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Mecklenburg County, NC; Vancouver, WA; and Safeway/Albertsons Honored

WASHINGTON (November 15, 2016) – The American Chemistry Council’s Plastics Division (ACC) is pleased to announce that Mecklenburg County, North Carolina; the City of Vancouver, Washington; and Safeway/Albertsons have been selected to receive Innovation in Plastics Recycling Awards in 2016.

The awards recognize companies, nonprofits, and government bodies that successfully bring new technologies, products, and initiatives to communities and the marketplace that demonstrate significant innovations in plastics recycling. ACC announced the awards in recognition of America Recycles Day on November 15.

All three winners are partners of the Wrap Recycling Action Program (WRAP), a public-private partnership with the goal of increasing the volume of plastic wraps and bags (collectively known as “plastic film”) recycled, through public education and sharing tools and best practices.

“This year’s award recipients are doing invaluable work to help increase plastic film recycling in their communities,” said Shari Jackson, director of film recycling for ACC. “The honorees have taken leadership roles in educating their communities about plastic film recycling, and their work is inspiring to others to join this national movement.”

  • Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, launched its WRAP campaign in the fall of 2016 after a recent survey found that only half of county residents were aware that flexible plastic wraps and bags should be brought to grocery or retail stores instead of curbside to be recycled. Moreover, the survey found that few residents were aware of the many types of plastic wraps and bags that can be recycled. Mecklenburg’s campaign will run through the end of 2016, and North Carolina is looking to expand WRAP throughout the state in 2017.
  • Vancouver, Washington, along with its partners, Clark County, Washington, and Waste Connections, launched an educational campaign in 2015 when they observed that their residents were eager to recycle plastic bags and wraps but unsure of proper recycling methods for these materials. “Too frequently residents were putting these materials into curbside recycling carts where they created processing complications at the recycling processing center (or MRF) and became too degraded to actually be recycled,” said Rich McConaghy, environmental resources manager for the city of Vancouver. “Over the last year we were thrilled to have support from the ACC’s Wrap Recycling Action Program (WRAP) along with Trex and a dozen local Safeway stores to help us develop, promote and evaluate a strategy focused on ‘return to retail’ recycling for not just plastic bags but for a wide range of plastic wrap and film packaging products that go ‘beyond bags.’”
  • Safeway/Albertsons locations in the Vancouver, Washington, area served as the city’s retail partner for its WRAP campaign. Twelve locations posted educational signage about film recycling and encouraged their customers to bring back their plastic film for recycling. Safeway/Albertsons also participated in pre- and post-campaign film audits, which showed that during the campaign, the amount of film collected increased by 125 percent while contamination remained low. Thanks to this successful campaign, Safeway/Albertsons will continue to serve as a retail partner for the WRAP campaign as it expands into other locations in Washington and Oregon.

ACC’s Innovations in Plastics Recycling Awards contest is open to all U.S. companies, nonprofits, individuals, and government bodies (including schools) that collect or process plastics for recycling, promote plastics recycling through education and infrastructure, manufacture equipment used to collect or process plastics for recycling, or manufacture a new product made in whole or part from recycled plastic.

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