Study shows sustainability benefits, including broad curbside recycling acceptance
Recycling is key in the effort to improve environmental sustainability. Consumers often assume paper-based packaging is recyclable. However, paper-based composite canisters are not recyclable or accepted curbside, and when they end up in the recycling bin, they are diverted to landfills as a contaminate.
Unlike traditional multi-material canisters that often contain paper, SmartCAN is comprised of just a single material: polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Highly recycled PET is made from high-value, high-demand materials, readily recycled and reprocessed, and easily incorporates post-consumer resin (PCR) -- reducing the need to create new material from fossil feedstock.
At Ring Container Technologies, this distinction between recyclable and recycled is essential, as the company actively addresses and reduces material usage and waste to support a circular economy for packaging materials. To that end, Ring Container Technologies engaged Three Peaks Consulting, a third-party sustainability consulting firm, to conduct a study on two different food containers: a paper-based composite canister and the mono-layer SmartCAN container, to objectively assess the collection and recycling pathway. The study reinforced the sustainability benefits of SmartCAN.
Three Peaks Consulting engaged with recycling managers in 12 large cities across the United States, including Memphis, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, to assess collection of both the composite canister and the SmartCAN container. Curbside collection is the most effective and efficient means of collecting post-consumer material.
Many curbside recycling programs accept a broad array of materials, which can prove confusing for consumers, who may feel a false sense of satisfaction when filling their curbside bin and would be surprised to learn that many canisters are diverted to landfills or a waste-to-energy incinerators. The results indicated that SmartCAN is readily accepted in the responding cities’ recycling programs.
In addition, SmartCAN follows Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines for a “Widely Recycled” How2Recycle label, a standardized labeling system that clearly communicates recycling instructions to the public. The approved label is based on compatibility with the entire recycling process, including acceptance in collection programs and sortation, reprocessing and end-market demand.
“Sustainability is deeply ingrained in our company culture, and SmartCAN is 100 percent recyclable,” said Tim Ferrel, Vice President of Business Development at Ring Container Technologies. “We want our food manufacturing customers and the public at large to understand that it’s both technologically possible and economically viable to produce plastic products that are completely recyclable, made from post-consumer resin, and are as clear and strong as containers made from virgin materials. As more companies set their recycled-content goals to meet environmental sustainability initiatives, the demand for post-use PET material will continue to grow, and Ring will be at the forefront of that.”