Helping Our Planet With flexible packaging recycling

As travel junkies and nature lovers, we’re fortunate to have experienced so much beauty on this planet. Unfortunately, we’ve also seen many streets, beaches & parks littered with trash. While the US is far more advanced in terms of solid waste and recovery systems than many other countries, we still have a lot of room for improvement. Recycling is one of the easiest things we can do as individuals to have a positive impact on the environment. It saves energy, conserves raw materials, and reduces landfill space.

Historically, only cardboard, paper products, metal, steel, aluminum cans, and rigid plastic containers were recycled. However, the Materials Recovery for the Future (MRFF) has worked to pave the way for a new type of recycling. Because flexible plastic packaging (FPP) is the most popular type of packaging in the United States, the American Chemistry Council launched MRFF to determine how it could be recycled, recovered, and kept out of landfills. Flexible packaging is any package or part of a package whose shape can readily be changed when filled or during use. Flexible packaging is produced from paper, plastic, film, aluminum foil, or any combination of those materials, and includes bags, pouches, liners, wraps, roll-stock, and other flexible products. Learn more about flexible packaging here.

Plastic bags, wraps, and films can’t be recycled in your curbside recycling bins, however they can be recycled through the in-store drop-off program called “WRAP” (Wrap Recycling Action Program), which is available at more than 18,000 major grocery and retail stores. Find your local recycling location here.

The How2Recycle label provide consumers with instructions on which flexible packaging components can be recycled and how. Most plastic bags, like grocery bags, produce bags, bread bags, zipper sandwich bags, and some cereal bags, as well as most stretchy plastic wraps, like the wrap around multi-packs of drink bottles, toilet paper, or diapers can be recycled through store drop-off. Plastic pouches and air pillows that carry the How2Recycle label can be recycled this way as well.

After they’re collected at a store drop-off location, your bags, wraps, and films might get recycled into synthetic lumber for decking or park benches or they might be recycled directly into another bag. 

About 50% of flexible plastic packaging are easily recyclable through in-store drop-off programs, while the other half can be chemically recycled or used as energy feed-stock. In order to maximize value recovery and minimize environmental impact at the point of package disposal, it requires a conscious choice by the consumer. It is the Flexible Packaging Association’s mission to educate consumers on what flexible packaging can be recycled and locate local recycling locations for the different types of flexible packaging.

Please visit Perfect Packaging to learn more!

This post in collaboration with Perfect Packaging. All opinions are my own.

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