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Advanced Recycling of Films Empowers Conservation-Driven Effort

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Jeff Gold of Nexus Fuels holds a beaker of recycled liquid from Yamaha shipping plastic that can be repurposed into other materials.
A Yamaha Rightwaters initiative uses reverse logistics to recover 10,000 pounds of waste polyolefin film that can be converted back into virgin circular polymers.

A Yamaha Marine initiative aims to turn 10,000 pounds of polyethylene and polypropylene plastic film back into base materials before the end of 2021. It will serve as a proof of concept for an envisioned national program intended to reduce plastic waste in the nation’s waterways. The program leverages the technology of advanced recycler Nexus Fuels, Atlanta, GA, and the manpower of Tommy Nobis Enterprises, Marietta, GA, which provides vocational support and employment training for people with disabilities.

Yamaha Marine developed a reverse logistics program to return the protective covers from select boat builders, retail dealers, and two of its boat production facilities, Skeeter Boats of Kilgore, TX, and Yamaha Jet Boat Manufacturing of Vonore, TN. The materials then ship to Tommy Nobis Enterprises, which will separate recyclable plastics from other materials, such as plastic zippers, cords, and eyelets. Tommy Nobis Enterprises will then ship the material aka feedstock to Nexus for processing into raw materials, which range from gasses to waxes, that can be remade as new products.

Yamaha officials discussed the project in detail to an audience of conservationists, anglers, and legislators at the 2021 Kenai Classic Roundtable on Recreational Fishing on August 18, 2021.

“Yamaha’s support of conservation action began almost three decades ago with the Kenai River Sportfishing Association (KRSA) and its efforts to conserve the Kenai and other rivers in Alaska,” says Martin Peters, who leads sustainability initiatives for the Yamaha US Marine Business Unit. “The tradition of conservation led to the creation of the Yamaha Rightwaters sustainability program in 2019, and it’s most appropriate that we announce our latest Yamaha Rightwaters initiative during the Kenai Classic Roundtable on Recreational Fishing.”

The event was founded by KRSA and Yamaha in 2013 as a national forum to discuss the issues and policies affecting recreational fishing.

“Water drives every Yamaha Rightwaters program,” continues Peters. “We created Yamaha Rightwaters to take on issues that affect the clean water upon which we all depend. [PE and PP] make up a large part of the plastic litter in our oceans, affecting marine life. We see this effort to keep plastics out of our oceans and our landfills, and a step to assure sustainable, healthy stocks of fish in our rivers and oceans.”

“The Yamaha Rightwaters sustainability efforts are pushing the marine industry into a new realm of conservation, and the Nexus team is optimistic and enthusiastic about this plastics recycling initiative,” says Jean Jordan of Nexus Fuels. “It’s our hope that together, we can validate this pilot program and expand it in the near future.”

The Yamaha US Marine Business Unit was excited after viewing the Nexus pyrolysis process in operation last year.

“We knew this was the best possible solution for these materials, some of which are difficult to recycle with other methods because they are a mixture of two materials [PE and PP],” said Peters. “Nexus is the only operation that has proven end-to-end they can economically take Yamaha Marine’s waste plastics and convert them into virgin circular polymer with partners like Chevron Phillips and Shell Chemical.

“Of course, there is a cost,” he adds. “Part of the purpose of the pilot is to determine how to reduce the cost of reverse logistics so that we are able to create a system-wide, national program.”

 

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