MIDLAND, MI , Dec. 4, 2018 (Business Wire) -Dow and Keep America Beautiful announced they have awarded two $40,000 grants to organizations in Cobb County, Ga., and Lincoln, Neb. The grants will expand a recently launched Hefty® EnergyBag® program in Cobb County and help to establish a new start-up program in Lincoln. The program, which aligns with Dow’s 2025 Sustainability Goals, offers an innovative approach to diverting plastic waste that are not currently recycled – such as flexible films, foam to-go containers, plastic cups, straws and lids – from landfills by converting the materials into valuable resources.
Dow and Keep America Beautiful jointly announced the Hefty® EnergyBag® grant program in July 2017 and previously awarded grants to organizations in Cobb County and Boise, Idaho. In an effort to continue expanding the program, the organizations reopened the grant in 2018 for a second round of applications from communities across the U.S.
“We’re excited to build upon the success of the existing Hefty EnergyBag® programs through the 2018 grants we’re issuing to Cobb County and Lincoln,” said Jon Pyper, North America associate director of Sustainability and Advocacy for Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics. “By growing these programs, we are taking an important step toward increasing plastics recovery across North America.”
Each community will collect hard-to-recycle plastic materials and provide them to approved facilities that have the ability to generate a liquid fuel, such as diesel, using non-combustion conversion technologies. This process extends the life cycle of these plastic materials by creating new energy resources.
Growing Collaboration in Cobb County
In January, Dow and Keep America Beautiful awarded Keep Cobb Beautiful a $50,000 grant to help establish the Hefty® EnergyBag® program in Cobb County, Ga., which launched in November 2018. Keep Cobb Beautiful, a local affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, currently collaborates with hauler American Disposal to collect the hard-to-recycle plastics and with WestRock Recycling to separate the distinctive Hefty® orange bags for transport to Nexus Fuels for conversion to low-sulfur fuels, oils and wax products. The additional grant funding will enable more local haulers and their residential customers, to participate in the program.
“Keep Cobb Beautiful had many inquiries about the Hefty EnergyBag program at the community launch event where community members could drop off currently unrecycled plastics, so we’re excited to grow the program by having more households participate,” said Kimberly White, executive director for Keep Cobb Beautiful, Inc. “By building on the existing program and expanding to new haulers in Cobb County, we have an exciting opportunity to have an even greater impact on how our community manages waste.”
American Disposal customers in Cobb County can sign up to participate in the Hefty® EnergyBag® program by using this form.
Building on Successes in Nebraska with Lincoln
The $40,000 grant awarded to help establish a full-scale Hefty® EnergyBag® program in Lincoln, represents yet another community to launch in Nebraska. The Omaha metropolitan area was the first full-scale program to launch in October 2016. The greater Omaha area program expanded in 2017 to include the communities of Louisville, Ralston, Papillion, La Vista and Bellevue. The grant is being administered by Firstar Fiber, which has received the support of the City of Lincoln and haulers Uribes Refuse Services, Kurtzer Brothers Refuse, Zajicek Refuse Inc., D&D Refuse, Alley Cat Disposal & Recycling and Paragon Sanitation, to collaborate on the program that will launch in 2019, with additional support from the Lincoln Solid Waste and Recycling Association and the Nebraska Grocery Industry Association
“The success of the Omaha-area Hefty EnergyBag program over the last two years has captured the attention of Lincoln organizations,” said Dale Gubbels, CEO of Firstar Fiber. “Introducing the program to Lincoln is an exciting next step in Nebraska’s plan to increase the quantity of materials we are recovering, thereby reducing the amount of waste going to our landfills.”
The grant money will be used to provide residents with initial starter kits of Hefty® EnergyBag® orange bags, with additional bags available for purchase at a later date. Before purchasing the orange bags, residents should check with their regular hauler to make sure they are able to participate in the program.
Program Success to Date
In support of these communities, Dow will provide guidelines for implementing the program, and assist in initial planning, implementation and measurements to confirm the quality of collected materials. Grant recipients are ultimately responsible for managing the program and engaging with key community stakeholders.
To date, Hefty® EnergyBag® curbside and non-curbside programs, including the two full-scale programs in the Omaha metropolitan area and Boise, Idaho, have collected more than 328,900 orange bags and diverted more than 213 tons of hard-to-recycle plastics from landfills.
About Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics
Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics combines core strengths of R&D, worldwide reach, broad product lines and industry expertise to deliver new solutions in plastics to meet consumer demand in end use markets like food packaging, personal hygiene, footwear, transportation and infrastructure. The business is one of the largest polyethylene producers in the world, and is a leading innovator and collaborator across the value chain on technologies and applications that are high performing and sustainable.
Dow combines science and technology knowledge to develop premier materials science solutions that are essential to human progress. Dow has one of the strongest and broadest toolkits in the industry, with robust technology, asset integration, scale and competitive capabilities that enable it to address complex global issues. Dow’s market-driven, industry-leading portfolio of advanced materials, industrial intermediates, and plastics businesses deliver a broad range of differentiated technology-based products and solutions for customers in high-growth markets such as packaging, infrastructure, and consumer care. Dow is a subsidiary of DowDuPont, a holding company comprised of Dow and DuPont with the intent to form three strong, independent, publicly traded companies in agriculture, materials science and specialty sectors.
About Keep America Beautiful
Keep America Beautiful, the nation’s iconic community improvement nonprofit organization, inspires and educates people to take action every day to improve and beautify their community environment. Established in 1953, we strive to End Littering, Improve Recycling and Beautify America’s Communities. We believe everyone has a right to live in a clean, green and beautiful community, and shares a responsibility to contribute to that vision. Behavior change – steeped in education, research and behavioral science – is the cornerstone of Keep America Beautiful. We empower generations of community stewards with volunteer programs, hands-on experiences, curricula, practical advice and other resources to deliver measurable environmental, economic and social benefits. The organization is driven by more than 600 state and local affiliates, millions of volunteers, and the support of corporate partners, social and civic service organizations, academia, municipalities and government officials.
About Reynolds Consumer Products
Reynolds Consumer Products is a leading provider of quality household essentials that have been trusted for generations. Our Reynolds® and Hefty® brand products help with preparation, cooking, cleanup, and storage. The Hefty® brand is best known for strong, dependable waste bags, available in the U.S. at mass merchants, grocers, and other retail stores nationwide.