US – North American waste management company WM has partnered with chemical firm Dow on a plastic film recycling initiative in the US.
The companies say they’re combining WM’s broad reach as a comprehensive environmental solutions provider with Dow’s leadership in material science to build new infrastructure that is intended to help close existing recycling gaps, driving a more circular value chain in the US for plastic materials.
The initiative has kicked off with a pilot program in the Chicago-area community of Hickory Hills, Illinois, which the companies say reaches approximately 3,500 households, with more cities to follow across the country.
Consumers in the program’s pilot cities will be able to recycle film plastics such as bread bags, cling wrap and dry-cleaning bags directly in their curbside recycling.
According to research conducted by The Recycling Partnership, Washington, only 1.9 % of US households currently have access to curbside plastic film recycling, which is the plastic material with the lowest overall recycling rate.
Once operating at full capacity, WM says it expects the new program will help it divert more than 120,000 metric tonnes of plastics film per year from landfills.
“By providing residential customers with a simple, curbside option for recycling plastic films, we will not only help our customers more easily manage their used plastic film products, but also meet the rising demand for recycled content products,” said WM President and CEO Jim Fish.
“We recognize that to continue to meet and exceed our sustainability goals, we need to continue to expand our circularity solutions.
“We see the tremendous untapped potential to recycle and reuse plastic film, which many of our residential customers struggle to properly dispose of.”
WM says it expects to invest over US$800 million through 2025 to improve and enhance recycling infrastructure, including specialized technology that will allow the company to sort plastic films.
The company will lead the collection and processing for the film recycling pilots and continue to identify film recycling opportunities across the US.
Meanwhile, Dow says it is supporting the initiative by incorporating recycled content into its product solutions, in line with its updated Transform the Waste sustainability commitment to deliver 3 million metric tons of circular and renewable solutions by 2030.
Dow says it is working to increase recovery rates and drive towards a circular ecosystem for hard-to-recycle plastics through its material science expertise, offtakes, cart donations, technology and circular investments.
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