The Materials Recovery for the Future (MRFF) research program has partnered with Audubon, Pennsylvania-based J.P. Mascaro & Sons Inc. to pilot single-stream curbside recycling of flexible plastic packaging (FPP). The company’s TotalRecycle material recovery facility (MRF) in Berks County, Pennsylvania, will process the material, demonstrating the technical and economic feasibility of recycling FPP from residential single-stream recycling programs.
MRFF is a project of the Foundation for Chemistry Research and Initiatives, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization established by the American Chemistry Council (ACC), Washington. Its members include The Procter & Gamble Co., Target, The Dow Chemical Co., PepsiCo, Nestlé USA, Nestlé Purina PetCare, Amcor, ACC, Flexible Packaging Association, LyondellBasell Industries, The Plastics Industry Association, Sealed Air, SC Johnson, the Canadian Plastics Industry Association and the Association of Plastic Recyclers. Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. also recently joined the program, according to the ACC.
“Our MRFF collaborative is excited to partner with J.P. Mascaro and demonstrate the recyclability of flexible plastic packaging,” says Steve Sikra, MRFF chairperson and associate director of global research and development for Procter & Gamble, Cincinnati. “We are all committed to the success of this program and look forward to adding recycled flexible packaging into the circular economy.
Sikra adds, “As a side benefit, we expect to see the quality of J.P.’s other recycling streams improve as the flexible plastics are processed.”
FPP—which includes films,wraps, bags and pouches—is not widely recycled today; however, it is a growing fraction of the packaging stream because of its light weight and ability to provide enhanced product performance and protection. According to Resource Recycling Systems (RRS), Ann Arbor, Michigan, the recycling system consultancy which conducts the MRFF research program, 12 billion pounds of the material is introduced into the market for consumer use every year, and it is the fastest growing form of packaging.
RRS estimates TotalRecycle will produce 3,100 tons per year of high-quality postconsumer FPP feedstock for various end market uses that are being tested.
The pilot is expected to generate data to help inform municipalities and the recycling industry on the most efficient and economical ways to recycle FPP. This will turn used FPP materials, typically destined for disposal, into a bale that can be sold to a variety of end markets, the ACC says.
Mascaro Director Of Sustainability and TotalRecycle General Manager Joseph P. Mascaro says, “Our company is thrilled to partner with the MRFF partners on this project. We are confident that the pilot will be successful and will generate industry data to show FPP generators, municipalities and the recycling industry that FPP can be efficiently and economically recycled and marketed instead of being landfilled.”
Van Dyk Recycling Solutions, Stamford, Connecticut, will add equipment in the form of optical sorters to Mascaro’s TotalRecycle facility that will target FPP and direct the material out of the single-stream material flow, the ACC says.
The pilot program will begin in late 2018 with the installation of the sorting equipment, according to the association. After an internal testing period, TotalRecycle will begin accepting FPP for recycling from the municipal residents it serves. From equipment order to acceptance of FPP in curbside carts, the pilot program is expected to last two years’ time, the ACC adds.
More information about the pilot or on joining MRFF is available from the ACC’s Emily Tipaldo at firstname.lastname@example.org.