- Houston-based plastics company LyondellBasell has joined the Flexible Film Recycling Group (FFRG), professionals in the polyethylene (PE) film value chain to include suppliers, brand owners, retailers and recyclers. Members have set out to double the recycling of post-use PE film by 2020.
- North Carolina is the newest member to the FFRG’s flagship program, Wrap Action Recycling Program (WRAP), previously launched in the state of Wisconsin and in Vancouver, Washington. WRAP supports states, municipalities, and retailers in operating plastic film recycling drop-off programs.
- Specific WRAP program goals are to encourage retailers to collect a greater mix of polyethylene film and to boost collection and recycling of commercial film from small to midsized businesses. Ongoing projects listed on FFRG’s website are the creation of a promotional "recyclability" logo to place on film products, identification of barriers to PE film recovery from retailers, and development of guidelines to eliminate barriers.
Plastic film is one of the fastest growing post-use commodities, experiencing an 11% spike in 2013 to 1.14 billion pounds, according to a National Postconsumer Plastic Bag & Film Recycling report.
More partnerships are emerging to share profits and risk associated with plastics recycling in general, a commodity that has had ups and downs. Vermont began a statewide pilot plastics drop off program in 2014 in partnership with multiple stakeholders. Additionally, Safeway grocery stores in Washington launched a pilot program to collect PE.
Commenting on the momentum FFRG is gaining, the organization’s director, Shari Jackson, said, "We are thrilled to welcome LyondellBasell and North Carolina in our efforts to significantly increase the recycling of flexible wraps and bags. These great partnerships expand our footprint and our ability to educate consumers about the wide range of polyethylene film packaging that can be recycled at major grocery and retail stores."
Scott Mouw of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality noted there is an established infrastructure to recycle these materials. But, he said, "Working through WRAP will expedite our efforts to educate residents about opportunities to recycle and divert more valuable plastics and reduce waste."