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A recyclable paving product introduced by the Chattanooga-based Propex this year has been awarded the 2019 Industrial Fabrics Foundation (IFF) Innovation Award.

Petromat Enviro, which Propex introduced at the Geosynthetic Conference in Houston in February, was recognized for being a paving fabric that can easily be milled into small pieces and recycled.

"Innovation is what drives us," said Mike Gorey, CEO of Propex. "It's a key part of our culture, and we will continue to invest in products and market development to ultimately offer our customers the best geosynthetic solutions.

The new product was developed to solve the milling and recycling issues associated with traditional paving fabric. Unlike brittle glass-based geosynthetic interlayers, Enviro can be placed directly onto a milled surface without fear of breaking or tearing. Gorey said the flexible design also allows for smooth, wrinkle-free installation, even around curves.

Once milled, Petromat Enviro is nearly indistinguishable in recycled asphalt pavement.

"It's environmental safe and can go through the plant and burn right back into the asphalt,"said Tom Schmidt, executive vice president of Anrak Corp. "It's absolutely incredible."

Propex spokeswoman Kathryn Grant said sales of the new product "have been very positive" with a number of projects changing bid specifications from either a traditional paving fabric or fiberglass-based product to Enviro.

Grant said the new Enviro product comes as Propex celebrates the 50th anniversary of the original Petromat, which was the first paving fabric to hit the industry.

The Petromat products are part of the GeoSolutions business for Propex and are manufactured at the company's plant in Ringgold, Ga.

The IFF Innovation Awards were presented in six categories, including fabrics, fibers and films; chemical coatings and compounds; hardware, finding and accessories; equipment and tools; services to manufacturers; and end products. Petromat Enviro won the overall top prize.

"Continue to look for new innovations from Propex," said Gorey. "We have several exciting products to launch in 2020."

Contact Dave Flessner at dflessner@timesfreepress.com or at 757-6340.

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