- Closed Loop Fund has issued a request for proposals (RFPs) on projects at material recovery facilities (MRFs) or plastic recovery facilities that can collect, sort or process post-consumer polypropylene plastic.
- Potential candidates include MRFs working in large municipalities that could upgrade their conveyors and optical sorters, advanced image recognition and robotics concepts to increase capture efficiency and facilities that could add or update star screens to reduce contamination in other streams.
- Projects can receive up to $5 million each, with loan terms ranging from three to eight years. Preference will be given to projects that currently accept all sizes and formats of polypropylene packaging, could sort small format items and could attract co-investors, among other factors.
According to the latest national data, the municipal solid waste stream contained more than 7.1 million tons of polypropylene in 2014. Much of that was packaging, and recovery rates were low. Closed Loop Fund says this is costing municipalities millions, and there is demand among processors, but better sortation technology is needed to expand recycling access and improve the quality of material being captured.
The American Chemistry Council's most recent recycling availability study found that while polypropylene bottles, jugs and jars are widely accepted in municipal recycling programs, that isn't the case for other types of containers and lids. The ongoing shift toward single-stream has meant more municipalities accept yogurt containers and other common items, plus store drop-off programs are now available, but there is still room for growth.
Since it started in 2014, the Closed Loop Fund has delivered millions of dollars and notable results for a range of material categories. Applying that focus to polypropylene — at the same time that new scientific discoveries may be expanding opportunities for the material — could provide a helpful boost to the market.