The pilot, in the Borough of Pottstown, will demonstrate the technical and economic feasibility of recycling household FPP from municipal residential single-stream recycling programs. FPP – which includes films, wraps, bags and pouches – is not widely recycled today. As it becomes a larger part of the packaging waste stream, the need for scalable recycling collection strategies is critical to its sustainability.
The industry-sponsored program selected local waste company J. P. Mascaro & Sons to run the curbside recycling.
"An obvious benefit of this pilot is the enhancement of our ongoing waste recycling and reuse efforts, and it will further improve the sustainability of the waste service system that we have developed over the years at J. P. Mascaro & Sons," said Company President, Pat Mascaro.
Alongside Amcor, MRFF members include The Procter & Gamble Company, Target, The Dow Chemical Company, PepsiCo, Nestlé USA, Nestlé Purina PetCare, Amcor, The Walmart Foundation, KraftHeinz, and the American Chemistry Council, and many others.
“By partnering with J.P. Mascaro and Sons, we’re creating a ‘living lab’ for flexible packaging recovery. Resident participation is the next step in our research journey as we discover the best ways to fully integrate flexible plastic packaging into the recycling system," said Steve Sikra, director of sustainability for Procter & Gamble.
According to Resource Recycling Systems (RRS) the recycling system consultancy that conducts the MRFF research program, 12 billion pounds of FPP material is introduced into the market for consumer use every year, and it is the fastest growing form of packaging.
“People want to be able to recycle flexible packaging, and today that becomes possible for residents in Pottstown. The impact of this program is far larger than one community – the results will inform advances in recycling systems across the country. Amcor was the first packaging company to pledge to develop all our packaging to be recyclable or reusable by 2025, and this project will help that happen in practice,” said Fabio Peyer, sustainability director and Amcor’s representative to the MRFF Program.
The pilot will generate important data to show interested municipalities in the U.S. that FPP recycling is possible and economical, and that there is a market for the rFlex end-product.
"By recycling clean, dry, and empty flexible packaging, Pottstown residents will help demonstrate a model of how a wider variety of packaging can be recycled into high-quality products,” said Susan Graff, vice president of Global Corporate Sustainability for RRS.