The Hefty Energy Bag Program could maybe one day make your brewing business green by collecting your nonrecycled plastics in orange bags and actually doing something with them other than heading to the landfill. Jeff Wooster, global sustainability director at Dow Chemical, presented the program at Pack Expo Las Vegas 2017 to a full house (which, on the educational stages, really means around 50 or 60 people, but I saw plenty of sessions with fewer than 10 people, so those were good numbers).
The basic idea is that you fill a bright orange bag with plastics that usually can’t be recycled, then put it in the bin with the rest of your recycling. Your municipality picks it up, then a separate service collects all the Energy Bags from a distribution center and carts them to any of a handful of possible plants where they can become new plastics or converted into forms of energy — hence “Energy” Bag. Watch the video above.
They ran a pilot program in Citrus Heights, Calif, in 2014, which was successful enough that they were able to launch a permanent program for single-family homes in Omaha, Neb. Success depends a lot on their consumer education strategy, which leads with the slogan, “If you don’t bin it, bag it” (which I think is pretty good). As with your regular recycling, there was concern over contaminants, but in the trial they had contaminant levels that were as low or even lower than regular recycling.
We’re some ways away from this being available to homes in large urban centers, much less your small business, but if you’re looking to be optimally eco-friendly or even zero-waste, this is the kind of program that may one day get you there.