The Ultimate Guide to Stretch Film Recycling in Warehouses

By Michael Kralstein | Plastics Recycling

Jun 07

You see it every day in your warehouse; but if you're tossing your stretch film in the trash and not engaging in a stretch film recycling program, you're literally throwing money away. Fortunately, the experts at AAA Polymer are here to help with an intuitive Guide to Stretch Film Recycling in Warehouses. Continue reading to learn more about stretch film recycling for your warehouse.

Identifying Recyclable Stretch Film

Did you know stretch wrap or stretch film may be the most valuable recyclable material in your distribution center or warehouse?
Stretch film or stretch wrap is typically made up of low density polyethylene (LDPE) or high density polyethylene (HDPE). The majority of stretch film is used to wrap pallets of products being shipped to your warehouse/distribution center (W/DC).

In general, there are two different types of recyclable stretch film:

  • Post-industrial plastics are the cleanest and can provide your facility with the highest return. This is the stretch film that is shipped to your W/DC.
  • Post-commercial stretch wrap is the stretch wrap left over from the pallets you send to outlets and customers.

Why Create a Stretch Film Recycling Program?

Did you know that only 5.4% of plastic wrap is actually recovered through stretch film recycling?

By simply removing the plastic scrap from your trash, you can help the environment as well as your bottom line. On one hand, you can reduce the cost of trash disposal, which is a fixed charge every time your trash bins are picked up. The site of disposal also charges a "per ton" tipping fee, which can be anywhere from $20 up to $100 a ton — based on where you live. Let's look at real world example:

  • If the site of disposal charges $30 per ton as a tipping fee and your facility disposes of 200,000 pounds of plastic scrap a year, you could save up to $3,000 a year on tipping costs alone.
  • Most importantly, when you partner with AAA Polymer, we’ll pay you cash for your trash – creating a stream of revenue.

Starting a Stretch Film Recycling Program

Did you know single-use products like plastic stretch film accounts for 25% of the total volume in plastics?

If you're interested in starting a stretch film recycling program, the experts at AAA Polymer will help. As a simple and hassle-free process, here's how it works:

  1. AAA Polymer will conduct a free onsite survey of your warehouse.
  2. You'll be assigned a single point of contact at AAA Polymer to ensure you get the most from your stretch film recycling program.
  3. We’ll provide guidance and assistance in the installation of bailing machines, suggesting the best locations for effectiveness.
  4. Once you have a full load or partial load of plastic stretch film recyclables, we will return to pick up the film.
  5. We transport the recyclable stretch film back to our facility for processing and weighing.
  6. Finally, we pay you market value for your recycled plastic.

You can receive documentation of the destruction of your recyclables with our Certified Destruction Program.

Getting the Most from the Stretch Film Recycling Program

It's estimated recycling 10 plastic bottles saves enough energy to power a laptop computer for more than 24 hours. How much energy can your facility save through a stretch film recycling program?

One of the most critical components of your stretch film recycling program is the design. We’ll apply our decades of experience to ensure your program is as effective and engaging as possible. We will also help you keep your staff educated, so everyone involved in the program will know the best practices to maximize your returns. And there are several ways we can positively influence the design.

Outside Vendor Education & Quality Control

We always suggest our clients speak to their vendors to inform them of the plastics recycling program and ways they can help make it as successful as possible, such as:

  • Avoid using tinted films and labels on the stretch wrap as much as possible.
  • Avoid using tapes on the stretch films and labels.

Tips for Your Warehouse

There are also several things you can do inside of your facility to increase the success of your stretch wrap recycling program, including:

  • Place all recycling bins in a convenient location.
  • Label all recycling bins with "Stretch Film Only" to remind your workers the receptacle is only for stretch wraps. We've found that marking the bins with "Plastic Only" will attract all types of plastics.
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    Work to immediately remove stretch wraps once received and position receptacles in a convenient location.
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    Position stretch film containers where employees assemble packages for shipping.
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    Avoid placing stretch wrap on the floor where it can pick up dust and other contaminants, which could reduce the quality of your film.

Your Employees Are Critical

Did you know when you send your plastic stretch film to landfills, it can stay there for almost half a century — that's 450 years — before it degrades?

Your employees are critical to the success of the program, holding the keys to success. As a result, it makes dollars and sense to ensure they understand the importance.

  • Create signage to stress the importance of your employees to the stretch film recycling program.
  • Transform plastic recycling goals into something tangible or beneficial for your employees, such as "We've Kept XXX Tons of Plastic Film out of Landfills Which Saves XXX Miles of Precious Park Space." With a little bit of creativity, you can inspire and encourage everyone to own the program.
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    Make sure everyone understands paper labels and tape are significant contaminants and should always be removed.
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    Award departments with the best plastic recycling quantities and qualities.
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    Discourage the use of recycling containers for trash receptacles — especially with the employees not directly involved with the recycling program.

In the end, ongoing employee education and motivation will drive the success of your program, and your partners at AAA Polymer will help.

Partner with AAA Polymer for Warehouse Stretch Film Recycling

Did you know 51% of Baby Boomers and 72% of Generation Z are willing to pay more for products and services from companies committed to making an environmental impact?

Undoubtedly, the most important facet to a successful stretch film recycling program is a partner who understands your business and acts as an active extension of your company. AAA Polymer is that partner. And when you partner with us, we take on your goals as well as all of the necessary steps to help us get there.

Contact AAA Polymer today to learn more about starting a stretch film recycling program in your warehouse or distribution center.

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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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