A growing number of US cities recycling food packaging at the Kerb thanks to assistance from trade association the Foodservice Packaging Institute (FPI).
The organisation highlighted new recycling collection services in Washington, D.C., Chattanooga, Tennessee and Louisville, Kentucky. Combined they allow some 460,000 households to recycle packaging including paper and plastic cups, containers, pizza and sandwich boxes, and paper bags in their kerbside carts and bins.
“We were thrilled to help these communities add foodservice packaging to their kerbside programs,” said Lynn Dyer, president of FPI. “Our approach relies on strong end markets partnering with recycling processors, and communities educating their residents to ensure these materials are recycled properly.”
FPI said that it has spent five years on extensive research to understand the real and perceived barriers to getting more foodservice packaging recycled.
The organisation then facilitated discussions with end markets, material recovery facilities and communities to pinpoint opportunities to recycle paper and plastic foodservice packaging in residential kerbside programs.
Washington, D.C. developed its new list of recyclables, including paper and plastic foodservice packaging, based on research conducted with material recovery facilities in the area.
The District’s expanded recycling program and FPI-supported communications campaign, Zero Waste DC, was launched on 5 October.
The inclusion of paper cups specifically in its recycling program makes DC one of the largest cities in the U.S. to accept these items, and a leader in the growing global movement to recycle paper cups.
Chattanooga partnered with its local recycling facility to expand its recyclables to include paper and plastic cups, containers, pizza and sandwich boxes and paper bags.
With help from FPI, the city launched an outreach campaign on September 22 to inform residents of the new acceptable materials and how to properly recycle these items.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, along with the city’s recycling processor and FPI, will announce the addition of foodservice packaging to Louisville’s residential recycling program during a press conference on October 18.
As with DC and Chattanooga, there is a strong communications component in Louisville’s program to ensure that residents only recycle empty cups and take-out containers.
“We will continue working with communities that are motivated to divert more materials from their waste stream,” said Dyer.
“If your community has a strong recycling program with viable end-markets nearby, we want to hear from you. It’s a win all around — for communities and their residents as well as for local recyclers, mills and plastics reclaimers,” she concluded.
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