CARY - As delegates gained valuable expert insights on material science innovation and sustainability at the 12th edition of RISE (Research, Innovation & Science for Engineered Fabrics), the conference's Innovation Award went to DiaperRecycle for technology that transforms used diapers into cat litter.
INDA, the Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry, and The Nonwovens Institute, North Carolina State University co-organized the event, September 27-28 at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC.
More than 20 industry, academic, and government experts from across the globe presented technical developments in sessions focused on circularity and sustainable inputs from such sources as Polylactic Acid Polymers (PLA), natural fibers, biofibers, and waste products. Participants called the conference “thought provoking” with outstanding speakers.
Highlights included presentations on Achieving Supply Chain Circularity, by Kat Knauer, Ph.D., Program Manager – V Research, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, NREL; The Global Plastic Crisis: Winners/Losers in the Marketplace, by Bryan Haynes, Ph.D., Senior Technical Director, Global Nonwovens, Kimberly-Clark Corporation; Sustainable Fibers – Development and the Future by Jason Locklin, Ph.D. Director, University of Georgia – New Materials Institute; PLA & PLA Blends: Practical Aspects of Extrusion by Behnam Pourdeyhimi, Ph.D., William A. Klopman Distinguished Professor, and Executive Director, The Nonwovens Institute, North Carolina State University; and Mitigation of Quat Incompatibility with Cotton and other Cellulosic-based Substrates, by Doug Hinchliffe, Ph.D., Research Molecular Biologist, USDA-ARS.
RISE participants found the high-quality and on-point technical program valuable. Paul Latten, Director of Research and Development and New Business, Southeast Nonwovens, Inc., praised the high quality and depth of the science presented by speakers and said it will help him do a better job for his company and clients.
“RISE is an excellent conference for us to discuss concept strategies with the industry. I very much appreciate the focus on sustainability,” added Lars Heepe, Head of Research and Development and Intellectual Property, at Gottlieb Binder GmbH & Co. KG.
DiaperRecycle was awarded the RISE Innovation Award for its innovative technology to recycle used diapers into absorbent and flushable cat litter. The annual award recognizes innovation in areas within and on the periphery of the nonwovens industry that use advanced science and engineering principles to develop unique or intricate solutions to problems and advance nonwovens usage.
By diverting used diapers from households and institutions, and separating the plastic and fibre, DiaperRecycle strives to decrease the climate-changing emissions of diapers from landfills. “I am thrilled and grateful to win this award — as it proves we are on the right track,” said Cynthia Wallis Barnicoat, CEO of DiaperRecycle.
Other award finalists included Binder BioHook by Gottlieb Binder GmbH & Co. KG and Sero hemp fibers from Bast Fibre Technologies, Inc. (BFT).
The event also featured poster presentations by North Carolina State University graduate students, a tour of the Nonwovens Institute’s state-of-the-art facilities, an industry reception, networking breaks and luncheons.
The 13th edition of RISE — Research, Innovation & Science for Engineered Fabrics conference will be held Sept. 12-13, 2023 at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC.