While a variety of collaborative programs exist to address plastics in the economy and develop new circular solutions, such efforts are predominantly focused on post-consumer single-use plastics with more limited attention to post-industrial waste streams. Leading companies across industries have established clear goals around waste reduction and zero waste to landfill but can be challenged in finding practical solutions for recycling of post-industrial contaminated plastics. While challenges with contaminated materials vary across industries, initial investigation by GEMI indicates that there is a specific challenge and potential opportunity to provide value to GEMI members in this area. One specific area of interest relates to recycling of post-industrial food film packaging contaminated with animal byproducts from the protein industry.
GEMI’s vision is to develop a Post-Industrial Contaminated Plastic Work Group to engage key stakeholders across the value chain to foster pre-competitive collaborative cross-industry dialogue and develop business-driven solutions that can enhance domestic recycling and material management capabilities for potentially contaminated post-industrial plastics while increasing value for stakeholders across the value chain.
Based on GEMI’s investigations into this area, this work group will launch with an initial project focused on unique challenges related to post-industrial contaminated food film packaging. The goal of this initial project is to develop a model that could be replicated to address similarly challenging post-industrial contaminated waste streams from other industries. Phase 1 of this project is designed to identify and organize a collaborative group of key stakeholders from across the value chain to develop a landscape assessment document outlining challenges, issues for industry consideration, and activities already underway by companies and organizations related to recycling post-industrial contaminated food film packaging.
Current GEMI members and project participants committed to participate in this project include: ExxonMobil Chemical, Food Marketing Institute, Sealed Air, Smithfield Foods, Sodexo, Tyson Foods and Waste Management
To learn more about this GEMI project and opportunities for participation as either a GEMI member or non-member project participant, please contact Kellen Mahoney. .