Closed Loop Foundation
In 2016, the Closed Loop Foundation invested in research to identify the market potential of flexible films, as well as identify potential end markets. Additionally, a request for proposal (RFP) was issued for single and multi-material film solutions. Towards the end of 2016, funding was granted to Zzyzx Polymers and Drought Diet Products with the aim of creating a supply and demand relationship between the two in order to establish a viable end market for the recycling of multi-material films. In 2017 funding was provided to IntegriCo Composites to process plastic films into railroad tires. Additionally, Closed Loop Ventures and Closed Loop Fund are investing in film packaging sortation and end market solutions with early stage and growth capital.
- The vast majority of flexible film recycled today is polyethylene (PE) and primarily from commercial use (pre-consumer). Store Drop-Off collection for post-consumer collection is growing but still makes up a small portion of the waste stream.
- An estimated 55% of film collected for recycling is exported rather than recycled domestically.
- The development of end markets is essential to ensuring the recycling of flexible films. The sale of product will determine the value of investments into collection and sortation.
- A variety of end markets will be needed to act as ‘bridge’ solutions as recycling technology and end markets continue to be developed.