The largest fully integrated cradle-to-cradle polyethylene terephthalate (PET) packaging company in California—rPlanet Earth—is engaging with Green Impact Plastics in an exclusive agreement to jointly develop and manage the purchase of post-consumer thermoform bales from California and other southern states that have cost-effective transportation logistics.
Green Impact Plastics is the first PET reclaimer solely recycling post-consumer thermoform PET packaging in the Americas. Green Impact Plastics’ owners have more than 14 years’ experience in PET recycling. In 2020, Green Impact Plastics plans to open a plant in California, in addition to its existing plant in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. In partnership with rPlanet Earth, Green Impact’s focus for the last two years has been addressing the challenges of recycling PET thermoforms. After consistently processing more than 1 million pounds in an initial series of trials, the company is confident that the technical challenges of processing this stream have been overcome and is ready to process up to 3 million pounds of material per month at its first plant.
The Plastic Recycling Corporation of California (PRCC) is working with rPlanet Earth to source California’s PET thermoforms for recycling.
"We are very excited to help grow the market for this previously difficult-to-recycle material. We are working to encourage MRFs [materials recovery facilities] to separate this valuable recyclable," said Sally Houghton of PRCC in a statement.
rPlanet Earth’s "Zero Plastic Waste on our Planet Earth" philosophy was a powerful driver to this project: dedicating investment and machine time to assess the material recycled at Green Impact under true industrial conditions. With its state-of-the-art SSP and extrusion capabilities, rPlanet Earth has manufactured PET sheet made from 100 percent recycled thermoformed containers consistent with the specifications brand companies require for food-grade packaging.
"We are proud to be in a leadership role in creating a market for post-consumer PET plastic thermoformed containers that up until now have been buried in landfills," said Robert Daviduk, co-CEO of rPlanet Earth, in a statement. "The brands we are speaking with are enthusiastic about the prospect of having rPlanet incorporate thermoform PCR PET into their containers. We are excited in partnership with the PRCC and Green Impact to be creating a true closed loop for this valuable material—from bale to finished products."
"The concept of tray to tray will allow circularity in one of the most commonly used PET packages that until today were often deemed non-recyclable and sent to landfills," said Octavio Victal, president of Green Impact, in a statemet. "We are true believers that the circular economy is the only way we can leave future generations a world that embraces sustainability and the efficient use of its resources. Our challenge now is informing policymakers, consumers and MRFs that post-consumer thermoformed containers can be recycled. There is a value on this packaging, and our facilities will ensure it is recycled and turned into a similar packaging in a truly circular fashion."