The Materials Recovery for the Future (MRFF) research program has unveiled plans to collaborate with a US material recovery facility (MRF) and the community it serves for a flexible packaging recycling pilot.
MRFF is providing technical support and financial stewardship for upgrading the US MRF that takes part in the pilot.
The research program is seeking a partner facility for the pilot, which will process about 20 tons per hour and meets other essential criteria.
RRS developed an economic feasibility model to add flexible packaging to a MRF’s sorting capabilities, helping to take collective decision for pilot partnership.
The model offers customized outputs, which enables to evaluate the costs and benefits related with adding flexible packaging to single-stream recycling systems in a pro forma format.
At present, the flexible packaging includes MRF infeed from curbside collection, which involves shipping of material to a landfill rather than recovering it for energy production or remanufacture.
Depending on the availability of local end markets and quality of sortation, the MRF flexible packaging pro forma will be changed by location.
RRS is carrying out advanced optical sorter testing with equipment manufacturers to further improve the value proposition for different factors.
It is also conducting commodity end-use market assessment to describe product bale specifications for the Association of Plastic Recyclers.
MRFF project members include The Dow Chemical Company, The Dow Chemical Company, LyondellBasell Industries, Nestlé Purina PetCare and Nestlé USA, PepsiCo, Plum Organics, Procter & Gamble and SC Johnson,
It also includes Sealed Air, and Target as well as the Association of Plastics Recyclers, Flexible Packaging Association, The Plastics Industry Association, and the American Chemistry Council.
MRFF project director and RRS vice president Susan Graff said: “Flexible packaging is often disposed of as a contaminant of paper products. MRFs were not originally designed to sort this light weight format into a high quality product.”