The Department of Natural Resources has joined a statewide public-private initiative to reduce plastic waste and increase plastic film recycling in the Badger State.
The Wisconsin Wrap Recycling Action Program enlists retailers, manufacturers and local governments in collecting recyclable plastic film from their own operations and the public.
Grocery and other retail stores, distribution centers, volunteer groups and local governments can support Wisconsin WRAP by collecting their own plastic case wrapping, bags and packaging material by setting up a local collection program and by registering their locations as community drop-off centers. Private citizens can participate by recycling their clean and dry packaging wrap.
The DNR's website provides free information on how to recycle plastic bags and film and how to find local drop-off locations. The site also provides free education materials, signs and posters for local governments, businesses, volunteers or civic groups expanding their plastic film recycling and outreach efforts.
"It's a great chance for local businesses and organizations to accomplish something positive for the environment and create jobs in Wisconsin while keeping valuable materials out of local landfills," said Cynthia Moore of the DNR's Waste and Materials Management Program.
Plastic film recycling recovers clean, dry plastic wrap, bags and film and reuses them as raw material for manufacturing products, like new plastic bags, composite lumber, park benches and playground equipment.
While wrap, bags and film are in high demand, many people are not aware they are recyclable. Retail drop-off points are crucial to the WRAP project because plastic wrap, bags and film clog curbside recycling machinery and are difficult to separate from other materials. The plastics industry strongly encourages recyclers to use retail drop-off locations rather than include them in curbside collection programs.
The DNR is partnering with the American Chemistry Council's Flexible Film Recycling Group and GreenBlue's Sustainable Packaging Coalition to make Wisconsin the first and model state for the WRAP initiative. Wisconsin WRAP provides a way for businesses, distribution centers and other local organizations to facilitate community waste reduction efforts while modelling sustainable practices of their own.
A 2012 DNR plastics recycling study concluded that Wisconsin could realize substantial economic benefits by recycling more of the valuable plastic film that currently ends up in landfills.
By volunteering as a community drop-off center and encouraging customers to reduce, reuse and recycle their own bags and wrap, businesses like Roundy's have already helped Wisconsin tap the potential of recycled plastic as an industrial feedstock. By distributing educational materials about plastic film recycling, communities in Outagamie County, Dunn County, Eau Claire County and the city of Milwaukee are already helping to keep film and wrap out of local landfills.
In Outagamie County, for instance, recycling coordinator Christine Miller and the Sustainable Communities Network have circulated educational materials and display posters for local stores.
"What truly makes WRAP unique is the way it gives businesses and local governments the control to fuel and expand their own recycling success," said Moore, "In this way, local governments and industry become recycling leaders."
For more information on plastic wrap and film recycling, or how your business or community can join the initiative, visit the DNR's website or contact Cynthia Moore at (608) 267-7550.Source: DNR