A recent decision to discontinue operations at a plastics waste-to-oil site in Portland, Ore., is not impacting a pilot program aimed at hard-to-recycle plastics in California.
The Energy Bag program launched this summer in Citrus Heights, Calif., to capture plastics that are typically not recycled.
Segregated in a special purple bag distributed to residents, these plastics are being sent to Agilyx Corp.'s research and development facility in Tigard, Ore., according to Dow Chemical Co., one of the sponsors of the project.
Waste Management Inc.'s decision was to discontinue operations at a commercial scale Portland site owned by the waste company that used Agilyx technology.
“This will not affect our pilot as we are using their R&D facility,” a Dow spokeswoman said in an email.
Dow Chemical is partnering with Republic Services Inc. and the Flexible Packaging Association to determine the viability of the Energy Bag program in Citrus Heights during a summer-long pilot.
Republic Services, the nation's second largest waste management company, is diverting the purple bags containing plastics to Agilyx. The special bags are placed in the same single-stream recycling containers as other, more traditional recyclables. Containing them in a special bag helps workers separate those plastics to be sent along to Agilyx.
Marla Donahue, president of the FPA, recently traveled to California to witness the pilot program first-hand. She confirmed the program is continuing.
“Our stuff is going to the Agilyx-owned and operated unit,” Donahue said, “… so there's no impact on the Energy Bag.”
There's hope among organizers that the Energy Bag pilot program will prove to be successful in Citrus Heights and then spread to other communities.
Donahue said the impact of the decision to close the Portland site by Waste Management on the ability to grow the Energy Bag program is unclear at this point.
“Is this going to slow progress on the Energy Bag? I don't know. We'll see,” she said.
Agilyx has said it expects to have the next generation of its plastics-to-oil technology — generation six — in place by the fourth quarter of next year. Waste Management shuttered the Portland site that used generation five technology after indicating it learned what it needed to learn from the operation.
The new generation of technology will feature a continuous feed plastic processing system rather than a batch approach.