The Hefty Energy Bag program collects about 550 to 650 Energy Bags each week, and has collected 6,300 bags to date, Han Zhang, sustainability and advocacy manager at the packaging & specialty plastics unit of Dow Chemical, told Plastics News.
The program is a collaborative effort between Dow, Reynolds Consumer Products, Recyclebank, First Star Recycling, ConAgra Foods and Systech Environmental.
The program targets plastics that are not typically recycled such as juice pouches, cereal box liners, chip bags, foam cups, plastic meat and cheese packaging, plastic serving ware, straws and stirrers. Consumers place these and other plastics into orange Hefty Energy Bag before putting the bags in their recycling bins for collection.
Plastics collected through the program are sorted at a local recycling facility and converted into energy used in cement production.
In addition to households, companies can participate in the Hefty Energy Bag program: ConAgra Foods, a program sponsor, collects energy bags at its campus in Omaha.
Dow was also involved in a similar energy bag pilot program in Citrus Heights, California in 2015. The three-month program diverted about 6,000 pounds of typically non-recycled items from landfills. Agilyx converted these plastics into synthetic crude oil.
Using the Hefty Energy Bag can help corporations achieve their zero waste goals, Zhang told Plastics News.
“They see this as a great way to reduce their waste and engage employees,” he said. “We want to expand the program to additional cities using an implementation pattern that can be replicated broadly. As a company, we have limited capability to implement this program using our own staff. So we are seeking other companies and other organizations to lead the implementation of the program in new cities, building upon the foundation of experience in Omaha and Citrus Heights.”