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New digital tools help educate on plastic wrap and bag recycling

The Flexible Film Recycling Group releases two new online tools for consumers, recycling coordinators, local and state governments, and businesses to help grow PE film recycling.

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The Flexible Film Recycling Group (FFRG) of the American Chemistry Council (ACC) has released two new online tools and an updated website designed to help grow the recycling of plastic wraps, bags, and other flexible polyethylene film packaging. These free tools provide resources to a wide range of audiences—including consumers, recycling coordinators, local and state governments, and businesses—about this material, collectively known as “film.” They aim to help these audiences learn more about what material can be recycled, how to properly recycle it, and how to grow plastic film recycling at a local level. Says the FFRG, more and better plastic film recycling can help improve the environment and support local recycling or waste diversion goals.

According to the FFRG, plastic film is one of the fastest growing areas of recycling, with collection increasing nearly 84% since just 2005. Plastic film can be recycled in the U.S. at more than 18,000 grocery and retail stores nationwide. Film typically cannot be collected curbside because it requires a separate collection stream from rigid plastics (e.g., bottles, cups, tubs, and other containers) and different processing equipment. Because many consumers are unclear about what film is recyclable and how to recycle it, the WRAP Recycling Action Program (WRAP) was created.

The Roadmap to WRAP tool is an interactive guide with step-by-step instructions to help recycling coordinators, and local and state governments implement plastic film recycling campaigns and programs. The Roadmap contains free educational materials such as downloadable posters, tip cards, and bookmarks to educate residents about plastic film recycling; a work plan, a plastic film recycling audit template, and checklists to help recycling coordinators organize and launch a campaign; and insights, tips, and examples from prior campaigns. These resources were designed to help support these campaigns and increase post-consumer and commercial film recycling.

To date, Milwaukee, WI, Vancouver, WA, Mecklenburg County and Onslow County, NC, and the State of Connecticut have launched WRAP recycling campaigns. WRAP campaigns are based on public-private partnerships that promote recycling of plastic wraps and bags, and a FFRG initiative.

The Value Chain Case Study tool provides a visual depiction of PE film recycling to demonstrate the value proposition for recycling this material to attract other stakeholders. It explains the steps in the PE film recycling process, from collection to end use, and profiles businesses that are leaders in plastic film recycling. The profiles recognize these businesses, such as grocers, retailers, recycling businesses, and brand companies for their leadership and serve as examples for other businesses interested in starting or growing plastic film recycling operations.

Both tools reside on the updated Plastic Film Recycling website, which contains information on post-consumer and commercial PE film recycling for consumers, businesses, and government entities.

“We are very excited about these new tools and their potential to help grow PE film recycling,” says Shari Jackson, Director of the FFRG. “Polyethylene film is a valuable material that should be recycled whenever possible. It can be turned into useful products such as composite lumber for backyard decks, fences, and benches, and new bags and packaging. These new tools will support the continued expansion of PE recycling by making it easier for consumers, communities, and businesses to participate.”

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