Meijer brings recycled plastic bags full circle to Michigan store parking lot in pilot program using Dow technology
- Pilot project recycled approximately 12,500 pounds of plastic collected from Meijer customers via in-store recycling bins
MIDLAND, Mich. – November 11, 2021 – In collaboration with Meijer, Dow (NYSE: DOW) enabled a new paving technique using recycled plastic bags to create a more durable parking lot for the retailer’s Holland, Mich. supercenter. This recycled polymer modified asphalt (RPMA) parking lot is a three-phase pilot project that used approximately 12,500 pounds of post-consumer recycled plastic (PCR), which is the equivalent weight of 944,000 plastic grocery bags.
This project brings recycled plastic bags full circle, and also represents a long-term collaboration between two Michigan companies working toward a more sustainable future.
All of the recycled plastic used for the parking lot pilot project was deposited by Meijer customers through the retailer’s in-store plastic film recycling program. In 2014, Meijer placed a collection bin inside the front entrances of each of its stores for customers to deposit clean, dry plastic bags and films, including single use, bread, dry cleaning, produce and water softener bags. This year, Meijer expects to recycle 6 million pounds of plastics through this program.
“Lessening our impact on the environment through increased recycling efforts is an issue that’s important to us, which is why we believe this pilot project is just one of the ways we can bring our current recycling efforts full circle while improving our customer shopping experience,” said Vik Srinivasan, Senior Vice President of Properties and Real Estate at Meijer.
Powered by technology from Dow, these RPMA projects have increased durability versus unmodified asphalt.
“This is an exciting partnership from start to finish and a perfect example of how the plastics used to keep food safe and fresh, like bread bags, can have a new life as infrastructure like a parking lot,” said CJ DuBois, North American Paving Application Development Leader, Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics. “Our collaboration with Meijer began two years ago. This RPMA parking lot made with recycled content and our technology is just one example of how we’re continually creating new technologies and initiatives to transform used plastics into functional and valuable solutions.”
This pilot project incorporated numerous partners to take the recycled plastics and turn them into a resurfaced parking lot. PADNOS, a materials recycler, aggregated the Meijer recycled plastics, and converted them into usable PCR content. K-Tech Specialty Coatings, an asphalt emulsion company, modified the base asphalt binder with Dow reactive elastomeric terpolymer (RET) and PCR content. Rieth-Riley, the construction contractor, produced the final hot-mix asphalt and paved the Meijer parking lot and gas station.
The pilot parking lot project with Meijer isn’t a first for Dow. The company began working on these projects in Indonesia in 2017, partnering with the Indonesian government towards its goal of reducing plastic waste in the ocean by 70 percent by 2025. In August 2021, Dow completed a RPMA public street at The University of Missouri. Prior to this, Dow completed two RPMA roads at Dow’s Freeport, Texas site, two roads at the Dow Sabine River Operations and four public roads and two parking lots in the Great Lakes Bay Region of Michigan – totaling approximately 14,000 pounds or more than 1 million plastic bags. These RPMA projects are just a sample of efforts helping Dow reach its 2030 target to enable 1 million metric tons of plastic to be collected, reused or recycled through its direct actions and partnerships.
Meijer is a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer that operates 258 supercenters and grocery stores throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin. A privately-owned and family-operated company since 1934, Meijer pioneered the “one-stop shopping” concept and has evolved through the years to include expanded fresh produce and meat departments, as well as pharmacies, comprehensive apparel departments, pet departments, garden centers, toys and electronics. For additional information on Meijer, please visit www.meijer.com. Follow Meijer on Twitter @twitter.com/Meijer and @twitter.com/MeijerPR or become a fan at www.facebook.com/meijer.
Dow (NYSE: DOW) combines global breadth, asset integration and scale, focused innovation and leading business positions to achieve profitable growth. The Company’s ambition is to become the most innovative, customer centric, inclusive and sustainable materials science company, with a purpose to deliver a sustainable future for the world through our materials science expertise and collaboration with our partners. 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 care. Dow operates 106 manufacturing sites in 31 countries and employs approximately 35,700 people. Dow delivered sales of approximately $39 billion in 2020. 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.