Meijer, Dow partner on new paving technology using recycled plastic bags

Meijer, Dow partner on new paving technology using recycled plastic bags

The pilot project recycled approximately 12,500 pounds of plastic to create a more durable parking lot at Meijer’s Holland, Michigan, supercenter.

November 12, 2021

In collaboration with Meijer, Dow has enabled a new paving technique using recycled plastic bags to create a more durable parking lot for the retailer’s Holland, Michigan, supercenter.

The recycled polymer modified asphalt (RPMA) parking lot is a three-phase pilot project that used approximately 12,500 pounds of postconsumer recycled plastic (PCR), which is the equivalent weight of 944,000 plastic grocery bags.

As a press release states, this project “brings recycled plastic bags full circle, and represents a long-term collaboration between two Michigan companies working toward a more sustainable future.”

“Meijer operates under the philosophy that to be a good company, we must be a good neighbor and that often means working with other like-minded companies on a common goal," says Rick Keyes, president and CEO of Meijer. “We are committed to lessening our impact on the environment and are pleased to partner with our customers and Dow in the largest in-state project of this kind to better demonstrate our commitment to a circular economy through recycling and reusing plastic to better ensure a more sustainable future.”

All of the recycled plastic used for the parking lot pilot project was deposited by Meijer customers through the retailer's in-store plastic film recycling program. In 2014, Meijer placed a collection bin inside the front entrances of each of its stores for customers to deposit clean, dry plastic bags and films, including single-use, bread, dry cleaning, produce and water softener bags. This year, Meijer says it expects to recycle 6 million pounds of plastics through this program.

"Lessening our impact on the environment through increased recycling efforts is an issue that's important to us, which is why we believe this pilot project is just one of the ways we can bring our current recycling efforts full circle while improving our customer shopping experience," says Vik Srinivasan, senior vice president of Properties and Real Estate at Meijer.

This pilot project incorporated numerous partners to take the recycled plastics and turn them into a resurfaced parking lot. PADNOS, a Michigan-based recycler, aggregated the Meijer recycled plastics and converted them into usable PCR. K-Tech Specialty Coatings, an Indiana-based asphalt emulsion company, modified the base asphalt binder with Dow’s new Elvaloy Reactive Elastomeric Terpolymer (RET) technology and PCR. Indiana-based Rieth-Riley, the construction contractor, produced the final hot-mix asphalt and paved the Meijer parking lot and gas station.

Dow began working on these types of projects in Indonesia in 2017, partnering with the Indonesian government toward its goal of reducing plastic waste in the ocean by 70 percent by 2025. In August 2021, Dow completed a RPMA public street at The University of Missouri.

Dow, headquartered in Midland, Michigan, has also completed two RPMA roads at Dow's Freeport, Texas site; two roads at the Dow Sabine River Operations where Elavaloy RET is produced; and four public roads and two parking lots in the Great Lakes Bay Region of Michigan—totaling approximately 14,000 pounds or more than 1 million plastic bags.