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Rigid Plastics

Auto Lube Makers, Suppliers Grease the Wheels of Plastics Recycling

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Lubricant makers and their plastic container suppliers create a pilot recycling program for engine oil packaging.

The National Lubricant Container Recycling Coalition (NLCRC), Bradenton, FL, has launched a pilot recycling program aimed at collecting the plastic containers used for engine oil and other petroleum-based products. The bottles are typically high-density polyethylene (HDPE).

More than 40 Atlanta locations have joined the one-year pilot. Participants include retail stores, auto-care centers, instant oil-change locations, and commercial facilities. Project partners include Safety-Kleen and Nexus Circular, in addition to retailers and commercial organizations.

The pilot’s goals include:

  • Measuring the economic and market drivers for post-consumer recovery and recycling.
  • Better understanding consumers’ waste-disposal behaviors.
  • Defining parameters for model development and future scalability.

“One of the biggest waste-management challenges facing the US is our ability to collect, sort, and process plastic packaging and return it to productive use,” says Tristan Steichen, director of NLCRC. “For contaminated packaging from petroleum and related materials, this isn’t really happening.

“The pilot focuses on the heart of the problem — collection — to find the most efficient ways to aggregate and transport the materials to processors that want them, creating value in a waste material that doesn’t exist today.”

Founded in 2021, NLCRC’s mission is to create solutions for recovery and recycling of plastic lubricant containers used commercially and by consumers in the United States. The coalition aims to create a sustainable, economically driven end-of-life scenario for the packaging.

The group’s members include: Castrol, Valvoline, and Pennzoil Quaker State on the lubrication manufacturing side; Graham Packaging, Plastipak Packaging, and Berry Global, from the packaging supply chain; Chevron; and the Petroleum Packaging Council.

NLCRC invites interested organizations, including not only lubricant and packaging manufacturers but also retailers, resin producers, recyclers, and waste haulers, to join the coalition.

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