In a new partnership between residents of Las Cruces, New Mexico and the outdoor furnishings manufacturer Trex Company, a collection of unwanted and used plastic bags is underway to help defray the cost of new benches for the city’s parks and recreation areas.
Trex, which makes furniture made of wood alternatives such as plastic, is sponsoring the collection effort which will run through the spring and summer. Local businesses and residents will be able to drop off and recycle a variety of plastic bags including department and grocery bags, plastic bags for food, newspapers, laundry and dry cleaning, as well as bubble wrap and plastic bags used for packing and shipping. For every thirty thousand bags collected, Trex will provide one all-weather park bench made from their alternative materials formula.
City officials are enthusiastic and claim growing participation and support from members of the community, including local businesses as it’s a low cost way to enhance the city’s parks and overall quality of life for residents and visitors. Due to budget cutbacks, the city would be unable to fund upgrades to the existing benches or acquire additional ones. By galvanizing community involvement, the city is both able to promote recycling while obtaining some much desired outdoor seating.
WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Are your elected officials for your local government thinking outside the box when it comes to waste management and recycling? If your town has a public park or green space, how is its upkeep being funded? A plastic bag collection initiative might be a great way to cut costs!
According to a recent report released by the American Chemistry Council, in 2011, one billion pounds of light weight plastic film and bags were recycled in the United States. That amount represents a four percent increase from the prior year and a fifty five percent increase from 2005.
Increases in consumer demand and manufacturer production of plastic and plastic-composite decking and building materials is cited as a reason for increased collection and recycling efforts. Deck and siding manufacturers bought and additional one hundred and twenty million pounds of recycled plastic material in 2011 and that amount is expected to see year over year growth as the construction industry embraces green building practices.
While the majority of plastics collected is processed in the United States or Canada, almost forty percent is still process oversees. There are more than fifteen thousand collection locations in the United States, mainly in retail and grocery chains, where polyethylene bags can be recycled. This number is expected to increase as more consumers demand convenient recycling options.
The report also speculates that the biggest future growth is to be found in the recycling of pre-consumer clear plastic such as shrink wrap which is highly desirable on the re-sale market but has been difficult to collect.
WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Remember that old-time saying, “The future is in plastics”? The same holds true today, expect we need to change it to say, “The future is in recycling plastics”! If your business uses or manufactures plastics, staying in the know about recycling and re-selling is essential.
If you’re thinking the uses for recycled electronics waste are pretty small, think again! Two Texas businesses are taking unwanted and unusable e-Waste and turning it into something you see every single day – street signs! MicroStrate Inc. and Image Microsystems Inc. have joined forces and are are using recycled plastics and electronics waste to produce street signs. Even with their new operations, they already have sold their new products to four different cities in the United States and one city in Russia.
Currently employing close to fifty, the facility is expecting to run twenty four hour shifts within the year as interest in their product builds momentum. There has been great interest expressed in the product from state departments of transportation to test and purchase these “zero waste” signs.
The company handles both the recycling of the plastics and electronics waste and the manufacturing of the signs at their facility. Keeping all work in-house has reduced costs from purchasing through a recycled goods re-seller. The company also has a materials research project involving students from Texas Technical.
For now, regional electronics retail stores and computer companies provide much of the materials needed, but as business expands that footprint is expected to grow as well.
WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Thinking outside the box is what makes for success in the recycled material business. If you’re not an entrepreneur, but looking to sell your waste materials instead of paying to dispose of them in the trash, there are new businesses that may be interested in working with you!
The state of Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is investigating how they can improve their rate of recycling for waste plastics materials. Currently, it is believed that over sixty four million dollars worth of plastics is being disposed of in local landfills.
The study is being done to see what areas in the recycling sector can contribute to job growth and economic development for the state. So far, the greatest potential lies with recycling waste plastic bags and lightweight plastic film used in packaging, in addition to hard plastics. Due to the preliminary findings, the DNR is preparing to launch a test program for recycling lightweight plastic film packaging materials.
DNR officials believe that by increasing recycling throughout the state, municipalities will be better positioned to create new jobs and business opportunities in the “green sector” as well as reduce their fees for maintaining costly landfills.
WasteCare Wants You to Remember: The recycling market is always changing. Waste materials that once had little or no value are now in demand on the recyclable materials manufacturing market. Plastics of all kinds can be used to create a huge number of building, construction, housewares, and personal products, so if you’re community or business isn’t recycling them then you’re missing out on reducing your garbage disposal fees and possibly making money by re-selling!
The debate about instituting a state-wide ban on plastic bags has once again resurfaced in California with San Rafael Assemblyman Marc Levine introducing a bill banning all plastic grocery bags of a single use nature starting in the year 2015.
The bill is almost identical to a measure that was introduced last year but did not make it past the state Senate after receiving negative feedback from grocery stores and manufacturers of plastic bags.
The proposed legislation would require grocery stores earning more than two million dollars annually or retail locations with with greater than ten thousand square feet of space to stop providing customers with plastic bags.
Stores falling into this category would be required to offer reusable bags for sale and free paper bags made of recycled materials. After a year long grace period, stores will be allowed to charge a fee for paper bags.
The ban does not include the plastic bags used for vegetables, fruits, bulk grains and meat.
As more and more individual cities and towns in California have passed municipal plastic bag bans some feel public sentiment is turning to favorably accept the legislation for all municipalities throughout the state.
WasteCare Wants You to Remember: If you do business in California, you’d be well served to start finding alternative solutions to plastic bags. It’s better to be ahead of the curve than caught unprepared!
The big island of Hawaii has instituted a law that will gradually ban plastic bags. The new policy went into effect on January 17, 2013 and was announced by the Department of Environmental Management for the County of Hawai’i.
Under the new policy, all businesses located on the island are required to charge a small fee for single use plastic carryout bags. Businesses included in this mandate are grocery stores, retailers, restaurants, and farmer’s markets. The law provides businesses a year to transition into the new procedure and all single use plastic bags will be completely prohibited from the island by January 17, 2014.
There are a few exemptions and those include plastic bags used for meat, fish, bulk produce such as nuts and grains, fresh produce such as fruits and vegetables, small hardware items, clothing, and prescription drugs.
City Council representatives said the measure was essential to protect the beauty and environmental sustainability of the island which has limited landfill resources.
WasteCare Wants You to Remember: As more and more municipalities adopt plastic bag bans and regulations, your business would be well-served by coming up with strategies to address plastic bag usage before it is regulated. If you start now, you’ll be steps ahead of the competition!
It is expected that the demand from manufacturers for recycled plastic will rise close to seven percent by the year 2016 with a need for over three and one half billion pounds of material.
This amount is nearly one billion pounds more than what was needed in 2012 and is due to the growing demand for sustainable and environmentally friendly packaging and consumer products. In addition, technologically advanced recycling processing and sorting machinery allows recyclers to identify and use more types of plastic resin products.
Continued efforts from federal, state and municipal governments to cut costs by increasing recycling efforts while limiting of charging more for landfill dumping of trash will also assist in ensuring that the demand for recycled plastic is met with an adequate and affordable supply.
Using recycled plastic for packaging will be the primary market for re-sellers and recyclers with plastic bottles being responsible for providing close to half of the demand. In 2011, PET and HDPE plastics were responsible for filling close to seventy percent of the market need. Business and consumer sectors that currently use minimal recycled plastic but could experience growth are construction products, packaging film, and the automotive industry.
WasteCare Wants You to Remember: The business and consumer demand for recycled plastics isn’t going away. Looking for new ways to satisfy this need in your sector is a great way to make green while supporting green initiatives like recycling!
The city of Denver, Colorado will be offering a new home to political yard signs in the weeks following the November 6th presidential and local elections.
A regionally based independent business, Alpine Waste & Recycling is once again offering its annual election day Yard Sign Recycling Campaign and will make available to residents special containers in which to waste recycle no longer wanted political placards, including both window and yard signs.
The idea to establish a special program for recycling the materials in political yard signs began in 2007 by Alpine’s recycling unit and has been offered every year since. The majority of political signs are constructed from HDPE plastic or corrugated plastic and have demand in the recycling and re-sale market.
After municipalities collect the yard signs through their standard recycling collection, they are transported to Alpine’s recycling facility and prepared for plastics processing. Ultimately the former political signs will be turned into plastic pellets. The pellets are then used in the manufacturing of various consumer items, such as trash cans, toys, lawn chairs, and other solid plastic goods.
WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Election Day happens every year so what is your community’s plan for waste recycling the materials in political signs? If you’re not recycling and reusing, then you’re taking up valuable and costly space in your local landfill!
NextLife Enterprise, a resin manufacturer and plastics recycler is contributing to jobs growth and green-friendly economic development by opening a new recycling facility in Rogers, Arkansas that will expand the company’s reach beyond the recycling of plastic material waste. The new plant currently has three sorting, shredding and baling lines and employs seventy people.
The facility will also process metal, aluminum, corrugated cardboard, and glass. Only twenty-five percent of the waste material recycled will be plastics, but that total amount is expected to be close to sixty millions pounds annually. Right now, the new plant is handling roughly one million pounds of waste material per week, but full production levels are expected for next year.
The new facility and increased reach of the materials recycled and recovered was something NextLife clients and consumers had been asking for. To meet customer needs, partnerships have been formed to handle special recycling concerns such as child safety seats and household appliances. The company goal for the new plant is to be a full-service material waste to recovery solution that handles each step of the recycling and reuse process for their customers.
WasteCare Wants You to Remember: As more business and consumers embrace material waste recycling, more economic growth and job opportunities are created. What can your business do to expand in this in-demand field?
Major brands such as Pepperidge Farm and Starbucks are implementing packaging reductions and recycling programs and as way to illustrate to consumers that they are taking environmental sustainability seriously and incorporating the importance of “going green” in their corporate missions and employee communications.
Campbell Soup Corporation of Camden, New Jersey is the parent company of Pepperidge Farms and it has set a goals of cutting one hundred million pounds of packaging from its product line by the year 2020.
In working toward this goal, Pepperidge Farm recently redesigned and reduced the amount of plastic used in its packages for Goldfish and Deli Flats by sixty five percent. The new design won the company the DuPont Packaging Award for Excellence in the category of Waste Reduction and Innovation. Success has also been seen in moving to lightweight bottles for the V8 juice drinks brand.
Starbucks Coffee is currently working on addressing its corporate goal of making their beverage cups recyclable by 2015 and ensuring that all locations have access to adequate recycling opportunities and providing the infrastructure to ensure success.
WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Whether you’re a big, international company or a small, local business, setting environmental sustainability goals and identifying areas that can be improved upon, are a great way to help you “go green” while saving green!