Until now, juice boxes and waxed milk cartons had to be trashed. Now there’s a new recycling process for them.
Groupe RCM,Inc., a recycler in Quebec, Canada, has begun accepting juice boxes and milk containers for recycling. Their new process breaks down the cartons, plastic bag and film waste into a thermoplastic resin that will then be used in industrial and commercial manufacturing.
The process utilizes high-speed knives to homogenize different types of waste materials into plastic granules that can be used to make a variety of plastic products including: flower pots, railway ties, guard rail posts, pallets and plastic lumber.
This process is the first of its kind in the world. Waste-free, it converts everything – straws,caps and other attached plastic components – into plastic granules.
This innovative recycling process is a direct result of a 3-year development and represents a $3.5 million investment partnership between Tetra Pak, its corporate partners A. Lassonde Inc., a manufacturer of fruit and juice drinks, and Natrel, a Canadian dairy cooperative, and the Québec government corporation Recyc-Québec, all of which collectively provided Groupe RCM with crucial seed capital. This project is part of a larger nationally focused recycling plan.
Groupe RCM is a non-profit organization founded in 1981 that hires handicapped individuals, who represent 80% of its workforce. The organization operates in the environmental sector and provides materials sorting similar to a materials recycling facility.
The launch of this recycling process is a big step forward for sustainable packaging. If adopted by other recyclers in North America, it offers a huge opportunity to cut down on a segment of products that typically end up in landfills.
Companies like TerraCycle have been working in this direction as well, albeit from a different perspective. TerraCycle’s known for their Brigades whereby individuals, schools and/or organizations collect specific items otherwise un-recyclable – such as juice drink packaging – and send them in to be repurposed into new useful products.
This new recycling process is yet another exciting step in the quest to eliminate waste and be good stewards of the planet.