Effort will advance sustainability mindset with shrink wrap recycling and divert this valuable plastic film from landfills
Chicago, IL—Today, the Council of the Great Lakes Region (CGLR), the Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW), Charter Next Generation (CNG), Solid Waste Agency of Lake County (SWALCO), Chicago Harbors, Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), LRS (Lakeshore Recycling Systems), and Myplas USA have joined forces to announce a pilot project through CGLR’s Circular Great Lakes initiative that will help marinas in Chicago and Lake County properly recycle boat shrink wrap and keep this valuable plastic film out of landfills.
The project will be piloted at Liberty Marina, Munson Marine, and Skipper Bud’s in Lake County and Montrose Harbor in Chicago. Collectively, these locations serve an estimated 1,300 boats, which equates to nearly 26,000 pounds of plastic shrink wrap that is required at the end of each boating season to winterize these vessels and protect them from snow and ice damage. Prior to this program, this material is almost universally lost to landfills when it is removed each spring.
Through this pilot, the shrink wrap film will be captured at each of the participating marinas with the help of SWALCO and Chicago Harbors, shipped to LRS’s Northbrook Material Recovery Facility (MRF) for consolidation, bailing and storage, and then transported to Myplas USA’s new state-of-the-art plastic film processing plant in Rogers, Minnesota before being provided to Wisconsin-based Charter Next Generation so that the pellets can be tested for reuse as recycled content in other plastic film applications.
Leveraging learnings from successful programs in parts of Ohio, Michigan and along the East Coast, the non-governmental, government agencies, business, and marina partners involved in this initiative aim to expand it to more locations across the Great Lakes region, which is shared by eight Great Lakes states, from New York to Minnesota, and the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec, in order to close the loop and create a regional circular economy for boat shrink wrap film.
In the Great Lakes region, it is estimated that roughly 80% of the region’s post-consumer waste is lost to landfills, including valuable materials like plastic, according to a report by the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Regional models done by the Rochester Institute of Technology also estimate that as much as 22 million pounds of plastic litter could be entering the Great Lakes every year through a variety of sources and pathways, polluting the lakes and their surrounding watersheds, which will cost hundreds of millions of dollars to combat and curtail. This pilot project and partnership is an important step towards creating a circular economy for plastics and solving for sustainability in the Great Lakes region. If you are interested in joining or learning more about this pilot project or the Circular Great Lakes initiative, visit https://www.circulargreatlakes.org.
“Plastic shrink wrap is used throughout the Great Lakes region to store and protect boats during the winter months, a valuable material that is almost always landfilled every Spring. Through this Circular Great Lakes pilot, an initiative of the Council of the Great Lakes Region, and the partnerships that have been formed, we are working to end the cycle of waste by recycling it and creating new reuse opportunities as recycled content in other plastic film applications, which is good for our environment and our economy.” Mark Fisher, President and CEO, Council of the Great Lakes Region
“Historically, films like boat wrap are not recycled and end up in landfill or incinerated. Boat wrap is made of polyethylene, it does not biodegrade and will lay in landfills indefinitely. Through this project initiative MyPlas will use our state-of-the-art equipment to produce a high-quality material that can be used to manufacture new boat wrap.” Jane Fridley De Bigit, MyPlas USA Procurement and Sales Manager
“The collaboration among the team members on this pilot boat film collection project has been impressive and we have three Lake County marinas that are ready to participate this spring and help us learn about the costs, logistics and feasibility of collecting boat film. SWALCO has a long history trying to divert more plastic film from the landfill and this project will provide some tangible results and ultimately the goal is to expand it throughout the Great Lakes region.” Pete Adrian, SWALCO Recycling Coordinator
“As a manufacturer of boat wrap film, Charter Next Generation is extremely excited to partner with the Council of the Great Lakes Region’s Circular Great Lakes initiative and these other amazing organizations to create this circular solution. Continuing to find better ways to make positive environmental impacts on our local waterways and communities is a focus for CNG, but we know success comes much faster through collaborative efforts such as this.” Scott Hammer, Director of Corporate Sustainability for Charter Next Generation
“The Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ Clean Marina Program is proud to be a partner in the Boat Shrink Wrap Recovery Pilot Program. This will help marinas implement Best Management Practices to keep large amounts of plastic out of the landfill every spring.” Kim Kreiling, IDNR Clean Marina Coordinator
“We are excited to support the Boat Shrink Wrap Recovery pilot project and thank the partners for their contributions. Strong collaboration is vital to solving the plastic waste issue and the pilot is a great next step towards a growing circular economy for plastics in the Great Lakes Region.” Natalie Stirling-Sanders, Chief Advisor, Head of Americas at the Alliance to End Plastic Waste
About Council of the Great Lakes Region
The Council of the Great Lakes Region is a binational network of organizations composed of: (1) the Council of the Great Lakes Region USA, an Ohio-based trade association; (2) the CGLR Foundation, an Ohio-based public charity; and the Council of the Great Lakes Region Canada, a not-for-profit corporation. Together, these organizations, collectively referred to as the Council of the Great Lakes Region, are leading a new era of economic growth, environmental protection, and individual well-being by strengthening the region’s long-term competitiveness and sustainability. For more information, please visit https://councilgreatlakesregion.org/ and https://www.circulargreatlakes.org
About the Alliance to End Plastic Waste
The Alliance to End Plastic Waste (Alliance) is a global non-profit organization with the mission to end plastic waste in the environment. Its focus is implementing projects and investing in innovative solutions to develop or enhance waste management systems. As of June 2022, its portfolio comprises over 50 projects across 30 countries worldwide. Tackling plastic waste is a complex challenge that requires collective action. Since 2019, the Alliance has convened a global network of industry leaders across the plastics value chain, together with government, civil society, entrepreneurs, and communities to work towards advancing a circular economy for plastic waste. For more information, visit: www.endplasticwaste.org
About Charter Next Generation
Charter Next Generation is North America’s leading independent producer of high-performance, specialty films used in flexible packaging and other end-use markets. Known for sustainable, innovative products and world-class manufacturing capabilities, the company’s quality and expertise are unsurpassed. Its sustainability-first mindset and relentless pursuit of excellence make it an ideal partner to help brand owners reach their long-term sustainability goals. www.cnginc.com
About Chicago Harbors
The Chicago Harbors consist of 10 beautiful harbors along Chicago’s 14-mile lakeshore that together make up the nation’s largest municipal harbor system. Owned by the Chicago Park District, the Chicago Harbors have been managed by Westrec Marinas SMI OpCo LLC since 1995. In addition to over 5,200 wet slips, two of the harbors offer winter dry storage. Approximately 113 boats get shrink wrapped every year and that wrap goes into a dumpster every spring. Finding a sustainable recycling program to keep shrink wrap out of landfills has been a goal for years. This partnership along with boater education helps ensure shrink wrap gets properly recycled. For more information on the Chicago Harbors, please visit ChicagoHarbors.info.
About Solid Waste Agency of Lake County (SWALCO)
The Solid Waste Agency of Lake County, IL (SWALCO) is a municipal joint action agency that is responsible for developing and implementing a regional solid waste management plan for its 43 municipal members including the County of Lake. Formed in 1990, SWALCO represents approximately 700,000 residents and owns and operates a household hazardous waste management facility. Its mission is to facilitate an efficient, reliable and environmentally sound waste/material management system; advise and assist its members regarding solid waste management issues; operate regional collection programs for HHW, electronics, clothing/textiles/shoes, pharmaceuticals and sharps; educate the public regarding implications of solid waste management options; and identify, evaluate and disseminate information regarding techniques to reduce, reuse, recycle or compost and move the system to a circular economy. For more information, visit www.swalco.org.
About Myplas USA
Myplas USA, Inc. is pioneering a circular economy for plastic film, expanding the film recycling infrastructure and the supply of recycled resin. Together with our partners we’re leading a paradigm shift from the way plastic is used and discarded today, toward a more sustainable future. Recycled resin will be used to create new products, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and waste that ends up in landfill. Myplas is constructing a state-of the art flexible film recycling plant in Rogers, Minnesota - the company’s first in the USA. This new 170,000 square foot mechanical recycling plant is slated to begin operations in the summer of 2023. The plant aims to recycle nearly 90 million pounds of HDPE and LDPE packaging and film producing Food Grade HDPE and LDPE Post Consumer Resin when running at full capacity.
About Illinois Department of Natural Resources
Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ mission is to manage, conserve and protect Illinois' natural, recreational and cultural resources, further the public's understanding and appreciation of those resources, and promote the education, science and public safety of Illinois' natural resources for present and future generations. As part of this mission, IDNR created and implements the Illinois Clean Marina Program. The nation-wide Clean Marina Initiative is a voluntary, incentive-based program that encourages marina operators and recreational boaters to protect coastal water quality by engaging in environmentally sound operating and maintenance procedures. The Illinois Clean Marina Program offers information, guidance, and technical assistance to marina operators, local governments, and recreational boaters on Best Management Practices (BMPs) that can be used to prevent or reduce pollution. Marinas that participate in the Clean Marina Program are recognized for their environmental stewardship.
LRS is North America's fifth largest privately-held waste and recycling company. Since 2013, LRS has specialized in providing comprehensive, fully integrated waste diversion and recycling services for millions of residential and commercial customers across nine states: Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Kansas, Arkansas and Tennessee. Diversified and growing exponentially, LRS also offers affordable roll-off container services, C&D recycling, portable restroom rentals, municipal and commercial street sweeping, mulch distribution, on-site storage and temporary fencing. LRS owns and operates 88 facilities, safely deploys a fleet of fuel-efficient trucks and thrives on the passion of 2,700 full-time employees. The company processes more than 3.8 million tons of waste each year, providing safe, innovative, sustainability-driven services to clean and beautify the cities, neighborhoods and communities it serves. To learn more, visit www.LRSrecycles.com.