Last year wasn't exactly a banner year for the use of new materials in the packaging business. Except maybe for the identification of the first few applications of metallocene polyethylenes. So it was more than surprising that a packaging competition not renowned for the use of new materials should select a line of packages that exhibited a sizable risk to its user Matrix Essentials a Bristol-Myers Squibb subsidiary from Solon OH. The competition was that of the National Assn. of Container Distributors and the new material was Montell's (Wilmington DE) Adflex(TM) polyolefin copolymer. While Matrix won the Bernard Seid Best of Show award the competition also honored gold silver and bronze winners in each of seven categories. They're described in coverage accompanying this article. The three awards in the cosmetics/personal care category are described separately (see page 70). All awards were presented April 12 at the NACD annual meeting held at the Maui Hyatt Regency Hotel in Hawaii. Packaging awards are not foreign to Matrix Essentials. It won the very same NACD Best of Show award three years ago for its Biolage line of women's cosmetics. This year the award went to its Icon line of men's haircare products in both bottles and tubes provided through the services of Kaufman Container (Cleveland OH). Each package form used a coextrusion of high-density polyethylene with the Montell rubberized polypropylene to create containers with an unusual "suede-like" feel to them. Two 8-oz bottles (only the finish is different) and a tube make up the shapes for the product line that's exclusively sold through hair salons. * For Silgan Plastics (Chesterfield MO) the two bottles required the use of three-layer coextrusion technology. Each bottle has a core layer of 25% post-consumer recycled HDPE with an inner layer of virgin HDPE and an outer skin layer of Adflex. Silgan's Ligonier IN plant molds both bottles from the same set of eight-cavity molds. Neck inserts are used to distinguish between the bottles that are topped with a Euromist spray head from Seaquist (Mukwonago WI) or a flip-top dispensing head from Rexam (Evansville IN). The bottles are later screen-printed by Kaufman. * Tubed Products' (Easthampton MA) structure was simpler. The 4-oz tubes it makes for the Icon line are a two-layer coextrusion of HDPE and Adflex. The use of the rubberized polyolefin eliminates a conventional barrier coating to the tube. So the supplier extensively tested the tubes with the various products to determine product/package compatibility and ink adhesion. Tubed Products dry-offset prints the tubes in four colors. Eventually they're topped with butterfly flip-top caps from either Zeller Plastik (Libertyville IL) or Seaquist.