WM and Dow Rollout First Major Residential Plastic Film Recycling Program in the U.S.
November 15, 2022 -- Houston, Texas and Midland, Mich. – Today, WM (NYSE: WM) and Dow (NYSE: DOW) announced the launch of a bold new collaboration to improve residential recycling for hard-to-recycle plastic films by allowing consumers in select markets to recycle these materials directly in their curbside recycling. According to The Recycling Partnership, currently, only 1.9% of U.S. households1 have access to curbside plastic film recycling, which is the plastic material with the lowest overall recycling rate. Once operating at full capacity, this program is expected to help WM divert more than 120,000 metric tons (MT) of plastics film from landfills annually.
This effort combines WM’s broad reach as a comprehensive environmental solutions provider with Dow’s leadership in material science to build new infrastructure that is intended to help close existing recycling gaps, driving a more circular value chain in the U.S. for plastic materials. The initiative has kicked off with an initial pilot program in the Chicago-area community of Hickory Hills, Ill., reaching approximately 3,500 households, with more cities to follow across the country. Consumers in the program’s pilot cities will be able to recycle film plastics like bread bags, cling wrap, and dry-cleaning bags directly in their curbside recycling.
“By providing residential customers with a simple, curbside option for recycling plastic films, we will not only help our customers more easily manage their used plastic film products, but also meet the rising demand for recycled content products,” said Jim Fish, president and CEO, WM. “We recognize that to continue to meet and exceed our sustainability goals, we need to continue to expand our circularity solutions. We see tremendous untapped potential to recycle and reuse plastic film, which many of our residential customers struggle to properly dispose.”
WM expects to invest over $800 million through 2025 to improve and enhance recycling infrastructure, including specialized technology that will allow WM to sort plastic films. WM will lead the collection and processing for the film recycling pilots and continue to identify film recycling opportunities across the U.S. By 2025, film recycling through WM is expected to reach 8% of U.S. households.
Dow is supporting this initiative by incorporating recycled content into its product solutions, in line with the company’s ambitious, updated Transform the Waste sustainability commitment to deliver 3 million metric tons of circular and renewable solutions by 2030. Through material science expertise, offtakes, cart donations, technology and circular investments, Dow is working to increase recovery rates and drive towards a circular ecosystem for hard-to-recycle plastics.
“Enabling a circular economy requires broad stakeholder collaboration, innovation and investment throughout the value chain to continue to more rapidly develop and advance solutions at scale,” said Jim Fitterling, Dow chairman and CEO. “Through our collaboration with WM, we’re determined to launch new programs that grow recycling infrastructure and access nationwide, creating a more comprehensive system where films and flexible plastics form a key pillar of our circular product offerings.”
“As an elected official and resident of Hickory Hills I am honored the City of Hickory Hills was chosen to participate in this new plastic film recycling program. The City of Hickory Hills is extremely excited to be a part of this latest recycling initiative,” said D’Lorah Catizone, City Clerk for the City of Hickory Hills. “I think the things everyone can do are small things, but if they are done, it will eventually help the environment. I think recycling is the biggest effort we are making.”
This collaboration builds on WM and Dow’s continued support for a more expansive recycling system across the country. Earlier this year, WM announced its agreement to acquire a controlling interest in Avangard Innovative’s U.S. post-consumer resin (or “PCR”) business, creating Natura PCR – an independent company expected to scale and grow recycling capacity to produce an estimated 400 million pounds per year of PCR pellets in five years. Natura PCR is expected to provide circular solutions for films and clear plastic wrap used commercially, such as plastic stretch wrap for pallets, furniture film, grocery bags and potentially shrink wrap around food and beverage containers. Dow will continue to grow its REVOLOOP™ PCR product line while also increasing circular ecosystem projects with WM. Together, these projects will increase the recycling rate of plastics and create sustainable solutions in packaging, infrastructure and consumer applications.
WM (WM.com) is North America's largest comprehensive waste management environmental solutions provider. Previously known as Waste Management and based in Houston, Texas, WM is driven by commitments to put people first and achieve success with integrity. The company, through its subsidiaries, provides collection, recycling and disposal services to millions of residential, commercial, industrial and municipal customers throughout the U.S. and Canada. With innovative infrastructure and capabilities in recycling, organics and renewable energy, WM provides environmental solutions to and collaborates with its customers in helping them achieve their sustainability goals. WM has the largest disposal network and collection fleet in North America, is the largest recycler of post-consumer materials and is the leader in beneficial reuse of landfill gas, with a growing network of renewable natural gas plants and the most gas-to-electricity plants in North America. WM's fleet includes nearly 11,000 natural gas trucks – the largest heavy-duty natural gas truck fleet of its kind in North America – where more than half are fueled by renewable natural gas. To learn more about WM and the company's sustainability progress and solutions, visit Sustainability.WM.com.
Dow (NYSE: DOW) combines global breadth; asset integration and scale; focused innovation and materials science expertise; leading business positions; and environmental, social and governance (ESG) leadership to achieve profitable growth and deliver a sustainable future. The Company's ambition is to become the most innovative, customer centric, inclusive and sustainable materials science company in the world. Dow's portfolio of plastics, industrial intermediates, coatings and silicones businesses delivers a broad range of differentiated, science-based products and solutions for its customers in high-growth market segments, such as packaging, infrastructure, mobility and consumer applications. Dow operates 104 manufacturing sites in 31 countries and employs approximately 35,700 people. Dow delivered sales of approximately $55 billion in 2021. References to Dow or the Company mean Dow Inc. and its subsidiaries. For more information, please visit www.dow.com or follow @DowNewsroom on Twitter.
This press release contains a number of forward-looking statements, including all statements regarding the amount, timing, results and benefits of WM’s future investments in recycling infrastructure and technology and all statements regarding timing, results and benefits of WM’s pending transaction with Avangard Innovative. These statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to be materially different. Please see Part I, Item 1A of WM's most recently filed Annual Report on Form 10-K, available on the "Investors" page of www.wm.com, for information regarding such risks and uncertainties.
1 Excludes grocery store film recycling drop-off