While Myplas will ultimately recycle film in Rogers, the project could not have been possible without the work and financial support of several companies and the overall direction of MBOLD, the consortium that's an arm of the Minneapolis St. Paul Regional Economic Development Partnership. MBOLD's members include companies, researchers and nonprofit groups.
"I think it's really going to be a game-changer in our region for getting more companies and institutions to recycle their film, to do so close to home," MBOLD Managing Director JoAnne Berkenkamp said.
So little film is being recycled these days — about 5 percent of what is manufactured — that she said there needs to be an effort beyond the recyclers to make a bigger difference.
"We know it really takes a whole ecosystem," Berkenkamp said. "It really takes people pulling together in a coordinated fashion. We can't expect the recyclers and the converters to do this alone. So it really takes an united strategy, people coming together around a shared vision.
"If you are a brand, I just got to say, if you want circularity to happen, you need skin in the game. It takes partnership. It takes investment. It takes providing secure supply and demand to make this kind of model work," she said.
Members of MBOLD have operations across the United States, so Berkenkamp sees the potential for those same companies to help replicate the Minnesota model elsewhere. "Our hope is that what we're doing in Minnesota and the Upper Midwest becomes the normal across the United States," she said.
"We need the existing players on the recycling side to grow and thrive and expand and serve new markets. We need new entrants on the recycling side that can do that very sophisticated film recycling and also produce film resin for food-grade applications," she added.
Charter Next Generation is not only investing in the project but also will use recycled resin made by Myplas to make new film products.
When the project was first announced, consumer products companies General Mills Inc. and Schwan's Co. were announced as lead investors along with Charter Next Generation by providing $9.2 million for the project. Target Corp. and Ecolab also were announced as supporting investors, MBOLD said at the time. The Alliance to End Plastic Waste and Closed Loop Partners, two efforts that help support plastic recycling, provided debt financing.
MBOLD also just announced new participants in the flexible film recycling project: Allina Health, Andersen Corp., Bedford Industries, Dem-Con Cos., GreenForest Recycling Resources, HealthPartners, Hormel Foods, Kraft Heinz Co., Kraus-Anderson, Land O'Lakes Inc., Metropolitan Airports Commission, Midwest Marina Association, Marvin, McGough, Minnesota Grocers Association, M.A. Mortenson Co., Post Consumer Brands and Uponor.