Web tool helps grocers recycle rigid plastics

Mike Verespej

Published: October 3, 2012 6:00 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Materials, Suppliers, Sustainability, Packaging, Recycling

WASHINGTON (Oct. 3, 11:55 a.m. ET) — New online tools designed to help grocery stores recycle more of the large bulky rigid plastic containers used in the backrooms of their deli, bakery and seafood departments are now available on a new website created by the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers.

“Many grocery chains have excellent recycling programs already in place,” said Steve Alexander, executive director of APR. “Our new program makes it easy for grocers to ... strengthen their sustainability efforts by recycling more of the plastics they use every day.”

The free online tools include a how-to-guide, worksheets to evaluate potential cost savings and revenue, three educational videos, technical assistance, and training materials that can be customized. There are available at www.recyclegroceryplastics.org

Two successful six-month pilot programs — the second one completed in April — have the industry optimistic that it can capture more of that material, which is estimated to be 354 million pounds annually just among medium and large supermarket chains.

The Recycle Grocery Rigid Plastics initiative — partially funded by the plastics division of the American Chemistry Council — could become yet another way to collect polypropylene and high density polyethylene, and provide more material to recyclers scrambling to meet the increasing demand for recycled resins.

Because many stores already have programs that recycle cardboard and plastic film, expanding those programs to also include plastic containers could be a logical extension, said APR, whose members have more than 90 percent of the post-consumer plastic processing capacity in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

The project will be unveiled Oct. 4 at the Sustainability Summit in Washington, put on jointly by the Food Marketing Institute and the Grocery Manufacturers Association.

The pilot programs in the Northeast — done at some of the stores of the Stop & Shop Supermarket and Hannaford Supermarkets grocery chains — collected items such as rectangular fish containers, large pharmaceutical stock bottles used to fill individual prescriptions, floral bins and containers, large frosting pails, oyster buckets, salad bar containers, and butter cream and doughnut glaze buckets that are used behind the scenes in grocery stores.

The pilot programs found that the grocery chains both saved disposal costs and were able to sell the material that was collected. In addition, it found that stacking containers by size also sorted them by resin type.

About half the containers are PP and about half are HDPE.

Both chains are exploring implementation of full-scale programs to collect plastic containers at all of their locations, said APR.

“Recycling plastic containers clearly plays a role in our zero waste strategy,” said Christine Gallagher, manager of corporate responsibility for Ahold USA, which owns Stop & Shop. “Throwing away recyclables is like throwing away money. Waste diversion programs like this can generate cost savings by reducing trash volume. Our stores end up paying less to have their trash removed because there is less to throw away.”

“Hannaford has a long tradition of stewardship,” said George Parmenter, manager of sustainability for Hannaford Supermarkets. “Recycling rigid plastic containers is an important part of Hannaford’s efforts to move toward zero waste and to reduce our carbon footprint, This work hits that sustainability sweet spot, where what’s good for business meets what’s good for the planet.”

In addition, FMI and GMA are eager “to engage grocers to do this on a large scale over the next two to three years,” said Ted Brown, owner and partner in Portland, Maine-based Brown Sustainability Solutions Inc., when he discussed the pilot programs that he managed for APR earlier this year. “There is a lot of material, and grocers are interested in the potential opportunity to aggressively collect it.”

Brown said 20 items represent 80 percent of the materials.

The three educational videos can be accessed at these links.

Grocery Recycling Makes Sense: youtu.be/RdmCDagWs4M

Grocery Recycling Made Easy: youtu.be/wDvePjEmZYo

Grocery Recycling – Completing the Cycle: youtu.be/mb2E0BVjex8.


Comments

Web tool helps grocers recycle rigid plastics

Mike Verespej

Published: October 3, 2012 6:00 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Coca-Cola closing its recycling division

October 30, 2014 3:50 pm ET

Beverage giant says it wants to work with suppliers    More

Image

Unique Tool adding equipment, jobs

October 30, 2014 1:52 pm ET

Mold maker Unique Tool & Gauge Inc., is planning to invest more than $3.5 million dollars in new equipment for its Windsor, Ontario, facility.    More

Image

PP prices rise, solid PS, PET drop

October 30, 2014 1:15 pm ET

North American polypropylene resin prices surged again in October, while regional prices for solid polystyrene and PET bottle resin continued their...    More

Image

Italian compounder opening first US plant

October 30, 2014 9:45 am ET

The song of the South has led Italian compounder So.F.Ter Group to open its first plant in the United States in Lebanon, Tenn.    More

Image

Ineos closing Barex plant, exiting business

October 29, 2014 3:58 pm ET

Materials maker Ineos Group is closing its only global Barex-brand polyacrylonitrile (PAN) resin plant in Lima, Ohio. Ineos – based in Rolle, Sw...    More

Market Reports

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Plastics in Mexico - State of the Industry Report

This report analyzes the $20 million dollar plastics industry in Mexico including sales of machinery & equipment, resins and finished products.

Our analysts provide insight on business trends, foreign investment, top end markets and plastics processing activity. The report also provides important data on exports, production, employment and value of plastics products manufactured.

Learn more

Plastics Caps & Closures Market Report

The annual recap of top trends and future outlook for the plastics caps & closures market features interviews with industry thought leaders and Bill Wood’s economic forecast of trends in growing end markets. You will also gain insight on trends in caps design, materials, machinery, molds & tooling and reviews of mergers & acquisitions.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

October 27, 2015 - October 29, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - New York - 2015

More Events