The Dow Chemical Company has teamed up with national non-profit Keep America Beautiful to award two $50,000 grants for organizations to establish Hefty® EnergyBag™ program in their communities. The program was founded in an attempt to divert traditionally non-recycled plastics—like chip bags and juice pouches— from landfills and converting the materials into energy sources.
The grant application is open to municipalities, non-profits, materials recovery facilities, and other qualifying organizations through September 1, 2017. Dow will provide grant recipients with the blueprint to develop a successful Hefty EnergyBag program and will facilitate planning and implementation. Recipients will ultimately manage the programs and solicit involvement of key community stakeholders.
“The Hefty EnergyBag program demonstrates Dow’s commitment to advancing a circular economy, a pillar of our 2025 Sustainability Goals,” said Neil Hawkins, Chief Sustainability Officer for Dow. “In partnership with Keep America Beautiful, these grants will enable the growth of this important initiative and show the power of a collaborative blueprint for reducing landfill waste and waste released to the environment, two critical global priorities.”
“At Keep America Beautiful, we look for innovative ways to promote and improve recycling and other approaches to divert waste from landfills,” says Brenda Pulley, Senior Vice President of Recycling for Keep America Beautiful. “The Hefty EnergyBag program provides a convenient way to collect plastic materials that would otherwise end up in the landfill and offers a platform to promote positive behaviors to prevent this material from being wasted.”
The grant program builds on Dow’s long-standing relationship with Keep America Beautiful and will be funded through the company’s Global Citizenship Impact Fund. The fund provides financial resources for business-aligned global citizenship initiatives focused on three key impact areas: access to clean drinking water, packaging to prevent food waste, and post-consumer waste management.
“The Hefty EnergyBag program is a true proof point for our efforts to redefine the role of business in society,” says Diego Donoso, Business President for Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics. “By sharing knowledge and resources with communities, we are enabling grant recipients to develop sustainable Hefty EnergyBag programs in their backyards—a crucial step as we look to scale the initiative across the country.”
The first full-scale Hefty EnergyBag program was launched in Omaha in September 2016 and has since expanded from 6,000 to 8,500 households. As of June 2017, the Omaha program has collected more than 13,000 bags of previously non-recycled plastics, diverting more than six tons of waste previously destined for landfills.
The Omaha program is based on the success of a 2014 Energy Bag Pilot in Citrus Heights, Calif. and is a collaborative effort between Dow, Reynolds Consumer Products, Recyclebank, First Star Recycling, Conagra Brands, and Systech Environmental Corporation.x