Trex touts growth of plastic film recycling program

Company says its NexTrex initiative with retailers and distribution centers is leading to increased polyethylene film recycling.

October 7, 2020

Winchester, Virginia-based Trex Co. says its program performed in cooperation with retailers, grocery stores and distribution centers has now collected some 500,000 tons of discarded plastic film.

Trex, a producer of composite decking made from a blend of reclaimed polyethylene (PE) plastic film and scrap hardwood, says its NexTrex program “makes it easy for retailers and distributors to repurpose the plastic [scrap] they accumulate as part of their daily operations.”

Once enough material is collected, it is sent to one of a network of distribution centers where it is sorted, condensed and shipped to Trex’s manufacturing facilities in Virginia and Nevada, to be used in the production of the company’s decking and railing products.

In the NexTrex program, Trex says it compensates partnering firms for the plastic scrap they contribute. “NexTrex is a prime example of an initiative where everybody wins,” says Dave Heglas, senior director of supply chain excellence for Trex Co. “Our retail and distribution partners win by providing their customers with an environmentally responsible way to dispose of plastic waste. Trex wins by collecting a key ingredient to make our products. And, ultimately, we all win by keeping tons of single-use and packaging plastic from ending up in landfills.”

Trex says it reclaims and repurposes more than 200,000 tons of PE film annually through its NexTrex commercial partnerships and community programs. Among its largest sources are grocery stores and other retailers that partner with Trex to collect plastic shopping bags and PE film used to wrap products and pallets.

“In distribution, plastic film plays a huge role in maintaining the quality of goods and ease of transport,” says Heglas. “Distribution centers have the ability and opportunity to consolidate this material for recycling. In addition to protecting the environment, this also saves on disposal fees and demonstrates social responsibility.”

The NexTrex recycling program recently reached the milestone of 500,000 tons of recyclable material collected through participating retailers since it was started. The program now involves some 30,000 locations nationwide.

Trex says every product in its decking portfolio is made from more than 95 percent recycled content, nearly half of which comes from plastic film packaging ranging from product overwrap and package liners to shrink wrap and stretch film used to palletize boxes and equipment.

“We are proud to offer a destination and alternate use for our country’s growing supply of plastic [scrap],” says Heglas. “Through our NexTrex program, we hope to lead by example and inspire others to become part of the solution.”

In early October, the NexTrex program received a 2020 Sustainability Leadership Award from the Business Intelligence Group. That New Jersey-based group describes itself as an organization of leaders in multiple industries dedicated to rewarding superior talent and performance in the business world.