J. P. Mascaro & Sons, Audubon, Pennsylvania, has announced that Pottstown, Pennsylvania, will be the first community in the United States to collect flexible plastic packaging (FPP) at the curb for recovery at the company's material recovery facility (MRF). The initiative is part of the company’s contracted curbside recycling program in the city.
After a nationwide solicitation by Materials Recovery for the Future (MRFF), an industry-sponsored research collaborative based in Washington, Mascaro and its TotalRecycle automated single-stream recycling facility in Exeter Township, Pennsylvania, were chosen to participate as the processor in the pilot program to demonstrate the viability of processing FPP at automated MRFs, marketing the recovered product known as rFlex to end users. MRFF and its members awarded a $2.6 million grant to Mascaro to install optical sorting equipment at its TotalRecycle facility to make the recovery of FPP possible.
Historically, FPP—which consists of items such as plastic bags, wraps, pouches and packaging—has not been able to be successfully recovered for recycling at the MRF. However, Mascaro’s investments in new sorting technology will allow the company to recover these difficult-to-capture materials, the company says.
“Our company is thrilled to have been chosen by the MRFF for this pilot program. We have purchased and installed all the new automated optical sorting equipment needed to recycle FPP, and we are excited to add FPP to the borough of Pottstown's existing curbside recycling program,” Joseph Mascaro Sr., director of sustainability at J.P. Mascaro & Sons, says.
“We chose the borough to kick off this recycling pilot program because of its proximity to our TotalRecycle facility and because it meets important project requirements such as [having] curbside recyclables … collected in wheeled carts,” Mascaro continues.
Mascaro will begin collecting FPP curbside this fall. As part of the lead up to the program, the company is notifying residents of the types of FPP that can be collected for recycling.
The company says it hopes the pilot program will generate data to show interested municipalities that FPP recycling is possible and economical and that there is a market for rFlex bales.
“An obvious benefit of this FPP pilot program is the enhancement of our ongoing waste recycling and reuse efforts, and it will further improve the sustainability of the integrated customer waste service system that we have developed over the years and that is now in place at J. P. Mascaro & Sons," Pat Mascaro, president of J.P. Mascaro & Sons, says.