Alterra Joins Forces with Firstar Fiber and Hefty Brand on Hard-to-Recycle Plastics

May 1, 2024

4 Min Read

Alterra announces successful conversion of hard-to-recycle plastics, collected via the Hefty ReNew™ program and pre-processed through Firstar Fiber, Inc., into its original building blocks utilized in new plastic production and other valuable products. This collaboration helps divert plastics from the landfill, reduces dependency on virgin fossil-derived materials, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions compared to new plastic production or incineration. 

Hefty ReNew™ is a hard-to-recycle plastics recovery program that offers residents and businesses a convenient way to divert more waste from landfills and is intended to complement current recycling efforts. The official Hefty® ReNew® orange bags can be purchased through local retailers.  For specific locations and online purchasing options, visit Each orange bag features a list of hard-to-recycle items that can be collected in the bag for recycling. When full, the bags are tied tightly and are placed directly in a recycling bin/cart or dropped off at a participating recycling location.

Firstar Fiber, Inc. takes in the official Hefty® ReNew® orange bags, sorts the notoriously hard-to-recycle plastics, such as films or plastics with limited end markets, and processes them through their plastic pre-processing facility - turning them into plastic feedstock cubes. By processing these low-to-no-value plastics into a cube/flake format, it increases their usability in re-manufacturing processes.

Currently, Alterra operates an industrial-scale, fully continuous 20,000 tons per annum recycling facility in Akron, Ohio. The facility utilizes its proprietary technology to convert end-of-life discarded plastics, such as materials from the Hefty ReNew™ program, into feedstock for new plastic products and other valuable products worldwide.

"Firstar Fiber made the investment in the ability to sort, clean, and process hard-to-recycle films and flexibles because without practical solutions, the plastic problem only gets worse. No other material recovery facility has built this capacity and knowledge, and we take great pride in leading the industry. We appreciate Hefty ReNew™ as the innovative program which enables collection of these materials. Without the orange bags, these films and flexibles either end up in the landfill, as litter in our public spaces, or damaging expensive recycling equipment thereby preventing the recovery of other valuable materials. We equally appreciate Alterra for their innovations in the field. Too many companies in this space are talking about what they will do. Alterra does it. They understand the end product can only be as good as its feedstock, and that these post-consumer films and flexibles add great value throughout the economic chain," says Patrick Leahy, CEO of Firstar Fiber.

"Less than 0.1% of all residential films and flexibles are recycled. The Hefty ReNew™ program, along with Firstar Fiber, is a great conduit for Americans to flex their right to recycle items which have not been in the past. The Alterra technology has proven the ability to unlock the value we have all taken for granted in these valuable plastics that are mistakenly discarded. Together, with the participation of all Americans, we can divert ~5 million tons from being landfilled while also displacing ~25 million barrels of virgin, fossil-derived material, and reducing GHG emissions," says Jeremy DeBenedictis, President of Alterra.

About Alterra
Alterra is the developer, operator, and licensor of a thermochemical liquefaction process technology that renews discarded plastic back into its original building blocks, thus minimizing reliance on new, fossil-derived materials for the manufacturing of new plastic products. Our Akron, OH plastics circularity facility is the only full-scale, continuous plant of its kind. By deploying our technology we are Solving Plastic Pollution® through Infinitely Renewed Plastics™.

About Firstar Fiber
First Star Recycling was formed in 1997 with the mission to enhance Nebraska's recycling infrastructure. The company processes recyclables for businesses and communities throughout the Midwest and markets close to 100,000 tons annually to end users throughout the country and internationally. In 2004 First Star Recycling won the bid to process the City of Omaha's recyclables starting in January 2006. A new contract was awarded in 2015 that goes through 2020 with automatic opportunities for renewals for a total of 20 years. Our mechanical sorting process was the first one of its kind in Nebraska and it remains the largest in the state, providing both commercial and residential customers the most convenient and comprehensive means to recycle.

About Reynolds Consumer Products
Reynolds Consumer Products (REYN: Nasdaq) is a leading provider of household products that simplify daily life so you can enjoy what matters most. Our Reynolds® and Hefty®  brand products help make mealtime easier with preparation, cooking, cleanup, and storage solutions. For more information, visit and

Stay in the Know - Subscribe to Our Newsletters
Join a network of more than 90,000 waste and recycling industry professionals. Get the latest news and insights straight to your inbox. Free.

You May Also Like