The foodservice packaging industry is committed to reducing the impact of its products on the environment and is dedicated to increasing the recovery of its products. While there is some recycling and composting of foodservice packaging already taking place, it is too little, primarily because of the current recovery infrastructure and end market opportunities for the recovered material. The industry recognized that a systems-based approach was needed to address this complex challenge, and that it needed strong collaboration with value chain partners. Therefore, to develop and promote economically viable and sustainable recovery solutions for foodservice packaging, the Paper Recovery Alliance (PRA) was formed in late 2011 and the Plastics Recovery Group (PRG) a short time later.
The PRA focuses on used paper foodservice packaging, while the PRG focuses on used plastic foodservice packaging. In some cases, the two groups work independently (for example, with end market development), while in other cases, the groups may work together (e.g., with collection infrastructure development, consumer education and engagement, and partnership building with marketplace stakeholders).
While the PRG focuses on all plastics used in foodservice packaging, it became clear that polystyrene foam had its own unique set of challenges to increased recovery. Therefore, in 2014, the Foam Recycling Coalition (FRC) was launched. As their first project, the FRC commissioned a study to better understand end market demand for post-consumer foam. The study helped dispel the perception that there is not enough market demand for recovered foam and, in fact, pointed to growing end markets. A copy of the study may be found below. The next step for the coalition will be to establish and fund a proactive, multi-year grant program to assist residential material recovery facilities in recycling post-consumer polystyrene foam. More details will be posted here when available.
- MRF Benchmarking Study Overview
- Food Residue Studies Overview
- Foodservice Packaging Recovery Toolkit (includes specific resources for communities, material recovery facilities and end markets)
- Market Analysis of End Use Markets for EPS
- December 4, 2014: Progress Report on Foodservice Packaging Recovery (slides available here)
- October 28, 2014: Foodservice Packaging and Recycling Quality
- December 3, 2013: Foodservice Packaging Recovery: Boston
- September 24, 2013: Managing Compostable Foodservice Packaging
- August 20, 2013: Recovering Foodservice Packaging - A MRF Perspective
May 17, 2013: Growing Recovery Options: Foodservice Packaging
Eligible participants in FPI's recovery groups include stakeholders from all parts of the value chain, including raw material suppliers, converters, operators/retailers, collection service providers, reclaimers and material recovery facilities, and recovered feedstock end users. Current members are listed below. For more information on membership, please contact Lynn Dyer at firstname.lastname@example.org.