Keep Cobb Beautiful, the Cobb County affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, will launch the Hefty EnergyBag program as part of its community celebration of America Recycles Day on Saturday.
This innovative waste recovery program keeps hard-to-recycle plastics – such as chip bags, candy wrappers and drink pouches – out of local landfills by converting them into valuable energy resources. It complements the municipalities’ existing mechanical recycling infrastructure and represents a collaborative effort between Keep Cobb Beautiful, hauler American Disposal and materials recovery facility WestRock Recycling, with counsel from The Dow Chemical Company and Reynolds Consumer Products.
In January 2018, Dow and Keep America Beautiful awarded Keep Cobb Beautiful a $50,000 grant to help establish the program. Additional funding has been provided by corporate sponsors, including Printpack, the Flexible Packaging Association, Amcor Ltd., Bema Incorporated, Novolex and Sun Chemical Corporation.
“Together with our local partners and generous sponsoring businesses, Keep Cobb Beautiful is excited to introduce this groundbreaking initiative to Cobb County residents,” said Kimberly White, executive director for Keep Cobb Beautiful. “This is an opportunity to enhance the community’s existing waste management efforts and keep more plastic waste from ending up in local landfills.”
Customers of American Disposal in Cobb County, the first hauler to offer the program, can sign up to participate in the program by using a form at https://cobbcounty.seamlessdocs.com/f/HEBprogram. The first 20,000 households to sign up will receive their first roll of the orange bags for free.
Once households receive their bags, they can begin collecting accepted hard-to-recycle plastic items. They can then place the full, tied bags in their recycling carts for collection with their recyclable items on their regular recycling days. Materials collected in the bags will be delivered to Nexus Fuels to convert these hard-to-recycle plastics into valuable fuels, extending their life while reducing materials going to landfills.
“The Hefty EnergyBag program is a significant step toward achieving positive long-term environmental and economic advantages by advancing the vision of a circular economy,” said Jon Pyper, Dow’s North American director of Sustainability & Advocacy for The Dow Chemical Company. “We are pleased to work with Keep Cobb Beautiful and the many partners and businesses that are dedicated to making this program a success.”
To date, the curbside and non-curbside programs, including two full-scale programs in the greater Omaha, Nebraska and Boise, Idaho areas have collected more than 276,000 orange bags and diverted more than 181 tons of hard-to-recycle plastics from landfills.