A ‘ground-breaking’ partnership in Minnesota has united leading global businesses and research institutions to boost the recycling of flexible film and packaging materials in the Upper Midwest.
The initiative is led by MBOLD, a coalition of stakeholders working together to accelerate solutions to the most pressing challenges facing the food and agriculture sectors. Following an US$ 9.2 million (EUR 8.7 million) investment from MBOLD members and other stakeholders, Myplas USA will establish a flexible film recycling plant in Rogers, Minnesota.
The new 160 000 square metre recycling hub is scheduled to begin operations in spring 2023 with a processing capacity of 45 000 tonnes per year. It will treat both low and high-density polyethylene packaging and film and create jobs for about 300 people.
MBOLD members include General Mills, Schwan’s Company, Target, Ecolab, Cargill, Land O’Lakes and the University of Minnesota. They are collaborating across the value chain with film recycler Myplas USA and film manufacturer Charter Next Generation.
Creative solutions needed
The US uses nearly seven million tonnes of flexible packaging and films annually, including shopping bags, pallet wrap, e-commerce mailers and hay bale wrap. However, a recent report points out that only an estimated 6% of flexible films are recycled. Compared with virgin plastics, studies show that use of recycled polyethylene resins offers significant life cycle benefits, including a 65% reduction in total energy used, a 59% reduction in water consumption and a 71% reduction in global warming potential.
‘We are excited to collaborate across industries to advance recycling innovation for flexible films used in product packaging and more,’ says Jeff Harmening, chairman and chief executive officer of General Mills and MBOLD co-chair. He stresses the importance of working together to find ‘creative solutions to shared challenges’.
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