2020 Pilot Yields Successful Results
Our pilot research demonstrates that with adequate optical sorting capacity and peripherals, flexible plastic packaging (FPP) can be efficiently captured in a large single-stream material recovery facility (MRF) and processed into a commodity bale, known as rFlex, for reuse in a variety of markets while diverting plastic from landfills.
Why This Project Matters
2018 Pilot Announcement
We’re excited to announce a new partnership to pilot single-stream curbside recycling of flexible plastic packaging (FPP). This will be the first pilot to demonstrate the technical and economic feasibility of recycling household FPP from municipal residential single-stream recycling.
An Industry United
Materials Recovery for the Future (MRFF) is a project of the Foundation for Chemistry Research and Initiatives, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization established by the American Chemistry Council (ACC).
The project is a collaboration of leading companies, committed to advancing the understanding of how flexible plastic packaging can be effectively sorted for recovery.
We’ve come together to develop and implement a research program in partnership with trade associations committed to addressing issues associated with recycling flexible plastic packaging.
Why Is This Important?
The packaging stream is evolving. Resource efficient flexible plastic packaging provides outstanding product protection in innovative formats. Flexible packaging is displacing many types of packaging formats, including those that are traditionally recycled.
Currently, in North America, flexible plastic packaging is not typically accepted in recycling programs. As the expectation for full lifecycle management of packaging increases, it is important that the related industries take part in the foundation of future solutions to provide effective and economic recovery options for flexible plastic packaging.
Commitment to Finding Recovery Solutions for Flexible Plastic Packaging
The Materials Recovery for the Future project provides leading members of the flexible plastic packaging value chain an opportunity to collaborate on a focused research program and a shared vision.
The Packaging Stream is Evolving – 2017 to 1990 Baseline
Data from RRS recycle.com
- Newspaper (-9.5%) 80% 80%
- Glass Containers (-3.4%) 30% 30%
- Total Other Paper Nondurable Goods (-1.9%) 20% 20%
- Steel Containers (-0.9%) 10% 10%
- Aluminum Containers (-0.4%) 2% 2%
- Other Paper & Paperboard Packaging (-0.3%) 1% 1%
- Aluminum Foil, Closures, etc. (0.1%) 1% 1%
- HDPE Natural Bottles (0.2%) 2% 2%
- Other Plastic Containers (0.6%) 5% 5%
- Plastic Bags, Sacks, & Wraps (1.7%) 12% 12%
- PET Bottles & Jars (2.7%) 22% 22%
- Other Plastic Packaging (2.7%) 22% 22%
- Corrugated Containers (8.4%) 40% 40%
Our 2015 – 2016 Research Program
Test the potential of currently available MRF sorting technologies, particularly separation screens and optical sorters, to improve separation of flexible plastic packaging in the existing post-consumer municipal solid waste stream.
Help shape the recovery system of the future through development of new technologies for plastics recovery facilities (PRFs) to ensure the mechanical recycling of resins that have markets.