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Buy-back program announced for PLA bottles

NatureWorks LLC plans to institute a large-volume buy-back program in North America for post-consumer bottles made from its corn-based NatureWorks PLA in mixed plastic waste recycling streams.

Through the program, commercial municipal recycling facilities (MRFs) in different locations would separate bottles into bales. NatureWorks will buy the bales and route them to “an appropriate end-of-life solution and/or post-consumer use based on geography of collection and prevailing market economics,” said a company press release.

NatureWorks says PLA can now be sorted from other plastics using standard Near-Infrared (NIR) equipment. In the future, the company said “MRFs will sort PLA from curbside collection into a pure stream that can be mechanically or chemically recycled back to its monomer through hydrolysis. Third-party independent research verifies that NatureWorks PLA has minimal impact in the current recycling infrastructure for recycling PET and HDPE,” said the release.

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