The Closed Loop Foundation, in partnership with SC Johnson, today awarded two innovation grants to companies working to help solve film plastic packaging recycling:
- Zzyzx is a Pennsylvania-based company that makes recycled plastic pellets from challenging waste streams, such as plastic films and mixed plastics. It sells these plastic pellets to customers who mold them into products, using injection molding or other standard molding processes. The company says the types of plastics it recycles – including those that are mixed, laminated, degraded or that contain residues of food or materials that harm plastic strength - typically cannot be recycled by others.
- Drought Diet Products is a California-based company that intends to use post-consumer film plastic feedstock in its irrigation piping products. Its Aquifer Piping, the product that will integrate post-consumer LDPE feedstock via this grant, conserves more than 50 percent water usage and lowers energy consumption by 60 percent over traditional methods.
Both of these companies are excellent examples of ways to drive end market value for post-consumer recycled film plastics: Zzyzx says it will be able to process 7 million pounds of film per year per machine, while Drought Diet Products estimates that its technology and business could divert as much as 1.4 billion pounds of plastic film from landfills annually.
“We are invested in building the future of recycling and making sure that all of our products are recyclable,” said Kelly Semrau, SVP of Global Corporate Affairs, Communication and Sustainability at SC Johnson. “These two companies help build value in recycled Ziploc bags and other film plastics. We need to build strong end markets in order to see innovation in how this material is collected and recycled.”
“This grant will help us purchase the equipment needed to scale up our technology for testing in a plastic processing facility, and will act as a stepping stone to large-scale recycling operations,” said Zzyzx CEO Michael Janse.
The Closed Loop Foundation and SC Johnson announced the Film Recycling Solution Search at the Plastics Recycling Conference in February. The goal was to uncover and seed fund scalable solutions to the largest bottlenecks holding back recycling of post-consumer film plastics. The program received approximately 40 proposals; a set of external expert advisors chose the final recipients. The CL Foundation says it will release a report in 2017 with the impact of the grants one year in.
In July, the Closed Loop Foundation, the nonprofit affiliate to the Closed Loop Fund, announced a $25,000-50,000 grant and loan opportunity for food waste solutions applicable in the U.S. Hoping to unlock food waste diversion and reduction at scale, the Foundation’s Food Waste Solution Search was open to all types of solutions to the food waste challenge, from field to end of life, in the categories of prevention and diversion, recovery, and recycling. The funding will be awarded in November 2016.