Working collaboratively to identify and scale recovery methods for film and flexible packaging
Film and flexible packaging materials are difficult to recycle with typical curbside recyclables. The lightweight, flexible properties that make these products so versatile for packaging creates operational challenges for Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs). They are difficult to separate from other recyclable commodities and can wrap around machinery at the MRF used to sort other commodities. In addition, there are few end markets for film and flexibles because they are complicated and expensive to reprocess into raw materials.
The Recycling Partnership’s Film & Flexibles Task Force launched in 2019 and due to the need for a focus on this material, expanded into the Film & Flexibles Recycling Coalition in 2020 with a three-part plan:
- Gather data on the impacts of available collection methods.
- Assess the most promising technological interventions and pilot new interventions.
- Implement national interventions to drive the recycling of films and flexibles.
Goal and Approach
We want to bring curbside recycling of films to more people in the U.S. by adding in flexibles as markets and technology mature. The Address the Challenge of Film and Flexible Packaging Data, which served as the basis for data in February 2021 showing how much of this packaging is generated and recycling in U.S. households.
The Film & Flexibles Coalition is seeking funding partners interested in tackling the substantive challenges associated with recovering post-consumer film and flexible packaging at a national scale. We intend to have a broad set of stakeholders, including manufacturers, brands, retailers, resin suppliers and recyclers, to advise the initiative and be part of the solution.