Flexible plastic packaging has experienced phenomenal growth over the last two decades -- now exceeding all other packaging forms in the U.S. except for corrugated containers and claiming 19% of the $170 Billion U.S. consumer goods packaging market. As the U.S. market share for flexible packaging has grown, so has the concern over lack of sustainable end-of-life management options for this type of packaging. Increasingly, companies are working to design more recyclable packaging with the hope that recycling systems will grow to accept this material.
Given that municipal recycling programs are working to reduce contamination and accept only materials that can be economically recovered, processed and marketed, is it realistic to believe that flexible plastic packaging will ever be accepted in curbside recycling programs? Are store drop-offs really a viable recycling option over the long term? In this presentation, the speaker will describe existing and emerging opportunities for recycling flexible packaging along with associated challenges and limitations. Possible strategies will be presented for overcoming these challenges and clearing a path so that flexibles can make the transition from being non-recyclable, to "recycle ready," to actually being recycled.