After experiencing success with a pilot recycling project in El Paso, Texas, D6 Inc. has decided to take it further.
The project is adding additional drop-off locations in Texas and Arkansas and collecting more types of packaging.
The pilot recycling project, which started a year ago in El Paso, focused on two recycling streams: PET bottles and thermoforms. Consumers could take the containers to some Sam's Club locations to redeem a 10-cent-per-container incentive.
"Well, El Paso expanded so quickly, and we caught so much traction, we thought we needed more streams. It was immediate and very apparent that people wanted to do more," said Edward Dominion, CEO and founder of D6, a Sulphur Springs, Texas-based thermoformer.
The new drop-off units are self-serviced and run on solar power. They accept recycling streams of aluminum packaging, clear plastic containers, home cleaning and beauty product bottles, paper boxes, plastic bags and films, plastic bottles, pet food packaging and rigid food packaging.
"A lot of the data that we're seeing is incredibly positive; literally within the first 15 minutes, we had our first drop-off," Dominion said. "There's a demand; consumers want to know that things are being upcycled."
Once collected, D6 will bring those materials back to a baling station. The materials are sorted, and the PET is cleaned and undergoes a liquid state polycondensation process before being extruded into sheet. Other materials are sold.
D6 is working with companies and brands including Pringles, General Mills, Purina and some other health and beauty companies.
The first collection from El Paso will be in production within the next 30 days.
"D6 is building the containers, processing the material and putting it back to show an auditable closed loop, which is where we need to go — transparency auditability and traceability. So, we're very excited to be a part of this," Dominion said.
The community recycling units work with the Replenysh phone app. Consumers scan a QR code on packages to unlock compartments, which helps D6 filter out dumping of unwanted materials.
Most of the marketing for the new project has been via word of mouth and social media. Walmart and Sam's Club are helping to inform their customers.
D6, Walmart and Sam's Club hope to launch 30 or more units this year.
PET thermoform recycling is a small but growing sector, amounting to 142 million pounds in 2021.