Nova Chemicals Corp., headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, has announced that it will sell postconsumer resins (PCR) produced by Revolution, Little Rock, Arkansas. Through the exclusive partnership, Nova will sell Revolution’s recycled low-density and linear low-density polyethylene, rLDPE and rLLDPE, expanding Nova’s portfolio of PCR offerings.

Revolution manufactures plastic films for a variety of consumer and industrial products and packaging, recapturing them after use to recycle into new products. This agreement will secure a portion of this “closed-loop” plastic, Nova, says, beginning January 2021.

“Working with Revolution, a company that shares our passion for advancing the circular economy, we will further widen our product offerings for recycled plastics,” Luis Sierra, president and CEO of Nova Chemicals says. “Together, we will offer a portfolio of PCR that is available immediately to enable our customers and brand owners to meet their sustainability goals.”

Nova Chemicals says it will offer a number of rLDPE and rLLDPE grades from Revolution with different melt indexes and densities. The grades are suitable for use in flexible packaging applications, such as heavy-duty sack, shrink and stretch wrap, agricultural film, poly mailers and pouches and a range of molded goods.

“We’re thrilled to collaborate with Nova Chemicals to help more customers looking for high-quality postconsumer recycled content,” says Sean Whiteley, CEO of Revolution. “Creating a circular economy for plastics is at the core of our company’s mission. For more than 20 years, we’ve been putting high-quality PCR back into new flexible packaging, and we are excited to expand the positive sustainability impact to more applications with Nova Chemicals.”

In addition to supplying recycled resins, Nova Chemicals also offers technical support to help customers incorporate PCR into applications while meeting performance requirements. The company says its dedicated PCR team has extensive expertise coupled with technical facilities at the company’s Innovation Centres, which are equipped with production, conversion and test equipment.

“The relationship we’ve built with Revolution will have a significant impact on the market for recycled plastics,” says Greg DeKunder, vice president, polyethylene marketing, Nova Chemicals. “Joining forces enables Nova Chemicals to be a one-stop shop for our customers’ PCR needs and to provide the peace of mind that comes with buying from Nova Chemicals.”

In addition to its partnership with Revolution, Nova Chemicals has announced that it has become a technical sponsor of Toward Circularity, an expansion of the Boulder, Colorado-based Pet Sustainability Coalition’s current Flex Forward pet food packaging recycling pilot.

Nova says it is providing funding and expertise to expand the coalition’s work to address opportunities to advance the circular economy for flexible plastic pet food and treat packaging materials.

Toward Circularity plans to expand collections to include postconsumer and postindustrial material and to conduct testing to determine best markets and applications for the recyclate. The project seeks to decrease the current 99 percent landfill rate for plastic pet food and treat bags by finding uses for recovered materials and provide end-of-life solutions for consumers, retailers and packaging manufacturers.

“An estimated 300 million pounds of plastic pet food and treats bags are produced in the United States alone each year,” says Melissa Bauer, director of sustainability at the Pet Sustainability Coalition. “Most of these bags are made of multiple types of plastic, making them difficult to recycle. Long term, we aim to help the pet food industry move to recyclable, monomaterial packaging, but it is imperative that we help increase recycling for the materials that are being produced today.”

In August, the Pet Sustainability Coalition, in partnership with pet food brand Earth Animal and distributor Pet Food Experts, launched the Flex Forward pilot program to test a return-to-retail pet food packaging collection system. More than 10,000 used pet food bags have been collected at 120 return-to-retail collection points in independent pet food retail locations in Oregon and Washington to date, according to a news release about Nova’s funding issued by the Pet Sustainability Coalition. As the current postconsumer packaging pilot comes to a close, Toward Circularity will increase testing of the collected materials from consumers to find ways to introduce the recycled pellets into new materials while also collecting and testing scrap that occurs from misprints, manufacturing errors and the like.

Nova Chemicals will conduct testing on the collected recyclate at its Centre for Performance Applications in Calgary. The Pet Sustainability Coalition says the test results will help it better understand the use, applications and performance attributes and further refine its understanding of how to best repurpose the material. Ultimately, the lessons from the pilot are intended to inform and shape a pet industrywide closed-loop plastics recycling program.

“We are actively working with our customers and throughout the value chain to help them design and develop products and packaging that utilize recyclable film structures and post-consumer recycled materials,” says Monika Kleczek, circular economy market manager at Nova. “Only 6 percent of all plastics that are recycled today are flexible materials. The Flex Forward pilot is a great opportunity to tap more of the potential for flexible films to be recycled into new, valuable products.”

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