Trex Co. is changing the company's public-facing film recycling program in an effort to become more accessible to more participants.
The Winchester, Va.-based company said the NexTrex Plastic Film Recycling Challenge is being simplified with a more streamlined structure. That includes moving from a competitive approach to what the company is calling a self-initiated challenge.
Participants collecting at least 1,000 pounds of recycled plastic film during a 12-month period now can receive a composite bench from Trex's Outdoor Furniture Collection.
The new program combines and replaces a previous NexTrex film recycling program offered to schools as well as the company's community-based recycling program. This new approach, the company said, is geared toward smaller groups and organizations wanting to recycle plastic film.
Trex still offers the NexTrex Grassroots Movement, a program for universities and other organizations large enough to have their own baler, Trex said.
"With the NexTrex program, you not only know where your recycled plastic film is going but also how it will be used," said Emily Whitacre, recycling programs coordinator for Trex, in a statement. "With the help of thousands of community partners across the country, we are able to divert millions of pounds of plastic waste each year from ending up in landfills."
Trex uses an amalgamation of recycled PE film and industrial wood scrap to create the company's composite decking. Sources for the used PE film include retail shopping bags, sandwich bags, overwrap or cases, and newspaper bags.
"As a company founded on eco-friendly values, Trex is committed to educating and engaging the public in the responsible recycling of plastic film," Whitacre said in her statement. "Over the past 16 years, our partnerships with schools and community groups have become a primary channel for sourcing this key ingredient for our products.
"We want to make it as easy as possible for these likeminded organizations to be part of our upcycling process," she added.
Schools with grades kindergarten through 12 previously competed in the challenge for a chance to win cash prizes for top collection efforts during a five-month period between America Recycles Day on Nov. 15 and Earth Day on April 22. They could also win Trex outdoor furniture. The new program allows each participant to qualify for a bench if they reach the 1,000-pound mark during a 12-month period.
Organizations interested in participating in the program can register at NexTrex.com to gain access to the My Trex Portal. From there, they can determine their 12-month collection period, which can start at any point. After collecting a minimum of 1,000 pounds of film and reporting the total to the portal, the material can be delivered to a participating retailer.
Those taking part in the NexTrex challenge can receive up to three collection bins as well as posters explaining the program. Each bin will hold about 8-10 pounds of used film when full. It takes about 1,000 pounds to make a bale of recycled film.
Plastics News senior reporter Catherine Kavanaugh contributed to this story.