It has never been easier to recycle plastic film, but the packaging industry continues to wrestle with an urgent question: “How do we increase recovery and recycling rates of flexible plastic packaging?”
The answer: Through education and awareness.
In light of this, the American Chemistry Council’s Flexible Film Recycling Group (FFRG) has launched a national campaign to raise awareness — the WRAP (Wrap Recycling Action Project) Social Sharing Initiative. The campaign harnesses the power of social media to spread the word about the many types of plastic film that can be easily recycled at grocery and retail stores nationwide.
Sweepstakes promotes participation
The WRAP Social Sharing Initiative offers incentives that activate consumers and the packaging and recycling value chains to help spread the word about the types of plastic film that can be recycled, how to recycle, and where.
Anyone can enter for the chance to win one of two $50 Amazon gift cards, awarded randomly each week until October 2014. Participants can enter in one of two ways:
- Visit the Recycle Your Plastics Facebook page, “like” the page and “share” the post about flexible film recycling with their Facebook friends.
- Upload unique pictures to the WRAP Social Picture Gallery to show how they are actively recycling flexible plastic film and wraps or educating others.
Engagement to boost flexible packaging recycling rates
The trend is certainly moving in the right direction. More than one billion pounds of flexible plastic film were recycled in 2012. There are more than 18,000 drop-off points nationwide. More than 70% of Americans have local access to programs collecting flexible plastic packaging, and 90% have access to recycle plastic bags.
The signs are positive, but really moving the needle demands persistent, proactive strategies. The WRAP Social Sharing Initiative engages people in a fun way, rewards participation, and capitalizes on social media’s sharing capabilities to seed important messages into the public consciousness.
Efforts such as these help consumers understand that plastic film is easily recyclable and includes much more than just grocery bags. It also helps them to understand how their recovered film is recycled into a broad range of new products. It is our hope that this newfound knowledge will motivate them to return more and more plastic film to drop-off centers, increasing the amount available for recycling year after year.
Joint action creates impact
If ever there were a time for all hands on deck, this is it. Packaging professionals, recyclers and consumers must work together to increase flexible film recycling rates. Packaging professionals and recycling communities must keep building consumer awareness around plastic film recycling. The WRAP Social Sharing Initiative is just one effort among many:
- In my home state, a unique coalition of businesses, government agencies, and recycling advocates launched a campaign through Wisconsin WRAP to increase the amount of plastic film recycled in Milwaukee.
- More initiatives meant to elevate awareness and action are on the horizon from the FFRG and WRAP in 2014.
So, go ahead. “Like” the Recycle Your Plastics Facebook page, and share the WRAP Social Sharing Initiative promotion with your networks. It’s a powerful way to join the movement, spread the word, and align with the full array of initiatives underway to educate and raise awareness about plastic film recycling.