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May 29, 2018

Hefty Energy Bags Could be the Answer for Hard-to-Recycle Plastics

Last year, Hefty teamed up with Dow Chemical to capture hard to recycle plastics to convert them into a synthetic fuel oil.  These hard to recycle plastics include chip bags, bread wrappers, and juice pouches, just to name a few.

Consumers use the orange Hefty Energy Bags to place these plastics in recycling so they can be separated and properly recycled.  So far, the program is only in Omaha, Nebraska, but Hefty and Keep America Beautiful are looking to expand, and offering a hefty grant to anyone willing to participate.  

“By collaborating with organizations and communities nationwide, we are increasing plastics recovery, reducing the amount of waste going into landfills and advancing the vision of a circular economy,” said Jon Pyper, associate director of sustainability and advocacy at Dow, in a statement.

Grants of $50,000 were issued last year to Cobb County, Georgia and Boise, Idaho to establish the Hefty Energy Bag recycling programs in their communities.  This year, Keep America Beautiful and Dow Chemical are looking to grant $100,000 to two more communities.

“The program is running very well and we’re also expanding the program,” says Han Zhang, sustainability and advocacy manager at the packaging & specialty plastics unit of Dow Chemical Co. “The program itself, we started to receive good-quality material. We have conducted three audits. We see very little contamination in those Energy Bags, and most of the items collected are exactly what we want put in those Energy Bags,”

“Our long-term interest is to continue to serve as a catalyst and to champion the establishment of Energy Bag programs that will be able to operate in a sustainable fashion independently,” Zhang said.

“It is our vision that all plastic will have a proper end of cycle and there’s no plastic packaging ending up in the natural environment,” he said.

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