The program will be run by the Circular Great Lakes, an initiative of the Council on the Great Lakes Region. | Vladimir Martinov/Shutterstock

Every spring, millions of pounds of plastic films used to winterize boats are sent to landfill. Several Chigaco-area groups are looking to divert that material. 

The Council of the Great Lakes Region, the Alliance to End Plastic Waste, Charter Next Generation and several other organizations are collaborating on a pilot project to help marinas in Chicago and Lake County recover and recycle boat shrink wrap. 

One of those is partners is Myplas, which is also building a 170,000-sq.-ft. film recycling plant in Rogers, Minn. The plant expected to be up and running in summer 2023 and will recycle up to 90 million pounds of HDPE and LDPE per year.

The pilot, run through the Council of the Great Lakes Region’s Circular Great Lakes initiative and the Alliance to End Plastic Waste’s U.S. Cities Transformation Flagship initiative, is based on similar programs in Ohio and Michigan, a press release noted. It will be a multi-year project. 

“The Great Lakes, one the largest freshwater systems in the world, is a beautiful and vast natural resource, making it a top destination for sailors and boaters,” the press release stated.  “Because of the region’s climate, however, winterizing recreational boats is a must, which requires millions of pounds of valuable plastic film to be used as boat wrap in order to safely protect these vessels, material that is almost universally landfilled every spring.” 

According to the release, the goal of the pilot is to “bring the plastic value chain together with state agencies, local marina partners and boaters to close the loop and create a Great Lakes circular economy for boat shrink wrap film,” creating economic and environmental benefits for the region. 

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