Plastic bag filled with plastic bags for recycling.

Waste Management (WM) has committed to investing more than $800 million to enhance recycling infrastructure, including $56 million to upgrade three Pacific Northwest materials recovery facilities (MRFs). | Pavel Kubarkov/Shutterstock

Dow and Waste Management are partnering on a pilot program that will give some Chicago residents the option of recycling plastic films curbside. 

Once they have completed testing on 3,500 households in Chicago, the companies plan to expand the program to more cities nationwide, eventually diverting more than 120,000 metric tons of plastics film from landfills annually and reaching 8% of U.S. households by 2025. 

“By providing residential customers with a simple, curbside option for recycling plastic films, we will not only help our customers more easily manage their used plastic film products, but also meet the rising demand for recycled content products,” Jim Fish, president and CEO of WM, said in a press release. “We recognize that to continue to meet and exceed our sustainability goals, we need to continue to expand our circularity solutions. We see tremendous untapped potential to recycle and reuse plastic film.” 

WM plans to invest over $800 million through 2025 to improve and enhance recycling infrastructure, the press release noted, including technology to allow it to sort plastic films. That figure includes $56 million to upgrade technology at three Pacific Northwest materials recovery facilities (MRFs).

The company also recently acquired a controlling interest in Avangard Innovative, a recycler and post-consumer resin producer that specializes in film. 

Dow will be using the recycled film in its products. Jim Fitterling, Dow chairman and CEO, said the partnership will create “a more comprehensive system where films and flexible plastics form a key pillar of our circular product offerings.”

A version of this story appeared in Resource Recycling on November 28.

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