Joining forces during the course of 2014, Dow Chemical Co., the Flexible Packaging Association, Republic Services, Agilyx, Reynolds Consumer Products, and The city of Citrus Heights, CA, created a collection pilot program intended to divert non-recycled plastics from landfills and to optimize their resource efficiency across the lifecycle. From June to August, approximately 26,000 households in Citrus Heights were provided with purple bags—known as “Energy Bags”—in which participants were asked to collect plastic items not currently eligible for mechanical recycling, so they could instead be diverted from the landfill and converted into energy. Collected items included juice pouches, candy wrappers, plastic pet food bags, frozen food bags, laundry pouches, and plastic dinnerware.
The purple Energy Bags were collected from homes during the community’s regular bi-weekly recycling program, sorted at the recycling facility, and sent to a plastics-to-energy plant. Using their patented thermal pyrolysis technology, which is complementary to current mechanical recycling programs, Agilyx converted the previously non-recycled plastics into high-value synthetic crude oil. The crude oil can be further refined and made into valuable products for everyday use, such as gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel, fuel oil, and lubricants, and can even be transformed back into plastic.