WM, Dow partner on program for residential recycling of plastic films
Houston-based WM and Midland, Michigan-based Dow Inc. are launching a collaboration they say will improve residential recycling of plastic film by allowing consumers in select markets to recycle those materials curbside.
The initiative has kicked off with a pilot program in the Chicago-area community of Hickory Hills, Illinois, which the companies say reaches approximately 3,500 households, with more cities to follow across the country. Consumers in the program’s pilot cities will be able to recycle film plastics, such as bread bags, cling wrap and dry-cleaning bags, directly in their curbside recycling.
According to research conducted by The Recycling Partnership, Washington, only 1.9 percent of U.S. households currently have access to curbside plastic film recycling, which is the plastic material with the lowest overall recycling rate. Once operating at full capacity, WM says it expects the new program will help it divert more than 120,000 metric tons of plastics film per year from landfills.
“By providing residential customers with a simple, curbside option for recycling plastic films, we will not only help our customers more easily manage their used plastic film products but also meet the rising demand for recycled-content products,” WM President and CEO Jim Fish says. “We recognize that to continue to meet and exceed our sustainability goals, we need to continue to expand our circularity solutions. We see tremendous untapped potential to recycle and reuse plastic film, which many of our residential customers struggle to properly dispose.”
WM says it expects to invest more than $800 million through 2025 to improve and enhance recycling infrastructure, including specialized technology that will allow the company to sort plastic films. WM will lead the collection and processing for the film recycling pilots and continue to identify film recycling opportunities across the U.S.
By 2025, WM says it expects its film recycling to reach 8 percent of U.S. households.
Dow says it is supporting the initiative by incorporating recycled content into its product solutions, in line with its updated Transform the Waste sustainability commitment to deliver 3 million metric tons of circular and renewable solutions by 2030. Dow says it is working to increase recovery rates and drive toward a circular ecosystem for hard-to-recycle plastics through its material science expertise, offtakes, cart donations, technology and circular investments.
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