3-year collaboration aims to create value for hard-to-recycle plastic waste
Nebraska, United States, July 29, 2021 – Global non-profit organisation, the Alliance to End Plastic Waste (Alliance), and recycling service company, Firstar Fiber Corporation (Firstar), announced a Memorandum of Understanding to develop an integrated recycling complex alongside the company’s existing materials recovery facility (MRF) in Omaha. The 3-year collaboration aims to maximise the value of hard-to-recycle plastic waste by developing a sustainable, cost-effective model for the recovery, resell and remanufacture of different waste streams. The announcement was made at the official opening of Firstar’s new MRF extension today.
The partnership plans to tackle the challenge of hard-to-recycle plastic waste on 3 fronts—integration of sorting, processing, and manufacturing facilities to reduce the operational costs of recycling; create value from hard-to-recycle plastic waste by conversion into feedstock for a variety of useful applications including lumber for decking; and explore the establishment of other manufactured plastic products using advanced recycling technologies. If successful, the model could potentially be adopted in other recycling facilities across the US.
“The typical waste management system in the US faces many barriers to recycling and reselling hard-to-recycle plastics because of the lack of end markets and the complex steps and partners involved in collecting, sorting, processing, and remanufacturing these plastics,” said Dale Gubbels, CEO of Firstar. “With this project we have the opportunity to bring all of those elements together—literally under one roof—in order to find sustainable solutions and provide value to all plastics, even those previously destined for the landfill or the environment.”
Firstar is a leading provider of recycling services across several Midwestern states, processing and marketing close to 100,000 tons per year of a wide variety of recyclable materials. Based in Nebraska, it was an early pioneer of innovative recycling processes and technologies including a ground-breaking initiative for curb side residential collection of plastic bags and films.
“Recycling is among a number of important areas that must be invested in for a more sustainable future. In line with the Alliance’s mission to end plastic waste in the environment, this project aims to develop solutions that address gaps in the current recycling ecosystem,” said Steve Sikra, Vice President and Head of Americas for the Alliance. “Companies like Firstar are pioneers in creating value for hard-to-recycle plastic at the municipal and regional level. We look forward to working with them to maximise impact with the objective to replicate such efforts in other cities in the US and internationally.”