To help manufacturers ensure plastic packaging is recycled, Virginia-based Trex Co., which makes wood-alternative decking and railing from recycled plastic, is offering free recyclability testing to packaging manufacturers and brand owners. If the packaging passes the test, the companies' packaging may qualify for the NexTrex recycling program.
“Plastic film plays a critical role in the packaging and transportation of many consumer goods, but it also presents a considerable challenge to manufacturers looking to reduce waste and their carbon footprints,” the company says in a news release.
The assessment tests plastic packaging or film plastic for recyclability, the risk of product contamination in the packaging after use and the risk of contamination for nonrecyclable “look-a-like” plastic packaging.
Trex says packaging designers, producers and brand owners can send in a packaged product sample and Trex will provide them with a comprehensive report, so “they can make adjustments as needed to meet recyclability standards and select an appropriate recycling method."
Trex accepts grocery and retail bags, newspaper sleeves, resealable bags, wood pellet bags, mattress bags and e-commerce mailers among other plastics. The company diverts more than 400 million pounds of plastic film from landfill per year to create composite decking, made from 95 percent recycled material.
“Trex invented composite decking more than 25 years ago as a way to reduce waste generated from plastic bags,” says Dave Heglas, senior director of material management for Trex. “Today, we are one of the largest recyclers of plastic film in North America and a leader in educating and engaging both the commercial and consumer sectors in recycling efforts.”
Retailers and packaging companies partner with Trex to “responsibly dispose of plastic shopping bags and polyethylene film used to wrap products and pallets." The testing will validate whether material is capable of being recycled in the Trex recycling stream.
Once packaging samples have been tested and approved by Trex, companies could qualify for a Trex commercial recycling partnership, which offers “competitive compensation” for recycled materials.
“Our free testing program is intended to encourage more manufacturers to participate, while ensuring that the plastic we are collecting meets our high standards for production,” Heglas says. “We are proud to offer a viable solution for our country’s growing supply of plastic content. The U.S. needs more end markets for recycled materials. Through our NexTrex recycling program, we hope to lead by example and inspire others to find ways to be part of the solution.”