As legislators introduce more EPR bills, an influx of attention is likely to be on closed-loop programs as a form of product end-of-life management.
Frequently associated with the idea of a circular economy, closed-loop programs function to reuse existing materials. “A circular economy is an industrial system that is restorative or regenerative by intention and design” World Economic Forum defines.
Green Matters breaks the idea down even more, “It’s helpful to think of literal loops or circles to understand the core concept. Instead of raw materials moving in a straight line from collection, through manufacturing, to purchase (and, once it’s broken or used up, the trash can), imagine a loop. The materials are always moving through this loop, never reaching an endpoint.”
It is not uncommon to see the phrase “closed-loop” in relation to the plastics industry, but this process is not unique to plastics. Fashion, electronics, and bottling are just a few industries that have established closed-loop programs to keep vital resources from entering the waste stream. Petoskey Plastics is already a proponent of closed-loop programs; ours helps us create sustainable products and concentrate on environmentally focused advancement.
We bring plastic film back into our in-house recycling facility for reuse by partnering with our customers. Controlling the conditions of the incoming film ensures the consistent quality of the post-consumer resin we use in production.
Plastic that would otherwise be land-filled is baled and sent to our Hartford City, Indiana, facility for systems to inspect for contaminants. After being screened, the bales make their way to a bale buster. The plastic is then sifted and fed to a grinder to make plastic flakes. The resulting flakes are washed to remove any paper, hard plastic, and aluminum. In the wash, contaminants will separate and sink, leaving behind the plastic. Next, the flakes are heated, dried, and melted. A laser filter then removes any final non-plastic remnants left. The pellets get sifted again to remove water and taken through quality checks.
The final result is the GreenPE recycled resin pellets used in Greencore® products and new products like our collation shrink film. The PCR pellets are certified by third party SCS Global Services to guarantee a genuine, sustainable product.Each year, the program recycles more than 30 million pounds of plastic. To see a visual of the closed-loop process, view our informative video.
We are very proud of our program and commitment to a sustainable future. We hope in the future that more individuals and businesses remember to “treat their products as resources, not disposable trash” as Green Matters says.
To learn more about our sustainability efforts, visit our website and stay on the lookout for future blog posts!