The regional grocery store chain Wegmans Food Markets, headquartered in Rochester, N.Y., has joined the American Chemistry Council’s (ACC) Flexible Film Recycling Group (FFRG). The ACC says Wegmans is the first retailer to join the FFRG, a self-funded group within the ACC that is dedicated to boosting polyethylene (PE) film recovery efforts.
Wegmans, with more than 80 stores in the eastern United States, has collected used plastic bags for recycling since 1994. The company notes that its shoppers return about 1.5 million pounds of PE film every year. The grocery chain also collects an additional 1.5 million pounds of plastic stretch/shrink wrap from shipping pallets each year.
“From plastics recycling to greener store designs, Wegmans’ commitment to sustainability is widely recognized,” says Shari Jackson, director of FFRG. “As the first retail grocer member of the Flexible Film Recycling Group, the company will have valuable insights into programs to increase the recycling of plastic bags and wraps.”
Jason Wadsworth, sustainability coordinator for Wegmans, says, “Recycling of plastic bags and film is one effective way to address environmental concerns. Because of our closed-loop system, bags and film that customers return for recycling at our stores are made into new Wegmans bags, not litter.”
FFRG membership represents the PE film value chain, including resin suppliers, film product manufacturers, brand owners and recyclers. The recycling of postconsumer plastic bags, product wraps and commercial shrink film reached 1 billion pounds in 2011, a 55 percent increase since 2005, according to the most recent “National Postconsumer Plastic Bag & Film Recycling Report.”
In addition to Wegmans, FFRG members include:
- Avangard Innovative;
- Berry Plastics;
- Chevron Phillips Chemical Co.;
- ExxonMobil Chemical Co.;
- KW Plastic Recycling;
- Petoskey Plastics;
- Sealed Air Corp.;
- SC Johnson;
- Trex Co. Inc.;
- United Plastics Recycling;
- Verdeco Plastics Inc.; and
- Wisconsin Film & Bag.