Plastics Manufacturers, CPGs, and Recyclers Lead the Way to Sustainable Packaging

Plastics manufacturers are developing new innovative and consumer-popular packaging that is flexible, light, and strong. These plastics consume less energy, raw material, and water than traditional packaging. However, these films are a challenge for recyclers who traditionally have not been able to process the 12 billion pounds disposed of annually. To address sustainability, it will be imperative to create scalable recycling collection strategies to address this growing waste stream.

Last week I was privileged to meet with members of the Materials Recovery for the Future (MRFF) research collaborative. This collaborative group of leading companies including; The Procter & Gamble Company, Target, The Dow Chemical Company, PepsiCo, Nestlé USA, Nestlé Purina PetCare, Amcor, American Chemistry Council, Flexible Packaging Association, LyondellBasell Industries, The Plastics Industry Association, Sealed Air, SC Johnson, the Canadian Plastics Industry Association, Association of Plastic Recyclers and Chevron Phillips Chemical Company, is committed to advancing the understanding of how flexible plastic packaging can be effectively sorted for recovery. This group is working on several national pilot projects to develop high speed optical sorting machines and cultivate a market for the reclaimed materials.

The event I attended was hosted by JP Mascaro & Sons, a major trash hauler headquartered 3 miles from Elemica’s headquarters, who is leading a national pilot to allow the addition of popular film plastics to single stream recycling.

The goal is that mixed plastics can initially be used in the production of things like plastic lumber. But as the program grows the expectation will be that mixed plastics will be further separated and 360-degree product life cycles (PET film to PET film) will be possible. It is great to see total product lifecycle management solutions like this that create new markets while reducing energy consumption and pollution.

Elemica assists their customers in achieving sustainability goals through our supply chain solutions that automate manual business processes, leading to reductions in paper usage and increased efficiencies, which saves trees and other resources. By utilizing Elemica’s integrated cloud-based logistics and transportation products, customers have lowered their carbon footprint and energy usage by optimizing shipments and loads. Shippers and carriers can collaborate on shipments to find capacity, avoid disruptions and penalties, and optimize loading/unloading times, which saves on fuel and lowers emissions.

Since 2001, Elemica has delivered approximately 5 billion messages, equating to savings of 2,300 cubic meters of landfill space, 23,000,000 liters of water used in paper production, 25,000 trees, and 265,000 kilograms of CO2 emissions. In fact, Elemica was awarded Supply & Demand Chain Executives 2018 Green Supply Chain Award for the 10th consecutive year for assisting their customers achieve measurable sustainability goals.

#MRFF, #plastics, #packaging, #recycling