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Making a Difference for Polypropylene Recycling

Craig Cookson

Polypropylene (PP) is a widely-used food packaging material—think yogurt cups, coffee pods, butter and sour cream tubs, and some food service takeout containers—for which there is growing demand for recycled content. The challenge is to be able to collect and sort polypropylene packaging to create a high-quality stream of post-consumer material, and to do so at scale.

To help meet this challenge, ACC’s Plastics Division, along with Plastics Division members Braskem and LyondellBasell, proudly joined The Recycling Partnership in announcing a new coalition dedicated to increasing polypropylene recycling in the United States by expanding access to polypropylene recycling programs, improving sortation, and supporting development of domestic end markets. This new coalition is important because it integrates resources and expertise from entities throughout the polypropylene value chain who are committed to meeting this challenge.

Together, we aim to help recapture this valuable material that some estimates say could be as much as 1.6 billion pounds per year from single-family homes. Not only will we help divert this material from landfill, we will invest in MRF technologies to separate PP from the 3-7 bale, leading to more opportunities for PP to be recycled into new products.

The Polypropylene Recycling Coalition is just one of many programs working to improve domestic recycling that ACC is involved in. Another example is the Materials Recovery for the Future project, which last week announced that its research found that flexible plastic packaging could be collected and recycled using curbside recycling program and MRF sortation equipment. It’s through industry collaborations like these that will help resin producers meet our goal of recycling or recovering all plastic packaging by 2040.

About the author
American Chemistry Council

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) represents the leading companies engaged in the business of chemistry. ACC members apply the science of chemistry to make innovative products and services that make people's lives better, healthier and safer. ACC is committed to improved environmental, health and safety performance through Responsible Care®; common sense advocacy designed to address major public policy issues; and health and environmental research and product testing. The business of chemistry is a $486 billion enterprise and a key element of the nation's economy. It is among the largest exporters in the nation, accounting for ten percent of all U.S. goods exports. Chemistry companies are among the largest investors in research and development. Safety and security have always been primary concerns of ACC members, and they have intensified their efforts, working closely with government agencies to improve security and to defend against any threat to the nation’s critical infrastructure.

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