The Hefty EnergyBag Program
The Hefty® EnergyBag® program is a groundbreaking initiative, led by Dow and Reynolds Consumer Products, that collects previously hard-to-recycle plastics at curbside and converts them into valuable resources. The program is a significant step towards achieving positive long-term environmental and economic advantages, including fewer plastics ending up in landfills.
Dow and Keep America Beautiful established the Hefty® EnergyBag® Grant to offer communities nationwide the opportunity to implement the Hefty® EnergyBag® program as part of their existing waste management infrastructure.
In 2017, Cobb County received a $50,000 grant from Dow and administered through Keep America Beautiful to implement the program in our community. The program launched in November 2018, making the program available to customers of American Disposal. By mid-2019, more than 20,000 residents expressed interest in participating, involving additional recycling haulers, which now include American Disposal, B Green Services, Custom Disposal Service and Pickers Waste Service, Trash Taxi and more. Cobb County was awarded a second Hefty® EnergyBag® program grant from Dow to expand the program beginning in 2020.
Participating households place their hard-to-recycle plastics in Hefty® EnergyBag® orange bags. Once full, residents tie the bags and place them in their curbside recycling carts or bins during their regularly-scheduled recycling pick-up.
Participants' current haulers pick up the tied Hefty® bags along with their regular recycling material and send them to a local material recovery facility (MRF) for sorting. The MRF then bales the bags and sends them to a local advanced recycling facility, which converts plastics into valuable resources.
The Environmental Benefits
The Hefty® EnergyBag® program provides many environmental and economic benefits, including:
- The diversion of valuable resources from landfills.
- The conversion of waste into alternative energy, which can be used to power businesses, cars and homes.
- The implementation of a circular economy by using waste plastics to make new plastics and the reduction of fossil fuels extracted from the ground.
- Improved efficiency of existing mechanical recycling programs by reducing the amount of hard-to-recycle materials going to materials recovery facilities, ultimately improving the quality of recycled materials such as paper and cardboard.
- Potential cost savings that aid in the decrease of waste management costs.
- Increased consumer engagement and education of resource recovery.