Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics and Keep America Beautiful have awarded two $50,000 grants to organizations in Cobb County, Georgia, (Keep Cobb Beautiful Inc.) and Boise, Idaho, to establish the Hefty EnergyBag program in their respective communities. The program offers an innovative approach to diverting plastics that are not currently recycled – such as chip bags and juice pouches – from landfills and converting the materials into valuable energy resources.
Building on a 10-year partnership through the Great American Cleanup, Dow and Keep America Beautiful collaborated to announce the Hefty EnergyBag grant program in July 2017, and sought applications from communities across the U.S. The two winning communities rated highest on key selection criteria, which included host city or municipality, materials recovery facility (MRF) and hauler participation, number of targeted households, availability of existing recycling carts for curbside collection and accessibility of a suitable end market outlet that will turn the plastics collected into an alternative energy resource.
The two winning communities will provide collected materials to facilities utilizing advanced non-combustion conversion technologies which can generate a liquid fuel, such as diesel. These technologies also have the longer-term potential to generate feedstocks in a closed loop system and can be used to produce new plastics, keeping resources in use and at their highest value and thereby helping create a more circular economy.
Dow will provide guidelines for these communities and others to implement the program and oversee the initial planning, implementation and measurement phases. Grant recipients are ultimately responsible for managing the program and identifying and engaging key community stakeholders.
To date, Hefty EnergyBag curbside and non-curbside programs, which include a 2014 EnergyBag Pilot in Citrus Heights, California, have diverted more than 17 tons of plastics from the landfill. The first full-scale Hefty EnergyBag program launched in Omaha in September 2016. In its first year, it has collected more than 19,500 bags and diverted approximately 11 tons of plastics, the equivalent to approximately 8.6 million snack-sized chip bags, from the landfill.
Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics