The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) estimates that more than 4.5 million tons of plastic are tossed into California landfills annually. According to the 2018 California Waste Characterization, plastic accounts for 12% of the state’s total landfill waste.
A Look at Clamshells and Other #1 PET Plastic Containers
One type of product helping to provide a more recyclable plastic alternative is #1 PET plastic containers. This type of plastic is commonly used for beverage bottles, clamshell to-go packaging, and produce containers. A clamshell is a one-piece container consisting of two halves that can be closed using a hinge.
Advantages of using #1 PET plastic include:
- Being completely recyclable and recoverable
- Meeting the global market demand for recycled content products
- Serving as a more sustainable alternative than foam containers
In June 2020, Athens Services partnered with Direct Pack, a local plastics manufacturer in Sun Valley, California, committed to “full circle recycling” to reclaim and recover #1 PET plastic clamshells and beverage bottles.
Here’s how the process works:
- Athens collects acceptable plastic products from curbside containers and businesses
- The collected material is taken to Athens’ Sun Valley Materials Recovery Facility (MRF), where they are sorted and bundled into bales based on plastic type
- Direct Pack picks up the #1 PET plastic bales and takes them to its recycling facility for reprocessing
- Direct Pack washes and breaks down the post-consumer plastic into flakes, which can then be molded to create new recycled PET plastic containers
“It’s been a great partnership. We are recovering materials instead of sending them to the landfill,” said Athens MRF Product Sales Manager Keng Baloco-Wong.