Plastics Industry Association releases film recycling demonstration project results

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The Plastics Industry Association, Washington, has released its Phase I Technology Package and its Literature Review from its New End Market Opportunities (NEMO) for Film recycling demonstration project. The report’s findings suggest further opportunities exist to extract value from these streams of mixed polyethylene (PE) films, which include plastic bags and wraps, that can be recycled efficiently, cost-effectively and used in numerous applications, the association says.

Launched by the Plastics Industry Association in 2017, the NEMO for Film project aims to better understand different PE film streams, improve the economics of recycling and explore new potential end markets in the U.S.

According to the association, during the first phase of the project, the NEMO for Film workgroup:

  1. Secured various return-to-retail samples of PE bags and wraps to determine the range of contamination and explored the degree of additional processing—like washing and drying—that would be required to make the samples viable for recycling and reuse;
  2. Performed a standard set of tests on processed samples to understand the mechanical and physical properties of the blended PE streams; and
  3. Built a database of properties for postconsumer resin (PCR) PE blends and provided samples to end users to accelerate the exploration of PCR.

Based on Phase I findings, the NEMO for Film workgroup determined that sufficient evidence suggests the high quality of the return-to-retail material warrants further exploration and development.

Phase II and III are underway, focusing on testing applications in end markets such as agriculture, industrial film and rotomolding.