A first-of-its-kind program aimed at plastics not typically recycled was able to capture some 6,000 pounds of material.
The Energy Bag pilot program took place in Citrus Heights, Calif., last summer and used special purple bags for the curbside collection effort.
Nearly 8,000 Energy Bags were distributed through six collection cycles, according to Dow Chemical Co., a sponsor of the program along with waste and recycling hauler Republic Services Inc., the Flexible Packaging Association, Agilyx Corp. and Reynolds Consumer Products.
Results of the pilot program were released Feb. 17.
About 30 percent of the citizens participated in the pilot program, which gathered materials placed in the purple bags and sent them to Agilyx in Tigard, Ore., where they were processed into 512 gallons of synthetic crude oil through pyrolysis.
Items such as candy wrappers, juice pouches, pet food bags, frozen food bags, laundry pouches and plastic dinnerware were all part of the collection of plastics sent from California to Oregon.
“The pilot proved that resource recovery of non-recycled plastics is a viable municipal process,” said Jeff Wooster, global sustainability leader at Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics, in a statement. “Our collaborative efforts brought us one step closer to reducing plastic waste by converting it to energy.”
While Dow is touting the results of the program, the company also said more work is needed to validate this option.
While 30 percent of the population participated during the three-month pilot program last summer, Dow said 78 percent said they “would be likely to participate if given another chance.”