The Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources and two national business groups have announced a first-of a-kind, state-led partnership to expand film recycling.

The Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources and two national business groups have announced a first-of a-kind, state-led partnership to expand film recycling. The partners—including the American Chemistry Council’s (ACC) Flexible Film Recycling Group, and GreenBlue’s Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC) agreed last month to develop and implement a three-part program this year to significantly increase the recycling of post-consumer plastic bags, wraps, and other film packaging throughout Wisconsin.

The program will create new opportunities for small- to mid-sized businesses to recycle commercial film (pallet wrap and packaging), raise consumer awareness and participation in film recycling, and encourage businesses to use the SPC’s How2Recycle “Store Drop-off” bag/film recycling label on plastic bags and other polyethylene film packaging. The new educational label is intended to help consumers easily identify which plastic film packaging is suitable for recycling at participating stores.

“This new partnership builds on significant gains in plastic film recycling in recent years and demonstrates Wisconsin’s leadership,” says Steve Russell, ACC’s v.p. of plastics. “We look forward to expanding recycling success in Wisconsin and creating a model that other states will want to follow.” A study from Wisconsin’s Dept. of Natural Resources estimates that $64 million worth of recyclable plastics is landfilled annually in the state.

The project is expected to launch this spring and will focus on expanding collection options for small to mid-sized businesses, which collectively generate the largest volume of film waste, by establishing a network of recycling service providers. At the end of the project, a report will present the results as well as recommendations for maintaining and expanding flexible film recycling in Wisconsin.