Myth Busters: Closed Loop Recycling Edition

By Michael Kralstein | Closed Loop Recycling

Nov 28

Closed loop recycling is much more than a cool buzzword used by hipsters and environmentalists. It’s actually the backbone of a circular economy — one that keeps materials engaged in a circular way through recycling and continuous use. This process is much more eco friendly in comparison to one-and-done recycling.

The engine of this process is commercial recycling, but a poorly designed closed loop program can actually limit the recoverability. When done properly — however — closed loop recycling can benefit the organizations participating as well as the environment. Continue reading for the debunking of the most common myths surrounding closed loop recycling.

What Is Closed Loop Recycling?

When a plastic material is recycled, it isn't always reproduced as the same product. Many materials can be down cycled, which mean they are converted into newer materials that are of reduced functionality or lesser quality.

Closed-loop recycling programs are designed to continually reuse and recycle materials over and over. This process reduces the need for new or virgin materials while avoiding the creation of waste entirely. Can you imagine how much money your business would save by removing your plastic films and wraps from your waste stream?

Closed-loop recycling programs can be as simple as using recycled plastic resins to create new packaging wrap or using recycled aluminum to create new cans. It can also be as complex as weaving reclaimed plastic materials into polyester for clothes and other products.

Regardless of the complexity of the closed-loop recycling program, recyclers, consumers, and manufacturers work together to reclaim and reuse valuable materials from waste streams and use it to make new products.

Myth Busted: Closed Loop Recycling Is Too Expensive

You can often find recycled post-consumer resins at the same price or for less than virgin resins. More so, many areas actually offer tax incentives to businesses that choose to recycle properly.

Myth Busted: Companies Don’t Save with Closed-Loop Recycling

Choosing to engage in a closed loop recycling program can actually save your organization money by reducing your overall waste. For instance, when Bank of America implemented a closed loop program, they saved a jaw-dropping $483,000 in trash hauling fees alone. A closed loop recycling program can also create savings by reduced cost of materials.

Dell — the international computer manufacturer — implemented a closed loop recycling program due to their customers wanting more eco-friendly products. A study conducted by TruCost showed that Dell’s closed loop recycling program delivered a natural capital net benefit of 44%, which is worth $1.3 million every year in comparison to the use of virgin plastics. While your results may vary, it’s clear that close loop recycling programs create the opportunity for multiple efficiencies in several areas within your organization.


Myth Busted: Closed Loop Recycling Doesn't Have a Big Impact on the Environment

When you implement a closed loop recycling program, you will help keep plastics away from landfills where they can stay for several centuries. You’ll save energy, conserve water, and reduce your organization's carbon footprint. One excellent example of a company that has successfully implemented a closed loop recycling program is Hewlett Packard.

Over the past 11 years, HP has continued to evolve their recycling program. Today, over 80% of HP ink cartridges and 100% of HP LaserJet toner cartridges include recycled plastics. By ditching virgin plastics and replacing them with recycled materials in their ink cartridges, HP has slashed their greenhouse gas emissions by a staggering 43 million pounds between 2013 and 2015. This is equivalent to removing 4,125 cars off of the road for one year.

Myth Busted: PCR Products Are of Poor Quality

While quality control was previously a concern, closed loop recycling resins are used to create the same products where virgin resins can be used. Recently, Trex Spartan® and Trex Cardinal® lines of LLDPE pellets received certification from the International Code Council (ICC) for containing 100% post consumer content material.

Trex works with manufacturers across industries to explore a variety of uses for it's LLDPE pellets. The company offers the flexibility to re-formulate and modify pellet content to best fit specific processes, needs, colors, and applications. As a premium Trex partner, the experts at AAA Polymer can assist you with incorporating post consumer resin pellets into your products.

Contact AAA Polymer for More About Closed Loop Programs

If you're looking to purchase PCR resins or learn more about closed loop programs, the experts at AAA Polymer can help! We've been in business since 1974 and can help you design a commercial recycling program or closed loop recycling program that truly impacts your bottom line.

When it comes to post consumer resins and closed loop recycling programs, don't believe the hype! Instead, it makes dollars and sense to trust in the numbers and the recycling experts at AAA Polymer.

Contact us today to learn more about how recycling can save your company green.

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About the Author

Michael Kralstein started working in sales full time for AAA Polymer in February 2000. In 2006, he became the Sales Manager of our can liner division. He currently manages all aspects related to can liners.

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