Dow Collaborates on Recycled Trash Bags

MIDLAND, MI | Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics, a business unit of DowDuPont Materials Science, has developed a trash bag made from post-industrial plastic scrap through its participation in the Trash Free Seas Alliance, and in collaboration with flexible packaging manufacturer Bemis Company and converter Polykar. The bags were used to clean up beaches around the US during the International Coastal Cleanup sponsored by Ocean Conservancy this past September.

“As the largest provider of plastics in the packaging industry, Dow is a global advocate for resource recovery technologies,” says Jeff Wooster, global sustainability director for Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics. “We’ve taken on the challenge with Bemis and Polykar, alongside the Trash Free Seas Alliance, to increase post-industrial recycling and extend sustainable industrial practices to address a worldwide problem. We know that if we work together, we can find a way to recover plastic waste and use it to make an even a bigger impact on reducing marine debris.”

The recycled trash bags are opening doors for new, previously difficult-to-recycle packaging formats to enter the recycling stream. To create the trash bags, Bemis collected the post-industrial plastic scraps and sent them to Polykar, which used its plastic recycling machines to combine the reclaimed plastics with Dow’s RETAIN technology. The resulting material is a recycled plastic resin, which Polykar used to manufacture the bags.

Dow is a founding member of The Trash Free Seas Alliance, a global initiative led by the Ocean Conservancy, which unites industry, science, and conservation leaders committed to identifying the causes and developing land-based solutions to prevent waste from entering the ocean seas. The coalition issued a report identifying the major pathways of plastic leakage into the ocean and solutions to properly concentrate and treat the plastic waste before it makes its way into the ocean.

“It’s an exciting step forward to be able to use recycled materials to collect and properly dispose of marine debris,” says Emily Woglom, executive VP at Ocean Conservancy. “This work is just one example of the type of concrete solutions we have identified and worked toward with our partners in the Trash Free Seas Alliance. Stopping waste before it ever reaches the ocean through proper waste management practices is key to solving this global problem.”

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