Midland, Michigan-based Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics, a business unit of DowDuPont Materials Science, through its participation in the Trash Free Seas Alliance, and in collaboration with flexible packaging manufacturer Bemis Co. Inc. and Canada-based converter Polykar Inc., have developed a trash bag made from postindustrial plastic scrap. The bags will be used to clean up beaches around the United States during Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup event Sept. 16, 2017.
“As the largest provider of plastics in the packaging industry, Dow is a global advocate for resource recovery technologies,” says Jeff Wooster, global sustainability director for Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics. “We’ve taken on the challenge with Bemis and Polykar, alongside the Trash Free Seas Alliance, to increase postindustrial recycling and extend sustainable industrial practices to address a worldwide problem. We know that if we work together, we can find a way to recover plastic waste and use it to make an even a bigger impact on reducing marine debris.”
The recycled trash bags are opening doors for new, previously difficult-to-recycle packaging formats to enter the recycling stream, say the companies. To create the trash bags, Bemis collected the postindustrial plastic scrap and sent them to Polykar, which used its plastic recycling machines to combine the reclaimed plastics with Dow’s RETAIN technology. The resulting material is a recycled plastic resin, which Polykar used to manufacture the bags.
Dow and the other collaborators released a video detailing the process to manufacture trash bags, and reinforce their longstanding commitment to reducing marine debris. It can be viewed here.
Dow is a founding member of The Trash Free Seas Alliance, a global initiative led by the Ocean Conservancy, which unites industry, science and conservation leaders committed to identifying the causes and developing land-based solutions to prevent waste from entering the ocean seas. The coalition issued a report identifying the major pathways of plastic leakage into the ocean and solutions to properly concentrate and treat the plastic waste before it makes its way into the ocean.
“It’s an exciting step forward to be able to use recycled materials to collect and properly dispose of marine debris,” says Emily Woglom, executive vice president at Ocean Conservancy. “This work is just one example of the type of concrete solutions that we have identified and worked towards with our partners in the Trash Free Seas Alliance. Stopping waste before it ever reaches the ocean through proper waste management practices is key to solving this global problem.”
Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics focuses on high growth market segments in flexible and rigid food packaging, secondary and tertiary packaging, personal hygiene and medical products, and adhesive applications. One of the largest polyethylene (PE) producers in the world, Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics says it is a leading innovator and collaborator across the value chain on solutions for better packaging.
DowDuPont Materials Science, a business division of DowDuPont combines science and technology knowledge to develop premier materials science solutions that are essential to human progress. DowDuPont Materials Science’s market-driven, industry-leading portfolio of advanced materials, industrial intermediates and plastics businesses deliver a broad range of differentiated technology-based products for customers in high-growth markets such as packaging, industrials and consumer care, according to the company. DowDuPont intends to separate the Materials Science division into an independent, publicly traded company.
Headquartered in Neenah, Wisconsin, Bemis Co. Inc. is a major supplier of flexible and rigid plastic packaging used by leading food, consumer products, health care and other companies worldwide. Founded in 1858, Bemis reported 2016 net sales from continuing operations of $4 billion. The company says it has a strong technical base in polymer chemistry, film extrusion, coating and laminating, printing and converting.
Co-founded in 1987 by Elyse Damdjee and Aziz Karim, Polykar is a family business based in Saint-Laurent, Québec. The company began as a manufacturer of industrial garbage bags, and today has more than 100 employees and annual sales of $50 million. Polykar has become a leading Canadian manufacturer of PE film, certified compostable bags and bulk food packaging and has developed expertise in plastics recycling. The company holds ISO 9001:2008 and 14001:2004 certifications as well as the highest distinction (Gold) from Recyc-Québec’s ICI ON RECYCLE! program.