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A Word About Recycling with Ollie Maier

Sunday, March 22, 2020

The coronavirus is definitely changing our lives in an unexpected and undesired way — quicker and more acutely than any of us could probably have imagined.

Thus, I wasn’t too surprised when, along with all the many other emails we all are receiving detailing closures of businesses and other restrictions to normal life, I received a message concerning Earth day.

It was from the President, Kathleen Rogers of the Earth Day Network, with the title “On April 22nd, we mobilize — digitally.”

She started the article by writing, “At Earth Day Network, the health and safety of volunteers and participants in Earth Day events is our top concern. Amid the recent COVID-19 outbreak, we encourage people to rise up but to do so safely and responsibly — in many cases, that means using our voices to drive action online rather than in person.

“With this in mind, Earth Day Network is postponing its live 50th anniversary Earth Day event. Instead, April 22 will mark the first Digital Earth Day, a global digital mobilization to ad dress the most urgent threats to people and planet.”

She explained how Digital Earth Day, by using some of the world’s most innovative digital media platforms, plans to mobilize millions in a collective call for action through the internet while sheltering at home. This effort will be different than any past Earth Day in its 50-year history.

Rogers went on to express that with this new challenge, just as in any other crisis, we have to keep going and we just have to modify our efforts in new and creative ways.

Although the first Earth Day was the biggest civic effort the world had ever seen, on this coming 50th anniversary of Earth Day, we will continue to show our concern, but in a different way.

Since Earth Day is still a month away, as I receive more info from her on what she suggests we do via the internet, I will continue to put it in these columns.

Now, switching subjects to an item in a recent Resource Recycling newsletter, a little on the recycling of plastics effort.

I found that U.S. plastic thermoform manufacturer Direct Pack Inc. has acquired a PET reclaimer to process recovered thermoforms. It will have the capacity to process 40 million pounds of recycled PET per year.

In a new step for Direct Pack, the processing facility will begin taking in recycled PET thermoforms and producing RPET resin for manufacturing new ther moform packaging.

“We have not had access to thermoform products until we started dealing directly with the MRFs (Material Recovery Facilities),” the president of Direct Pack said. Thus, they have been reaching out to many MRFs in the western U.S.

He feels these MRFs are pleased in being able to send the thermoforms for recovery, as the plastics would otherwise likely go to landfill. He is happy to see many of the bales of thermoform coming to them have a high percentage of products his Direct Pack company manufactured in the first place.

“There’s nothing more rewarding and satisfying than opening up these bales of post-consumer thermoforms and seeing our prod uct returned,” he said.

This might be called "Closed Loop" recycling.

This company’s efforts come at a crucial time as China no longer accepts thermoforms and some municipal programs have stopped taking them.

And with that, I’ll close, so till next week, do have an enjoyable. Stay virus-free, and safe.

Ollie is a local citizen concerned with the environment and helping others. A retired Air Force fighter and instructor pilot, he is a graduate of Leadership San Marcos and received his degrees at Texas State University where he worked on staff before totally retiring. For questions or comments, he invites you to call him at 512-353-7432.

San Marcos Record

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