Kraft Heinz Co., which is co-headquartered in Chicago and Pittsburgh, has completed a pilot project that demonstrates the use of roof board made from recycled flexible packaging. The pilot was made possible through the company’s participation in Materials Recovery for the Future (MRFF), which is a nonprofit research collaborative that is working to prove technical and economic feasibility to collect, sort, bale and recycle flexible plastic packaging.
According to a news release from Kraft Heinz, the project installed roofing made from postconsumer flexible plastic into two Kraft Heinz manufacturing plants in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, and Holland, Michigan. The recycled roofing materials were installed late in 2020. Kraft Heinz says the materials included 4-foot-by-8-foot boards, and 94 percent of each board was made of postconsumer recycled plastic and fiber. Kraft Heinz says it’s using flexible plastic packaging in materials across its product portfolio.
The company says the pilot project will be monitored for performance versus standard building materials. If the recycled materials perform as well as or better than standard building materials, Kraft Heinz says it will “strongly consider standardizing the use of this recycled material in the future.” The company plans to report on its use of recycled content to the Association of Plastic Recyclers Demand Champion program, having joined late last year.
“It was a privilege being part of MRFF, which not only helped identify ways to curbside collect and recycle flexible packaging but also identified end markets that we could leverage within our facilities,” says Erik Groner, senior principal packaging engineer at Kraft Heinz. “Our test project highlights the company’s commitment to sustainable packaging and the priority it places on its environmental, social and governance commitments. Kraft Heinz continues to search for ways to make our packaging recyclable and to incorporate recycled content within our supply chain.”
Susan Graff, vice president of Michigan-based Resource Recycling Systems and a MRFF research director, adds, “This Kraft Heinz project is a powerful example of environmental stewardship, reducing use of virgin materials by choosing roofing material made of recycled flexible plastic packaging.” Working with recyclers, they’ve provided a model for addressing expectations for full life cycle management of plastic while using an efficient, low-cost package for consumer product protection.”