Film plastics, which can include everything from stretch wrap to plastic shopping bags to bubble wrap, are generated across campus from the book store to shipping and receiving. Use of film plastic has increased dramatically in recent years as a lightweight option for product protection during shipment. At the same time there are new opportunities to recycle these flexible plastics. By introducing it as a RecycleMania category, we hope to raise awareness of this opportunity and encourage more colleges to set up recovery programs. On this page you will find information about how to set up a film plastic recovery program as well the formal rules for the special RecycleMania category.
Schools that do not have an existing recovery program are encouraged to research film plastic markets (local retailers, recycling service providers, MRF, or end users) in their area to find a recipient for their material and to get more specific information about the types of film plastics that are acceptable in that market. More information about markets is available in the attached resource guide. You can also get direct assistance with setting up a film plastic recovery program by emailing: RecycleMania@PlasticFilmRecycling.org. End users of scrap plastic may provide necessary equipment and guidance in establishing your film recovery program to it’s important to start by identifying your potential markets.
Film Plastic Case Studies
Film Plastic Competition Rules
The Film Plastic category will function similar to the Electronics category, with a single month-long tracking and reporting period:
- Month-long tracking - Schools can set any start and stop date that falls within the 10 week RecycleMania period. The results will be published in mid-April in conjunction with other RecycleMania results.
- Eligible materials – This category will count flexible film plastics. Most markets prefer polyethylene films (PE, marked as #2 or #4), however other resin types may be acceptable based on your market. Typical items include: shrink or stretch wrap, dry cleaner bags, newspaper bags, shopping bags, bulk product packaging wrap (i.e. plastic film packaging for toilet paper or cases of bottled drinks). On-campus coordinators should encourage participants to stuff and compact the plastic in the bags as much as possible. This category does not include plastic containers or any other type of rigid plastics.
- Non-campus sources— It is possible that a participating college or university may provide the only opportunity for recycling film plastic in an area. As a result, this category will allow incidental collection from non-campus generated sources, such as employees bringing material from home, as long as all collection occurs on campus.
- Divisions don’t apply -All schools will be compared in a single ranking regardless of which division they participate in for the traditional RecycleMania categories.
- Per capita rankings – Results will be calculated on a per capita basis.
- Calculating weights – Where actual weights are possible they should be used. Volume to weight conversion factors should be approached with the understanding that film plastics have a high volume to weight ratio, and compaction will influence the weight in a given volume. Consider collecting 20 bags of film plastic from around your campus that represent a sample of types and weights. Weigh these 20 bags, take an average, and multiple this average weight by the total number of bags to estimate your campus’s total collection weight. Other weight measures may be used if they are “good faith” attempts to measure the total weight collected.
As with other materials, we encourage reuse as an acceptable option in defining “recycling” for the competition.