HD Economist Award interview
President and founder of MBA Polymers Michael Biddle answers five question about winning the 2010 Economist Award for Innovation of Energy and Environment. First time awarded to innovative garbage man. Stated from garage in California, and grew to most advance plastics recycling company in an industry space that had to be created. It took seventeen years to build a sustainable company for environment and economy, and bring this technology to the world. Reinventing the $500 Billion worldwide plastics industry is tough to crack due to entrenched practices. Raw materials come from existing waste streams, something never done before. Processes had to be operations conservative and capital efficient. It is costs less to build a plant, and less expensive operation costs result in 10-20% of cost of virgin plastics. Company sells sustainably by coaching manufacturing customers on using and designing products so that they are more recyclable. Personal example of organizations encouraging innovation is old employer, chemical company that sold plastic, did not want to create recycled plastics business in competition to their own. Michael Dell’s advice is that “Every company should cannibalize itself before someone else does.” They are now struggling to reinvent themselves in green aspects and economically sustainable aspect. Drive to reduce waste and apply passion to engineering in polymers science. Promote innovation by having a focused group that is open to ideas and understanding what the world needs. Growth of population and demand on finite natural resources requires developed world to figure out how to do more with less.