ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Wegmans Food Markets is the first retailer member of the American Chemistry Council’s Flexible Film Recycling Group, a self-funded organization dedicated to driving growth in polyethylene film recovery.
Wegmans has collected used plastic bags for recycling since 1994 and shoppers have returned approximately 1.5 million pounds of polyethylene film every year. It collects another 1.5 million pounds of plastic stretch/shrink wrap from shipping pallets. The plastics are recycled to make Wegmans’ 40% recycled-content grocery bags, as well as durable backyard decking products.
“Recycling of plastic bags and film is one effective way to address environmental concerns,” said Jason Wadsworth, sustainability coordinator for Wegmans, in a statement. “Because of our closed-loop system, bags and film that customers return for recycling at our stores are made into new Wegmans bags, not litter.”
The recycling of postconsumer plastic bags, product wraps and commercial shrink film reached 1 billion pounds in 2011, a 55% increase since 2005, according to the National Postconsumer Plastic Bag & Film Recycling Report.
“While this is an important achievement, the FFRG believes more can be done to spur significant growth in plastics film recycling,” said Shari Jackson, director of FFRG, in a statement. “This is why we’re working so determinedly to help grocers and retailers, which have the critical infrastructure for recycling plastic film, to maximize the collection of this valuable material by sharing tools, best practices and through consistent customer education.”
FFRG membership represents resin suppliers, film product manufacturers, brand owners and recyclers.
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