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Making a Difference for Polypropylene Recycling

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.

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