More than half of U.S. trash, nearly 135 million tons, ends up in landfills each year. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, nearly one-fifth of trash is made up of plastic items that are used every day but can’t be recycled with existing infrastructure.
However, innovative solutions are emerging to divert previously non-recycled plastics – like juice pouches, candy wrappers and plastic dinnerware – from landfills and “recycle” them into feedstocks, valuable energy resources or other plastic products.
The Omaha area is putting this effort into action. Through the Hefty® Energy Bag Program, 8,500 Omaha-area households are recycling previously non-recycled plastics at curbside for conversion into energy to create cement. The initiative has collected over 9,500 bags and diverted over 9,400 pounds of plastic from landfills since it began in September 2016.
“The Hefty® Energy Bag Program is the first of its kind in the country. It proves that value can be captured from previously non-recycled plastics, and consumers want to help,” explains Han Zhang, North America global sustainability manager for Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics. “Currently, many forms of plastic packaging are difficult to mechanically recycle because of technical, environmental and economic challenges. This program diverts these plastics from the landfill by converting them into energy resources, as a compliment to mechanical recycling.”
The Hefty® Energy Bag Program is proud to be the Sustainable Sponsor and a presenter at the Earth Day Omaha celebration on Saturday, April 22nd at 11am in Elmwood Park.
We hope you’ll visit the Hefty® Energy Bag booth (booth #B1) where you can chat with local city leaders and Hefty® Energy Bag representatives to learn how to get involved. RESPolyflow will feature a pyrolysis unit, a device which converts non-recycled material and low-value plastics into high-value synthetic fuel. If you’re already a program participant, you are welcome to bring one of your Hefty® Energy Bags for collection at the celebration. If you are not a member of the Program, visit booth #B1 to learn more about the ground-breaking initiative.
Join us at the main stage at 11:45 a.m. when local mayors and a City Councilman will discuss the Hefty® Energy Bag Program and its impact on Omaha and surrounding communities.
We are grateful for support from local governments, businesses and residents who have seized the opportunity to pioneer new ways to recycle by participating in this innovative recycling initiative. For more information about the Hefty® Energy Bag Program, visit www.heftyenergybag.com.