Secondary Sorting Pilot

America‚Äôs Plastic Makers® are taking important steps to significantly increase the amount of plastic packaging that we reuse, recycle, and recover in the United States. Responding to the urgent need to improve recycling rates across the U.S., the American Chemistry Council (ACC) partnered with the Plastics Industry Association, Americas Styrenics, Berry Global, Carton Council, LyondellBasell, and Metro. The group helped install a portable secondary sorting system at the Far West Recycling materials recovery facility (MRF) in Oregon.

The project aims to demonstrate how a wider range of materials can be captured from the curbside recycling stream by further sorting materials not generally collected by traditional mechanical recycling. This can create six additional streams of recyclables.

Demonstrating Successful Secondary Sorting

The data collected from the pilot project is expected to show how secondary sorting offers communities an effective and valuable new recycling option.

This exhibition, the first regional project of its kind, could drive nationwide change in recycling capabilities. Communities could even generate revenue by selling recovered materials that have value in the marketplace.

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Key Benefits:

  • Drive new recycling innovation
  • Improve recycling capabilities
  • Expand sustainability goals
  • Generate revenue from in-demand recovered materials
  • Strengthen industry and public sector collaboration

How Secondary Sorting Works

As usual, recyclables collected from residential and commercial locations are taken to a local MRF to be sorted and recovered.

Any remaining materials that cannot be recovered at the MRF are shipped to a secondary sorting facility and placed into six specialized collection streams.

The newly collected materials get measured, recovered, and then sold for reuse.

Types of Materials Recovered

The materials that get a second chance at recovery in a secondary sorting facility include:

Polyethylene terephthalate (PET)

High-density polyethylene (HDPE)

Low-density polyethylene (LDPE)

Polypropylene (PP)

Polystyrene (PS)

Gable top and aseptic cartons

Project Co-Sponsors

The Pacific Northwest Secondary Sorting Demonstration is a public-private partnership co-funded by a diverse group of organizations dedicated to plastics recovery innovations.

ACC logo
AmSty Logo
Berry plastics logo
Carton Council logo
Lyondellbasell Logo
Metro logo
Milliken logo
Plastics Industry Association logo

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