Cortec invests to close loop on its films
Cortec VpCI films and bags are recycled into reprocessed resins to be used in new VpCI products at plants in Minnesota and Croatia.
Photo courtesy of Cortec Corp.

Cortec invests to close loop on its films

Plastic film producer accepts back discarded product to use in its own manufacturing process.

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St. Paul, Minnesota-based Cortec Corp. says it is using up to 20 percent recycled content in the production of its vapor corrosion inhibitor (VCI) plastic film packaging. The firm says it patented the technology for making the VCI film using recycled plastic resin more than 20 years ago.

Cortec  says it now operates “a vibrant recycling program that produces VCI film, which goes by the VpCI brand, with up to 20 percent recycled film content--a level at which Cortec says it can ensure the quality of newly made VpCI product.”

The company says it “regularly manufactures” VpCI film with 15 percent pre- and postconsumer recycled content. This level is “significantly outpacing recent American Recyclable Plastic Bag Alliance (ARPBA) milestone goals of reaching 10 percent recycled content shopping bags by 2021 and 15 percent recycled content bags by 2023,” states the firm.

VPI films are considered a specialized market by Cortec, as they are designed to help protect metals from corrosion during shipping or storage.

Cortec says it has been recycling its in-house VpCI film scrap “for decades” at its plant in Cambridge, Minnesota. Several years ago, Cortec says it extended its recycling program “to a major off-road equipment assembly plant that receives engine components from dozens of suppliers across the United States and the world.”

That money-saving program allows the customer to bale its VCI film scrap and send those bales to Cambridge for reprocessing into new VcPI film. Cortec says it pays the shipping costs and gives the customer credit in return

“Their suppliers’ garbage is now a revenue stream for their plant,” says Mike Gabor, Cortec vice president of sales for Eastern North America, who helped launch the recycling program.

Both parties have overcome “inevitable” challenges, according to Cortec, and made a firm commitment to make the program and establish a true “circular economy,” which Cortec says “is not as easy as it is popular.”

The company estimates it “is helping save hundreds of thousands of pounds of plastic from the landfill or incinerator, and transforming it into quality new product while reducing carbon footprints for both companies.”

Cortec has set up a similar program at its European facility in Beli Manastir, Croatia, which now has its own VCI film extrusion, converting and recycling center.