- Materials Recovery for the Future has announced new research aimed at improving sorting methods to recover more flexible packaging — including resealable food packages, pouches for soups and tuna, pet food bags and snack bags — for recycling.
- Resource Recycling Systems of Ann Arbor, MI developed the test methodology and will conduct the first phase of the research. It will run a mix of flexible packaging in single-stream recycling through existing sorting technologies like screens and optical scanners, then measure the amount captured to determine sorting effectiveness.
- The alliance planned a series of projects with the goal of "creating a mainstream recovery solution for flexible packaging." Materials Recovery for the Future is a new alliance of trade groups and companies that includes brand owners, manufacturers, and packaging industry organizations, according to a press release. Project sponsors include Dow Chemical Co., PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, Nestlé Purina PetCare and Nestlé USA, Sealed Air and SC Johnson, the Association for Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers, the Flexible Packaging Association, and SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association.
As more products are available with new types of packaging, many efforts are being made to improve plastic sorting at the MRF in order to keep materials out of landfills. Jeff Wooster, global sustainability director of Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics, said the "new sortation research is critical in helping to close the recovery loop for flexible packaging."
Diane Herndon, manager of sustainability at Nestlé Purina PetCare Co., said in a press release, "We believe that data from this collaborative research will help us learn how to recover and divert more valuable resins from landfills."
A mainstream solution for sorting the flexible packaging means greater efficiency for recyclers.