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Plastics Packagers Step Up Recycling Efforts

pwpThe packaging industry is increasing its efforts to deliver sustainable plastic bottles and packaging to food and drink manufacturers and retailers, and in some cases, offering recycling services to turn plastic waste into sustainable materials.

As an example, food packaging company PWP Industries has announced plans to open a second recycling facility that is projected to have an annual capacity to recycle 40 million pounds of post-consumer polyethylene terephthalate, or PETE, bottles. With an initial investment of approximately $20 million, the new facility, to be located in California, is expected to be operational in the second quarter of 2010.

A second phase, projected to be operational during the second quarter of 2011, will increase annual capacity to 80 million pounds of PETE bottles. PWP estimates, based on the annual capacity to recycle 80 pounds of PETE bottles, the new recycling plant will eliminate 60,000 tons of carbon dioxide, reduce 296,000 cubic yards of landfill and save 780 million kilowatt hours of energy.

Last month, PWP opened an 80,000-square-foot in-house post-consumer recycling center in Davisville, West Virginia. The company said the facility is one of the first in North America by a thermoforming company.  For the second planned center, PWP will work with Coca-Cola Recycling LLC of Atlanta to convert PETE bottles into Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-compliant resin for food-grade suitable material.

In 2008, the food packager introduced AgroResin, a sustainable packaging line of products.

Bottled water company Native Waters, LLC, based in Fall River, Mass., is introducing Native Water, a sustainable bottled water in environmentally friendly packaging. Locally sourced and packaged in biodegradable bottles, Native Water is also 100 percent natural and organic, according to the company.

Native Water is bottled in ENSO biodegradable PET plastic bottles, which are produced with Ecopure, an additive that allows the bottles to be metabolized and neutralized on a microbial level to break down the plastic, said the company. ENSO bottles maintain the same physical properties and strengths as existing PET plastic bottles while providing a more shelf stable solution than starch-based PLA materials and oxo-degradable plastics, said the company.

The bottles are biodegradable in both landfill and compost environments and can also be mixed with standard PET plastic recycling.

Challenging the plastics industry, government and consumers to step up their recycling efforts and to stop sending plastic to landfill, the European plastics industry recently launched “The Plastics 2020 Challenge” program and associated Web site, reports Recycling Today Magazine.

The European plastics industry is pledging several commitments based on the four R’s — reduce, reuse, recycle and recover — including the commitment to double the recycling rate of plastic packaging by the year 2020, according to the article.

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