Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) and the American Chemistry Council’s (ACC) Flexible Film Recycling Group (FFRG) have partnered up to increase opportunities for residents and businesses to recycle flexible film packaging.
“Recapturing and recycling more plastic bags and flexible film packaging material will reduce solid waste disposal costs, reduce the contamination of other materials contained in single-stream recycling bins, and create jobs right here in Connecticut,” said DEEP Commissioner Robert Klee. “This strategy is also one of many action-oriented steps we can take to meet the goal outlined in our draft Comprehensive Materials Management Strategy of increasing the state’s diversion rate to 60% by 2024.”
“We are very pleased Connecticut has become a partner of our Wrap Action Recycling Program (WRAP),” said Shari Jackson, director of the FFRG. “WRAP will provide tools and best practices to support DEEP’s community outreach and education efforts to increase the recycling of plastic film.”
A major focus of the new partnership will be to increase voluntary participation in the recycling of plastic bags, wraps and other film packaging at supermarkets, grocery stores and other retail locations.
“Cleaning up our single stream recycling and making our recyclables more marketable is a very high priority,” said Commissioner Klee. “Plastic bags and other film packaging are recyclable and have real value – just not in our curbside bins. Residents should bring plastic bags and other polyethylene (PE) film material to participating retailers, such as grocery stores, which have established collection programs to maintain the quality of film for recycling. Our partnership with ACC’s WRAP program will strengthen that recycling network and make more people aware of it.”
Connecticut follows Wisconsin and North Carolina in becoming the third state partner of WRAP.
Successful WRAP initiatives can be seen in the states of Washington and Wisconsin, which have demonstrated that greater awareness of store drop-off programs helps reduce film contamination in curbside bins and at local materials recovery facilities (MRFs).
In Vancouver, Wash., the WRAP campaign helped to more than double collection of plastic film packaging through return-to-retail recycling programs, according to a new case study conducted with the City of Vancouver’s Environmental Resources Division. The study also found a 75 percent decrease in plastic bag contamination at a local MRF.