21% of the plastic produced in Brazil is recycled after use.
Braskem, Fortymil and Romi installed a temporary mini recycling plant that processed the water bottle tops during the event.
The project included the collection and separation of the recyclable material, grinding, extrusion and final molding of the F1 trophies, which were comprised of 97% recycled plastic and 3% masterbatches.
Other recyclable materials were also collected for recycling later.
The project is included in Braskem's 12mn-real (US$7mn) annual capex for institutional marketing, Soto added.
According to Fortymil director Ricardo Mason, the trophies demonstrate how a new product can be developed without polluting the environment. "The project helps us show the recyclability of plastics and how it can be properly collected and generate revenues."
For the first place trophy, 4,800 tops were processed, for the second place 2,400 and for third 1,400, Mason said.
Braskem's involvement in the F1 Brazilian GP began in 2008 when the company made the trophies with its "green" PE based on sugarcane ethanol.
This year's trophies were based on the same design, conceived by local architect Oscar Niemeyer who was inspired by the columns of the Alvorada Palace in Brasília, the official residence of the president.