With that in mind, the retailer has joined the Material Recovery Facility of the Future, a collaborative committed to seeing that flexible packaging is recycled and that the recovery community captures value from it. The announcement is one of Target's five new sustainable packaging goals it recently released.
Target’s chief sustainability officer, Jennifer Silberman, says that by using Target’s power and scale as one of the country’s largest retailers, the company can be a catalyst for change in the industry.
One challenge the recycling industry currently faces is that of flexible plastic packaging. Flexible packaging is displacing many types of packaging formats, including those that are traditionally recycled — but currently, in North America, flexible packaging is not accepted in most recycling programs. With the Material Recovery Facility of the Future collaborative, retailers including Target have joined forces to advance the idea that all packaging must be recyclable.
The collaborative released research last fall showing that, with adequate screening and optical sorting capacity, flexible plastic packaging can be efficiently captured in a single-stream materials recovery facility. The research findings are important because, while flexible packaging is highly efficient and has a low environmental impact, recovery has been one of its weak points, says PepsiCo Food packaging research and development director Brad Rodgers.
Common forms of flexible plastic packaging include re-sealable food bags, pouches for laundry detergent pods, pet food bags, and snack bags.
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