If you haven’t heard… Walmart announced new plastics recycling & waste reduction commitments, another wonderful step towards retail plastics waste reduction & sustainability … and another tremendous “opportunity” for the plastics supply chain to team up, collaborate, & innovate together.
That’s our specialization for 30 years at GearedforGreen. For those needing support with plastics recycling, certified PCR plastic raw materials, and plastics circular economy implementation to meet Walmart’s sustainability goal, GearedforGreen is equipped to support your needs.
How’s it going to work?
Walmart plans to leverage its massive private brand system, which uses an enormous network of suppliers, all of whom may need sustainability support to help implement and use recycled content plastic raw materials under the new Walmart goal.
Walmart announced it wants to use at least 20 percent post-consumer recycled content in all private brand packaging by 2025. The recycled content goal doesn’t single out just plastic, but separate source reduction goals are plastic specific.
THAT CAN BE A DAUNTING CHALLENGE FOR MANY BRANDS, MANUFACTURERS, AND PACKAGING SUPPLIERS… FINDING THE RIGHT LONG-TERM STRATEGIC RAW MATERIAL SUPPLIER IS IMPORTANT! MANUFACTURERS SHOULD KNOW, USING RECYCLED CONTENT PLASTIC RESINS ISN’T THE SAME AS RUNNING PRIME RESIN. AT GEAREDFORGREEN WE SUPPLY SUSTAINABLE RECYCLE GRADE PCR RESINS INCLUDING OUR PROPRIETARY “BULK SUSTAINABLE RAW MATERIAL SOURCING” PROGRAMS, AND WE HELP CLIENTS USE RECYCLED PLASTIC RESINS MORE EFFECTIVELY PROVIDING ON-SITE TECHNICAL, LAB, CUSTOM FORMATIONS, AND PROCESSING SUPPORT.
“The move by Walmart is designed to help get to the heart of the problem by focusing on the retailer’s private brand packaging, building upon existing efforts to reduce plastic waste in Walmart U.S. and Sam’s Club operations, and encouraging national brand suppliers to set similar packaging goals,” Walmart stated in the release.
The packaging commitment was made during a Walmart supplier forum, and the company also encouraged its national brand suppliers – brand name products sold at Walmart stores – to also strive for similar packaging goals as part of Walmart’s Project Gigaton effort.
THESE GOALS MAY INCLUDE INTERNAL INITIATIVES SUCH AS – ZERO PLASTIC WASTE, SUSTAINABLE PLASTIC RESINS & RAW MATERIALS, PACKAGING REDESIGN AND LIGHT-WEIGHTING, CARBON FOOTPRINT MEASUREMENT & CERTIFICATION, FDA COMPLIANCE, ETC., AND ALSO EXTERNAL SUSTAINABILITY INITIATIVES INCLUDING SOCIAL SUSTAINABLE PARTNERSHIPS, OUTREACH, EDUCATION, AND MORE.
In the announcement, Laura Phillips, senior vice president for global sustainability at Walmart, described the effort as “another key milestone in our ongoing journey of working with our private brand and national brand suppliers” to increase product sustainability.
GEAREDFORGREEN HAS BEEN CONNECTING-THE-DOTS & CLOSING-THE-LOOP WITHIN THE PLASTICS SUPPLY CHAIN FOR WALMART AND OTHER RETAILERS ALONG WITH THEIR SUPPLY CHAINS FOR 20+YEARS! AS A PLASTICS CIRCULAR ECONOMY SUSTAINABILITY PROVIDER, GEAREDFORGREEN HAS PROUDLY HELPED CLIENTS RECYCLE MORE THAN 900M POUNDS OF PLASTIC WASTE BACK INTO NEW PRODUCTS.
THROUGH OUR PLASTIC FILM-BAG-WRAP CIRCULAR ECONOMY INITIATIVES, WE ARE USING A COMBINATION OF TECHNOLOGY-INNOVATION-COLLABORATION TO HELP RECYCLE MANY MILLIONS OF POUNDS OF POST CONSUMER PLASTIC FILMS-BAGS-WRAPS EVERY MONTH, WASHING-PELLETIZING-CERTIFIYING THE PCR RESINS USING THE NEWEST STATE OF THE ART RECYCLING TECHNOLOGIES AND USING THESE “NOW SUSTAINABLE PLASTIC RESINS” TO GO RIGHT BACK INTO BRAND NEW PLASTIC PACKAGING, TO HELP RETAILERS ACHIEVE THEIR 20-40%+ PCR REQUIREMENTS INCLUDING RETAIL FRONT OF STORE BAGS, TRASH BAGS, CAN LINERS, E COMMERCE BAGS, AND MORE – CircularEconomy@Gearedforgreen.com
Beyond 20 percent recycled content, Walmart stated its commitment to strive for its brands to use 100 percent recyclable, reusable or industrially compostable packaging by 2025. The announcement also highlighted several separate waste-recycling-related Walmart projects, including the company recycling 151 million pounds of shrink wrap in 2017, providing an in-store film recycling option, offering alternatives to single-use products and more.
Most Plastic Films & Bags including grocery bags, shopping bags, retail bags, Stretch Wraps, and Shrink Wraps are primarily made using #polyethylene based plastic resins, generally #lowdensitypolyethylene, #highdensitypolyethylene, #linearlowdensitypolyethylene, or blended #polyethylenes.
In all cases, polyethylene films & bags are 100% recyclable. Polyethylene is a “Thermoplastic” material and nearly all thermoplastic materials can be recycled because their polymer chains have been specifically designed to weaken rapidly during the recycling melting process, turning into a viscous liquid that can be reshaped into all kinds of new products, including new films, bags and even rigid plastic materials too.
When it comes to plastic film & bag waste,
their are typically three (3) primary categories of plastic waste…
1. Industrial waste – that is waste generated in the manufacturing process which is generally cleaner and easier to recycle.
2. Commercial waste – that is waste generated after use but in tighter supply chains such as between manufacturing & distribution which is often still contaminated.
3. Consumer waste – that is waste generated after use by consumers which is generally more contaminated with both (plastic and non plastic contaminates) and more challenging to recycle.
The challenges in recycling Industrial Plastic Waste is that in many cases, the plastic waste contains heavy inks and possibly coatings which limit how much of this waste can be recycled back by the manufacturers. Also, these plastic typically are printed with “branded” content making certified destruction a requirement. GearedforGreen helps solve these challenge by using specialized technologies and by ensuring the plastic waste is recycled at facilities that track the certified destruction process.
Commercial & Consumer film and bag recycling comes with many additional recycling challenges, including much heavier degrees of (plastic & non plastic) contamination that must be removed prior to recycling. GearedforGreen helps solve these challenge by using sophisticated eco-supply chain film and bag recycling technologies including proprietary washing, screening, re-pelletization systems that remove a much greater % of contamination, producing a far more “pure” grade of recycled plastic resin that can be reused back into a wider more broad array of applications that can absorb the greater volume.
Another significant challenge in managing Commercial and Consumer plastic film and bag sustainability initiatives is managing the supply-demand dynamics as well as long term pricing dynamics. This is because the quantity and volume of commercial and consumer plastic film-bag waste is enormous, and in order to solve this issue longer term, we must utilize indexed pricing that links the value of scrap with the value of resin so that they both rise and fall together over time along with normal market conditions, to maintain a longer term value proposition for both waste generators and resin buyers in the supply chain.
Whether you generate plastic film and bag waste or would like to use recycled resins in you products, Gearedforgreen can help GUIDE you implement a successful long term plastic film and bag recycling initiative. In 2019 Let’s get Sustainable Together.