The Foodservice Packaging Institute has formed the Plastics Recovery Group with the intent of making it “the catalyst to propel recovery of used plastic food-service packaging in North America.”
The Plastics Recovery Group is the second group FPI has recently formed to address recycling. Last year it formed the Paper Recovery Alliance to focus on recycling paper food-service packaging.
The initial 19 members of the plastics group include Cascades Inc., Command Packaging, Dart Container Corp., Dyne-A-Pak Inc., Fabri-Kal Corp., Genpack Corp., Havi Global Solutions, NatureWorks LLC, Pactiv Corp., Solo Cup Co., American Styrenics LLC and BASF SE.
“Today, many food-service packaging items are typically not being recovered after use because of limited infrastructure and end markets. In addition, no single company has enough influence to affect broad change alone,” said FPI President Lynn Dyer in the organization's June newsletter.
“To overcome these challenges, the food-service packaging industry and its value-chain partners have come together to create and develop potential solutions for the recovery and processing of used food-service packaging,” she said.
Dyer said in the newsletter that the two groups were formed by the Falls Church, Va., trade organization because its members “believed strongly that broad, voluntary recovery initiatives should be led and driven by the industry.”
“Together, we are looking forward to the time in which there is an established infrastructure in which consumers are separating the materials for alternate resource streams (like recycling or composting); materials are being collected; and end markets are readily accepting the materials,” she said.
FPI said it has engaged Resource Recycling Systems to help the plastics group:
* Analyze the current market and needed volumes of materials.
* Understand collection and recovery practices in the food-service industry and beyond.
* Map potential end markets and associated collection and processing requirements.
* Identify and prioritize short- and long-term initiatives to increase recovery.
* Roll out multimaterial, multibrand recovery initiatives in the U.S. and Canada.
* Develop packaging generation and material flow data for plastic food-service packaging.
“[The plastics group] is currently reviewing collection and processing opportunities that will allow cross supply-chain allies and partners to pursue a multifaceted approach to recovery, using all potential landfill diversion options,” said FPI Vice President Natha Dempsey.
She said the group intends to support new pilot projects, test the economic viability of existing and future initiatives, and work closely with others focused on plastics and packaging recovery.
“Many of our members have already taken steps to launch company-specific recovery initiatives, but now is the time to develop sustainable, industry-led solutions across the entire value chain,” Dempsey said.
To boost the recovery and recycling of plastic food-service products, she said the plastics group will work to develop the necessary collection infrastructure, expand end-use markets for recovered materials, educate and engage consumers to increase recovery, and strive to develop collaboration with government officials.