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Circular Economy for Flexible Films in Minnesota

Circular Economy for Flexible Films in Minnesota

News 06.05.2022

A ground breaking partnership led by Minnesota’s MBOLD coalition has united leading global businesses and research institutions to catalyze a regional circular economy for flexible films and packaging materials in the Upper Midwest. MBOLD members General Mills, Schwan’s Company, Target, Ecolab, Cargill, Land O’Lakes, Inc. and the University of Minnesota are collaborating across the value chain with film recycler Myplas USA, Inc. and film manufacturer Charter Next Generation.

This new initiative will expand film recycling infrastructure and the supply of recycled resin for use in new products, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and curtailing waste. With investment from MBOLD members and other stakeholders, Myplas USA will establish a state-of-the-art flexible film recycling plant in Minnesota, its first in the U.S. Slated to begin operations in spring 2023, this new 170,000-square-foot mechanical recycling plant aims to recycle nearly 90 million pounds of low- and high-density polyethylene packaging and film annually at full capacity.

The U.S. uses 12-15 billion pounds of flexible packaging and films annually, including select food packaging, shopping bags, shrink wrap, pallet wrap, e-commerce mailers, lawn and garden bags, and hay bale wrap, among many other products. However, only an estimated five percent of flexible films used in the U.S. are recycled each year, with the rest being landfilled, incinerated or even released into the environment.

The initiative includes a combined $9.2 million equity investment in Myplas USA by lead investors General Mills, Schwan’s Company and Wisconsin-based film manufacturer Charter Next Generation, and supporting investors Target and Ecolab. Myplas’ new film recycling plant will be located in Rogers, Minn., northwest of Minneapolis, and will employ about 300 people.

Building demand for recycled polyethylene resin is also key to a thriving circular economy. To that end, Charter Next Generation will purchase recycled resin from Myplas for use in a variety of food, industrial and healthcare film products. MBOLD members Cargill, General Mills, Schwan’s Company, Land O’Lakes and the University of Minnesota will evaluate potential product applications using recycled resin with Charter Next Generation. Land O’Lakes, Cargill, Schwan’s Company and the University of Minnesota will explore opportunities to direct film waste to Myplas USA for recycling once the plant is operational.

The Alliance to End Plastic Waste and Closed Loop Partners are each providing multi-million dollar debt financing to Myplas USA to support development of their new Minnesota recycling facility. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development is also supporting Myplas USA through $1 million from the Minnesota Investment Fund and $450,000 from the Minnesota Job Creation Fund.

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