October 30, 2014
WASHINGTON—As part of its mission to pursue zero waste through education and recycling programs, SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association and partner, the National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR), today announced favorable results of a pilot grant program designed to increase and promote the recovery of PET (polyethylene terephthalate, #1) thermoforms.
SPI’s Rigid Plastic Packaging Group (RPPG), which managed the $100,000 grant program, said the three grantee organizations collectively recovered and sold more than 300 tons of PET thermoforms throughout the life of the two-year grant and achieved the program’s goal to create sustainable PET thermoform recycling models that could be replicated in other markets.
“The success of the pilot grant program demonstrates that there’s a growing, viable market for PET thermoforms, and that consumers are amenable to recycling these valuable resources,” said Dan Mohs, RPPG chairman and Placon Corp. CEO. “While SPI members are committed to pursuing zero waste on the factory floor, the cooperation of materials recovery facilities (MRFs), consumers and worldwide markets are necessary to drive successful recycling programs.”
RPPG said the pilot grant program contributed to the 25 percent increased PET thermoform recovery cited in NAPCOR’s report, “Postconsumer PET Container Recycling Activity in 2013.” PET thermoform material collected in the U.S. and Canada in 2013 totaled 60 million pounds compared to 47.8 million pounds in 2012, according to the report. Moreover, when the program was initiated in 2010 NAPCOR studies showed no recordable thermoform recycling.
Each grantee successfully collected, sorted and sold PET thermoforms to domestic markets through curbside or drop-off programs. All plan to continue these programs, and to potentially expand them over time.
The program grantees were:
The grant winners incorporated strong community outreach and education components, utilizing a variety of promotional vehicles to teach communities how to identify PET thermoforms, and how to include them in recycling bins or drop-off programs.
PET thermoformed packages are the fastest growing segment of the rigid plastic packaging market. These packages are defined as PET (resin identification code #1), other than bottles and jars, made from a PET sheet of .008 inch thickness or greater. They include, but are not exclusively limited to, clamshells, cups, trays, boxes and lids. It is estimated that by 2015, approximately 3 billion pounds of PET thermoforms will be introduced into the marketplace annually in the United States and Canada, making PET thermoformed packaging one of the largest potential contributors to the plastic recycling stream.
Grants were funded by SPI, with NAPCOR serving as grant manager; Placon, Plastic Ingenuity and Solo Cup provided additional funding. The grants were awarded in March 2012. A full report on the pilot can be found here. Read the executive summary here.
Founded in 1937, SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association promotes growth in the $427 billion U.S. plastics industry. Representing nearly one million American workers in the third largest U.S. manufacturing industry, SPI delivers legislative and regulatory advocacy, market research, industry promotion and the fostering of business relationships and zero waste strategies. SPI also owns and produces the international NPE trade show. All profits from NPE are reinvested into SPI’s industry services. Find SPI online at www.plasticsindustry.org and www.inthehopper.org.
"From resin suppliers and equipment makers to processors and brand owners, SPI is proud to represent all facets of the U.S. plastics industry," said William R. Carteaux, president and CEO, SPI. "Our most recent economic reports show that the plastics industry as a whole is resilient, and has come through the recession significantly better than other U.S. manufacturing sectors."