Just last week the EPA released 2010 data detailing the Municipal Solid Waste Generation, Recycling, and Disposal in the United States. Thanks to an industry-wide push, we’re happy to announce that the recycling of polyethylene (PE) bags, sacks and wraps increased to 15 percent in the last year! This means that PE plastic bag, sack and wrap recycling has grown as an industry 9 out of the last 10 years.
This is a great accomplishment for our industry, as PE plastic bags, sacks and wraps are typically not available for curbside recycling pick up like the majority of recyclables. Thanks to consumers who have made recycling a priority, to our customers who participate in our Bag-2-Bag Recycling Program as well as many similar industry-wide initiatives, to our employees who make our closed loop plastic bag recycling facility a successful operation, and to local governments and NGOs that help to make recycling important in communities throughout the U.S. A few of the successful recycling programs we admire throughout the country include:
- Bag Your Bags. Bring ‘Em Back – The King County Solid Waste Division in Washington state partners with a number of grocers in the county to encourage and increase plastic bag recycling through this successful program.
- Bring It Back Philly – The Bring It Back Philly program was created by a Philadelphia council member and is supported by Keep Philadelphia Beautiful, the PA Food Merchants, Penn Jersey Paper, PBA/ACC, Goodwill Industries and Trex in an effort to increase awareness of plastic bag recycling and locations for recycling bags and wraps.
- A Bag’s Life – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the Florida Recycling Partnership, the Florida Retail Association, PBA/ACC and other major grocery and retailers partnered to create this campaign aimed at bolstering plastic bag recycling and reuse in Florida.
Without the dedicated participation from all parties involved, PE plastic bag, sack and wrap recycling rates would not have increased by 23.8 percent year over year and recovered material would not have grown by 25 percent.
I’m proud to say that I work in an industry that actively seeks out opportunities to improve the environment and be an active participant in encouraging recycling initiatives! We’ve made great progress during the past 10 years, but there is still more we can do to improve the recycling rates of PE plastic bags, sacks, and wraps. During the past year, Hilex Poly started three new partnerships to enhance recycling programs throughout the country and we plan to continue to grow our partnership base in the years to come, in addition to purchasing more of the recycled material to create new products.