- Avangard Innovative LP will invest $10 million in a new plant to recycle low density polyethylene film (LDPE) at its existing plant in Houston, as reported by Plastics News.
- Construction of the 35,000-square-foot plant will begin in June, with production expected to begin in August and reach full capacity by October. Total annual processing capacity will be 48 million pounds.
- This new plant will allow the company to produce post-consumer resin from the material it already handles and create recyclable LDPE pellets.
Avangard has billed this investment as a move toward circular economy principles that will allow for a unique level of vertical integration. The company's Houston facility already handles 100 million pounds of polyethylene film per year, as do others in the country. Recycled film is traditionally used to make other plastic products, but it's rare to see this type of closed loop solution that will allow the material to be recycled back into its original form.
Along with the recently announced development of an additive that allows for the combination of polyethylene and polypropylene into a blended polymer, this shows that recycling options may be expanding for a material category often seen as challenging. Through continued efforts by industry and government partnerships, U.S. residents now have more retail drop-off options for this type of material, which may help provide more feedstock for similar projects in the future.
Despite these advancements, efforts to limit or restrict the use of plastic bags can be expected to continue throughout the country. For proponents of those plans the goal is often to limit use of plastic products entirely rather than find new ways to enable their continued existence in the marketplace. Though for the range of other polyethylene film products that are common in households, but not usually covered by these types of regulations, expanded recycling options will be useful.