North Carolina joins effort to recycle more plastic wraps, bags, film

The ACC’s Flexible Film Recycling Group also adds LyondellBasell to its ranks.

January 5, 2016
Recycling Today Staff

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) has announced that LyondellBasell, with U.S. headquarters in Houston, has joined the Flexible Film Recycling Group (FFRG), a collaboration working to double the recycling of postuse polyethylene film by 2020.

The FFRG represents materials suppliers, brand owners, retailers and recyclers. Its Wrap Action Recycling Program (“WRAP”) works directly with states, municipalities and retailers to increase plastic film recycling through store drop-off programs.

Additionally, North Carolina has announced that it will be the second state to officially partner with WRAP. North Carolina’s decision comes on the heels of successful WRAP programs launched in Wisconsin and in Vancouver, Washington.

“We are thrilled to welcome LyondellBasell and North Carolina in our efforts to significantly increase the recycling of flexible wraps and bags,” says Shari Jackson, director of FFRG. “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.”

“Polyethylene is a valuable material and resource even after its initial use,” says Jim Clark, LyondellBasell polyethylene director, Americas. “We look forward to working with FFRG and the WRAP partners to see that more postuse polyethylene packaging gets recycled.”

"Much of the infrastructure to recycle polyethylene wraps and bags is already in place," says Scott Mouw of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ). “Working through WRAP will expedite our efforts to educate residents about opportunities to recycle and divert more valuable plastics and reduce waste.”  

Through this program, WRAP and North Carolina will implement a series of campaign initiatives using effective communications tools and best practices to support community outreach efforts on plastic film recycling.  The program also will work to encourage commitment by more retailers to collect a broader mix of polyethylene film materials from consumers. Additionally, the program will work to expand collection and recycling of commercial film (pallet wrap and transport packaging) from small to midsized businesses.

GreenBlue® Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC) and the Association of Plastics Recyclers (APR) join the NCDEQ and the FFRG in launching the new North Carolina WRAP initiative.

Plastic film is one of the fastest growing areas of recycling with collection surging by 11 percent in 2013 to 1.14 billion pounds, according to the “2013 National Postconsumer Plastic Bag & Film Recycling Report.” This marks the highest annual collection of plastic film—74 percent increase—since the survey began in 2005.

Currently, more than 90 percent of Americans have access to programs that collect polyethylene wraps and bags, primarily at major grocery and retail stores. These programs collect a variety of common packaging items, such as bags from bread, produce and dry cleaning, along with wraps from beverage cases, napkins, paper towels, plus shipping pillows, shopping bags and bubble wrap.

Recycled polyethylene film can become durable outdoor lumber for decks and fences, shopping carts or new packaging.

Founding members of the FFRG include Dow Chemical, ExxonMobil, Chevron Phillips, Berry Plastics, Wisconsin Film and Bag, Sealed Air Corp., SC Johnson, Trex and Avangard.