Republic Services has unveiled development plans for what Republic Services says is the nation’s first integrated plastics recycling facility, which will directly address growing demand from consumer brands and packaging makers for recycled plastic, enabling a greater circularity. The Republic Services Polymer Center will manage the flow of plastics through an integrated process from curbside collection of recycled materials to production and delivery of high-quality recycled content for consumer packaging.
“Packaged goods manufacturers have set ambitious goals to use more post-consumer content in their products, but the current supply of recycled plastics is insufficient. The Republic Services Polymer Center will help meet the growing demand for a reliable, high-quality supply of recycled materials. plastics, helping brands achieve their sustainability goals,” said Jon Vander Ark, President and CEO of Republic Services. “This is a critical step in solving the circularity challenge of plastics.”
In the United States, only about 30% of single-use plastic bottles and jugs are recycled. Even when these plastics are placed in the recycling bin, their life cycle is not always circular. Instead of being recycled into consumer packaging, these plastics are often recycled into products such as textiles or carpets, or for industrial purposes such as construction pipes, which have few options for further recycling.
Brands continue to make voluntary sustainability commitments to increase the use of recycled content in consumer packaging, while states like California and Washington require the use of recycled content in single-use plastic containers . Despite this growing demand, there is not enough high-quality recycled plastic for manufacturers to use in consumer packaging. The Polymer Center will help bridge the gap between curbside pickups and the needs of manufacturers, providing a reliable supply of domestically sourced recycled plastics for use in food-grade packaging and other consumer products.
Rigid plastics collected from residential and commercial customers and sorted at local recycling facilities will be delivered to Republic Services’ Polymer Center for processing, including shredding and hot washing or sorting by color. The facility is expected to produce over 100 million pounds per year of recycled plastic products, including 100% post-consumer PET flakes delivered to the food-grade market to enable bottle-to-bottle circularity. In addition, HDPE and PP packaging such as detergent canisters, which today are collected in multi-coloured bundles, can be separated by type of plastic and color, allowing, for example, recycling one orange canister into another. orange container.
The first Polymer Center, which will open in Las Vegas in 2023, will process plastics from Republic’s recycling facilities in the west, where legislation is driving increased demand for recycled content. Republic Services plans to open two to three additional centers to provide nationwide coverage and further foster circularity.