Recycline Inc.'s pilot program to create a collection stream for post-consumer polypropylene is gaining traction, with more retailers looking at bringing the Gimme 5 system to their stores.
The Waltham, Mass.-based company uses PP for its range of health and housewares consumer products sold under the Preserve brand. Its entire product line from its first product, a toothbrush, to its newest line of Everyday textured plates, bowls and glasses is made with 100 percent recycled plastics.
Since most community recycling programs do not collect PP, Recycline launched Gimme 5 in 2009 with partners Stonyfield Farm and Organic Valley, both of which make organic yogurt and other dairy products, said Chief Operating Officer Ben Anderson.
Gimme 5, named for PP's identification number on consumer products, hopes to fill the gap in recycling until PP begins making it into more curbside programs, he said in an interview at the International Home + Housewares Show, held March 14-16 in Chicago. The project began with collection sites for washed post-consumer PP at 36 Whole Foods Market stores in 13 states and is now at 90 percent of Whole Foods' more than 250 stores nationwide, Anderson said. Recycline is in talks with other markets that want to add Gimme 5.
It's a great way for them to get people to come into the store, Anderson said. People come to drop off their yogurt cups or hummus containers, then do their shopping.
So stores generate more traffic, while also adding to their environmental credentials. At the same time, Recycline boosts its access to post-consumer PP.
Currently the firm uses most of the plastic collected through the program, but some is sold through other channels, he said.
The company is not alone in seeking additional avenues for post-consumer recycled content.
Pacific Market International, the Seattle company that makes the Aladdin brand of mugs, glasses and other containers, provides consumers with links to sites that collect PP and also accepts its own PP products back for recycling for its eCycle line of products made with all recycled PP.
We've really expanded in the last two years since we introduced eCycle, said PMI senior marketing manager JoAnne Anderson. We're taking it into the food-storage area now beyond where we started with just mugs, and taking it to the next level.
The company's Sustain lunch set featuring a variety of sizes of plastic containers introduced at this year's housewares show marks PMI's first use of injection molding for its recycled PP blend. Earlier programs focused on blow molded materials, using resin that contained at least 25 percent post-consumer recycled content.
Beyond the kitchen, Swedish appliance maker Electrolux AB recently launched the Ergospace Green, a canister vacuum made using 55 percent recycled plastic. MBA Polymers Inc. of Richmond, Calif., provides resin collected from automotive shredder residue the non-metallic scrap left after a car is junked.
The next generation of Ergospace also using post-consumer resin from cars will come out in June. The company has two other concept products in hand that potentially could use the post-consumer auto resin, said Joseph Riley, national account trade marketing manager for the Stockholm-based company's U.S. office in Bloomington, Ill.
There are no precise plans for either the air cleaner or stick-style vacuum, although it shows that Electrolux is serious about using the recycled resin in more products in the future, he said.
In the yard and garden area, Mountain Valley Recycling LLC of Purdys, N.Y., is creating a recycled-resin stream by collecting discarded plastic products from major retailers. Sister company NextLife of Boca Raton, Fla., came up with a rain-water collection system – molded by Cascade Engineering Inc., of Grand Rapids, Mich. which uses 40 percent recycled content from Mountain Valley's sources.
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